Tag Archives: political economy

The Global Food System, Environmental Protection, and Human Rights (C Gonzalez)

Author

Carmen G. Gonzalez

Keywords

Human rights law, food security, food sovereignty, right to food, biodiversity, WTO, trade policy, international environmental law, IMF, World Bank, international law, climate change, biofuels, agricultural law, international trade law, political economy

Abstract

The global food system is exceeding ecological limits while failing to meet the nutritional needs of a large segment of the world’s population. While law could play an important role in facilitating the transition to a more just and ecologically sustainable food system, the current legal framework fails to regulate food and agriculture in an integrated manner. The international legal framework governing food and agriculture is fragmented into three self-contained regimes that have historically operated in isolation from one another: international human rights law, international environmental law, and international trade law. International trade law has taken precedence over human rights and international environmental law to the detriment of small farmers and the environment. The article analyzes the international legal regime applicable to food and agriculture, explains the ways in which the current regime perpetuates food insecurity and unsustainable cultivation practices, and argues that agriculture should be removed from the purview of the World Trade Organization. The article concludes by sketching out some of the elements of an alternative approach to global governance based on the concept of food sovereignty.

Citation

Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 26, No. 3, Winter 2012
Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 12-12

Publication

The Global Food System, Environmental Protection, and Human Rights

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Seasons of Resistance: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Cuba (C.G. Gonzalez)

Author

Carmen G. Gonzalez (Seattle University, USA)

Keywords

Sustainability, comparative law, Cuba, food security, agricultural policy, trade policy, environmental law, agricultural law, political economy, colonialism, post-colonial studies

Abstract

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Cuba embarked upon a transformation of the agricultural sector that has been hailed by some observers as a model of socially equitable and ecologically sustainable agriculture. Cuba shifted from an export-oriented, chemical-intensive agricultural development strategy to one that promoted organic agriculture and encouraged production for the domestic market.

This article places Cuba’s agricultural reforms in historical context by examining the evolution of Cuban agriculture from the colonial period until the present through the lens of food security and ecological sustainability. The article argues that Cuba, for most of its history, was food insecure and ecologically compromised as a consequence of its dependence on one agricultural commodity (sugar) to generate the bulk of foreign exchange revenues, its reliance on imports to satisfy domestic food needs, its dependence on one primary trading partner (initially Spain, subsequently the United States and the Soviet Union), and its adoption of capital-intensive, chemical-dependent agricultural production techniques. When the collapse of the socialist trading bloc in 1990 plunged the Cuba economy into a state of crisis, the Cuban government implemented as series of reforms that diversified Cuba’s economic base, diversified the range of crops cultivated, prioritized domestic food production, and promoted organic and semi-organic farming techniques. The article concludes that these reforms enhanced food security and ecological sustainability, but questions whether they will survive the lifting of the U.S. economic embargo and the reintegration of Cuba into global trade and financial institutions.

Citation

(2003) 16 Tulane Environmental Law Journal 685

Paper

Seasons of Resistance: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Cuba

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Water Rights and Human Rights: The Poor Will not Need Our Charity if We Need Their Water (D. Zetland)

Author

David Zetland

Keywords

Human rights, property rights, institutions, political-economy, water markets, water quality, MDGs

Abstract

Each year, about 2.8 million people die due to problems with poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Over three-quarters of the dead are children. Some argue that a human right to clean water would improve this situation. This paper shows that human rights are not sufficient to improve access to clean water and argues that it would be more productive to give people a property right to water. Because property rights — unlike humanrights — are alienable, some portion of an individual’s rights can be exchanged for access to clean water. Besides this basic equity outcome, property rights could enrich the poor, increase the efficient use of water, and improve water supply reliability in countries with poor governance.

Citation

SSRN Working Paper Series (18 June 2010)

Paper

Water Rights and HumanRights: The Poor Will not Need Our Charity if We Need Their Water

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Ecology, Politics and Violent Conflict (M. Suliman)

Editor

Mohamed Suliman

Keywords

Environment, violent conflict, political economy, women, sustainability, security age, water resources, forests, marine resources, climate change, mining, food security, Boran Solution

Abstract

Violent internal conflicts in more and more countries are ruining the lives of millions of people and undermining the ability of their governments to provide security and a tolerable economic existence. The contributors to this book take a new view of the reasons for this grave development in Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia and elsewhere.

They question traditional analyses of conflict which rely primarily on ethnic, religious and cultural explanations since these do not take account of the increasingly obvious link between the growing scarcity of renewable resources and violent conflict in developing countries. Shortages of cropland, fresh water, woodfuel, pasture and marine resources cannot be ignored. At the same time, this book argues that one cannot understand domestic conflicts simply in environmental terms. For environmental scarcity functions in a society within a complex matrix of historically derived economic and political situations. In particular, an unequal social distribution of resources exacerbates scarcity and fuels popular conflict.

Citation

Mohamed Suliman (ed), Ecology, Politics and Violent Conflict (Zed Books, 2006)

Book

Ecology, Politics and Violent Conflict

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