as the accountable representatives of civil society
The role of parliamentarians in the multilateral trading system-ensuring
monitoring and reporting Future ratification by parliaments of the results of
the Doha Development Agenda challenges
by the Director-General of the WTO, Mr. Mike Moore
this session gathered parliamentarians, representatives of the Members, as well
his opening remarks, the WTO Director-General laid emphasis on the importance
for the WTO to maintain a dialogue with parliamentarians who are, as elected by
the people, the accountable representatives of civil society. They had an
essential role to play with regard to the ratification of the results of
negotiations concluded in WTO. In that respect, it was important to assist them
to perform their duties more effectively. This Working Session was thus a good
opportunity for parliamentarians to exchange views and reflect on parliamentary
highlighted that the role of parliamentarians should go further than monitoring
and reporting alone. She made the case for a Parliamentary Assembly of the WTO,
which would have a more prominent role to play in the form of parliamentary
scrutiny, and also in the wider efforts to reform the WTO processes, and its
rules. She stressed the need to make the ratification process, such as would be
the case with the Doha Development Agenda, a meaningful one and pointed out to
the need to develop benchmarks and indicators, against which parliamentarians
can judge the results of the new round of multilateral trade negotiations.
noted that WTO is composed of Members represented by Governments who are elected
and take decisions by consensus. Therefore, any
Member Government has a veto in the WTO. In his opinion, there was no
crisis of legitimacy in the WTO as such. However, politicians have a
responsibility to maintain contact with the people and explain what WTO is all
about, including the dangers of protectionism.
parliamentarians present at the Working Session participated actively in the
discussion. Parliamentarians praised this opportunity to debate on their role
with regard to WTO issues and the need to ensure the support of the people for
the multilateral rules based trading system, as embodied by the WTO. It was felt
that WTO was far removed from the people, and in particular at the local level,
where the concerns of the citizens, regarding jobs and standards of living, is
coherence was sought between WTO and the UN System. The case for parliamentary
involvement was made for the WTO as well as for other organizations. The
question of one body or a proliferation of parliamentary assemblies was raised.
In respect of the WTO, as a follow-up to the decision taken by parliamentarians
present in Seattle on the occasion of the third WTO Ministerial Conference, and
reconfirmed by those present in Doha during the Fourth Ministerial Conference,
some parliamentarians proposed during this workshop to speed up the process of
the creation of a Standing Body or a Parliamentary Assembly to WTO.
felt that in one way or another, a parliamentary dimension to WTO would help
parliamentarians to better understand WTO's work and subsequently help them do a
better job at home in responding to the concerns of their constituencies and
enact legislation in their national parliaments.
there were some divergences about the nature and constitution of such a
Parliamentary Assembly or Standing Body to the WTO. This concept needed
therefore to be explored further, particularly with regard to its wide-ranging
implications and the details of its practical application.
coordination among the various organizations of parliamentarians at the regional
and international level was supported to ensure effectiveness and to avoid the
dispersion of the effort in working towards the establishment of such a
mechanism, especially to ensure the involvement of parliamentarians from
developing countries, who do not have the resources to afford capacity building
and attendance at international meetings of parliamentarians.
the time was not yet ripe for a Parliamentary Assembly, the need for
parliamentarians to assemble was strongly supported.
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