WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

WTO NEWS: SPEECHES — DG MIKE MOORE

Friday 14 December 2001
Organizational changes in the WTO Secretariat

Director-General meeting with staff

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I am taking the opportunity of this meeting to inform you of decisions I have taken on the redeployment of Secretariat staff and resources. In taking these decisions, I have benefited greatly from advice I have received from staff at all levels and I want to thank you for responding positively to my various requests for ideas. I want to give particular thanks to my deputies for their important advice and insights. I have also benefited from the reflections of some ambassadors and mission staff and I have spoken as well with various experts. The report prepared by the consultant, Mr. Terry Slater, was another useful input and I am grateful to the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration for commissioning this review of Secretariat activities. The current decisions are also based on my own experience of this institution, studies I have undertaken of the structures of other agencies and institutions, and knowledge gained in an earlier life where I was involved in public sector reform.

The WTO has been given an important new negotiating mandate by Ministers. The Doha Development Agenda calls for a far-reaching set of negotiations that are to be completed within three years. In order to prepare for this challenge and improve the functioning of the Secretariat, I have determined that certain organizational changes are needed at this stage to meet the following objectives:

1. To reflect the work priorities of the Doha Development Agenda, as set out by Ministers. This will be achieved by reallocating certain existing resources and directing new resources towards mandated negotiations and work programmes, technical cooperation and capacity building, while at the same time ensuring that the Secretariat continues to carry out all its responsibilities in an effective manner.

2. To make efficiency gains and cost savings. This will be achieved through streamlining and the consolidation of certain Divisions.

3. To ensure proper coordination of related elements of work within the Secretariat. A decision will be taken on mechanisms needed to address cross-cutting issues within the Secretariat once the structure of the negotiating machinery under the Trade Negotiations Committee is known.

4. To increase accountability and assess the efficiency of the Secretariat on a continuing basis. A function will be established within the Secretariat to further this objective and a report will be received early next year on how this function should operate.

5. To communicate more effectively with the outside world on the work of the WTO. This will be achieved through strengthening the Secretariat’s resources in this area and rationalizing their use. In addition, an assessment will be undertaken of the Secretariat’s communication and outreach strategies to see where improvements might be made, including in terms of taking advantage of synergies and better cooperation.

The new arrangements will be reviewed early in 2002 in order to determine whether they are functioning as intended and whether additional improvements in the quality and structure of Secretariat services may be required. We will, of course, also need to retain flexibility to make further adjustments in light of decisions to be taken concerning the structures for dealing with the Doha work programme.

I will now summarise the new arrangements. You can refer to the Explanatory Note to be circulated for a full account of the changes.

  • A new Resource and Performance Analysis function is to be put in place. We need to ensure our Secretariat divisions are optimally staffed and efficiently managed. The purpose of this operation will be to assess the performance of the Secretariat on a continuing basis and facilitate greater use of management against goals and increased reliance on performance-based budgeting. Further decisions concerning this function will be forthcoming early in 2002, after I have received appropriate inputs concerning its scope of operation and proposed activities.
      
  • A new Council and TNC Division is to be established. It merges the existing Ministerial Sessions Division and Council Division. Mr. Evan Rogerson will head the new Division which will report to Deputy Director-General Rodriguez Mendoza in the first instance. The Council and TNC Division will achieve cost and efficiency savings by combining the related functions of servicing the Trade Negotiations Committee and the General Council. The Division will also service the Dispute Settlement Body. The latter arrangement will be reviewed during the first three months of 2002.
      
  • A new Development and Economic Research Division is to be established, headed by Mr. Patrick Low and reporting to Deputy Director-General Ouedraogo. It merges the Economic Research and Analysis Division with the Development Unit of the Development Division. This change represents a substantial increase in resources dedicated to development issues and is consistent with the decisions taken by Ministers in Doha. The responsibilities of the new Division include servicing the Committee on Trade and Development and the Informal Group of Developing Countries, providing analytical support for the work programme of the Committee, overseeing preparation of the WTO Annual Report, and carrying out the research and analysis functions of the former Economic Research and Analysis Division. Research will be targeted mainly at the Doha Development Agenda, and other important research activities will be undertaken only after consultation with the responsible Deputy Director-General and the Director-General.
     
  • Work done for non-resident Members and staff dealing on these matters will be reassigned from the Development Division to Technical Cooperation Division.
      
  • The remaining part of the Development Division, the Regional Trade Agreements Unit, is to be absorbed by the Trade Policies Review Division. In addition to its current responsibilities, the Trade Policies Review Division will now service the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements, and staff working on trade policy reviews will provide support as required to the Secretariat’s work on regionalism.
      
  • The Trade Information Centre will now oversee the library and will report to Deputy Director-General Ravier in the first instance.
      
  • Trade and Finance Division will now report to Deputy Director-General Rodriguez Mendoza in the first instance. Information and Media Relations Division will report to Deputy Director-General Stoler (the WTO Spokesperson will of course continue to have direct access to me). This means that there are now no line-Divisions reporting to me directly.

