Aligning ARD and trade policies to improve sustainable development impact
This exploratory study (PDF) by ECDPM seeks to analyse the ongoing debate and cooperation between Agricultural and Rural Development (ARD) and trade, and aid for trade departments. Development partners are making efforts to strengthen coherence between their Trade and ARD policies and interventions. This is key to enhance synergies for sustainable development. It requires enhanced dialogue and cooperation between trade and ARD communities. The ARD and Trade community tend to agree on general objectives like food security and employment creation, but disagree on the ways to achieve them. This disagreement produces an ongoing debate: which trade is good for development and which is not? Under which conditions can investment have a positive impact? Even if some convergence is taking place, ARD for long focused mostly on the production and productivity side, while the trade community prioritized (external) markets and took the production side for granted. Suggestions are given for a more effective dialogue and cooperation. A practical approach is promoted, zooming in on the ARD and Trade nexus at the national, the inter-country and regional level. It helps putting into context different views and arguments, bringing together relevant actors. Once an overall objective is agreed, disputes over the different effects and expected outcomes of certain measures, regulations and agreements can be settled on the basis of concrete evidence. Only by moving away from a confrontational model, towards a true, pragmatic and concrete partnership between ARD and Trade communities, reaching the Sustainable Development Goals will be more effective.