The Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong this December 2005, with the now customary demonstrations, last minute brinkmanship and all night sessions, have resulted in the characteristic WTO winning formula of an agreement essentially to continue talking, along with some concessions over agricultural subsidies, under the Doha Development Round. At the other end of the world, the IMF finished its year with the decision to relieve some 19 developing countries one hundred percent of their debts under its Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. And close by in Washington the World Bank extended some 400 million dollars Earthquake Emergency Relief Credit to Pakistan. These were in some measure the contributions of such diverse yet potent forces as protesting Korean farmers in Hong Kong, Sir Bob Geldof concerts and literally an earthquake for the mobilisation of relief effort for development.
International development law thus continues to grow as a discreet branch of international economic law. Ad hoc responses to development needs are beginning to be institutionalised into the very architecture of the international economic order, although the communication flows necessary for these events have had to be potent, powerful and very persuasive.
Yet international development law as a subject is barely recognised in legal textbooks; and few University courses are specifically devoted to it. What are the flaws in international communication flows that inhibit the orchestral response that it calls for?
Asif H QureshiEditor-in-Chief