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April 18, 2006
LETTER TO PASCAL LAMY, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE WTO

 

Mr. Pascal Lamy
Director General of the WTO
41 22 739 5460 fax
April 18, 2006

Re: Using Non-inclusive Ministerials to Conclude the Doha Round

Dear Mr. Lamy,

We are deeply concerned about your call for some Ministers to meet in Geneva in late April and early May. We are opposed to such a Mini-Ministerial meeting that could lead to critical decisions being made by only a handful of Ministers. It is now too late for the majority of Ministers to make their way to Geneva, especially when it remains unclear what the agenda of the meeting will be, and therefore unclear if it will be worth Ministers’ scarce financial resources and time. Therefore, we are calling on you as WTO Director General and chair of the TNC to cancel this ad hoc exclusive Ministerial-level gathering and ensure that all WTO member delegations are fully involved in any negotiations regarding the Doha Round.

Your proposal at the recent TNC that “the establishment of modalities as foreseen by the Hong Kong Declaration will require some sort of Ministerial involvement during the last week of April, with a safety net beginning of May” contradicts your previously stated commitment to a bottom-up approach to the negotiations. Any negotiations or decision-making process that happens at the end of April or at any time should be all-inclusive, transparent, and with the full participation of all members, as per the WTO mandate.

The current situation adds to the mounting concerns shared by civil society and many developing country officials: that exclusive meetings of certain countries to further negotiations in the WTO have become the main negotiating arena for the Doha Round. These exclusive meetings include the recent Senior Officials meeting of the WTO in Geneva on the 7-9th of March, the Mini-Ministerial meeting in London on the 10-11th of March, and the recent Micro- Ministerial in Rio on March 31-April 1, which you attended. While groups of Ministers, ambassadors and/or delegates are certainly free to meet informally, our concern is that these meetings have become the main negotiating fora.

The countries that are being excluded from these undemocratic and non-inclusive decision-making processes are, of course, the majority of the WTO’s member countries, including the LDCs, the ACP, and the Africa Group. These are the same countries which now face a Doha Round conclusion that, if implemented, would harm the majority of their populations, as confirmed by recent Carnegie, World Bank, and other studies, because of the manner in which the negotiations process has been dominated by the interests of the rich and powerful countries which have forced development issues off the agenda.

If your call for Ministerial involvement is not to be seen as a wilful continuation of this undemocratic, top-down approach, then it is imperative that every member has equal access to the decision-making processes of the Doha Round.

We therefore demand that the entire membership of the WTO be invited to be involved in all processes and all meetings with regards to future WTO negotiations. The presence of some Ministers must not become a pretext for exclusive Green Room meetings where decisions are made without the presence of all WTO members.

May we remind you that articles 48 and 49 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration make abundantly clear that the Director General, above all, should be committed to ensure that the negotiations are open to all members of the WTO and that they should be conducted in such a manner that facilitates the effective participation of all in order to achieve benefits for all members and an overall balance in the outcome of the negotiations. This mandate however has been repeatedly violated over the course of the negotiations.

Sir, you have expressed a commitment to democratic process and transparent operation of the WTO. Yet your invitation to Ministers to come to Geneva seems inconsistent with your espoused commitments.

We have serious concerns that your proposed process is likely to be a recreation of the procedurally flawed situation that produced the July package in 2004, where only a select circle of Ministers were present at a Mini-Ministerial in Geneva, which became the main decision making and negotiating forum. Decisions were made without the full participation of the entire membership that were as critical as those of a formal Ministerial Conference.

If your past statements are to be more than rhetoric, we would like to hear from you, as to how you are implementing your responsibility to ensure that decision-making is based on the full participation of all members.

We seek your urgent consideration of the above matters and your prompt assurance that honest, democratic and inclusive processes, not the interests of the powerful few or looming timelines, will determine the process of WTO negotiations.

