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WTO NEWS: 2001 PRESS RELEASES

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20 December 2001
Moore outlines successes of 2001, roadmap for 2002

The following text is Director-General Mike Moore's Informal End of the Year Message to Member Governments and his proposals for action in 2002.

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“It is my great pleasure to provide to you this informal end-of-year report on the activities of the World Trade Organization in 2001. I should also like briefly to explain the likely work programme of the Secretariat in 2002 and offer views on a possible roadmap to the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda.

Let me begin, however, by placing on the record my appreciation and respect for the professionalism, friendship and cooperation of the Chairman of the General Council, Mr. Stuart Harbinson. I give thanks also to the chairpersons of our various working bodies. I honour the hard work of Ambassadors and mission staff in Geneva. I thank my own deputies and staff for their commitment. I want to thank Ministers for their generosity, wisdom and vision expressed so clearly in Doha. I have always believed true patriots must also be internationalists. In Doha, Ministers showed us that pursuing national interests in a cooperative and constructive manner is the surest way to advance positive global outcomes.

This has been an outstanding year for the World Trade Organization, perhaps the most significant in our brief history. We have concluded a successful Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar and, as USTR Bob Zoellick said, '…removed the stain of Seattle'. We have agreed a far-reaching set of negotiations to be completed within a three-year timeframe — thus, the Seattle syndrome has been replaced with the hope and expectation of the Doha Development Agenda. We have placed development issues and the interests of our poorer Members at the heart of our work. And we have welcomed more than a quarter of the world's population into our membership from Lithuania, Moldova, China and Chinese Taipei.

2001 has been of a year of important lessons and new insights. The Doha success was built on a preparatory process that was transparent and inclusive. We must carry these principles into our future work. We must also ensure all our Members, large and small, rich and poor, are given every assistance and opportunity to participate in our negotiations. Ministers have told me they want to be engaged so they can continue to guide our agenda forward.

At the conclusion of the 4th Ministerial Conference, I said that while the Doha Development Agenda was launched out of mutual self-interest, for many resource-constrained Member countries it was also a brave act of faith, trust and hope. I believe Members have already begun to deliver on this faith. I believe we are off to a good, determined and focused start to our new mandate.

One important step came yesterday when the General Council approved a Secretariat budget for 2002 that closely reflects the priorities identified by Ministers in Doha, including in such key areas as technical cooperation and capacity-building, coherence, advancing accessions and doing a better job of explaining ourselves to those who pay our bills, the outside world. Highlights of the budget include:

  • a total budget of around CHF 143 million, representing an increase of 6.75%,
      

  • establishment of the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund with a proposed core budget of CHF 15 million to provide secure and predictable resources to build capacity,
      

  • additional funding to allow us to double the number of trainees from developing countries who can attend the recently established WTO Training Institute,
      

  • additional funds of CHF850,000 for translation services which is in addition to the CHF1.5 million given last year; this addresses a long-standing grievance from some non-English speaking Member delegations,
      

  • approval to take on 8 new staff in key areas identified by Ministers; more short-term staff will be contracted once the DDA Global Trust Fund brings more resources on line, and
      

  • funding to enable us to continue to run the Geneva Week programme in 2002, assisting non-resident Member officials to participate more fully in the work of the WTO.

This is a good budget and an important first step. It is focused and balanced and helps us to deliver on the promise of Doha. Members are delivering on this promise in other ways as well. Yesterday, for example, the German Ambassador conveyed to me a contribution of 1 million Deutsche Marks to help our efforts in technical cooperation and capacity building. I am sincerely grateful for the generosity and responsibility shown by Members.

There is much to do to ensure the next Ministerial Conference is a success and the new negotiations are concluded within the three-year timeframe agreed by Ministers in Doha. My duty is clear; to ensure the Secretariat's activities are aimed at assisting Members to undertake and conclude their negotiations. I must also ensure our resources match our collective ambitions. I have taken important steps already in this regard:

  • Secretariat resources have been re-deployed to reflect the priorities of the Doha Development Agenda, particularly in areas of development, capacity-building, accessions, coherence and outreach. Efficiency gains and cost savings are being introduced. We will also review matters further in light of decisions taken by Members on the trade negotiating machinery.
     

