Trade, development, and the legal practitioner.

Author:Genta-Fons, Teresa
Position:How to Make the Doha Round a Genuine "Development" Round - Proceedings of the One Hundredth Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law: A Just World Under Law


The objectives of this presentation are: first, to identify three important lessons that emerge as serious challenges to the successful achievement of development: second, to discuss how law, justice, and legal institutions are essential tools for promoting and achieving equitable development, an emerging doctrine, as proposed by the World Bank's 2006 World Development Report (WDR 2006); (1) and third, to discuss the role of the legal practitioner within "the equitable development paradigm."

Development is an elusive, challenging and frustrating process--I will share my own experience as a development lawyer, review the concept of equitable development, and discuss the role of the legal practitioner within this emerging concept.

Three somber lessons emerge as a general concern among development economists and lawyers:

  1. There is no blueprint or model of universal value that could be easily transferred from one country/region undergoing a successful development process to another country/region, although they may share geography, culture or legal tradition. The development strategy must be custom and country-fit and designed taking into account the local context.

  2. There is a global consensus on the goals of development. Since 2000, the international community seems to agree--as stated in the Millennium Development Agenda, summits, and declarations on such goals, particularly on the achievement of poverty reduction and the fulfillment of the MDGs.

  3. These goals are becoming more elusive and hard to achieve over time. Several approaches have been tried, economic models were applied throughout the developing world with diverse, and on occasion, discouraging results.


A strategy to bring a country/region out of poverty while achieving economic growth may make perfect sense from a theoretical, economic, financial and even, political perspective. Even a well-developed and sound poverty reduction strategy, which could be successfully implemented for some time, can be seriously derailed or even fail, due to a complex set of events and circumstances. There are challenges to consider, such as first, the complex combination of factors interacting with each other in highly dynamic and changing settings, at the country, regional, and even global levels. There could be a financial crisis contagion, a serious migration problem or, perhaps, global public health risks affecting a country's efforts to...

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