Even as non-First World countries continue to get screwed over on sustainable, greener development, the WTO makes groundbreaking progress on ensuring food security for billions of people living in poverty in developing countries across the globe. This breakthrough follows four days of negotiations in Bali, which almost came to a standstill on the point of subsidies for small farmers in developing countries (from whom governments procure grains at minimum support prices to ration out to the poor).
While the US pushed for countries pursuing these policies to accept a peace clause (Four years of immunity from penalties for breaching the 10% cap on subsidies which the WTO imposes, for which US support is strong yet
arguably hypocritical), India refused to budge, supported by developing countries including Brazil and South Africa that are committed to goals of food security and support for poor farmers. The peace clause is now accepted as an interim measure, pending a permanent solution to be decided on next week.
Which is going to be difficult - the solution must appeal to all the members of the WTO and all must agree to deliver upon it. For now, this is great encouragement for those of us sitting on our side of the world, looking forward to the day when our rights as humans and citizens of a democracy aren’t trampled over by rich western heavy-weights.
(In the links: articles going into greater detail of the negotiations and stand of Indian diplomats in Bali, an account of US subsidy policies not conforming to WTO obligations.)