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The EU's responsiblity at the WTO: environment, gender and development

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Is the European Union's (EU) trade policy gender sensitive? This report analyses the EU's position at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong in December 2005 and in ongoing negotiations and argues that the EU's trade policy is inconsistent with social justice, gender justice and environmental sustainability. The publication consists of two parts. The first part reports on the public hearing entitled 'The EU's responsibility at the WTO: environment, gender and development'. It highlights issues such as the commodification of natural resources under the WTO, the importance of people's food sovereignty, the gender dimension of the trade agenda, and biosafety. It also addresses the WTO negotiations in the area of agriculture, non-agricultural market access, services, and trade and environment, taking into account the outcome of Beijing + 10, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals. The second part consists of an analysis of the outcome of the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting from a feminist and environmentalist perspective. The report concludes that the WTO needs to clarify its relationship to the multilateral environmental agreements, and its procedures need to be more inclusive, democratic and transparent. It adds that the EU needs to look more closely at the impact of the negotiations on poverty, gender equality, the environment, and sustainable natural resource management, and to rethink its negotiating position from the standpoint of cooperation, democracy, and equity.

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