What are the possibilities within and beyond the WTO-framework to enhance food security?
In order to find an answer to this question we proceed as follows: In the first part, the concept of food security is defined and an overview as well as an evaluation of the Special Agricultural Safeguard (SSG) mechanism is given. This mechanism is the predecessor of SSM and thus basis for WTO negotiations on this subject. In the second part, we focus on current WTO negotiations. Key elements of SSM important to their efficiency and efficacy are highlighted. Can there ever be an outcome achieved which is beneficial for the third world if the industrialized countries have the say in major decisions? We attempt to find an answer to this question in the next section, where the power distribution in WTO negotiations is discussed. In the run of this, different points of views of the negotiating parties are presented and it is examined how their clashing interests result in an impasse.
The question evolves whether the WTO at all is an adequate forum to tackle the problem of food security. Are there other institutions or regimes, which are better suited to help these disadvantaged countries out of their precarious food situation? In the third part, an alternative approach and ways to guarantee food security are proposed. First, it is shown that the changing environment poses new challenges to the international community. Second, trade models show that there is need for Special and Differential Treatment for developing and Least Developed Countries, which goes beyond the traditionally narrow scope of measurements foreseen by the WTO. Third, instruments outside the WTO framework, which might enhance productivity of and attract investment to the agricultural sector, are taken into consideration. Finally, we will highlight the need for national policies and the involvement of alternative organizations, as a holistic approach is indispensable in order to solve this complex problem.