Geneva week fact sheet

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WHAT is Geneva week?

  • It is a week-long event — organized twice annually — for representatives of WTO Members and Observers without permanent representation in Geneva. Participants attend a series of briefings on the state-of-play of the Doha Development Agenda and other WTO activities. The Chairpersons of the various negotiating groups brief the participants on recent developments concerning negotiations in agriculture, non-agricultural market access (NAMA), services, special and differential treatment for developing countries, intellectual property rights (TRIPS), rules, trade and environment, dispute settlement and trade facilitation. Briefings also focus on progress in other areas such as the implementation of initiatives to help build trade capacity in least-developed countries. The Geneva Week event usually features half-day seminars organized for the participants by the Agency for International Trade Information and Cooperation (AITIC) and other agencies active in the area of international trade and development.

WHAT is the purpose of Geneva Week?

  • Geneva Week is organized not only to inform the WTO's non-resident delegates about recent developments but also to enable these officials to attend meetings of WTO Councils and Committees and to liaise with WTO Secretariat staff and regional groupings of WTO Members.

WHO benefits from Geneva Week?

  • The 30 governments which do not have offices or official missions in Geneva include: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Central African Republic, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, Lao, Malawi, Maldives, Montenegro, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé et Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga and Vanuatu.

  • Other participants include representatives from 30 regional, economic organizations who participate in Geneva Week events at their own expense.

WHAT are the results of Geneva Week?

  • Since 1999 fourteen Geneva Week events have been held with the participation of around 600 delegates, around 90 per year. These events have contributed to increased participation of non-resident Members in the work of the WTO. The information and knowledge gained during Geneva week has been invaluable in helping officials understand more about WTO rules and activities and have helped Members fulfil their WTO obligations, especially in regard to notifications. A better understanding of the work of the WTO has also allowed Members to exercise their WTO rights more fully and to participate in the work of the negotiating groups and other regular WTO bodies. Non-resident Members also take advantage of Geneva Week to meet with their regional partners to coordinate their positions in WTO negotiations. For those WTO Observers in the process of acceding to the WTO, Geneva Week provides them with an opportunity to meet with Members, bilaterally or during their accession working parties, to advance their respective WTO accession.