The 42nd Economic and Social Forum was held from 25th to 29th January in Davos, Switzerland.
As the world suffers an economic crisis without precedent, this forum enabled the 2,600 economists, heads of state, businessmen and civil society representatives in attendance to consider the “transformation of the world” and develop new “economic and social models.”
In this context, the challenges faced by agriculture and particularly the future of the Doha Round were discussed, although the latter was not as much at the heart of debates as in previous years.
Firstly, participants re-emphasised the need to “draw attention to food security” and make agriculture a priority on the international agenda. They stressed the importance of increasing production, support for small farmers and food supply, which is in line with guidelines set by the G20.
Secondly, the failure that has been building up for several months was acknowledged. If the Australian Trade Minister considers that “Doha is not dead,” U.S. Representative Ron Kirk, meanwhile, said it was necessary to “turn the page” and to explore new ways to move forward.
The economic, financial and food crises of recent years have indeed led to the in-depth questioning of the economic and agricultural development models that have thus far prevailed. In particular, they shattered the belief that unregulated free trade would help reinforce global food security, as advocated by the WTO when wrongly subtitling the Doha Round as the development round.
How can intentions be turned into actions if not by urgently defining the outlines of an international food and agricultural policy as suggested by momagri?