WTO Public Forum 2010 Opens
15 September 2010: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2010 is taking place from 15-17 September 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, around the theme "The Shaping Forces."
The Forum provides an opportunity for governments, civil society organizations, legislators, trade union representatives, academics, business groups and students to take stock of the latest developments impacting the multilateral trading system. Pascal Lamy, WTO Director General, noted the need to: rebalance the rules of the multilateral trading system in favor of the poor through the completion of the Doha Development Agenda; and to "climb ever higher mountains" by tackling emerging issues such as energy, climate change and electronic commerce. Lamy also commented on the Forum's theme, highlighting that the WTO's multilateral trading system is one of the most advanced engines of global governance. Noting that other institutions have battles over their governance structure and the relative importance of the North and the South, he underscored that the WTO is a fairly democratic institution where "the voice of the small cannot be ignored."
He provided the example of negotiations on agriculture, now at the centre of the WTO's Doha Round of trade negotiations, evidencing the power that the South has gained. He also mentioned the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism where "it is not the size of a country or of its GDP that matters, but the strength of the legal and economic arguments that it succeeds in putting forward." [WTO Press Release] [WTO Public Forum's Website]