With regard to the servicing of Working Parties and Work Programmes, the Working Group on the Relationship Between Trade Debt and Finance and the Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology, both of which have been established by Ministers under the auspices of the General Council, will be serviced respectively by the Trade and Finance Division and the Development and Economic Research Division. The work programme endorsed by Ministers on issues relating to the trade of small economies will be serviced by the Development and Economic Research Division. The work programme endorsed by Ministers on special and differential treatment will also be serviced by the Development and Economic Research Division.

As mentioned, I will be seeking expert advice to review the new arrangements by 31 March 2002 in order to determine whether further adjustments are required. Appropriate mechanisms for dealing with cross-cutting issues within the Secretariat will be decided. The Resource and Performance Analysis function will be made operational. In addition, Deputy Director-General Miguel Rodríguez Mendoza will examine and make recommendations on the frequency and scheduling of WTO meetings because of the increased workload and difficulties smaller missions face and the fact that these problems may well become more challenging as we move ahead.

  
  
Staff Movements

Some staff movements will be effected as part of the new arrangements. I want to stress that these movements reflect the priorities of Ministers in Doha, particularly in terms of giving adequate support to the negotiations and additional support in such crucial areas as developmental issues, technical cooperation, accessions, and assistance to small economies, LDCs and economies in transition. The staff movements listed below are to take effect on 1 January 2002.

  
Office of the Director-General

Mr. Patrick Rata assumes the position of Director, Office of the Director-General.

Mr. Patrick Low is transferred to the position of Director, Development and Economic Research Division.

Mr. Hoe Lim is transferred from the existing External Relations Division to the Office of the Director-General.

I believe I and my office can take a lead to ensure issues of capacity building and coherence with other agencies are enhanced and momentum is not lost.

  
Ministerial Sessions Division and Council Division

The existing staff in the Ministerial Sessions Division and the Council Division are transferred to the Council and TNC Division, with the following exceptions:

Mr. Serban Modoran goes to the Accessions Division.

Ms. Marie-Isabelle Pellan will be reassigned.

Ms. Susan Conn goes to the Office of the Director-General.

  
Development Division (secretariat and Development Unit) and Economic Research and Analysis Division

The existing staff in the secretariat and Development Unit of the Development Division and the Economic Research and Development Division go to the Development and Economic Research Division, with the following exceptions:

Mr. Amar Breckenridge and Ms. Anne Vittori go to the Technical Cooperation Division along with their responsibilities.

A further level 7 post will be reassigned.

  
Development Division (Regional Trade Agreements Unit)

The existing staff of the Regional Trade Agreements Unit of the Development Division are transferred to the Trade Policies Review Division.

  
Information and Media Relations Division

Mr. Hans-Peter Werner is transferred from the Information and Media Relations Division to the External Relations Division.

  
  
Internal Processes

I am also announcing some administrative actions to begin (or resume) in 2002 aimed at improving our operations and internal coherence:

  • There will be weekly meetings of Senior Management
  • There will be fortnightly meetings of Divisional Directors
  • There will be monthly meetings of all staff, and
  • I will hold regular meetings with the Staff Council, probably every three months.

We have convened regular meetings in the past with some success. But we must now lock them in. Further information concerning the scheduling of these meetings will be advised by my office in due course. Attendance at the meetings will be expected and assumed. Other staff meetings on specific issues will of course be scheduled as necessary. Deputies and Directors are expected to keep staff appropriately informed of issues discussed in the various meetings.

  
  
Further Work

We have a new roadmap. Ministers have agreed the Doha Development Agenda and have set as a goal the completion of negotiations within a three-year timeframe. The efforts of the Secretariat must be aimed at assisting Members' to achieve this goal. We have made a good start already with the establishment of the Board of the Training Institute and the submission of a very good Budget that, I believe, closely reflects the priorities that Ministers established in Doha. This proposed budget promises a far-reaching programme of trade-related technical cooperation and capacity building. I hope this budget will gain Members approval over the next few days. The current redeployment of resources exercise is a further step in our efforts to help Members. As well, I have met with heads of other international agencies and have agreed with them to explore ways to ensure coordination of efforts to assist developing countries, building on existing cooperation and complementarities.

Members themselves must create momentum. They need to reach early agreement on the details of the structure for dealing with the work programme from Doha. From experience I know that an early decision on the venue for the next Ministerial Conference will also greatly assist the enormous work that needs to be done.

There are always areas for further efficiency gains. I talked about the need for greater coherence within the house. Our regular meetings will help. There is also a need for greater efforts to ensure coherence between the international institutions. I am working through some ideas on this at present. I am also intending to commission a report that will, in part, examine a range of staff-related matters and generate ideas on improving performance and efficiency and making the WTO a better and more rewarding place to work in.

My job is clear; to help Members with the capacity, resources, structure and processes so that Ministers and ministries can advance their work, secure a successful 5th Ministerial Conference and meet the three-year timeframe for completing their negotiations. The timeframe is short so we have a duty to move now.

Thank you, colleagues, for your cooperation in the past. I want to thank you also for your hard work, dedication and professionalism. The Secretariat played a crucial role in the success in Doha and your energy and enthusiasm will be vital to our future successes as well. Let there be no mistake about the current exercise; I have a gifted Secretariat staff and I am making adjustments to utilise your potential to the best effect. I wish you a restful break over the new year so that in 2002 we can all enjoy an even more exciting and fulfilling year.