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NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOS): SYMPOSIUM
Symposium on issues confronting the world trading system
summary reports by the moderators

6 and 7 July, World Trade Organization, Geneva, Switzerland  

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Friday, 6 July

Session V: WTO & Civil Society What role for NGOs in capacity building?

Moderator: Dr. Sylvia Ostry — Toronto University 

Due to the short time given to prepare my remarks, I was not able to capture all nuances of the debate. It is obvious that more discussion is needed to address all facets of what is now a very real public discussion. My summary therefore only touches on some of the themes which emerged in the two work sessions on WTO and Civil Society.

 
What role for NGOs in capacity building?

  • No agreement was reached on the definition of capacity building. There was however strong agreement on the real asymmetry between Northern and Southern NGOs in terms of their expertise and resources.

  • The process of policy-making and formulation at the national level was identified as an important area for further examination and discussion. In particular, the capacity of all stakeholders to influence that trade policy process was stressed as a major concern.

  • Northern civil society require greater education and sensitisation of the circumstances and conditions prevailing in developing countries.

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