Jonathan Hepburn

Senior Programme Manager, Agriculture

Jonathan HEPBURN is the Senior Programme Manager, Agriculture at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva. He joined ICTSD in 2006, where he is responsible for the organisation's work on how farm trade policy and rules affect food security, equity and the environment. He has previously worked on development financing as Oxfam International’s representative to the World Bank and IMF in Washington, D.C.; and on trade, development and human rights issues with the Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva. He has written on a range of public policy and trade issues, including on development financing, intellectual property rules, climate change, and food, agriculture and biodiversity.

Books edited:

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2: Which Policies for Trade and Markets?

Eds. Hepburn, J., and Bellmann, C, (2018). ICTSD, Geneva.


Evaluating Nairobi: What Does the Outcome Mean for Trade in Food and Farm Goods”.

Eds. Hepburn, J., and Bellmann, C. (2016). ICTSD, Geneva.


Tackling Agriculture in the Post-Bali Context: A Collection of Short Essays”.

Eds. Meléndez-Ortiz, R., Bellmann, C., and Hepburn, J. (2014). ICTSD, Geneva.


Agricultural Subsidies in the WTO Green Box:Ensuring Coherence with Sustainable Development Goals”.

Meléndez-Ortiz, R., Bellmann, C., and Hepburn, J. (2009). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.


Chapters in books and academic journals


“How Can the G20 Support Trade’s Contribution to a Sustainable Food Future?”

In “How the G20 Can Help Sustainably Reshape the Global Trade System: A Compilation of Analysis”. ICTSD, 2018


“The decline of commodity prices and global agricultural trade negotiations: a game changer?”. 

By Bellmann, C, and Hepburn, J. In "International Development Policy", Palgrave MacMillan, 2017.


“Options for WTO Negotiations on Agricultural Domestic Support”. By Bellmann, C and Hepburn, J (2017).

InAgricultural Trade Interests and Challenges at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires”, eds. Piñeiro and Piñeiro.


Export Competition Issues After Nairobi”. By Diaz-Bonilla, E., and Hepburn, J, (2016).

In Evaluating Nairobi: What Does the Outcome Mean for Trade in Food and Farm Goods”. ICTSD, Geneva.


The Future of Green Box Measures”. By Hepburn, J, and Bellmann, C, (2014).

In “Tackling Agriculture in the Post-Bali Context: A Collection of Short Essays”. ICTSD, Geneva.


“Food security and the multilateral trading system”. Hepburn, J, (2012).

In “The Future and the WTO: Confronting the Challenges”. ICTSD, Geneva.


"The Challenges Facing the Multilateral Trading System in Addressing Global Public Policy Objectives".

With Bellmann, C, and Wilke, M. In "International Development Policy", Palgrave MacMillan, 2012. (Also published in French).


Advancing sustainable development in global trade and multilateral negotiations”.

With Bellmann, C, and Abdel Latif, A. In “International Development Policy”. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. (Also published in French).


Doha Round negotiations on the green box, and beyond”. Hepburn, J, and Bellmann, C, (2009).

In Agricultural Subsidies in the WTO Green Box, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.


“Climate Change and Trade: Key Challenges and Options for Agriculture in Small Developing Countries”.

With Gueye, M.K, Sugathan, M. and Chamay, M. (2009). In Climate and Trade Policies in a Post-2012 World. UNEP, Geneva.


Other research and analysis:

Achieving Progress in Multilateral Trade Negotiations on Agriculture"

ICTSD policy brief (2018). ICTSD, Geneva. (Also published in French, Spanish and Chinese


""How Can the Argentinian G20 Presidency Support Trade's Contribution to a Sustainable Trade Future?"

ICTSD policy brief. (2018). ICTSD, Geneva.


"What Could WTO Talks on Agricultural Domestic Support Mean for Least Developed Countries?" 

With Bellmann, C, (2017). ICTSD, Geneva.


Negotiating Global Rules on Agricultural Domestic Support 

With Bellmann, C, (2017). ICTSD, Geneva.


Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes : Options for a Permanent Solution

With Bellmann, C, Eckei, J, and Ibañez, A. (2016). ICTSD, Geneva.


"Trade, Food Security and the 2030 Agenda".

With Díaz-Bonilla, E (2016). ICTSD, Geneva.


"G-33 Proposal: Early Agreement on Elements of the Draft Doha Accord to Address Food Security".

With Bellmann, C, Morrison, J and Krivonos, E, (2013). ICTSD/FAO information note, September 2013. ICTSD, Geneva.


"Tackling Perverse Subsidies in Agriculture, Fisheries and Energy".

With Bellmann, C, Sugathan, M, and Monkelbaan, J, (2012). ICTSD information note, June 2012. ICTSD, Geneva.


Climate change and trade on the road to Copenhagen”.

With Gueye, M.K, Sell, M, Sugathan, M, Oliva, M. J, Biswas, T, and Chamay, M, (2008). ICTSD, Geneva.


International trade rules, agricultural production and trade patterns”.

In “Trade and Sustainable Land Management in Drylands”. ICTSD, Geneva.


“Promoting sustainable land management through trade”. 

