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.

More to be uploaded soon…

Recent Timeline Events

January 2015

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

QUNO is delighted to announce that it has launched 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. QUNO will moderate the discussion.

Entitled 'Examining the Linkages between trade and food security: What is your experience?', the consultation invites 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 asks probing questions about the efficacy of a global market-based approach to food security, and seeks to find ways of reconciling food security measures with trade rules.

The discussion, accessible at the link below, is open for contributions until early February 2015.

Related Links

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December 2014

French, Chinese and Spanish translations of our Trade Liberalization and Food Security booklet are now available!

French, Chinese and Spanish language translations of Trade Liberalization & Food Security: Examining the Linkages by Jennifer Clapp are now available. The paper is part of our project working towards a New Framework for Trade & Investment in Agriculture, in which we are exploring some of the questions at the heart of defining the purpose, structure and direction of governance of trade and investment in agriculture, in order to place livelihoods, dignity, sustainability, resilience and food security at the heart of the rules governing these areas.

Downloads of the booklet are available at the link below:

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October 2014

QUNO hosts WTO working session on agricultural trade and food security

QUNO organized a working session at the WTO Public Forum, to address the forum theme of “Why Trade Matters to Everyone." QUNO posed the question “are the benefits of trade sufficiently inclusive?” in consideration of food security. In addition the sub-themes of trade and employment and trade in Africa were addressed by contextual presentations by panelists.

Moderated by Susan H. Bragdon, QUNO’s Representative for Food & Sustainability, the panel consisted of Jennifer Clapp, Professor & Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability at University of Waterloo, Jerome Bunyi, the Agricultural Attaché to the Philippine Permanent Mission to the WTO and Morrison Rwakakamba CEO if the Ugandan farmers` association, Agency for Transformation .

Jennifer Clapp presented findings from her paper, “Trade Liberalization and Food Security: Examining the Linkages” addressing the underlying narrative of trade liberalization and its relationship to food security. Jerome Bunyi gave context to the paper by providing an account of,  the situation of the Philippines and trade liberalization from the founding of the WTO until the present. Morrison Rwakakamba brought the perspective of small-scale farmers to the fore in sharing his experience in Uganda.

The session was well received by a highly engaged group of more than 80 attendees and included perspectives and questions from a number of different stakeholder groups. An audio recording of the working session can be found here.

Related Areas of Work