  • I am establishing a Resource and Performance Analysis function in the Secretariat so we can regularly and routinely monitor our performance against agreed objectives. A report will be prepared on how this new function will operate.
      

  • I will be commissioning work on how to make the Secretariat a better working environment for staff. I want to look at issues of working conditions, career development, tenure, recruitment and promotion processes, and ways to reward innovation and efficiency gains.
      

  • The Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration has suggested a report on staffing issues and I look forward also to commissioning this important work.

In terms of the roadmap ahead, I am taking other steps as well to ensure the Secretariat's work builds on the momentum from Doha and towards the next Ministerial Conference:

  • I have been communicating with key groups in Geneva. Immediately following Doha I met with Ambassadors from Arab countries to discuss our Arab Strategy. I have met recently with Geneva-based representatives of acceding countries and have communicated with their Ministers. We are increasing our resources in this area, in line with the Doha outcomes, and I have invited delegations to give me ideas for accelerating their accession processes. We are also increasing our efforts in favour of Least Developed Countries and economies in transition. Once again, I have written to their Missions seeking advice and guidance.
      

  • We are preparing a programme of activities for 2002 that will give heightened attention to particular regions. For example, we are planning major initiatives in coordination with other institutions in the Balkans and Central Asia. These areas have regrettably not been given adequate attention in the past.
      

  • Direct contact is always important. My staff tell me I have travelled over 625,000 km and visited more than 180 cities in the past 2 years. This is necessary work. I will continue to visit capitals and seek guidance from Ministers. Early in the new year I am planning a series of missions including to the United States, Africa and Oman.
      

  • We are investigating other innovative ways to keep Ministers fully engaged and involved. In addition to personal contacts, telephone calls and regular mailings, we may shortly run a series of videoconferences.
      

  • We will be focusing more closely on issues of coherence so we can produce models of cooperation and synergies with other institutions better suited to deliver fair results since Doha. I have already met with representatives of international agencies based in Geneva and I will continue to pursue coherence issues when I meet with heads of agencies in the United States early next year. I am also looking to reinforce our staff resources in this area. Of course, coherence is an issue that needs to be pursued by all stakeholders. Those seeking assistance need to be more specific about their needs. Donors need to better coordinate their own efforts both in capitals and amongst each other. The same is true of international agencies. Duplication and wastage is costly, not only in financial terms but in precious time and credibility.
      

  • We have been asked to do better, and be more creative, in our dealings with wider society including groups such as parliamentarians. I will be looking at this early in 2002. We are already planning a major Symposium in May next year which will address the concerns expressed by some Ministers at Doha on our relations with the public. Already, useful suggestions for the agenda of this Symposium are emerging. They include development issues such as Trade and Debt, Trade and Finance and the impact of technology and the digital divide; issues of participation and the problems of capacity constrained missions; the functioning and financing of the WTO; external relations; issues of social justice and the social, economic, environmental and political impacts of globalisation. Much more consideration needs to be done before our agenda is finalized. However, the serious studies being undertaken by my group of Eminent Advisors could be very useful input.

Members too must create momentum. I believe early agreement is needed on the details of the structure for dealing with the work programme from Doha. An early decision on the venue for the next Ministerial is also important. Also, despite urgings by many Ministers and considerable effort over the past few years, little movement has been achieved on issues such as derestriction of documents and observership. More focus on these types of issues might assist in building momentum.

All of the new initiatives and actions I have discussed, and which are based on the Doha Development Agenda, do not detract from the core business of this Organization. It reinforces this critical work. However, because of the commitment of Ministers and Ambassadors, I think we can now claim with confidence that we have truly given birth to the WTO. It is now not the old GATT with a few, symbolic gestures to the new global realities, but better reflects the new needs of our wider membership and instructions from Ministers.

On behalf of the staff of the WTO Secretariat, may I thank you for a most rewarding year and say how much I look forward to 2002”.