WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

26 April 2002

WTO organizes public symposium on post-Doha negotiations

The future of the global trading system and the economic, developmental, social and environmental impact of trade negotiations now underway will be the focus of three days of discussion and debate from 29 April to 1 May 2002.

WTO Director-General Mike Moore, Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, Bjorn Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, will be among the high-level speakers addressing the WTO's public symposium on “The Doha Development Agenda and Beyond”. Launched by Trade Ministers in Doha, Qatar last November, the DDA encompasses trade negotiations in seven areas and a broad work programme that will result in new trade rules for the 21st century.

“The symposium provides a timely opportunity for civil society, governmental officials, academics and the media to come together to discuss and debate the global challenges posed by the Doha Development Agenda,” WTO Director-General Mike Moore said today. “The organization of this symposium is in line with paragraph 10 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration instructing us to ‘promote a better public understanding of the WTO and to communicate the benefits of a liberal, rules-based multilateral trading system’”.

“Our work program has now begun in earnest and there are many serious and difficult issues to address - from reducing barriers in agriculture to ensuring adequate and timely technical assistance for developing countries. I hope this symposium will be used to closely scrutinize some of the more critical challenges facing today's multilateral trading system, including how the system is financed and how its functions”.

Within the symposium's program, non-governmental organizations will run sessions on topics of their choice. More than 650 people from WTO Member and Observer governments, other international organizations, universities, non-governmental organisations and the media are expected to attend the symposium. Twenty different presentations and work sessions are organized over two and a half days on topics ranging from development issues and food security, to geographical indications and relations between inter-governmental organizations and civil society.