WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

23 January 2002

New appointment continues momentum from Doha

WTO Director-General Mike Moore today (23 January) announced the appointment of Mr. Nacer Benjelloun-Touimi as Senior Adviser to the Director-General with duties that will include coherence issues. Mr. Benjelloun takes up his duties this week.

“I am delighted that we shall be able to benefit from Mr. Benjelloun-Touimi's considerable experience and insights”, said Mr. Moore. “Nacer will bring to the WTO an extensive background in trade issues and international diplomacy. He is well known and highly respected in Geneva as a former Ambassador to the WTO and to the United Nations. His long and distinguished career in the Moroccan foreign service also included postings in Washington and New York.”

“I deeply appreciate the generous cooperation of Mr. Rubens Ricupero, Secretary General of UNCTAD, in agreeing to my request for the release of Mr. Benjelloun-Touimi as a contribution to reinforcing inter-organizational work in the implementation of the post Doha Ministerial Conference process”, said Mr. Moore.

Mr. Benjelloun-Touimi's functions will include coordination within the Secretariat for promoting coherence. His appointment is part of a wider strategy of follow-up to the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha and is aimed at ensuring a coherent approach to WTO co-operative efforts with other agencies and governments.

“Coherence is about making sure technical assistance is delivered in the most effective way to those who need it most”, said Mr. Moore. “It involves all stakeholders. Those seeking assistance must be clear and specific about their needs. Donors must better coordinate their efforts both in capitals and amongst each other. The same is true of international agencies. Duplication is costly and wasteful, not only in financial terms but in precious time and credibility. Mr. Benjelloun-Touimi has an important job ahead of him.”

“This appointment continues the momentum from the Ministerial Conference. In the 2 months since Doha, a new budget has been approved that closely reflects the priorities of Ministers. We have reorganised the Secretariat and re-deployed our resources so we are better placed to deliver on the Doha Development Agenda. Our technical assistance activities have been reviewed and strengthened and we now placing greater emphasis on some regions that have not been given adequate attention in the past. Members too are moving apace with their early agreement on Mexico as the venue for the next Conference. They will have further opportunity to advance matters next week when they consider the structure for the forthcoming negotiations.”

“Ministers have given us a 3-year deadline for completing the negotiations. It is tight but can be achieved if the current momentum is sustained.”