News from Trade Observatory
A new consortium of business and international finance is systematically trying to influence how the world’s water will be allocated in future. The consortium seeks to promote policies that will treat water primarily as an economic good to be bought and sold, rather than a fundamental right. Because the consortium works directly with governments, or its office-holders, its initiatives are proceeding without much public awareness or attention.
The latest example of this is India’s Draft National Water Policy (NWP) circulated by the Ministry of Water Resources in January to water experts as part of its consultation procedures. It is now available for public comments until February 29, 2012.1
At first glance it appears as if the policy takes a holistic approach to water resources management, with a clear recognition of India’s water woes. It accords preemptive priority for safe and clean drinking water and sanitation for all, and prioritizes meeting water requirements for ecosystems. Recycling and reuse of water is incentivized. The policy stresses water use efficiency improvements across sectors—in agriculture, industry and urban domestic sector, and improvements in rural water supply, waste water treatment and re-use of treated waste water.
Q&A: Why an agriculture work program at the UNFCCC is the wrong approach for farmers, animal welfare and development
There is global consensus that the agricultural sector is severely affected by climate change and also contributes to it. Debates are on in numerous national and multilateral forums about the right ways to address these challenges. In the context of the climate negotiations, agriculture is viewed in terms of “mitigation”—how emissions can be removed from the atmosphere—and “adaptation”—the ways in which humans can increase the resilience of agriculture systems in spite of climate change. Real solutions to this complex challenge require a mix of international and bottom-up approaches that are democratic, multi-disciplinary and transparent. They must address the needs of small-scale food producers who directly bear the brunt of climate impacts.Images and video Image: Flickr/CC credit: tonrulkens Image caption:
Small scale food producers will be directly bear the brunt of climate impacts.Feature Headline: Ag Climate plan wrong approach Summary: UNFCCC Q&A: Why real solutions to climate change must be democratic, multi-disciplinary and transparent.
Dehli, India – On February 12, India and the European Union (EU) held their 12th joint summit here. Outside the summit, Indian HIV and access-to- medicine activists, farmers, dairy producers, small retailers, trade unionists and development, agriculture and health NGOs took part in a massive rally in the capital to protest against the EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that is being negotiated behind closed doors. At stake are several “life and death” matters including access to cheap medicines for Africa and other poor countries, livelihoods of Indian farmers and fisherpeople and impacts such a deal would have on the people living on land rich with the natural resources that the EU wishes to import from India.IATP author(s): Shefali Sharma Feature Headline: 'Don't trade away our lives' Summary: IATP's Shefali Sharma reports from Dehli as activists rally against the EU-India Fair Trade Agreement. Image:
In this December 6, 2011 episode, Julia Olmstead discusses U.S. exports and why they are not "feeding the world," Jim Harkness speaks on the Occupy movement and Karen Hansen-Kuhn speaks about IATP's aspirations at the Durban climate talks.
Improving food security around the world is much more complicated than simply increasing grain production.
As I flew back from Bonn last week, on my way back from the Bonn 2011 Nexus Conference (16–18 November), one thing was clear to me. Corporate environmentalism is entrenching itself firmly in the corridors of global governance, and challenging its advance will require new strategies. The "in-your-face" approach of yesterday is being replaced with a softer, albeit more dangerous "corporate responsibility" garb. This softer path also seeks to ensure that civil society stakeholders are seen as party to the decisions.
The Bonn Nexus conference is symptomatic of the way that corporate environmentalism is developing. "The water, energy and food security nexus, Solutions for the Green Economy," as it is called, is an initiative of the federal government of Germany to develop specific contributions to the Rio+20 Conference. It is an important event because this is the first of several nexus conferences being planned to gain political support for advancing the green economy at Rio+20. The next follow-up conference is being organized by World Economic Forum and will be held in January 2012.
In its recognition of a "nexus," these conferences could be seen as a step forward. Two years ago, when we published a report on the need for integrated solutions for the water, climate and food crises, the idea of connections between these three sectors was simply not on any official agenda.IATP author(s): Shiney Varghese