Global Development And Environment Institute
at Tufts University

Globalization & Sustainable Development Program

May 2014 Newsletter

GDAE joins forces with UNCTAD on International Trade Agreements

 

GDAE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNCTAD, the United Nations body specialized in international trade and finance, establishing a research collaboration aimed at overhauling assessments of international trade and investment agreements. Economists in GDAE’s Globalization program and UNCTAD’s Globalization division will work with an international team of experts on developing policy options for sustainable growth of income and employment in the global economy. Results will inform GDAE’s and UNCTAD’s leading reports and joint workshops in an effort to reach out to all stakeholders in the policymaking process.
 
Jeronim Capaldo was in Geneva, Switzerland, April 15-May 2, for the first phase of the project, during which the team prepared the extensive global database that will feed into subsequent analyses.

In Geneva, Capaldo also met with officials of the South Centre and the International Labour Organization to discuss assessment of trade reforms’ social impacts. He will travel to Geneva again, June 2-6, to present his analysis of Trade Facilitation at the South Centre. The analysis builds on Capaldo’s “The Uncertain Gains from Trade Facilitation” and calls attention to overlooked costs and overly celebrated gains as the implementation of Bali’s 2013 agreement draws near.

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Has Monsanto met its match in Mexico?

 

Timothy A. Wise was in Mexico earlier this month as part of his project on "A Rights Based Approach to the Global Food Crisis." He was researching the ongoing controversy over the Mexican government's efforts to win approval for the commercial planting of genetically modified corn, an issue of particular concern to Mexico as it is the center of origin for the crop and home to its greatest diversity of varieties. In the first of a series of articles on the subject, this week he published “Monsanto Meets its Match in the Birthplace of Maize” in Triple Crisis, based on interviews with key government officials and with representatives from Monsanto Mexico. In October 2013, a judge suspended all planting of GM corn until its environmental impact on biodiversity can be fully assessed. (Look for a follow-up piece from Wise on Al Jazeera next week.)
 
Wise’s project next takes him to Tanzania, where he will be looking at how global biofuel demand has led to controversial foreign land deals. He will be visiting several sites and interviewing government officials, company representatives, farmers, and representatives of civil society organizations. Tanzania has been a particular target for biofuel investors. (See excellent research by the Oakland Institute.) On the way to Tanzania, Wise will be part of an expert working group on agriculture and trade hosted by the Quaker United Nations Office.

Deaton & Galbraith received 2014 Leontief Prize

 

On April 4, GDAE awarded the 2014 Leontief Prize to Angus Deaton and James K. Galbraith for their innovative theoretical work, rigorous academic research, and real-world applications of their findings to the challenges of health and income inequality. Watch Dr. Angus Deaton’s lecture, which summarizes his recent book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality. Dr. James K. Galbraith centered his presentation on the macroeconomics of inequality on the world scale (watch here). Additionally, you can watch GDAE Researchers interview Deaton and Galbraith on global health and income inequality, foreign aid, development statistics, the financial sector, and the Affordable Care Act.

Program Updates:

 

In April, Boston University’s Kevin Gallagher and Amos Irwin updated the interactive China-Latin America Finance Database, for which GDAE provided the foundational research. The update indicates that Chinese finance to Latin American countries reached $20.1 billion in 2013, a more than threefold increase over 2012, but less than the all-time high of $37 billion in 2010. An April 12 article in The Economist draws data from the database to discuss the fact that Chinese banks operate in different sectors than many other multilateral institutions, with 85% of their investments going to infrastructure, energy, and mining since 2005. Senior Researcher Jeronim Capaldo will continue GDAE’s research on South-South Investment with a paper, “Scenarios of Chinese economic slowdown: international effects,” for the Working Group on Chinese Investment in Latin America in August.
 
GDAE Research Fellow Shaun Paul’s research on impact investing has informed the establishment of an innovative impact investment fund, Reinventure Capital. He will represent the fund at the Impact & Sustainable Certified Trade Mission to Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki in May. Following the trade mission, Shaun will present at the Sustainable Futures Conference in Lapland, Sweden on fostering sustainable local and rural development, social enterprise, and impact investing.

GDAE Senior Research Fellow Frank Ackerman published “(Mis)understanding Climate Policy” on the UK's climate policy with the World Wildlife Fund UK on April 30, 2014. WWF quoted Ackerman in their blog post “Why the Treasury’s modelling on climate change policy is misleading.” Ackerman's blog post on the topic appears in the Financial Times. David Powell, at Friends of the Earth, who commissioned the report, also has an entertaining blog post on the topic.

In the News:


Timothy A. Wise was quoted in Alan Guebert’s May 11th syndicated piece “Feeding the world is more than production,” which covers Wise's report “Can We Feed the World in 2050? A Scoping Paper to Assess the Evidence.” He was also quoted as saying “Mexico essentially sold out its corn supply when it signed NAFTA” in “You're Eating Fake Tortillas, and Diana Kennedy Is Pissed About It” on Munchies, VICE magazine’s food website. This Friday, May 16, the radio show The Attitude will cover Wise's recent article on Monsanto.

Two recent articles, in International Business Times and Excelsior, quote and reference statistics from “The New Banks in Town: Chinese Finance in Latin America,” a 2012 report funded by GDAE.

Recent Publications:

Coming Soon:

  • “High Risks, Few Rewards for Mexico with Monsanto’s Maize,” Timothy A. Wise, Al Jazeera
  • “Understanding the links between food, fuel, and financial markets,” Timothy A. Wise, RIS Report
  • “All you need to believe if you want to believe in trade facilitation,” Jeronim Capaldo, GDAE Working Paper
  • “Trade Rules and Land Grabs,” Jeronim Capaldo and Rachel Denae Thrasher GDAE Report
  • “Scenarios of Chinese economic slowdown: international effects,” Jeronim Capaldo, Working Group Paper
  • “Indian Foreign Investment in Latin America,” GDAE Staff paper
The Globalization and Sustainable Development Program examines the economic, social and environmental impacts of economic integration in developing countries. The goal of the program is to identify policies and international agreements that promote sustainable development.
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