In 2001, the fourth WTO Ministerial Conference launched the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) as a new policy framework on trade and development. Since then, numerous initiatives have been developed within the multilateral and regional trading systems aiming a t fostering this agenda. Notably, EU's efforts have focused on supporting capacity building to help stakeholders to participate effectively in multilateral negotiations. However, amidst these efforts few has been done to tackle the democratic and gender de fictis that at the local level are preventing an effective access of Southern counterparts in the world economy.
This study contributes in this respect because:
1. It brings together the literature on the North-South politics of global trade to democracy and gender concerns. Trade liberalization does not automatically lead to sustainable development and it often has detrimental effects on the most vulnerable social groups.
This study contributes to draw connections between:
(a) the challenges that policies of global trade have posed to emergent democracies; and
(b) prevailing gender hierarchies in the South.
2. The study provides an empirical study on the steps that local civil society actors have followed to revert democratic and gender deficits in the politics of global trade. It asks how precisely, these proposals can be addressed in two relevant examples of North-South interactions: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Economic Partnership, Political Co-ordination and Co-operation Agreement between the EU and Mexico (EU-MEX Agreement).
3. Finally, the study provides an informed assessment on the democratic and gender impacts of free trade agreements between Northern and Southern counterparts and of local civic activism's engagement in this debate. It is expected that this study will inform both policy at multilateral and regional arenas and civil society strategies at the local level.
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