Human rights Sensitive Impact Assessments of Trade Agreements
Trade between OECD countries and developing countries should be shaped such that market shares are just and trade flows foster sustainable development, both in the South and in the North. But this is not always the case. While developing countries have much to gain from trade, they can also suffer serious losses. This is especially apparent with regard to food security, which often depends largely on smallholders and informal markets in poorer countries. Rapidly or indiscriminately liberalized (or protected) trade can destroy smallholder livelihoods and threaten a country’s ability to feed its most vulnerable groups. Similar harm may occur if Northern markets remain closed to products from the South. The work in this project, which is partly financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, sketches the link between trade and human rights, in particular the right to food, and describes how integration of Human Rights Impact Assessments in trade policy can help ensure sustainable trade regimes that do not cause undue harm. It also explores how Human Rights Impact Assessment methodologies and Sustainability Impact Assessment methodologies can be merged.