Press release

Book Launch, June 8, 2007, Ottawa

May 21, 2007

Trade, Aid and Security: An Agenda for Peace and Development

  • When: Friday, June 8, 2007, 10:00 am to 11:30am

  • Where: International Development Research Centre (IDRC), 14th floor, 250 Albert St. Ottawa, Ontario

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and IUCN – The World Conservation Union (IUCN) are pleased to announce an important new book:

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Praise for "Trade, Aid and Security"

"A compelling contribution to our evolving understanding of the links between trade, aid and security and what the international community needs to do to ensure peace and development in the world."
Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

"As we begin to contemplate what the post-Iraq world will look like, it is vital that we reflect on the limits of the utility of hard power and the importance that development can play in avoiding failed states before they fail, preventing conflicts where we can and more successfully re-building states afterwards where we have to. This timely book makes a most important contribution to that process."
Lord Paddy Ashdown, UN High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2002–2006; Leader of U.K. Liberal Democrat Party, 1988–1999


  • Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg, formerly the Director and CEO of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia, and Canada's Foreign Minister from 1995 to 2000.

  • David Runnalls, CEO and President of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

  • Oli Brown, Project Manager, the Trade, Aid and Security Initiative, IISD

Trade, Aid and Security: An Agenda for Peace and Development

Most conflicts nowadays are within states—poor states—and most victims are civilians, not soldiers. Over half of the world's conflicts in the past two decades have been in the world's least developed countries (LDCs). It is clear that security is an essential precondition for development. It is no coincidence that those countries that are furthest away from the Millennium Development Goals and lowest on the UN's Human Development Index are those that continue to suffer political and economic instability.

Rather than focusing only on reactive responses to conflict, we need to consider how current policies systematically undermine peace and development. Trade and aid policies are two of the areas that require our attention most. Powerful conduits for money, technology, ideas and influence, they both reflect and reinforce global power disparities and, if poorly designed and managed, can undermine economic and political stability.

"Applied insensitively…trade policy can increase inequality and weaken government structures, causing instability and increasing the chance of conflict…. Aid can also increase instability and contribute to corruption, mismanagement and failures of governance…. used in the wrong way, it can hinder recovery from conflict," states Duncan Brack in the Introduction.

"The reality is that badly designed trade and aid policies are too often increasing the likelihood and longevity of violent conflict," says Dr. Lloyd Axworthy.

This new book, written by leading international experts, introduces the linkages between trade, aid and security, and exposes how inappropriate or misused trade and aid policy can and do undermine security and contribute to violence and the disintegration of nation states. On a practical level they demonstrate how six key areas of trade and aid policy can be used to help forge stability and security, reduce the likelihood of armed conflict, and assist economic and political recovery in our war-torn world.

The Trade, Aid and Security Initiative

The Trade, Aid and Security initiative is a research project jointly coordinated by the International Institute for Sustainable Development and IUCN – The World Conservation Union, with funding from the governments of Norway and Italy.

Since 2000, the initiative has focused on the ways in which trade in natural resources can contribute to violent conflict at the sub-state and international level, and on the role of foreign aid and trade liberalization—in tandem or in isolation—in accelerating or alleviating this downward spiral. On the basis of this understanding, current research focuses on the options available to domestic and international policy makers.

For more information and full versions of all the Initiative's research and policy briefs please click here.

Book review editors and course leaders: To request review or inspection copies please send all relevant details of your publication or course to

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.