In back-to-back meetings of the NGR and CoASS, members gave the formal green light to the  appointments following the consultation process led by the Chair of the General Council, Ambassador Didier Chambovey of Switzerland, to fill two posts that had been vacant over the past few months.

Ambassador Gunnarsson takes over from Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, who during his three years as NGR Chair played a key role in leading negotiations to a successful outcome at MC12 with the adoption of the new WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.

Speaking to members, the new NGR Chair noted there is much work to be done in the short time before the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) that will take place in Abu Dhabi in late February 2024. He said he is looking forward to working “both on implementing the agreement we concluded last June and also getting underway in the second wave of negotiations.”

“I think we all understand the importance of meaningful disciplines for the sake of our oceans, and for the livelihood of those who depend upon it,” he added.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stressed that without an NGR Chair work had come to a standstill in a crucially important work stream, on fisheries subsidies, namely the second wave of negotiations. “We now have a date and a venue for MC13 which makes the appointment of a new chair all the more pressing. Work has to resume immediately to advance a particularly important area, with the aim of making recommendations that can be finalized at MC13,” she said.

DG Okonjo-Iweala also noted the importance of resuming agriculture talks as expeditiously as possible since this critically important issue has been stalled without a Chair since last summer.

Ambassador Acarsoy takes over the helm of WTO farm trade talks from Ambassador Gloria Abraham Peralta of Costa Rica who in her two years as CoASS Chair contributed to the food security outcome reached at MC12, including a declaration on the emergency response to food insecurity and a decision to support World Food Programme food purchases.

He will also chair the CoASS Subcommittee on Cotton.

In his first statement as new Chair, Ambassador Acarsoy underlined the tough work ahead members are facing, especially in the current international context.

“MC13 is just a year from now and we are today at a crucial crossroad. Let us be clear, we were not able to deliver in the agricultural negotiations in the previous two Ministerial Conferences and reaching a successful outcome at MC13 is therefore more critical than ever. We have no time to waste, and we must immediately engage with the right approach in order to overcome entrenched differences that have stymied progress so far,” he added.




Photo gallery View Slideshow

Problems viewing this page? If so, please contact [email protected] giving details of the operating system and web browser you are using.