DG Azevêdo said:
“The significant difficulties that we detected in the first semester are still in evidence. Returning to Geneva after consulting with capitals over the summer, it seems to me that we have not yet found solutions which can bridge the gaps in the most problematic areas. For many months, we have been focusing on the most challenging areas of the negotiations in an effort to find possible solutions, even though the chance of finding such solutions appears to be diminishing. While continuing those efforts, I think it is time for us to start working more intensely on the more promising issues which may be potential deliverables for the Nairobi Ministerial Conference.
“The view emerging from many of the meetings in which I have participated is that a set of deliverables is within reach which has the potential to make the ministerial a success and to help us move our work forward. And, crucially, there is the common view that those deliverables should have development and LDC issues at their heart.
“I am confident that all members want to seize the opportunity that Nairobi represents. We all want to make it a meaningful Ministerial Conference which delivers substantive support for growth and development. So members must now decide on shape and scope of the outcome that they want to achieve in Nairobi. Time is short. It is essential that we have an answer to this question within the next month. Once we have a clear picture of what the Nairobi outcomes might look like, then we can work hard to deliver them.”
The potential emerging deliverables for Nairobi to which the Director-General referred could include LDC and development outcomes, outcomes on export competition in agriculture, and a number of provisions to improve transparency in several issues being negotiated.
Negotiations will continue in the coming weeks through the formal negotiating groups. The Director-General’s consultations will complement those discussions. He will also be interacting with ministers at forthcoming meetings of the G20, the African Union, the African, Caribbean, Pacific Group of States and of Arab Trade Ministers. In addition, he will be attending the UN General Assembly next week to discuss the role that trade can play in the new Sustainable Development Goals — starting with outcomes in Nairobi.