WTO's 2-year strategy comes to fruition
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“It is my great pleasure to provide to you this informal end-of-year
report on the activities of the World Trade Organization in 2001. I
should also like briefly to explain the likely work programme of the
Secretariat in 2002 and offer views on a possible roadmap to
the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda.
me begin, however, by placing on the record my appreciation and
respect for the professionalism, friendship and cooperation of the
Chairman of the General Council, Mr. Stuart Harbinson. I give
thanks also to the chairpersons of our various working bodies.
I honour the hard work of Ambassadors and mission staff in
Geneva. I thank my own deputies and staff for their commitment. I want
to thank Ministers for their generosity, wisdom and vision expressed
so clearly in Doha. I have always believed true patriots must also be
internationalists. In Doha, Ministers showed us that pursuing national
interests in a cooperative and constructive manner is the surest way
to advance positive global outcomes.
has been an outstanding year for the World Trade Organization, perhaps
the most significant in our brief history. We have concluded a
successful Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar and, as USTR Bob
Zoellick said, '…removed the stain of Seattle'. We have agreed a
far-reaching set of negotiations to be completed within a three-year
timeframe — thus, the Seattle syndrome has been replaced with the
hope and expectation of the Doha Development Agenda. We have placed
development issues and the interests of our poorer Members at the
heart of our work. And we have welcomed more than a quarter of the
world's population into our membership from Lithuania, Moldova, China
and Chinese Taipei.
has been of a year of important lessons and new insights. The Doha
success was built on a preparatory process that was transparent and
inclusive. We must carry these principles into our future work. We
must also ensure all our Members, large and small, rich and poor, are
given every assistance and opportunity to participate in our
negotiations. Ministers have told me they want to be engaged so they
can continue to guide our agenda forward.
the conclusion of the 4th Ministerial Conference, I said that while
the Doha Development Agenda was launched out of mutual self-interest,
for many resource-constrained Member countries it was also a brave act
of faith, trust and hope. I believe Members have already begun to
deliver on this faith. I believe we are off to a good, determined and
focused start to our new mandate.
important step came yesterday when the General Council approved a
Secretariat budget for 2002 that closely reflects the priorities
identified by Ministers in Doha, including in such key areas as
technical cooperation and capacity-building, coherence, advancing
accessions and doing a better job of explaining ourselves to those who
pay our bills, the outside world. Highlights of the budget include:
total budget of around CHF 143 million, representing an increase
of the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund with a proposed
core budget of CHF 15 million to provide secure and predictable
resources to build capacity,
funding to allow us to double the number of trainees from
developing countries who can attend the recently established WTO
funds of CHF850,000 for translation services which is in addition
to the CHF1.5 million given last year; this addresses a
long-standing grievance from some non-English speaking Member
to take on 8 new staff in key areas identified by Ministers; more
short-term staff will be contracted once the DDA Global Trust Fund
brings more resources on line, and
to enable us to continue to run the Geneva Week programme in 2002,
assisting non-resident Member officials to participate more fully
in the work of the WTO.
is a good budget and an important first step. It is focused and
balanced and helps us to deliver on the promise of Doha. Members are
delivering on this promise in other ways as well. Yesterday, for
example, the German Ambassador conveyed to me a contribution of 1
million Deutsche Marks to help our efforts in technical cooperation
and capacity building. I am sincerely grateful for the generosity and
responsibility shown by Members.
is much to do to ensure the next Ministerial Conference is a success
and the new negotiations are concluded within the three-year timeframe
agreed by Ministers in Doha. My duty is clear; to ensure the
Secretariat's activities are aimed at assisting Members to undertake
and conclude their negotiations. I must also ensure our resources
match our collective ambitions. I have taken important steps already
in this regard:
resources have been re-deployed to reflect the priorities of the
Doha Development Agenda, particularly in areas of development,
capacity-building, accessions, coherence and outreach. Efficiency
gains and cost savings are being introduced. We will also review
matters further in light of decisions taken by Members on the
trade negotiating machinery.
am establishing a Resource and Performance Analysis function in
the Secretariat so we can regularly and routinely monitor our
performance against agreed objectives. A report will be prepared
on how this new function will operate.
will be commissioning work on how to make the Secretariat a better
working environment for staff. I want to look at issues of working
conditions, career development, tenure, recruitment and promotion
processes, and ways to reward innovation and efficiency gains.
Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration has suggested a
report on staffing issues and I look forward also to commissioning
this important work.
terms of the roadmap ahead, I am taking other steps as well to ensure
the Secretariat's work builds on the momentum from Doha and towards
the next Ministerial Conference:
have been communicating with key groups in Geneva. Immediately
following Doha I met with Ambassadors from Arab countries to
discuss our Arab Strategy. I have met recently with Geneva-based
representatives of acceding countries and have communicated with
their Ministers. We are increasing our resources in this area, in
line with the Doha outcomes, and I have invited delegations to
give me ideas for accelerating their accession processes. We are
also increasing our efforts in favour of Least Developed Countries
and economies in transition. Once again, I have written to their
Missions seeking advice and guidance.
are preparing a programme of activities for 2002 that will give
heightened attention to particular regions. For example, we are
planning major initiatives in coordination with other institutions
in the Balkans and Central Asia. These areas have regrettably not
been given adequate attention in the past.
contact is always important. My staff tell me I have travelled
over 625,000 km and visited more than 180 cities in the past 2
years. This is necessary work. I will continue to visit capitals
and seek guidance from Ministers. Early in the new year I am
planning a series of missions including to the United States,
Africa and Oman.
are investigating other innovative ways to keep Ministers fully
engaged and involved. In addition to personal contacts, telephone
calls and regular mailings, we may shortly run a series of
will be focusing more closely on issues of coherence so we can
produce models of cooperation and synergies with other
institutions better suited to deliver fair results since Doha. I
have already met with representatives of international agencies
based in Geneva and I will continue to pursue coherence issues
when I meet with heads of agencies in the United States early next
year. I am also looking to reinforce our staff resources in this
area. Of course, coherence is an issue that needs to be pursued by
all stakeholders. Those seeking assistance need to be more
specific about their needs. Donors need to better coordinate their
own efforts both in capitals and amongst each other. The same is
true of international agencies. Duplication and wastage is costly,
not only in financial terms but in precious time and credibility.
have been asked to do better, and be more creative, in our
dealings with wider society including groups such as
parliamentarians. I will be looking at this early in 2002. We are
already planning a major Symposium in May next year which will
address the concerns expressed by some Ministers at Doha on our
relations with the public. Already, useful suggestions for the
agenda of this Symposium are emerging. They include development
issues such as Trade and Debt, Trade and Finance and the impact of
technology and the digital divide; issues of participation and the
problems of capacity constrained missions; the functioning and
financing of the WTO; external relations; issues of social justice
and the social, economic, environmental and political impacts of
globalisation. Much more consideration needs to be done before our
agenda is finalized. However, the serious studies being undertaken
by my group of Eminent Advisors could be very useful input.
too must create momentum. I believe early agreement is needed on the
details of the structure for dealing with the work programme from
Doha. An early decision on the venue for the next Ministerial is also
important. Also, despite urgings by many Ministers and considerable
effort over the past few years, little movement has been achieved on
issues such as derestriction of documents and observership. More focus
on these types of issues might assist in building momentum.
of the new initiatives and actions I have discussed, and which are
based on the Doha Development Agenda, do not detract from the core
business of this Organization. It reinforces this critical work.
However, because of the commitment of Ministers and Ambassadors, I
think we can now claim with confidence that we have truly given birth
to the WTO. It is now not the old GATT with a few, symbolic gestures
to the new global realities, but better reflects the new needs of our
wider membership and instructions from Ministers.
behalf of the staff of the WTO Secretariat, may I thank you for a most
rewarding year and say how much I look forward to 2002”.