The Aspen Institute Germany promotes values-based leadership, constructive dialog among conflicting parties, and Euro-Atlantic cooperation to support and enhance a strong open society.
To do so, Aspen Germany convenes decision-makers and experts from the fields of politics, business, academia, media, culture, and civil society in three programs:
Policy Programs offer a non-partisan, confidential platform for dialog and analysis to address regional and global challenges and to develop mutually acceptable solutions. This branch is comprised of the Berlin Transatlantic Forum, the Digital Program, as well as the Europe Program.
Leadership Programs reflect on values and ideas using the Socratic method to deepen knowledge, broaden perspectives, and enhance participants’ ability to solve the problems they face.
Public Programs provide a forum for open and constructive dialog between decision-makers and a broader audience on a wide range of current issues.
The Aspen Institute Germany was founded in Berlin in 1974 and has since then actively promoted the idea of transatlantic community and of a free and open society. It serves as a non-partisan, non-profit convening platform and is part of the global Aspen network, with partners in the United States, the Czech Republic, France, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Romania, Spain and Ukraine. Together, the Institutes are committed to addressing the challenges of the 21st century.
Sustainable and Resilient Agricultural Value Chains: Addressing Multiple Vulnerabilities With a New Partnership Approach
The ongoing compound and acute crises of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine meet longer-term but no-less pressing crises of social and environmental sustainability in and around agriculture, food and nutrition security. At the same time, they irritate existing frames on (and perceptions of) how to address trade and sustainability. External shocks must be increasingly considered when addressing food security, following the FAO’s observation that conflicts and migration have developed into major reasons for food insecurity and hunger.
Additionally, climate change, biodiversity loss and human rights are generally most challenging and partially conflicting for many developing countries. They have to address them by aiming at increased and more nutritious food production, job creation, poverty alleviation and resilience to shocks of a still strongly growing and urbanising population.
Many international mechanisms are already in place on agriculture and food systems which are almost unavoidably not (yet) sufficiently coordinated. A new generation of due diligence laws recently is added mostly by industrialised countries to that existing mix of policies in place addressing serious sustainability gaps of supply chains into these countries. However, these regulations also bear the risk of generating unintended negative consequences, particularly for smallholder farmers in poor countries.
Against this background, we conclude for proposals at different degree of specificity:
- Reacting to geopolitical risks: Immediate and long-term measures to safeguard food security in light of Russia’s War on Ukraine,
- Balancing and integrating food security and sustainability,
- Initiating a joint observatory on new due diligence measures, and
- Starting a process to improve harmonised global governance for agriculture and food systems.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is in its deepest crisis since its creation. This relates to each of its three pillars: 1. trade liberalization and rules-setting, 2. trade policy monitoring, and 3. dispute settlement. Germany’s G7 Presidency will require a careful balancing between addressing long-standing issues such as aligning the WTO with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and reforming the dispute settlement process on one hand side and focusing on the immediate challenges presented by the geopolitical crisis as well as recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. This requires, more than ever, multilateral collaboration and innovative and interdisciplinary solutions. The G7 countries, in close cooperation with their partners, have a unique opportunity to articulate a new vision for trade and the multilateral trading system. The G7 can lead by example while also incentivizing and supporting other nations to raise the level of ambition in aligning trade policies with current world challenges. As such, the goal should not be to try to re-establish the status quo but rather to adapt the world trading systems and its rules to the realities and necessities of the 21st century and the new geopolitical context. What is needed is a WTO 2.0 that responds to the world’s peace, health and environmental challenges and proactively contributes to solving them.