Dear readers and colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Degrees of Latitude, a project conceived with the ambition of exploring the international relations that shape our world and to give our readers the information they need to understand them.

We strongly believe that countries and people are interdependent, but we still understand very little about the mechanisms of this interdependence.

We are conscious of our limits in navigating the world’s complexity, but we are as well conscious that everyday decisions are made that impact on our lives and about which we need to be better informed.

The number of negotiations, multilateral or bilateral talks, treaties, conventions, business agreements, cultural exchanges, military interventions, humanitarian and development operations is as impressive as the number of international organizations, networks, movements, institutions that have a worldwide dimension. Some of them can appear irrelevant when they are not, others are sponsored as crucial when they are in fact a waste of public money; some are missing opportunities, others dangerous or deadly liaisons. For sure, they are processes we can’t ignore.

Degrees of Latitude provides news, but above all analysis and knowledge. It aims at generating debate and conversations over topics we believe key. We investigate the impacts of policies, agreements, and operations, but we also look at people’s problems and needs for understanding their global dimension.

We know that our contribution to international journalism is a drop in the ocean, but we are committed to doing our best and to growing in the quality of our coverage. Many of our products and initiatives will be launched in the coming months, but we want to get started and we want to do it by the roots.

We begin with food. Wars, instability, poverty, migrations, economic development,    security– they are unequivocally related to how we produce and access food and how agricultural systems work.  We have chosen to monitor one of those very technical international processes that the media rarely covers: The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. It impacts on the management of the very basis of human sustenance, regulating the exchange and use of seeds, roots, bulbs, and genetic materials from which plants are propagated and varieties improved.

Its implementation can impact biodiversity, what we eat now and we will eat in the future, the lives of millions of farmers all over the world, and the work of research institutions and agribusiness corporations.

We believe it is worth keeping watch over its developments and, more broadly, over how the international community is governing the management of the genetics of food and agriculture.

That’s our first little step.   

Degrees of Latitude is hard work and our coverage is still limited, but it’s a labor of love and a tribute to the diversity of the world. 

Editor: Christina Cutting


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