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Liberalizing Trade in Agriculture and Women‘s Human Rights Simone Heri.

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Presentation on theme: "Liberalizing Trade in Agriculture and Women‘s Human Rights Simone Heri."— Presentation transcript:

1 Liberalizing Trade in Agriculture and Women‘s Human Rights Simone Heri

2 Contents Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture –Women as Consumers –Women as Producers: Feminization of Agriculture A Human Rights Approach to Trade –Issues of Concern under CEDAW –The Approach of the CESCR –The Fundamental Principle of Non-Discrimination Indicators for measuring changes in gender equality through trade Conclusion

3 Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture Three pillars of the Agreement on Agriculture (1995) –Increasing market access –Reducing trade-distorting domestic support –Reducing export subsidies Balanced by Special and Differential Treatment for developing, least-developed and net-food importing countries  Still of limited scope compared to de facto existing „special and preferential treatment“ for developed countries

4 Women as Consumers According to the underlying rationale of trade to move production to where it is comparatively more efficient, food prices will eventually fall. However: –Highly distorted agricultural production in OECD countries with artificially cheap products for export,  Prices of these products will rise if agriculture is liberalized –Demand for biofuels drive food prices up (by 10 percent in 2006) A rise in food prices will most likely not be gender-neutral

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6 Women as Producers: Feminization of Agriculture Women are the main producers of the world‘s staple crops (rice, wheat, maize): – providing up to 90 percent of the rural poor‘s food intake – producing between 60 and 80 percent of food in most developing countries. HOWEVER: Fewer than 10 percent of women farmers in developing countries own land

7 Feminization of Agriculture? „Gender bias and gender blindness persist: farmers are still generally perceived as ‚male‘ by policy-makers and development planners. For this reason, women find it more difficult than men to gain access to valuable resources such as land, credit and agricultural inputs, technology, extension, training and services that would enhance their production capacity. A lack of available gender-disaggregated data means that women‘s contribution to agriculture in particular is poorly understood and their specific needs ignored in policy-making“ FAO, Gender and Food Security, http://www.fao.org/GENDER/en/agri-e.htm.

8 Matrix of „domination“ for women in agriculture ♀ Social Class Discrimination in access to Eco- nomic & productive ressources Labour force segmentation Un-waged work Salary and Wage Discrimination Women as reserve labour force Access to reproductive health Access to education Implications of multiple roles for productivity Gender-blind macro-economic policies

9 „Dominating“ factors determining whether gender impacts will be positive or negative: Impact on growth and employment opportunities The sectoral distribution of exports and import competition The skill level of male and female employment Competitive pressures which may reduce or encourage gender discrimination, in particular wage differentials Labour market policies and institutions Laws and the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws Management of national government budget pressures due to declines in tariff revenues The gender division of labour in households The cultural pattern of male and female roles in the economy at large, including the unpaid economy

10 Gender-Neutral Data? Intangible Nature of Social Impacts Tendency to emphasize the quantifiable impacts Relatively poor integration of a qualitative perspective Reductionist Assumption of Cost-Benefit Analysis

11 Contents Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture –Women as Consumers –Women as Producers: Feminization of Agriculture A Human Rights Approach to Trade –Issues of Concern under CEDAW –The Approach of the CESCR –The Fundamental Principle of Non-Discrimination Indicators for measuring changes in gender equality through trade Conclusion

12 Human Rights, Gender and Trade A Human Rights approach to promoting equality between men and women in the context of trade can add force and precision: –Force: States have Human Rights obligations concurrent with their commitments in the area of international trade –Precision: Covenants and General Recommendations set out precisely the obligations of States to respect, protect and fulfil the respective human right

13 Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture: Issues of concern under CEDAW RIGHT TO WORK (Art. 11 CEDAW, as interpreted by Art. 14 (1) CEDAW and General Recommendations Nos. 13 (1989) and 16 (1991))  Has the government assessed the impacts of the right of rural women to remunerative work of its current trade-driven approach to development? Has it reminded ist trading partners of their obligation under human rights law to undertake such assessments? See 3D, Niger: Agricultural trade liberalization and women’s rights (August 2006), available at http://www.3dthree.org/pdf_3D/3DCEDAWNigerAg.pdf

14 Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture: Issues of concern under CEDAW RIGHT TO HEALTH (Art. 12 CEDAW, as interpreted by Art. 14 (1) CEDAW and General Recommendation No. 24 (1999))  Has the government taken measures to ensure that „special and differential treatment“ for developing countries gained in agricultural trade fora are matched at the national level with implementation of poverty alleviaton strategies that provide for rural women‘s physical and economic access to productive resources, in furtherance of their right to health?

