WTO Public Forum 2011

Title: “Seeking answers to global trade challenges”
 19-21 September 2011
Location: Geneva, WTO headquarters

Draft Programme

The WTO Public Forum represents an important opportunity for the public to discuss the latest issues affecting world trade. This year the Public Forum has as its theme “Seeking Answers to Global Trade Challenges”. It will focus on identifying the principal challenges for the multilateral trading system and finding solutions to ensure that the WTO responds to our fast changing world.

The political, economic, and social aspects of the world we live in today are very different to those that existed a decade ago. For instance, food security, trade in natural resources and how it affects the environment, as well as the phenomenon of international supply chains pose new global challenges. As a result, there is a widening gap between existing trade rules and the realities of the 21st century. Examining how the WTO should adapt to deal with the new challenges has become increasingly important as the organization reflects on the way forward. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss current trade rules, to identify areas for improvement and to pinpoint the scope for rule-making in the future.

While the Doha Development Agenda remains a priority, the WTO recognizes that it needs to continue to examine all aspects of its work, and to contribute to greater cooperation across all areas of global governance. For further information about this year’s programme and core themes, see attached factsheet and visit our website.

To increase the outreach of this year’s Public Forum, there will also be the opportunity to contribute to the debate through online discussion forums. Regular updates will be available on the WTO Facebook page, Twitter and Youtube. This will allow a wider audience to follow the sessions while allowing the public to post comments and to contribute to the discussion even if they cannot attend in person.

In the run-up to this year’s Public Forum, the WTO has launched a video contest to allow the public to give us their answers to global trade challenges (see).

We invite you to forward this message to civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders in your country who might have an interest in contributing to the discussions during the WTO Public Forum 2011.

If you have any suggestions regarding this year’s Public Forum, please contact Maria Perez-Esteve (tel.: +41 22 739 55 46, email: [email protected]) in the Information and External Relations Division.

The importance of this year’s topic makes your participation even more valuable than ever. Please keep these dates free so that you may participate in this event and contribute to its success.

Pascal Lamy