Sustainable Trade in Agriculture: Towards a Coherent International Trade Regime

The current Agreement on Agriculture of the WTO is said to be unfair and not promoting sustainable farming. A perennial research project funded by the SNSF has explored how the WTO Agreement on Agriculture should be framed if it was formulated in a coherent and sustainable way. This research has been based on sustainable law theory and different stakeholder workshops. It was concluded that a more nuanced approach of trade regulation was needed in the future if hunger and resource depletion in food production are to be significantly reduced. The results were published in the following book:

Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi, Sustainable Development in International Law Making and Trade, International food governance and trade in agriculture, EEP 2015.

This book by CDE-based author Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi provides a comprehensive overview of sustainable development law, its origins, and its current theories. The first part of the book explores how the concept of sustainable development can be made operational for coherent international law-making when it is understood as a multidimensional legal principle and methodical norm. The second part book adopts this notion as an analytical lens on the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, focusing on food security and food sustainability, and investigating what a sustainable and coherent agricultural trade agreement could look like.


Several CDE-projects followed up on this research and approach the question of a coherence agricultural trade regime from different disciplinary angles, while complementing the above mentioned conceptual research with an empiricial approach. See in particular the following projects:

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