Scope

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EcoLomics Internationalís scope is centered to a large extent on environmental and economic issues, not because social concerns are considered to be less important or less urgent, rather, because a targeted approach is considered to represent the most effective use of the available resources and expertise. Furthermore, it is easy to show that ecological and economic issues are in many ways interdependent -- as are social and economic issues -- but most often the interdependence between ecological and social issues is more difficult to show and to analyze: are more equitable social policies good or bad for the environment? It very much depends on assumptions and on the specific context. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that the North-South dynamics represent a fundamental dimension of all multilateral negotiations, which means of course that poverty alleviation policies and concerns, including differential treatment and development strategies are always core priorities in trade and environment debates. It  is also a fundamental issue -- hidden or explicit -- of international ecolomics and of every national ecolomy. This site therefore contains a section focusing on North-South aspects. Furthermore there is a second crosscutting section called Global EcoLomic Governance which contains environmental discussions of an overarching global nature.

 

For practical reasons, this site will not attempt to cover a wide spectrum of ecolomic sectors, instead it will essentially concentrate on certain trade and environment negotiations within the UN/WTO framework. This particular issue area may be considered as a case study exemplifying ecolomic thinking in a particular interface of environmental and economic concerns. It is hoped that this approach will yield generalizable concepts and methods which mutatis mutandis can be applied to other subject areas. EcoLomics International has chosen a thematic framework that embraces the issues of Agrobiodiversity regulation, environment-related food safety, wastes and chemicals, ecopolitics, and the WTO.

 

Specifically, the site is concentrating to a certain extent on the study of those instruments which together can be considered as being entrusted by the international community with the task of developing, implementing and maintaining systems of multilateral phytosanitary and phytogenetic governance i.e. the protection and conservation of agricultural plant genetic resources through the negotiation of global intergovernmental agreements. This governance is effected through the interaction of UN and WTO agreements. This interaction represents a slow and difficult but unavoidable development of Public International Law, and it has made considerable progress over the past few years. These agreements cover key aspects of trade in genetically modified products, agricultural biodiversity, environment-related food safety (especially regarding food that consists of or is produced with GMOs), and intellectual property rights on plant genetic resources. The following four essentially sectoral and two intersectoral themes are covered by the site:

 

 

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WTO / Trade and Environment

Key WTO agreements and their ecolomic ramifications: SPS, TBT, TRIPS, GATT;
trade/investment and Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) as a generic category of agreements;
the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE);
regulatory chilling - chilling effect;
Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes andChemicals
(under development);
Climate Change and Trade (under development).


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WTO Law, Science, GMOs

Trade of GMOs and the protection of agricultural plant biodiversity:
the Biosafety  Protocol;
the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and the SPS/TBT Agreements;
WTO law, scientific uncertainty and scientific evidence;
precaution vs. prevention based approaches and their ramifications;
the role of the scientific or expert testimony and related procedures, regulations and ramifications.

 

 

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Codex Alimentarius and Environment-related Food Safety

Codex Alimentarius Commission: GM food, beef hormones, pesticides, food labelling;
risk analysis: risk assessment, risk communication and risk management;
the role and negotiation of
standards and other Codex procedures and issues;
the relationship of the Codex with the
SPS and TBT Agreements and the Biosafety Protocol.

 

 

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Intellectual Property Rights and Plant Genetic Resources

Intellectual Property Rights on plants and the conservation of agricultural plant biodiversity; TRIPS, UPOV;
FAOís International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;
CGIAR; the Convention on Biological Diversity: the Bonn Guidelines and subsequent negotiations;
WIPO-IGC; Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights.
 

 

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North-South Aspects of above Subject Areas

FAO, WHO, UNCTAD, South Centre;
the WTO's 2001 Doha Declaration and development concerns;
differential treatment and implementation at the WTO;
developing countries and WTO negotiation processes;
international sustainable development NGOs.

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Global EcoLomic Governance

UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Global Environment Facility;
the ecosystem and globalization policies; environmental impact assessment of trade;
projects for a (clustered)  World Environment Organization;
the International Environmental Governance process; the role of NGOs;
the relations between environment-related UN organizations and the WTO.