Yours truly,

1. ActionAid International
2. Advocacy and Monitoring Network on Sustainable Development (AM-Net), Japan
3. AID/WATCH, Australia
4. Albertine Rift Conservation Society, Uganda
5. Alianza Chilena por un Comercio Justo y Responsable (ACJR)
6. Alliance for Democracy, US
7. Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Philippines
8. Alliance to Expose GATS, Australia
9. Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party, Malta
10. ANAKBAYAN Sons and Daughters of the Nation, Philippines
11. Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Lebanon
12. Arbeidssøkerforbundet I Norge, Norway
13. Arbeitsgemeinschaft Entwicklungszusammenarbeit (AGEZ), Austria
14. Association Pour le Développement Economique Social Environnemental du Nord (ADESEN), Senegal
15. Attac Argentina
16. Attac Japan
17. Attac Norway
18. Aurat Foundation, Pakistan
19. Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFINET)
20. Bangladesh Krishok Federation
21. Berne Declaration, Switzerland
22. Both ENDS, The Netherlands
23. Brazilian Network for the Integration of the Peoples (REBRIP)
24. Campaign for the Welfare State, Norway
25. Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
26. Capítulo Costa Rica de la Alianza Social Continental
27. Caritas Pakistan (Lahore), Pakistan
28. Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace, Sydney Australia
29. Centro Memorial Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cuba
30. Citizens Trade Campaign, US
31. Coastal Development Partnership, Bangladesh
32. COECOCeiba – Friends of the Earth, Costa Rica
33. College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP)
34. Comhlámh - The Irish Association of Development Workers
35. Common Frontiers, Canada
36. Community and Public Sector Union - State Public Services Federation Group, Australia
37. Consumers' Association of Penang, Malaysia
38. Corporate Europe Observatory, European Union
39. Council of Canadians
40. Damaan Development Organization, Pakistan
41. The Development Fund, Norway
42. Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
43. Economic Justice & Development Organization (EJAD), Pakistan
44. Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, Philippines
45. Encuentro Popular, Costa Rica
46. Equations, India
47. ESK Pais Vasco, Spain
48. Fair, Italy
49. Fédération Syndicale Unitaire, France
50. Focus on the Global South, Philippines and Thailand
51. Food and Water Watch, US
52. Fórum Brasileiro das Organizações Não Governamentais e Movimentos Sociais para o Meio Ambiente e o Desenvolvimento (FBOMS), Brazil
53. Forum za Levico, Slovenia
54. Foundation for Gaia, UK
55. Friends of the Earth, Australia
56. Friends of the Earth, Germany
57. Friends of the Earth, Malaysia
58. Friends of the Earth, US
59. Fundación Solón, Bolivia
60. Global Exchange, US
61. Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong
62. Globalization Watch Hiroshima, Japan
63. Green Circle Organization (GCO), Pakistan
64. India Women's Watch
65. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, US
66. Instituto de Estudos Sócioeconômicos (INESC), Brazil
67. International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
68. International Grail Justice and Trade Agreements Network
69. International Forum on Globalization
70. International Network Secretariat for Sustainability Watch, Uganda
71. International Union of Foodworkers
72. Japan Family Farmers Movement, NOUMINEN
73. KAIROS Canada
74. Kissan Bachao Tehreek Pakistan (KBT)
75. Labour, Health, and Human Rights Development Centre (LHAHRDEV), Nigeria
76. League of Filipino Students (LFS)
77. Lok Sanjh Foundation, Pakistan
78. Lutheran World Federation, Philippines
79. Millennium Solidarity Geneva Group, Switzerland
80. National Council of Churches in the Philippines
81. National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF), India
82. National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP)
83. Norwegian Farmers and Smallholders Union
84. Oakland Institute, US
85. Oxfam International
86. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
87. Pakistan Kissan Ittehad
88. Pattan Development Organization, Pakistan
89. Philippines Australia Union Link
90. Polaris Institute, Canada
91. Prakruti, India
92. Programme Plaidoyer pour une Intégration Economique Alternative (PAPDA), Haiti
93. Public Citizen, US
94. Public Services International
95. Red de Mujeres Transformando la Economia (REMTE), Ecuador
96. Save Bombay Committee, India
97. SEARCH Foundation, Australia
98. Shirkat Gah, Pakistan
99. Sierra Club, US and Canada
100. Sociologists without Borders, US
101. Soon Valley Development Programme (SVDP), Pakistan
102. South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-Pk)
103. Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), Zimbabwe
104. Speed Trust, Bangladesh
105. Stop the New Round! Coalition, Philippines
106. Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP)
107. Sungi Development Foundation, Pakistan
108. Sustainable Agriculture Action Group (SAAG), Pakistan
109. Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan
110. Taiwan NGOs Association for International Affairs (NAFIA)
111. Third World Network
112. Tradewatch, Italy
113. Transnational Institute (TNI), The Netherlands
114. UnitingCare NSW.ACT, Australia
115. Veterinarios Sin Fronteras, Spain
116. Village Friends Organizaion (VFO), Pakistan
117. War on Want, UK
118. Wemos Foundation, The Netherlands
119. Women in Development Europe (WIDE), Belgium
120. Women's Resource and Advocacy Centre, India
121. Womyns Agenda For Change, Cambodia
122. World Economy, Ecology and Development (WEED), Germany
123. Worldview, The Gambia
124. WTO Watch Qld, Australia
125. X minus Y Solidarity Fund, The Netherlands

cc: Permanent Representatives of Member States, WTO

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