This paper is the sixth in a series that provides background to and a critical commentary on often complex international negotiations about the future of food aid. The previous five papers followed the WTO Doha Development Round (DDR) agricultural negotiations from 2005 up to the breakdown of the overall DDR in 2008. Here attention turns to what, if anything, will replace the 1999 Food Aid Convention (FAC). Negotiations were halted to avoid the outcome of the DDR and recommenced through ‘informal discussions’ in December 2009. The intention here is to encourage and inform a wider, open discussion on the future of the FAC.
The paper therefore sets out the issues at stake that are otherwise the subject of informal discussions because of perceived political sensitivities. The signatories have decided to continue the process of informal discussions up to December 2010 and extend the current FAC to June 2011 so as not to prejudice the outcome of these discussions (IGC, 2010), and so some stakeholders are reluctant to make public statements. Nevertheless, it is possible to indicate the range of views on these questions from off-the-record conversations and more recent public statements on food aid and food assistance.