WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

1 August 2002
Director General

WTO General Council pays tribute to DG Mike Moore’s leadership as his term ends

WTO ambassadors, representing different informal groupings, thanked Director-General Mike Moore for his efforts, sense of responsibility and his commitment to the work of the organization. They were responding to his farewell speech to the WTO's General Council on 31 July, in which he stressed the need for urgency in the negotiations of the Doha Development Agenda to raise living standards, in particular among poor countries.

“Negotiating structures are in place and substantive work is well underway,” Mr. Moore, who leaves office at the end of August having completed his three-year term, told ambassadors and other representatives of Members of the WTO. “It is now up to negotiators to work with commitment and flexibility to realise the benefits offered by the multilateral trading system.”

He stressed that the Doha Development Agenda was urgent because more than half of the world's population continued to live on less than US$2 a day and a successful conclusion to the round can help lift billions of people out of poverty. “This agenda is about them”, said Mr. Moore, who became Director-General in September 1999. “Our greatest motivation is the people we serve.”

Mr. Moore told delegates he was proud of what had been achieved together over the past three years. “Confidence in the system is restored after the setback of Seattle. We have maintained our core focus on trade liberalization but also placed development issues and the interests of our poorer Members rightfully at the centre of our work”.

“Our outstanding success in launching a new round of trade negotiations in Doha last year has opened up enormous possibilities to advance the conditions of people throughout the world.”

Mr. Moore noted that, since Doha, the WTO had become much more inclusive to facilitate the participation of the poorer Members through technical assistance and capacity-building; had become more transparent and accountable; had developed closer cooperation and coherence with international and regional agencies, and made real progress in enhancing the image of the WTO and engaging civil society, as well as strengthening the Secretariat to better assist Members.

On behalf of the Asia group, the Ambassador of Indonesia Ms. Halida Miljani, showed her “deepest appreciation for his impressive stewardship in giving the WTO a fresh impetus and purpose”.

She also praised, as Mr. Moore's most notable achievements, “the efforts he has deployed to develop the focus on technical assistance and capacity building with a view to assist Least-Developed and developing countries to better participate in the various negotiations and in the multilateral trading system”.

The Ambassador of Zambia, Mr. M.B. Bowa, on behalf of the Least-Developed Countries, said the WTO had experienced a welcome metamorphosis thanks to the “tremendous contribution” of the Director-General. He thanked his “tireless campaign” among donors to mobilize resources and his “unwavering desire to assist LDCs and elevate their profile at the WTO.”

The Ambassador of Panama, Mr. Romel Adames, coordinator of the group of Latin American and Caribbean countries, expressed his “sincere expression of gratitude” because during his tenure of office, Mr. Moore “has made an unforgettable impact in this organization.”

The Ambassador of New Zealand, Mr. Timothy Groser, on behalf of developed countries, said that Mr. Moore had led the new round, “the jewel on the crown” of his mandate. “You can leave this institution feeling that you have not only done a very good job, but we are going to succeed with the Doha Development Agenda that you so ably put together.”

The new Director-General, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, begins his three-year term on 1 September 2002.