Work programme on food security for LDCs and NFIDCs

The Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity adopted at the 12th Ministerial Conference mandates the establishment of a work programme to help least-developed countries (LDCs) and net food-importing developing countries (NFIDCs) increase their resilience to food insecurity. Established under the auspices of the Committee on Agriculture, the programme will look into making the Marrakesh Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on LDCs and NIFDCs more effective and operational by helping these countries make the best possible use of flexibilities in WTO agreements to bolster domestic production.


Establishment of Work Programme

Following intensive discussions, the work programme was established in November 2022, with the aim of achieving concrete solutions no later than end-November 2023. Under the work plan, members have agreed to begin technical discussions on a range of topics in a Working Group open to all members.

Mr Marcel Vernooij from the Netherlands was appointed as coordinator to facilitate discussions under the initiative in his personal capacity.

Thematic discussions in the Working Group

At the first meeting of the Working Group on 7 December 2022, members finalized a questionnaire to assess food security needs and challenges of LDCs and NFIDCs and their use of flexibilities in WTO agreements and decisions.  Members' responses are being reviewed at working group meetings. Members have agreed to use topical questionnaires  to inform discussions on various topics under the work programme.

The work programme, under its agreed thematic areas, focuses on trade finance and finance for agricultural production, production inputs, and infrastructure to bolster agricultural resilience. In light of this, the WTO Secretariat organized a workshop on financing on 28 February 2023.

The workshop entailed the participation of relevant international organizations and agencies, and regional and corporate financial institutions. It also heard from some members on their experiences and challenges in the sphere of agriculture financing.

At the second meeting of the working group on 1 March 2023, members reflected on the substantive information gained from the financing workshop and reviewed the initial outcomes of a questionnaire on needs assessment.

Another workshop on productivity and production reliance was organized on 12 April 2023 focussing on policy parameters and associated challenges, especially in LDCs and NFIDCs. It examined how production and productivity may be enhanced and resilience increased against adverse events, climatic aberrations, and food instability in an emergency.

The workshop included participation of relevant international organizations, producers/producer groups as well as members, with sharing of experiences and challenges in augmenting agricultural productivity and resilience.

At the third meeting of the working group on 17 April 2023, members discussed the key takeaways from the productivity workshop and stressed the need to enhance agricultural production and productivity in LDCs and NFIDCs to improve their resilience to the acute food security crisis. Members continued their discussion on financing challenges and reviewed the most recent results from the needs assessment questionnaire.


All documents related to the work programme are available here.



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