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Shadow Negotiators: How UN Organizations Shape the Rules of World Trade for Food Security

The logo for Centre for Food Policy at City University of London
Event date
Event time
3.45 - 5.00pm BST

Organiser's description (via City Centre for Food Policy):

Dr. Matias E. Margulis, University of British Columbia 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has become a central flashpoint for global political battles over the governance of agriculture and food security. The controversy surrounding agricultural trade stems in part from the fact that food is not just a widget or commodity like any other: agriculture plays a critical role in food security and economic development and is essential for human survival. In this presentation, Dr. Matias E. Margulis will offer insights from his recent book, Shadow Negotiators. He demonstrates that United Nations (UN) organizations have engaged in political actions to alter the trajectory and results of WTO agriculture negotiations. The book shows that UN organizations chose to intervene not out of competition with the WTO or ideological resistance to trade, but out of concerns that specific trade rules could have negative consequences for world food security—an outcome these organizations viewed as undermining their social purpose to reduce world hunger and protect the human right to food. 

The talk will be followed by an online Q&A session.

Matias E. Margulis is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. His research and teaching interests are in global governance, development, human rights, international law and food policy. He has previously held academic positions at the University of Edinburgh, University of Stirling, University of Northern British Columbia and Max Plank Institute for the Study of Societies.

In addition to his academic research, Matias has extensive professional experience in the field of international policymaking and is a former Canadian representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He has also advised the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and the Scottish Parliament and consulted for international NGOs and the Brookings Institution.