“Is Multilateralism in Crisis?”

24-26 September 2012
Geneva, WTO headquarters

The 2012 Public Forum will provide an opportunity for relevant stakeholders of the multilateral trading system to analyse whether multilateralism is in a state of crisis, taking into account both the Doha Round deadlock and elements of the WTO work programme that continue to work well.

> Factsheet

Over the past few years, the WTO Public Forum has firmly established itself as a major event at which governments, non-governmental organizations, academics, businesses and students can come together to discuss the latest issues regarding the multilateral trading system.

This year the Public Forum poses the question: “Is multilateralism in crisis?” The Forum will provide an opportunity for participants to analyse whether multilateralism is indeed in a state of crisis, taking into account both the Doha Round deadlock and WTO activities that continue to work well. These include trade monitoring, administering existing WTO rules, and trade capacity building for developing countries. The new world order in which the WTO operates will also be among the topics for discussion. 

This year’s Forum has the following themes: formulating new approaches to multilateral trade opening in areas such as trade facilitation; addressing 21st-century issues and identifying areas in need of new regulations; and looking at the role of non-state actors in strengthening the multilateral trading system. The results of these discussions should provide some guidance on how the WTO can participate in better addressing world problems and improving global governance.

While making progress on the Doha Round 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.

To increase interaction ahead of this year’s Public Forum, we have set up an online discussion forum. I encourage you to contribute to the discussion by submitting short articles on the themes of the Forum and by giving your views on the articles submitted by others. In addition, regular updates will be available on the WTO Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube. This will enable a larger audience to follow the sessions and to contribute to the discussions even if they cannot attend in person.

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]) , Public Forum Co-ordinator in the Information and External Relations Division.

The significance of this year’s topic makes your participation all the more important. I look forward to welcoming you in Geneva in September.

Pascal Lamy









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