report is the first of its kind to compare the accountability of these
three types of organizations. Scores were given for the organization's
performance in two aspects of accountability: member control of
governance structures and access to information.
World Trust, a United Kingdom charity, started the Global
Accountability Project in 1999 with the aim of better understanding
what international accountability means and how this can be improved.
It brought together a group of experts — drawn from the NGOs,
universities and international institutions — to guarantee the
accountability and transparency of the project.
report used access to online information as a proxy for an
organization's overall transparency. Under this criterion, the WTO is
ranked third, below the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and
the International Federation of the Red Cross, and above the World
Bank, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Rio Tinto and Shell.
reports says: “Information on the WTO's trade activities is
excellent. The WTO provides access to the legal texts of its
agreements by topic, alongside a full, non-technical description of
the law. This is very important given the technical nature of much of
the work its covers...”
report notes that the WTO is only one of two inter-governmental
organizations surveyed “that publishes its entire website in more
than one language, in this case French and Spanish”.
On “member control,” the WTO is ranked eighth among the 18
organizations. The report notes that “decisions (in the WTO) are
taken by consensus so each member has equal decision-making power”.
It says that while formally, all members are given representation on
the governing body, “25 of the smaller developing country members do
not even have an office in Geneva, making it difficult for them to
attend these meetings”. It adds that “the existence of informal
decision-making structures reduces the ability for all members to have
a say in the decisions made by the organization”.
this subject, the report concludes: “The presence of these informal
realities overshadows the fact that all members are represented at the
executive and that decision-making is based on consensus, seemingly
preventing a minority of members dominating decision-making.
Amendments to the governing articles require consensus.”
the WTO is ranked fourth on member control and access to information
scores combined, below the Red Cross, Amnesty International and the
OECD, and above Rio Tinto, GSK, Oxfam, Avantis, UNHCR and the World
the report (pdf format, 50 pages,
World Trust Global Accountability Project (link
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