Briefing Papers

Briefing Papers are to draw public interest to key issues relating to trade and development. They are short and facilitate easy understanding of complex issues by busy policy-makers and other readers.

The WTO Nairobi Ministerial Outcome: Reflections for East African Countries

Jan. 22, 2016.The Nairobi ministerial conference, the first-ever to be held in sub-Saharan Africa, reached several decisions including in the areas of agriculture, cotton, LDC issues and information technology. This note reviews these decisions in light of East African countries’ interests in WTO negotiations, to help delegates reflect on their implications, lessons learned, and mapping out the next steps going forward.

Towards the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference: Some Issues of Interest to EAC Countries

Aug. 2015.From 15 to 18 December 2015, the first-ever WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in sub-Saharan Africa will be held in Nairobi, Kenya. East African Community (EAC) countries expect that the event will further their developmental objectives. In this context, this briefing paper presents and analyses some issues of interest to EAC countries in the key negotiating areas of agriculture, non-agricultural market access, and services at the WTO.

Agro-processing in the Context of Trade, Climate Change and Food Security

July. 2015.This briefing paper explores how the nexus existing between climate change, food security and trade in East Africa specifically affects agro-processing in the region. While the EAC Industrialization Policy prioritises agro-processing development, it is yet to acknowledge the many adverse effects of climate change as one of the main factors inhibiting East Africa’s industrialization efforts. For instance, volatile weather patterns makes hydropower generation unreliable, resulting in power cuts and raising operation costs for companies. Such issues at the interface of climate change, food security and trade need to be made an integrant part of the region’s industrial development.

WTO and UNFCCC: More Collaborative Agendas and Rules Needed to Sustainably Tackle Climate Change?

July. 2015.This briefing paper aims to draw the attention on the critical linkages between trade and climate change negotiations. First, it presents and analyses the state of play and framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations Frameworkd Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Then it discusses the challenges to overcome when linking climate change and trade agendas. Finally it gives recommendations for a coherent interlinked agenda.

Uganda’s National Trade Policy: Drawing Linkages with Climate Change and Food Security

May. 2015.This briefing paper first discovers the lack of linkages between trade, climate change and food security in Uganda’s National Trade Policy (NTP). Then it discusses the importance of the linkages between these three dimensions, and explains the causes of such missing linkages in Uganda’s NTP. Finally it gives recommendations that deliberate efforts should be made to include the linkages between trade, climate change and food security in Uganda’s NTP.

Climate Change, Food Security and Trade: Institutional Interplay and Information Exchange in Kenya

Apr. 2015.This briefing paper presents the institutional interplay and information exchange in Murang’a and Makueni counties in Kenya in relation to climate change, food security and trade issues. Findings indicate that, horizontal linkges, that is institutional interlinkages and information exchange among stakeholders within counties, are strong, particularly interministerial and interactions of the private sector with county ministries. However, vertical linkages between counties’ stakeholders and the national government were found to be weak.

Secteur Privé et Société Civile : Relais de l’Information Agro-climatique et Commerciale au Burundi ?

Apr. 2015.Afin de lutter efficacement contre les effets des changements climatiques sur la sécurité alimentaire, les institutions centrales et locales responsables de l'agriculture, de l'environnement et du commerce doivent collaborer entre elles dans l’exécution de leurs mandats respectifs et s’échanger des informations de manière coordonnée. À cet égard, certains Acteurs Non-Étatiques (ANE) - comme les organisations du secteur privé ou les médias - disposent de réseaux, d’une présence au niveau local et d’une expertise dont ces institutions pourraient bénéficier et s’inspirer. Cette note d’information examine l’efficacité des méthodes et mécanismes de communication mis en place par les ANE, et examines les défis rencontrés afin de proposer des recommandations utiles aux ANE et aux institutions gouvernementales.

“Home-Grown Solutions”: Rwandan Cases of Linking Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade

Apr. 2015. | By Samantha Pinsak

This briefing paper looks at specific cases of home-grown solutions in Rwanda that have linked agriculture, climate change, and trade. In many LDCs heavily dependent on agriculture, climate change leads to floods or drought that can wipe out entire harvests. This not only inhibits their agricultural trade, but can also be disastrous for the rural poor who often rely on rain-fed agriculture for their own sustenance. Rwanda has been devising unique “home-grown solutions” to this problem, leading to the identification of linkages between agriculture, trade, and climate change at the local level that provide lessons for integrating environmental issues into development processes.

Comment Mettre en Place un Système d’Alerte Agro-météorologique au Burundi ?

Oct. 2014.Cette note d’information propose des éléments pour l’établissement d’un système d’information agro-météorologique et d’alerte précoce au Burundi afin de permettre aux producteurs agricoles de prévoir et s’adapter aux évènements climatiques. Un bulletin météorologique devra être couplé à un calendrier cultural prenant en compte des informations agro-écologiques et des données climatologiques. Ces informations devraient être présentées de façon simplifiée pour aider les agriculteurs à s’organiser dans le temps et dans leur milieu.

Effects of Trade Policy Reforms on Rice & Maize Cross-Border Trade in the EAC

Sep. 2014.Maize and Rice are among the important staple foods in the East Africa Community, and the most widely traded agricultural commodities in the region. Given that the two crops play an important role in production and intra-regional trade, examining the impacts of trade reforms, and how institutional, regulatory and political factors influence their cross-border flow, is essential to addressing food insecurity, which still persists in the region.

Climate, Food, Trade: Linkages in West Africa

Sep. 2014.West Africa is characterised by some of the most variable climates on the planet, which have been partly responsible for important food shortages in the region. Further, the hunger situation has been worsened by the inefficiency of regional trade that hinders efficient food supply to climate-hit areas. This briefing paper explores these linkages between Climate, Food and Trade in West Africa, and to what extent they are taken into account by regional and national stakeholders when implementing policies and programmes.

