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Trade, food security and climate change: conceptual linkages and policy implications











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    Book (stand-alone)
    Plan of action for Malawi 2012-2016 2012
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    The Republic of Malawi is among the poorest countries in the world. The country is frequently hit by disasters, with many people affected by shocks such as dry spells, flooding, crop and livestock diseases, high input prices, and unstable markets. These often result in the loss of lives, assets and support systems. According to the Malawi National Disaster Risk Management Policy document, the intensity and frequency of disasters has been increasing, in large part owing to climate change, population growth, urbanization and environmental degradation. The recurrence of rapid and slow-onset disasters in areas such as the Lower Shire makes recovery progressively more difficult for communities whose livelihoods are already weakened by poverty and other underlying socio-economic constraints. Although – for over five years – Malawi has been producing surplus staple food, some communities remain food and nutrition insecure owing to the impacts of various shocks. In addition, most smallholder farmers are yet to generate meaningful incomes from farming. This is in part due to the narrow range of enterprises they pursue, low productivity levels and poor market access. There is an urgent need to address vulnerability and disaster threats and impacts in Malawi, taking into account the underlying challenges faced by the affected and at-risk communities. A more coordinated and holistic approach is required to help them transition from emergency and relief assistanc e to longer-term development. The Government of Malawi, with support from development and other partners, is focusing on socio-economic development through strategies that include supporting the increased performance of the agriculture sector. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a key partner in Malawi’s growth and development objectives. As part of its Strategic Framework 2010–2019, FAO aims to strengthen disaster preparedness and improve linkages and transitions between emergency, rehabilitation and development. FAO uses the Plan of Action (PoA) as a tool to promote more integrated planning and coordination, and to guide a smooth transition from relief to development in disaster-prone and -affected countries. The current document provides details of the proposed PoA for Malawi. It describes FAO’s strategy to “bridge” emergency interventions to more medium- and long-term national development priorities and programmes for the next five years (2012–2016) in support of the Government and in partnership with key stakeholders.
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    Document
    Promoting agricultural inputs under the Food Aid Convention to increase food production in emergency-prone developing countries 2010
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    Assistance needs for the rapidly increasing emergency situations require more judicious responses on the part of donors, including the provision of critical agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and farming implements for reconstruction and recovery of the agriculture sector. The institutional framework governing food-related assistance has been at an impasse for some time, with the renegotiation of the Food Aid Convention (FAC) remaining in suspense, awaiting the conclusion of the un certain Doha Round of negotiations, although there have been fresh efforts to move the FAC process forward. The Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations is the key agency within the multilateral system responsible for coordinating donor efforts in the rehabilitation of agriculture in the aftermath of emergencies. The Organization has a keen interest in seeing that the FAC process is concluded soon, taking on board the new realities on the ground, in particular assisting affect ed communities to resume agricultural activity and return to self-reliance. An analysis of trends in natural and human-induced disasters over the last 30 years confirms the large increase in protracted emergency situations, whereby several countries experience a food emergency year after year. In addition, many of these countries suffer serious chronic food insecurity and these two problems (the transitory and the structural) cannot be addressed separately. A stop-gap approach based on sho rt-term food assistance is not sustainable in these situations. Interventions should also aim to break the cycle of long-term structural problems feeding into greater vulnerability in the short term. Increasing donor support in the form of agricultural inputs, together with meeting immediate food needs, is critical in expediting recovery and helping agricultural communities getting back on their feet. Meeting immediate food emergency needs has become the main priority of donors with nearly 80 percent of total food aid now used for that purpose compared with well below 20 percent up to 1990. At the same time donors’ funding arrangements have become more flexible with a large majority of donors providing cash resources to facilitate local purchases and triangular transactions, as well as funds for the purchase of agricultural inputs. While support for the agriculture sector within the United Nations Consolidated Appeals Process has increased in recent years, agriculture remains he avily underfunded in relation to identified needs and other sectors, with only 41 percent of the sector’s needs being met in recent years. Overall, FAO’s efforts in rehabilitation and recovery of the agriculture sector have been compromised by a lack of adequate funding. An analysis of a multitude of arrangements governing food-related assistance (the Consultative Sub-Committee on Surplus Disposal [CSSD], World Trade Organization [WTO] and FAC) shows that although they are guided by the legiti mate objective of food aid doing more good and less harm, often for a variety of reasons they are not conducive to a coherent framework and may compromise the effectiveness of this assistance. Among them, the FAC is much broader than the CSSD and the WTO, both as regards its food security objective and the specific provisions contained therein. Recognizing the importance of the FAC and expediting its negotiation to better meet its objectives has been the focus of attention by the internationa l community for some time and recent intensified 6 efforts by the Food Aid Committee aim at launching formal negotiations. This would also respond to recent policy initiatives and strategies of donors whereby humanitarian food assistance is increasingly seen as an integral part of efforts to address the structural causes of chronic food insecurity. The FAC is no longer seen as simply having an ‘instrument focus’ (i.e. food aid) but also a ‘problem focus’ (i.e. food security), becoming a part of the broader processes of needs assessment and the related longer-term developmental responses. This paper aims at making a contribution in the process of renegotiating the FAC, in particular as regards the recognition of the importance of agricultural inputs for the recovery and rehabilitation of the agriculture sector.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Border and related measures in the context of adaptation and mitigation to climate change
    The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO): Background paper
    2018
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    Although international trade is not specifically mentioned in the Paris Climate Agreement, trade can play a facilitating role in achieving the mitigation and adaptation objectives of signatories to the Agreement. Trade policies can also undermine those objectives. The focus of this paper is on examining how the facilitating role of trade can be achieved. One of the challenges created by the ‘bottom-up’ approach of self-declared national mitigation targets adopted in the Agreement is that if the economic costs of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are internalized in production and consumption, the implicit price of carbon will differ across countries. This creates the potential for trade distortions. Domestic mitigation policies in importers will almost inevitably result in some carbon leakage, i.e. offsets to reductions in domestic emissions through additional emissions generated in supplying imports. But an important distinction needs to be made between carbon reallocation and carbon misallocation resulting from changes in trade volumes. In the reallocation case, trade leads to a shift in production to lower-emitting producers thereby contributing to global mitigation. In the misallocation case, the opposite occurs. This paper analyses how various border measures, including border tax adjustments (BTAs) might be used to reduce potential carbon misallocation. The conclusion is that technical and legal constraints on the effective application of border measures for food and agricultural products to prevent carbon misallocation are extremely challenging and their use could open the door to protectionism. The use of carbon standards and labelling offers an alternative approach to reducing misallocation and promoting reallocation. It poses fewer technical difficulties and reduces the potential for legal challenges. An added advantage of labelling is that it can help to promote changes in consumption that will be needed to reduce the carbon footprint of food and agriculture. The use of the approach could be facilitated through the adoption of international standards for carbon measurement and labelling, such as those being developed through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Labelling is not a panacea and may have limited effectiveness when consumers base their consumption decisions primarily on the basis of price. For this reason, the use of domestic policy measures that increase carbon efficiency in agriculture (reduce emissions per unit of output) and limit changes in land use that contribute to emissions will also be important for achieving mitigation aims under the Paris Agreement. An increasing number of regional trade agreements (RTAs) have incorporated environmental provisions, with the most common types of provisions focusing on environmental cooperation. Recent agreements recognise the importance of mutually supportive trade and environmental policies, and national commitments to multinational environmental agreements. RTAs could play a supporting role to the Paris Climate Agreement, by fostering international cooperation on climate mitigation measures in the context of freer trade.

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