At a meeting of all WTO members in Geneva today (3 November), Director-General Roberto Azevêdo presented a suggested process to develop a Ministerial Declaration for the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December. He also presented a possible structure for the document. Both elements were based closely on the views expressed by members to the three facilitators appointed by the Director-General on 12 October to consult with them on these issues (Ambassador Gabriel Duque of Colombia, Ambassador Harald Neple of Norway and Ambassador Stephen Karau of Kenya). Both elements were accepted by the membership.
The Director-General said:
“The facilitators’ work has been helpful in setting out members’ views on the possible structure of the Ministerial Declaration. I listened very closely to members’ comments and I think that there are some shared views on the broad structure that the Declaration could take. This would be quite similar to the Bali Declaration, falling into three parts.
“First we would have the introductory language, focusing on the importance of the multilateral trading system in the context of the WTO’s 20th anniversary. The second part would cover the Nairobi deliverables which we are working separately to develop. The third part would then look to our future work after Nairobi. I think that we should now begin a process of more focused discussions, following this structure.
“In addition, from all the feedback I have heard, there has been a good response so far to the facilitators themselves. Their report was very useful and seems to have been well-received as a balanced and comprehensive document, and I think that they have the trust of the membership. Therefore it makes sense that they should continue to play a role in assisting me and the General Council Chair in facilitating our work.
“Many members emphasised the need to maintain a transparent and inclusive process. Therefore I think we should move to a more intense process of meetings with the full membership to begin preparing elements under each heading, following this structure. I, the General Council Chair, and the facilitators would work together to run these meetings, but the members would be the drafters, not us. The contributions must come from the membership.”
It was agreed that this work will commence at a meeting of the full membership on Thursday 5 November.
The Director-General also stressed that the task of preparing a Ministerial Declaration must move forward in parallel to work on negotiating substantive deliverables for Nairobi. He urged members to remain engaged on all fronts – and to be ready for an intensification of work across the board.
Source: World Trade Organization (WTO)