What did trade campaigns achieve? Plus reinventing Robert Chambers & changing aid narratives: some Berlin conversations

Duncan Green - March 24, 2016

Had a really interesting couple of days in Berlin last week, at the invitation of the German government aid agency, GIZ. Also spent time with the impressive policy and campaigns wonks at Oxfam Germany. Here’s a few of the topics that came up. What did all that trade campaigning achieve? From the late 90s to 2005, when I was working on economic policy for CAFOD, …

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Jamie Love’s Next Big Idea: Making the WTO into a force for good in Public Health

Duncan Green - June 6, 2014

I’ve heard the name Jamie Love mentioned in reverential tones over the years, and a few weeks ago, I was asked by STOPAIDS to interview him in an ‘in conversation’ format in front of a small group of activists. It was fantastic fun (for me at least). Jamie is director of Knowledge Ecology International and is known as perhaps the world’s leading activist and policy …

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Why aren’t we using government purchasing to promote the right to food (among other things)? Great farewell paper from Olivier de Schutter

Duncan Green - May 29, 2014

Oliver de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food reaches the end of his term at the end of May, leaving some pretty big shoes to fill. He summarized his arguments in March with a final report to the Human Rights Council, but kept on going til the end, with a really thought-provoking briefing note on government procurement. Sounds dull, I know, but …

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The poorest countries are under renewed threat from WTO rules on access to medicines (and yes, this is 2013)

admin - April 5, 2013

This week is acquiring an oddly retro flavour. Wednesday had me reminiscing about the Access to Medicines campaign of the last decade. Now it turns out that the issues it raised have recently erupted again. In short, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are trying to get another extension to be free from implementing the WTO’s Intellectual Property (TRIPs) agreement. The current stay of execution, agreed …

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Food fight at the WTO: de Schutter v Lamy on whether trade leads to food security

admin - December 20, 2011

The WTO ministerial (there was a ministerial?) was predictably forgettable, apart from the accession of Russia (the last major economy still to sign up) and a pretty outspoken attack on WTO boss Pascal Lamy (right) by UN Food Security czar Olivier de Schutter (below), who accused Lamy of ‘defending an outdated vision of food security’. ‘We must ensure that the debate starts from the correct …

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A nostalgic debate on globalization and development

admin - September 7, 2011

When did talking on the subject of ‘globalization and development’ start to feel so retro? I got that distinct sensation at a lunchtime discussion at IPPR yesterday. The trench warfare of yesteryear – on the WTO, the Doha round, trade liberalization, protectionism etc, has somehow acquired a nostalgic glow. Most odd. In the room were a random collection of NGOs, think tankers and centre-left types, …

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How can advocacy NGOs respond to the global meltdown? FP2P Flashback

admin - August 19, 2011

OK, it’s looking ever more likely that we are heading for a European double plunge recession (double dip sounds too pleasant), so here’s some thoughts from December 2008 about how to respond. Ever since the global financial and economic meltdown broke, NGO colleagues have been debating how to respond. That debate is now focused on the G20 summit process, which started in Washington DC on …

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The death of Doha? But the WTO lives on.

admin - May 5, 2011

This piece of mine appeared on the Guardian development page yesterday (plus here, I include a few afterthoughts at the end) “The Doha round of global trade talks, launched by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in November 2001 amid a surge of solidarity after the 9/11 attacks, is experiencing the long slide into irrelevance that is characteristic of the international system, where zombie institutions and …

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Seattle + 10 = Copenhagen?

admin - December 3, 2009

I went out for a celebratory (if that’s the word) drink this week with a heroic band of Seattle Survivors. Ten years ago we were besuited NGO delegates at the notorious WTO ministerial, which collapsed in a welter of tear gas and turtles (or at least people dressed in turtle suits protesting at WTO rulings on the environment). It’s been fascinating watching the ‘battle in …

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Remember the development round? Belated reflections on the WTO Doha collapse

admin - August 22, 2008

I was on holiday when the Doha round ran into the sand at the end of July (for more see here), but reading the reports brought back memories of previous collapses (a WTO speciality) in Seattle and Cancun. If you can get past the thickets of tradespeak, the subtexts to the latest collapse carry some fascinating stories about how the world has changed since the …

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