With Chamay, Kamal, Sugathan, Canigiani, (2007). ICTSD / Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.


Beyond HIPC: debt cancellation and the Millennium Development Goals”. 

Briefing paper, 2005. Oxfam International. Oxford, UK.


Patents, trade and health; Patents, trade and food; and Patents, trade and development”. (with G. Tansey).

Series of briefing papers (2004). Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva.


Negotiating intellectual property:Mandates and options in the Doha Work Programme”.

QUNO Occasional Paper, 2002. Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva.


What did developing countries get in Doha?

With Grace, B, (2001).Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva.


Shorter analytical articles:

“Overcoming malnutrition: Why policies on trade matter”

In Bridges Africa, Vol. 5, No. 8, 18 Oct 2016. (Also published by ICTSD in French and Spanish).


Evaluating agriculture in the Nairobi package”. 

In Bridges Africa, Vol. 5, No. 2, 10 Mar 2016. (Also published by ICTSD in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian).


How can LDCs best advance food security and rural development at Nairobi and beyond?”. 

In Bridges Africa, Vol. 4, No. 9. 11 November 2015. (Also published by ICTSD in French).


“Can the EU's CAP help markets function better, and also improve food security?

Blog post for the E-15 initiative, August 2015.


Negotiations on agriculture: the challenge of updating global trade rules”.

With Bellmann, C. Bridges Africa, Vol. 4, No.4. May 2015. (Also published by ICTSD in French).


“WTO Rules: How Could the G-33 Proposal Affect Food Security?”

With Bellmann, C. In GREAT Insights, Vol. 2 Issue 8, Nov 2013. (Also published by ICTSD in French).


“Farm policy reforms: what might they mean for the WTO?”.

Post on blog “ICTSD on the go”, 30 Sept 2013.


“Farm trade at Rio+20: Towards “the future we want”?”. 

In Bridges Trade BioRes Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2012.


Biodiversity: why do farm trade policies matter?”

In Bridges Trade BioRes Review, Vol. 4, No. 3, Oct 2010.


What trade policy framework to address food insecurity?”.

With Bartel, C, (2008). ATDF Journal Vol. 5, Issue 1 / 2, October 2008. African Technology Development Forum, Geneva.


Sensitive and special products. Trade liberalisation: opt-outs for farm products?

In 'Trade Negotiations Insights', Vol. 6, No. 6, October 2007. ICTSD, Geneva, and ECDPM, Maastricht.


WTO Farm Subsidy Talks”.

With Bellmann, C. In IPS-GSI subsidy e-newsletter, 24 Aug 2007.


Green box subsidies: promoting sustainable development?”.

In 'Bridges Monthly', Vol.. 11, No. 4, June-July 2007.


Sustainable land management and trade: are they compatible?

In Bridges Trade BioRes, Vol. 7, No. 3, 16 Feb 2007.


“Special products in agriculture: some empirical evidence”.

With Bellmann, C. and Bartel, C. In Bridges Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 3, May 2006.







1 October 2015
Alors que les dirigeants mondiaux ont adopté la semaine passée un nouveau programme ambitieux sur le développement durable, ils ont l’opportunité de démontrer le sérieux de leur promesse d’éliminer la faim en rendant le commerce mondial plus équitable pour les générations actuelles et futures. En...
25 September 2015
As world leaders approve a bold new agenda on sustainable development, they could show they’re serious about a promise to end hunger by making global food and farm trade fairer for current and future generations. Governments are due to agree a landmark 2030 target for ending hunger and malnutrition...
27 August 2015
Earlier this summer I attended an event on the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) at the Milan Expo – a major international exhibition on the theme of ‘feeding the planet, energy for life’. The European Commission’s DG-AGRI, which organised the event, had asked me to offer some thoughts on the...
30 September 2013
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Agricultural markets and farm policies have changed significantly since the WTO's Doha Round was launched at the turn of the century. Last week ICTSD and the FAO held a joint event to look at how these changes could affect trade, food security and environmental sustainability...