The Kenya Maize Development Programme: Lessons for Food Security and Sustainability

Sep. 2014.Maize is not only the staple food for many people in Africa, but also a main source of household income for smallholder farmers. With the right kind of policies in place, the sector could therefore substantially contribute to improved food security. This briefing paper explores possible policy interventions by drawing lessons from the successful implementation of the Kenya Maize Development Programme (KMDP). In eight years, KMDP managed to triple smallholder farmer maize yields, resulting in increased earnings of $208 million for 370,000 smallholder farmers.

Why Developing Countries’ Positions in Climate Talks Should be Aware of Trade Policy

Sep. 2014. In their efforts to deal with climate change, governments often adopt trade-related regulatory measures such as taxes, tariffs and subsidies that may be subjected to WTO rules and procedures. This is but one of many illustrations of why climate and trade negotiations need to be envisaged in synergy by governments. Through the example of Uganda, this briefing paper highlights the need for developing countries to link multilateral climate and trade talks, especially as UNFCCC members are expected to make or enhance their emission reduction targets.

Système d’alerte rapide : un aspect essentiel de la promotion de la productivité agricole face au changement climatique

Aug. 2014. Cette note d’information propose plusieurs bonnes pratiques dont le Kenya pourrait s’inspirer afin d’améliorer on système d’alerte rapide. Malgré les avancées du système météorologique, le Kenya ne dispose pas encore de systèmes d’alerte rapide adéquats pour avertir les agriculteurs des changements climatiques. En conséquence, les agriculteurs se trouvent exposés à des conditions climatiques extrêmes comme la sécheresse et les inondations qui dégradent les récoltes.

Développement des chaînes de valeur agro-industrielles en Afrique de l’Est

Aug. 2014. Cette note d’information examine les chaînes de valeur agro-industrielles dans la CAE. Elle décrit le concept de chaîne de valeur, et centre son attention sur les avantages du développement de chaîne de valeur au sein de la CAE, ainsi que sur ses défis et ses stratégies potentielles dans le contexte des spécificités de la région. Les stratégies sont présentées du point de vue tant des acteurs de la chaîne de valeur que de celui des acteurs extérieurs à la chaîne de valeur, y compris le Gouvernement, les coopératives agricoles, le secteur privé, les organisations non-gouvernementales et les organisations internationales.

Climate Change, Food Security and Trade: Evidence from the East African Community

Jul. 2014. This briefing paper explores the impacts of climate change on food security and trade in the EAC and proposes recommendations to better cope with the associated challenges. Several case stories illustrate the close linkage existing between the three issues and the need for coordinated policy action both at the national and regional levels. Possible mitigating strategies range from introducing flexibilities in the WTO TRIPs Agreement to increasing investment in agriculture to support a shift towards more climate-resilient practices.

Offer of a Truce: The Peace Clause Agreement on Food Stockholding in Bali

Jul. 2014. The Bali Ministerial Decision on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes provides legal shield to some developing countries with public food stockholding programmes, albeit in the form of a temporary respite until a permanent solution is agreed upon by the 11th Ministerial Conference in 2017. This briefing paper explores implications of the Peace Clause and uncertainties arising from a scenario whereby WTO Members fail to reach a permanent solution between now and 2017.

Clean Development Mechanism Projects in EAC: An overview

Jul. 2014. This briefing paper analyses emission reductions and sustainable development benefits of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in East Africa, and provides recommendations on improving the performance of such project. Key among them is the need for a market-friendly environment for investment in CDM projects. The paper also indicates that hydro and reforestation projects and large scale projects have been found to perform best in promoting sustainable development.

Climate, Food, Trade Nexus: Addressing the Need for Policy Coherence in the EAC

Jul. 2014. This briefing paper presents the linkages existing between climate change, food security and trade in the East African Community. The paper outlines a number of sectoral policy incoherence within Partner States; and as a result argues that sectoral policies on these issues ought to be harmonised and brought to coherence for a holistic response to climate change.

Agro-Industrial Value Chain Addition in the East African Community

Jun. 2014. This briefing paper explores agro-industrial value chains in the East Africa Community (EAC). It describes the concept of a value chain, and focuses on the benefits of value chain addition in the EAC, as well as its challenges and potential strategies in the context of the specifics of the region. The strategies are outlined from the perspective of both, value chain and non-chain actors, including the government, farmer cooperatives, private sector, non-governmental organisations and international organisations.

State and Non-State Actors in EAC Food Trade: A Case for Cooperation

May. 2014. This briefing paper provides a general analysis of the roles and relationship of EAC States and Non-State Actors in regional food trade. It discusses the challenges that affect the relations between the governments and NSAs in the EAC, their impacts on the production and trade of agricultural commodities, and proposes recommendations for a win-win cooperation.

Early Warning System: A Critical Aspect in Promoting Agricultural Productivity in the Face of Climate Change

Mar. 2014.The briefing paper suggests a number of good practices that Kenya could learn from in improving its early warning system. In spite of strides in the Meteorological service, Kenya still has inadequate systems to warn farmers on climate changes. As a result, farmers are exposed to extreme weather conditions i.e. drought/floods which undermines farming.

Trade Facilitation as a Means to Improve SME Competitiveness and Consumer Welfare in Developing and Least-Developed Countries

Jan. 2014. The briefing paper outlines the potential benefits of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) from the perspective of the LDC and developing country consumers and small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). The consumers are expected to benefit from general cuts to prices of goods while the SMEs should benefit from more predictable administrative procedures and formalities, which currently create disproportional disadvantages to them. The concerns and needs of LDCs and developing countries are also outlined that require urgent, substantial and demand-driven capacity building assistance and balanced implementation of TFA.


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