Tag Archives: WTO

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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A Substantive Environmental Right: An Examination of the Legal… (S. Turner)

Author

Stephen Turner

Keywords

Global awareness, environmental degradation, environmental obligations, environmental rights, human right, clean and healthy environment, Environmental Rights, National, International, State Actor, Companies, Multinational Enterprises, Multilateral Development Banks, WTO

Abstract

Acute global awareness of environmental degradation seems at last to have created a consensus that environmental obligations should be imposed on decision-makers, whether state or non-state actors. However, although substantive environmental rights have been developed to a limited degree, there is as yet no international treaty or agreement that provides a globally accepted substantive human right to a good or clean and healthy environment.

This impressive book proposes such a right. In unprecedented depth, the author probes the legal obligations of decision-makers within states, companies, multilateral development banks and the World Trade Organization and develops a sound substantive human right that creates duties, both nationally and internationally, by which all decision-makers are legally bound to follow specific rules and procedures that would prevent or limit environmental degradation stemming from their decisions.

Among the major issues dealt with in the course of the presentation are the following:

—determination of an equitable form of compensation where less environmentally-degrading alternatives are not viable;
—anthropocentric approach vs. intrinsic rights for all ecosystems and natural systems; problems of fixing qualitative standards;
—problems arising from the differing economic capacities of states;
the extent to which state constitutional provisions relating to the environment can direct and constrain legislators and policymakers;
—effectiveness of responses to pressure upon multinational enterprises to take the environment into consideration in their decision-making processes;
—intergenerational equity;
—protection of indigenous and vulnerable communities and public participation in the environmental impact assessment process.

The annex provides the author’s draft accord between states for the development and realization of a substantive environmental right.

This is the first book to formulate a full-fledged international legal right ensuring that all peoples could enjoy an environment, in which all ecosystems and natural systems are protected, and to demonstrate how such a right could be instituted and work in practice. As such it not only represents a major contribution to our knowledge and significantly enhances our understanding of the issues examined, but also brilliantly exposes the obstacles blocking environmental progress and powerfully clarifies the way ahead. It will be of immeasurable value to anyone committed to turning back the tide of environmental degradation.

Citation

Stephen Turner, A Substantive Environmental Right: An Examination of the Legal Obligations of Decision-makers towards the Environment (Kluwer Law, 2008)

Book

A Substantive Environmental Right: An Examination of the Legal Obligations of Decision-makers towards the Environment

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Institutionalizing Inequality: The WTO Agreement on Agriculture, Food Security… (C.G. Gonzalez)

Author

Carmen G. Gonzalez (Seattle University, USA)

Keywords

International trade, WTO, food security, development law, human rights law, agricultural law, agricultural policy

Abstract

The article examines the food security implications of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. It places the Agreement in historical context, examines its key provisions, and argues that the Agreement systematically favors industrialized country agricultural producers at the expense of farmers in developing countries. The Agreement enables industrialized countries to continue to subsidize agricultural production and to protect domestic producers from foreign competition while requiring market openness in developing countries. The article evaluates the effect of this imbalance on food security in developing countries, and proposes reforms to provide developing countries with the tools to promote access by all people at all times to sufficient, safe and nutritious food.

Citation

(2002) 27 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 433

Paper

Institutionalizing Inequality: The WTO Agreement on Agriculture, Food Security, and Developing Countries

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Norms, Institutions and Social Learning: An Explanation for Weak Policy Integration… (M. Gabler)

Author

Melissa Gabler ( University of Guelph , Canada )

Keywords

UNCED, sustainable development, environmental norms, policy, governance, WTO, trade, environment

Abstract

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) recognized that sustainable development can only be actualized if environmental norms are integrated into other areas of policy across levels of governance. This article examines the Committee on Trade and Environment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to answer the question of why actors’ efforts to enhance the mutual supportiveness of trade and environmental norms have resulted in minimalist policy outcomes. I first introduce a framework for analyzing norms and their levels of compatibility and a social learning explanation for policy integration emphasizing the importance of normative and institutional conditions. Second, I show that low levels of both norm compatibility between UNCED and WTO and institutional capacity in the WTO for learning have contributed to weak integration. The approach contributes to constructivist theory development and the findings provide insights to policy-makers grappling with how to support the integration of norms and institutions in global governance.

Citation

(2010) 10 Global Environmental Politics 80-117

Paper

Norms, Institutions and Social Learning: An Explanation for Weak Policy Integration in the WTO’s Committee on Trade and Environment

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Beyond Eco-Imperialism: An Environmental Justice Critique of Free Trade (C.G. Gonzalez)

Author

Carmen G. Gonzalez ( Seattle University , USA )

Keywords

WTO, environmental justice, environmental law, international trade, development law

Abstract

The article contributes to the trade and environment literature by assessing the claim that industrialized country proposals to integrate environmental protection into the WTO trade regime constitute environmental imperialism – the imposition of industrialized country values and preferences on less powerful nations. This claim is usually based on two distinct premises. The first is that environmental protection is a luxury that poor countries can ill afford. The second is that wealthy countries have played a leadership role in the protection of the global environment. The article questions these assumptions. It argues that environmental protection is essential to well-being of the poor, and that wealthy countries have achieved economic prosperity by shifting environmental degradation to the global commons and to the developing world. The article re-defines environmental imperialism as the over-utilization of the world’s limited pool of natural resources and waste sinks. It concludes that the industrialized world has indeed engaged in environmental imperialism and that trade liberalization threatens to accelerate this process. Developing countries are therefore justified in asserting that environmental trade restrictions are hypocritical in light of developed countries’ failure to address their own far more ecologically damaging behavior. The article proposes several legal strategies designed to scale back industrialized countries’ over-consumption of the world’s resources and to support grassroots resistance to environmental degradation. The article calls for close scrutiny of proposals to reconcile trade and environment to make sure that they promote environmental justice and do not merely reinforce industrialized countries’ economic and political dominance.

Citation

(2001) 78 Denver University Law Review 981

Paper

Beyond Eco-Imperialism: An Environmental Justice Critique of Free Trade

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