Doha preparations continue
Logistical preparations for the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference are continuing. The Secretariat is working closely with the Qatari authorities to ensure a successful conference with participation from all relevant stakeholders.
Concerning Non-Governmental Organizations, the Director-General has announced that of the 673 organizations that applied by the deadline, 647 NGOs are eligible to attend the conference. These include NGOs from all parts of the globe and with interests spanning the full range of WTO activities. NGOs have until 17 September to complete and return their registration forms to the WTO Secretariat.
The Director-General is continuing to meet, exchange views and share ideas regularly with NGOs. He addressed a WTO Symposium in Geneva in July which gathered together more than 400 civil society representatives to discuss issues confronting the world trade system. He has invited comments and advice from NGOs on ways to enhance the dialogue between international agencies such as the WTO and NGOs. In light of the growing interest of NGOs in the work of the WTO, the Director-General has also encouraged input from NGOs on possible activities at Doha and criteria for ensuring that NGO registration to future Ministerial Conferences is based on an appropriate balance between numbers of organizations and representatives. At an informal gathering on Friday 24 August, the Director-General was able to explore these and other issues with several NGO representatives in Geneva over the summer break. The Director-General briefed the representatives concerning facilities at Doha and also appreciated the frank but constructive exchange of views that followed. Several representatives made clear the opinions expressed were representative of their organization only and did not necessarily reflect a general civil society position. The Director-General said there was no misunderstanding on this.
The Director-General will continue to exchange ideas with NGOs in the lead up to Doha and beyond. He is also committed to offer whatever practical WTO assistance possible to support activities by NGOs attending Doha.