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Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP): New Global Contract Needed to Re-Assert Basic Rights, Protect Environment

August 6, 2008
1:47 PM

CONTACT: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
Ben Lilliston, 612-870-3416,

New Global Contract Needed to Re-Assert Basic Rights,
Protect Environment
WTO Doha Collapse Requires a New Direction in Multilateralism
MINNEAPOLIS - August 6 - Global institutions enforcing trade and finance rules have overridden fundamental human rights, stalled international development and harmed the environment, finds three new papers released today by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. A new system is badly needed.

“People around the world recognize that the current form of economic globalization is not working,” said Alexandra Spieldoch, Director of IATP’s Trade and Global Governance Program. “From volatile financial markets to skyrocketing oil prices, food riots and the growing gap between rich and poor – the current system is not sustainable. The food and climate crises compel us to re-build a new global system based on the needs of people, communities and the environment.”

The three papers are part of IATP’s “New Global Contract” series that highlights how rules set at global institutions like the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund conflict with other basic human, economic, cultural and environmental rights, and how a new system is needed to tackle today’s key challenges. A fairer, more sustainable food and agriculture system must be a central component in building alternatives.

“A Framework for Rebalancing Global Norms,” by John Foster, analyzes the role of global trade and financial institutions in undermining human rights, and identifies strategies for global organizing in support of a new system. “The current world climate and fuel, food and financial crises demonstrate the need for stronger global governance through the United Nations, and to prioritize human rights and environmental agreements over commercial law and the WTO, if humankind is to survive,” says Foster.

“Values in Conflict: How Trade and Finance Rules Curtail Our Rights,” by Andre du Plessis, maps out where global trade and finance systems directly conflict with the environment, human rights, public health and food and agriculture.

“Promoting Human Rights and the Environment in Trade and Finance Rules,” by Maria Julia Oliva, identifies successful strategies by civil society groups to challenge unfair multilateral rules. It includes a list of successful case studies.

These publications are the first in a series of initiatives by IATP to develop positive alternatives for global governance in support of a new vision for food and agriculture.

All publications three publications can be found at:

IATP works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.


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