The Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) is an organization that represents academically minded practitioners in the field of international economic law. The Society’s biannual conference will be taking place in Barcelona, Spain from 8-10 July 2010. Hilton Lambert retains an active role in several law schools in fostering young talent in the trade law field and thus supports the endeavours of SIEL.
Hilton Lambert has been involved in several matters relating to the global food crisis, agricultural trade policy and food aid issues over the past 2 years. Hilton Zunckel will be sharing some of the insights that the firm has gained from this work at the SIEL conference. The firm will be participating in a dedicated panel convened under the topic of ‘African perspectives on trade and agriculture’ and Hilton Zunckel will present a paper dealing specifically with ideas on how to reform the international legal regime for food aid in a manner that makes it more accessible to Southern Africans, who receive the lion’s share of international food aid.
The paper notes that a staggering 65% of global food aid is taken up in Southern Africa. It is thus critically important to address the impacts of this aid on African farmers through the forums available under international treaties and organisations – the Food Aid Convention, the FAO Consultative Sub-committee on Surplus Disposal and the WTO. The paper concludes that the policy response on food aid should focus on making the international legal architecture more friendly and participative for recipient countries in 4 ways:
1. Pursue the reform of the Food Aid Convention to engineer the emergence of a mechanism for food aid recipient countries to make their voices heard under the Convention.
2. Africa must take a more active role in forums where it does currently have access, like the FAO’s Consultative Sub-Committee on Surplus Disposal.
3. Africa needs to guard the textual progress to which it has successfully contributed as reflected in the current WTO draft modalities text.
4. Question why the current WTO draft modalities text breaks the existing linkage between the WTO and the Food Aid Convention that is present in the Agreement on Agriculture.