Areas of Work

Agricultural Trade and Investment

In 2012, the Quaker UN Office (QUNO) began a four year project working with others in stepping back from the WTO agriculture negotiations to explore some questions at the heart of defining the purpose, structure and directions of governance of trade and investment in agriculture.

QUNO believes that by placing livelihoods and dignity alongside sustainability, resilience and food security as the central objectives of trade and investment for agriculture, and taking account of new global challenges, it is possible to envision a New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture (NFTIA) that would better enable the world to meet peoples’ long-term food security needs.


In early 2014, QUNO convened an off the record expert consultation, in which different actors were able to share and develop ideas about the development of a new framework for trade and investment in agriculture and strategize on a shared plan for change.

The consultation focused on two themes:

  • Previous civil society efforts to change the paradigm of trade and investment in agriculture
  • A review of changes in food systems since the conclusion of the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture and other trade agreements, to better understand the current climate, need and potential for change so that trade and investment rules support all people's food security.

These two discussion areas provided a foundation to share and develop ideas about possibly developing a new framework that would better support food security. The presentations shared during the consultation are available below.

Throughout 2014 we will continue to hold consultations with key stakeholders to work towards the development of the new framework. QUNO is gathering related papers and blog pieces, which are shared on this page. If you would like further information, please contact us at

Background Documents

Related Reading

Opinions expressed in the papers and blog pieces shared in the collection of links below do not necessarily reflect those of QUNO, but are provided instead to offer additional background and context to the issues and debate surrounding agricultural trade and investment.

Recent Timeline Events

April 2015

QUNO hosts third expert consultation on trade and investment in agriculture

From 1-2 April 2015, QUNO held its third Expert Consultation on a New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture (NFTIA) at the Château de Bossey (pictured), near Geneva. QUNO hosted 17 participants, representing academics, trade delegates, civil society representatives, small-scale farmers and UN officials, from a total of 11 different countries.

The consultation focused on how to reconcile trade rules with policies designed to safeguard food security. Building on findings that emerged from previous consultations in the series, it explored how QUNO might develop an interactive tool that would allow various stakeholders, from policymakers to farmers, to determine if a particular food security measure would be permitted under existing World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations. The tool now exists in prototype form and is currently being populated with content, with the help of the consultation participants. QUNO hopes to demonstrate its functionality and utility at WTO and Committee for World Food Security events later this year.

Related Links

Related Areas of Work

January 2015

QUNO & FAO launch an online consultation on food security measures and trade

QUNO launched and moderated an online consultation on food security measures and trade, in conjunction with the FAO Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition and the FAO Trade and Markets Division.

Entitled 'Examining the Linkages between trade and food security: What is your experience?', the consultation invited contributors to share their expertise and knowledge of these issues, in an attempt to put small-scale farmers back at the centre of the debate. It asked probing questions about the efficacy of a global market-based approach to food security, and sought to find ways of reconciling food security measures with trade rules.

The discussion ran from January to February 2015. A summary of the consultation, written by QUNO Representative for Food & Sustainability Susan H. Bragdon, is available at the below link.

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Related Areas of Work