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Assessing the Poverty Impact of the Doha Development Agenda

Time (GMT +00) 00:00 23:59


Tim Conway - ODI

Sheila Page - ODI

Zuleika Arashiro - ODI

Veena Jha, James Nedumpara and Sarika Gupta - UNCTAD India

Nguyen Thang - Centre for Rural Progress (CRP), Hanoi

Sajeev K.S. Nair - CUTSARC


In May 2003, DFID asked ODI to analyse the potential poverty impacts of the Doha Development Agenda. The purpose was to improve understanding of what aspects of the outcome might be particularly favourable or unfavourable for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This was intended both to help the UK and developing countries to make poverty-focussed decisions on the proposals in the Trade Round and to identify possible needs for complementary or offsetting policies once decisions had been taken.

ODI researchers, working with researchers in four developing countries, analysed the proposals on the table and prepared preliminary reports before the Cancun Ministerial meeting in September 2003. The collapse of that meeting and the continuing failure to reach agreement on how to put the negotiations back on track have made this type of analysis less urgently needed. However, while multilateral negotiations may now be more limited and more prolonged, and some may be replaced by negotiations in regional or bilateral fora, the question raised – that is, what types of trade initiative are most beneficial for reducing poverty – remains important. We have therefore prepared reports covering the likely trade agenda and the probable effects on poverty and development. As well as looking at this in general terms, we have attempted to use case studies of four countries (Brazil, India, Vietnam, Zambia) with different average incomes, economic structures and trade patterns in order to illustrate the range of ways in which possible negotiating outcomes could affect poverty in particular cases.

At a workshop on 19th February at ODI, the authors of the report led a discussion of the issues, and the implications for both future negotiations and future development programmes, with contributions from the case study authors.