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The WTO and the United Nations

Although the WTO is not a UN specialized agency, it has maintained strong relations with the UN and its agencies since its establishment. The WTO-UN relations are governed by the “Arrangements for Effective Cooperation with other Intergovernmental Organizations-Relations Between the WTO and the United Nations” signed on 15, November 1995. The WTO Director General participates to the Chief Executive Board which is the organ of coordination within the UN system.

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See also:
United Nations website

The Chief Executive Board (CEB)  back to top

Today, the CEB brings together executive heads from various UN bodies (agencies, programmes, funds), the WTO and Bretton Woods institutions. As it is the designated authority for promoting coherence within the UN system and wider, the CEB serves as the main instrument for executive heads to coordinate their actions and policies. The CEB meets twice a year under the chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General and reports on its activities to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

In 2006 the UN Secretary General asked the CEB to undertake a review of its functioning, in order to improve its performance and accountability for system-wide coherence. The Director-General of the WTO, Pascal Lamy, and the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Juan Somavia, have agreed to lead such a review.

Read more about UNCEB at http://www.unsystemceb.org/

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)  back to top

The WTO is not a member of ECOSOC, but it actively collaborates through two main events:

  • Every year during the spring, a meeting is held at the ECOSOC with the participation Senior officials from the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to maintain a dialogue on specific issues such as Financing for Development through roundtables as well as informal talks. In 2007, the meeting will take place in New York on 16 April and will touch on the theme of “Coherence, coordination and cooperation as a follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development – on the road to Doha”.

  • In July, a substantive session of ECOSOC is annually held in Geneva. WTO participates to the High Level Segment of this session. In November 2006, the WTO and the Bretton Woods institutions were invited by Resolution 61/16 of the UN General Assembly to contribute to ECOSOC's Annual Ministerial Substantive review. This meeting assesses the implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Read more about ECOSOC http://www.un.org/docs/ecosoc/

WTO and Millennium Development Goals