WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

18 April 2002

The WTO holds its fourth Geneva Week

WTO Member Governments without permanent representation in Geneva will gather at the WTO on 21 April 2002 for a week-long session designed to enhance the participation of these countries in the global trading system.

In addition to the full briefing these officials will receive on the organization's recent activities, the meeting has been scheduled to allow them to fully participate in the second Trade Negotiations Committee on 24 April. The TNC was charged by Ministers with overseeing the broad set of negotiations that were launched in Doha, Qatar in November of last year.

“Geneva Week” will focus on these negotiations — which are scheduled to conclude on 1 January 2005 — through a series of briefing by the chairpersons of different WTO committees and councils, and through presentations made by experts from international organizations. Participants will also have the occasion to attend a session of the Committee on Trade and Development and seminar on regionalism.

Geneva Week, launched by Director General Mike Moore in 1999, will be held twice this year (the second meeting will be in October) and will, for the first time, be funded directly from the WTO's core budget rather than through trust fund contributions.

“It is crucial for every WTO Member to have its voice heard, especially now that we have launched comprehensive negotiations,” said Mr. Moore. “Geneva Week is one of the tools we have put into place to ensure that developing country Members and others who cannot afford a permanent mission in Geneva are kept up-to-date with WTO meetings and are thus able to truly participate in the work of the WTO. In continuing our Geneva Week programme, we are carrying out instructions given us by Ministers in the Doha Declaration which states in paragraph 38 that priority be accorded to ‘small, vulnerable and transition economies, as well as to Members and Observers without representation in Geneva’”.

Twenty four WTO Members and 11 Observers will attend the Geneva Week: (Members) Antigua and Barbuda; Burkina Faso; Chad; Dominica; Fiji; Gambia; Grenada; Guinea Bissau; Guyana; Macau; Malawi; Maldives;Mali; Namibia; Niger; Papua New Guinea; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Sierra Leone; Solomon Islands; Suriname; Swaziland; Togo; (Observers) Andorra; Armenia; Bahamas; Eritrea; Laos; Samoa; Sao Tomé and Principe; Seychelles; Tonga; Uzbekistan; Vanuatu. Representatives of a number regional secretariats and regional development banks are also invited.

Programme (Word format, 2 pages; 32KB)