Bridges news

15 November 2017
L’agriculture devrait une fois de plus être au cœur des pourparlers de la Onzième conférence ministérielle de l’OMC. Les subventions ayant des effets de distorsion des échanges, qui affectent notamment des exportations clés pour les PMA telles que le coton, sont à l’ordre du jour, en parallèle d’...
8 November 2017
Agriculture is again set to be a central negotiating issue in talks at the WTO’s Eleventh Ministerial Conference. Trade-distorting subsidies, including for key LDC exports such as cotton, are on the negotiating table, along with other topics. What can LDCs expect? New estimates from the UN Food and...
20 September 2017
В статье анализируются различные варианты для ведения переговоров по вопросам внутренней поддержки сельского хозяйства, основой для которых послужили идеи, выдвинутые в рамках ВТО. В статье рассматривается влияние различных подходов на реальные уровни поддержки стран, а также на максимально...
28 July 2017
Este artículo explora varias ideas sobre ayuda interna agrícola presentadas recientemente por los gobiernos, con el fin de auxiliar a los negociadores y otros actores a comprender mejor su influencia sobre niveles aplicados de ayuda interna, así como los límites máximos permitidos bajo las normas de la OMC.
26 October 2016
Les Objectifs de développement durable (ODD) incluent des engagements à éradiquer la faim et la malnutrition d’ici 2030. Comment les politiques relatives au commerce et aux marchés peuvent-elles aider à réaliser ces objectifs ? Le Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030, adopté l’an...
18 October 2016
At the UN General Assembly last month, world leaders reiterated their commitment to the 2030 Agenda – including commitments in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on ending hunger and malnutrition. How can policies on trade and markets now help to achieve these objectives? The 2030 Agenda for...
18 October 2016
La Agenda de Desarrollo Sostenible 2030 , aprobada el año pasado en Nueva York, establece un compromiso innovador para todos los países: eliminar el hambre y “todas las formas de malnutrición” para el año 2030. El presente artículo examina cómo las políticas que afectan el comercio y los mercados...
30 March 2016
Cet article analyse les principaux résultats de la conférence ministérielle de Nairobi dans le domaine de l’agriculture, ainsi que leurs implications pour les pays en développement et les pays les moins avancés (PMA). À Genève, les négociateurs commerciaux essaient toujours de comprendre comment...
25 March 2016
В статье анализируются основные элементы пакета решений по сельскому хозяйству, принятых на Министерской конференции ВТО в Найроби, а также рассматривается влияние новых обязательств на развивающиеся и наименее развитые страны. Участники торговых переговоров в Женеве все еще пытаются разобраться,...
10 March 2016
This article analyses the main elements of the agriculture package from the Nairobi WTO Ministerial Conference and the related implications for developing and least developed countries. Trade negotiators in Geneva are still trying to make sense of how farm markets will be affected by the package of...
2 March 2016
A última Conferência Ministerial da OMC resultou em uma série de acordos que podem ter efeitos sobre os países da América Latina. Neste artigo, o autor analisa os principais componentes do pacote agrícola adotado em Nairobi e discute algumas de suas implicações.
24 February 2016
Los negociadores comerciales en Ginebra siguen buscando descifrar la forma en que los mercados agrícolas se verán afectados por las medidas incluidas en el paquete convenido el pasado diciembre, en la Décima Conferencia Ministerial de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC), celebrada en Nairobi...
24 November 2015
On estime que dans les PMA, près d’une personne sur quatre souffre de sous-alimentation, soit près de 250 millions de personnes au total. Comment ces pays peuvent-ils s’assurer que les règles commerciales les aident à améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et le développement rural, que ce soit dans le...
11 November 2015
In least developed countries (LDCs), around one in four people are estimated to be undernourished — some 250 million people in total. LDC governments have a number of options to try and ensure that trade rules help improve food security and rural development, both on the road to Nairobi and beyond...
29 May 2015
Les échanges agricoles internationaux ont beaucoup évolué depuis le gel des négociations en 2008 et encore plus depuis le lancement du cycle de Doha en 2001. Alors que les membres de l’OMC commencent à élaborer les contours d’un programme de travail pour l’après-Bali, il est essentiel de bien...
6 May 2015
Given the features of the new global context what could elements of a post-Bali work programme on agriculture be? The global agricultural trade landscape has evolved significantly since negotiations froze in 2008 – and even more so since Doha was launched in 2001. As WTO Members start crafting the...
25 November 2013
En novembre 2012, un groupe de pays en voie de développement a soumis un projet de proposition à l'Organisation Mondiale du Commerce (OMC), suggérant une plus grande flexibilité en matière de règles commerciales agricoles. Le groupe, appelé G-33, est une coalition de pays en voie de développement...
30 September 2013
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Agricultural markets and farm policies have changed significantly since the WTO's Doha Round was launched at the turn of the century. Last week ICTSD and the FAO held a joint event to look at how these changes could affect trade, food security and environmental sustainability...
18 June 2012
"Climate change is already happening," an African farmer told me at a recent global agriculture meeting. "In Ghana, the timing of the rainy season is becoming more and more unpredictable." Another cautioned that poverty and hunger were likely to remain problems in his country as long as farmers...
26 October 2010
Os negociadores reunidos atualmente em Nagoia (Japão) para a 10ª Conferência das Partes (COP, sigla em inglês) da Convenção sobre Diversidade Biológica (CDB) estão longe de atingir sua meta de conter o processo de perda de biodiversidade até o final de 2010. Além das negociações da COP 10,...
14 October 2010
As negotiators head to Nagoya for another high-level meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, they will be well behind on their target to halt biodiversity loss by 2010. However, beyond the discussions this week at the CBD, policies and rules on farm trade will also have a major impact on...
16 February 2007
COMMENTARY: SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT AND TRADE: ARE THEY COMPATIBLE? Land degradation - especially in dryland regions - is one of the most significant environmental challenges facing the world today. Whether trade helps or hinders the struggle against this process is a controversial question...
7 May 2006
Desde o fim do prazo de 30 de abril de 2006 para um acordo sobre as modalidades, as negociações sobre produtos especiais foram intensificadas. Quatro propostas com diferentes detalhamentos são discutidas atualmente com graus variados de apoio dos grupos de países. O G-33 – um grupo que reúne mais...