Negotiations are becoming an increasingly important part of the international system, with the increase particularly marked for developing countries.
Multilateral trade negotiations have existed since the foundation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, but these negotiations have become more complex and important for developing countries. These negotiations are increasingly presented as being of benefit to developing countries. The climate change negotiations undertaken within theUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) use concepts like “equity” and ask that developed country parties should take the lead in combating climate change. The current Round of world trade negotiations was christened the “Development Agenda” and there is strong pressure on developing countries to use trade activities in development and poverty reduction.
Are these negotiations actually important for poverty and development? Can developing countries participate effectively in these negotiations, and can they obtain benefits from such participation? What lessons can be learnt from past negotiations about whether developing country participation is effective and how it might be made more effective? Can international institutions or donors help? Finally, what are the implications for more extensive and increasingly effective developing country participation in such negotiations for the way these negotiations are conducted?
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 35.1 (2004) Developing Countries in International Negotiations: How they Influence Trade and Climate Change Negotiations