15 Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture: Issues of concern under CEDAW RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE (Art. 7 (b) and 14 (2) (a) CEDAW)  Has the government facilitated public education and consultations, with women as well as men, on trade negotiations, agricultural trade liberalization, and their impacts on human rights?

16 Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture: Issues of concern under CEDAW RIGHT TO TEMPORARY SPECIAL MEASURES (Art. 4 CEDAW)  Has the government considered that a human- rights approach to agricultural trade could require „special and differential treatment“ for developing countries as a means of fulfilling Article 4‘s requirement of „temporary special measures“ to accelerate de fact equality for women?

17 Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture: The CESCR Approach 1.Please describe what measures your country has taken to ensure that your colleagues responsible for trade policy know about their obligations under the Covenant. 2.Describe the steps you have taken to assess the impacts, particularly on vulnerable groups, of the trade agreements you are currently negotiating. 3. Have you sought technical assistance from OHCHR relating to your capacity to participate in trade negotiations, or implement your trade commitments in a way that is consistent with human rights? See 3D, Accountability of Trade Policy‘s Effects on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Apr. 30, 2007), available at http://www.3dthree.org/pdf_3D/presentation_cescr2007.pdf

18 Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture and the principle of non-discrimination The principle has since ist inclusion in the Charter of the United Nations been restated in all major human rights instruments. => All WTO State Parties have at least ratified one human rights treaty Also applies to indirect discrimination: => When a neutral measure has a disparate and discriminatory effect on different groups of people and when that measure cannot be justified by reasonable and objective criteria

19 Contents Liberalization of Trade in Agriculture –Women as Consumers –Women as Producers: Feminization of Agriculture A Human Rights Approach to Trade –Issues of Concern under CEDAW –The Approach of the CESCR –The Fundamental Principle of Non-Discrimination Indicators for measuring changes in gender equality through trade Conclusion

20 The Beijing Platform for Action Actions to be taken by Governments: Seek to ensure that national policies related to international and regional trade agreements do not have an adverse impact on women‘s new and traditional economic activities (para. 165(k)) Use gender-impact analyses in the development of macro- and micro-economic and social policies in order to monitor such impact and restructure policies in cases where harmful impact occurs (para.165(p))

21 Elasticity Indicators Indicators should be –Simple –Comparable –Dynamic –Feasible Elasticity Indicators –Compare the percentage change in one variable, with the accompanying percentage change in another variable. See Irene van Staveren, Gender Indicators for Monitoring Trade Agreements (WIDE Briefing Paper, February 2007).

22 Trade Elasticities of Gender Equality Numerator: Measures changes in gender equality - Income / - Wages - Employment (export sectors / import-competing sectors, unemployment / under-employment rates, gendered job segregation) Denominator: Measures changes in trade - Total value of trade of a country / region - Total value of trade as a share of GDP - Bilateral or regional value of trade as a share of total trade of a country or region - Openness measured as tariff reduction of x percent)

23 Policy responses to trade and gender Direct policy measures: –I nclusion of gender expertise in trade delegations –Stimulation of foreign investment into particular sectors of the economy –Technical support in the enforcement of labour laws in export processing zones –Stricter social accountability requirements for subsidiaries of companies that have their headquarters in the trading partner‘s country Indirect policy measures: –Labour market policies –Fiscal policies –Polices in the area of human resource development

24 Conclusion and Suggestions More Gender-disaggregated data and data about time spent on unpaid work necessary Incorporating gender considerations in Trade Policy Review Mechanism Incorporating gender considerations for the designation of Special Products in WTO Agriculture Negotiations Technical Assistance to enhance production capacity for women producers: access to land, credit, agricultural inputs, extension and training, education, technology, rural organizations, services

25 Future Research Role of women in securing food, biodiversity, environmental services, cultural practices, coping with HIV/AIDS epidemic The role of patents in agriculture relative to traditional knowledge, agro biodiversity, communal ownership and gender Water use and consumption for agricultural production and rural development, and the link to gender


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