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TWN Info Service on WTO Issues (Dec03/7)

12 December 2003

Third World Network

Dear friends and colleagues,

ISSUES AND OPTIONS IN THE WTO POST-CANCUN PROCESS

Below is a paper on the post Cancun situation and process.

I hope you find it useful, especially for contextualising the WTO General Council meeting starting 15 December.

with best wishes

Martin Khor

Third World Network

 

 

 

 

 

ISSUES AND OPTIONS IN THE WTO POST-CANCUN SITUATION

 

 

 

A.      INTRODUCTION

 

 

The events at Cancun provide an opportunity for rethinking the outcome of the Doha work programme and the future of the WTO and the trading system.

At Cancun, the developing countries were better able to organise themselves and articulate their interests.  There are higher expectations now from them that the developed countries will honour the Doha Declaration principle that the interests of developing countries would be at the centre of the work programme.

The question of how to proceed on many substantive issues is now open.  The proposals from all sides should reflect what is in the best interests of development of developing countries.

We should not be distracted by the “blame game” as to who caused Cancun to fail, and not to be affected by any hints or accusations that developing countries were responsible and will now suffer for it.   What is important is to examine what is the best options on substantive and process issues that will be in the interest of developing countries and to put these positions forward.

This paper examines some of the key issues after Cancun and as members prepare for the 15 December General Council meeting.

 

B.   THE PROCESS SO FAR

 

All formal meetings and negotiations were suspended after Cancun.  Instead the General Council chairman identified four outstanding issues (agriculture, NAMA, cotton, Singapore issues) and held consultations.  Developing countries, especially the Africans, made clear they could go along with these four issues, provided other issues (especially the development issues of S and D and implementation) would also be taken up.

A first round of consultations was completed in mid-November and a second round of consultations has also ended with the holding of a heads of delegation meeting on 9 December.   At the 9 December meeting, the Chairman of the General Council indicated that there would be no next texts tabled at the General Council meeting of 15, 16 and 18 December as the differences of views have remained.  He will present a report of the consultations at that meeting, and propose that the negotiating bodies reconvene their work in February.   In essence there has been no negotiating progress since Cancun.

During the informal consultations, only some countries were invited to the “Green Room” meetings.   There have been bilaterals between the Chair or a senior Secretariat official and some delegations, and there were also a few meetings where 20 to 30 delegations were invited (e.g. agriculture, Singapore issues).  Many other countries are in the dark on what has been happening.

As yet there has not been convergence of views on any of the four issues during the informal consultations.  Also, some developed countries, especially the EU, were not able to take part fully as they are still making up their minds on what position to take (e.g. the EU was in a state of “internal reflection”).

The Derbez text (i.e. 13 September draft Cancun Ministerial text which was heavily criticised by many developing countries) is often referred to, as a basis or reference point.  However there has not been any formal decision to use it as the basis for further negotiations. In the consultations, some members have been critical of some parts of the text, and have said that at best the Derbez text can be one of the reference points but not the only or the main text on which negotiations are to be based.

 

C.      AGRICULTURE

 

A second round of consultations on agriculture began with a meeting involving about 30 delegations on 20-21 November.   There was no convergence of views among the members and groupings and the General Council chair concluded that  “there was no negotiating mood and no basis for a new text.” India produced data to show that the “blended approach” for market access would disadvantage developing countries as they would be subjected to much deeper tariff cuts than developed countries, due to their different tariff profiles.  However the General Clouncil chairman has indicated that the Derbez text will be the main reference for future negotiations.

The Derbex text has many imbalances and problems.  It would allow the developed countries to maintain or even increase domestic support and elude elimination of export subsidies and credits, whilst imposing even steeper tariff cuts on developing countries and providing less S and D aspects to them.

On DOMESTIC SUPPORT, developed countries will be able to retain their high subsidies and indeed to raise them.  The Blue Box category continues to be maintained and the criteria for the Blue Box is relaxed, thus allowing an expansion of use.  There is no cap on the Green Box, only a reference to reviewing its criteria. It is likely the developed countries can maintain or increase their overall domestic support by switching from one kind of subsidies to other kinds.

On MARKET ACCESS, the text has different commitments for developed and developing countries in important respects.  The developed countries will adhere to a “blended formula”, which had been originally proposed by the EC and US, with three categories:  (i) a percentage of tariff lines subjected to average cut and a minium per line;  (ii) a percentage subjected to a Swiss formula;  (iii) a percentage to be tariff free.

This blended approach enables the major countries to place their high-tariff items in a category (i.e. category i) for lower tariff cuts and thus elude removing tariff peaks which block developing country products.  Para 2.2 seems to address tariff peaks by placing a cap on tariffs, but there are two escape clauses:  (a) a choice of capping at that maximum rate or instead providing extra market access in other areas, and (b) additional flexibility given to items designated as having non-trade concerns which would NOT be subjected to a cap of tariffs.   In fact this is a provision for having Special Products for developed countries.

The developed countries have very high tariff peaks for critical products (of export interest to developing countries), and many tariff lines with moderate tariff levels, and some that are low.  The blended approach was devised by the EU and US to suit their tariff profile and their interests.  The products with presently high tariffs can be placed in category (i) and subjected to small decreases.  Other tariff lines at moderate or low levels can be placed in category (ii) whilst the existing lines at zero or very low levels can be placed in category (iii).    Thus, the major developed countries can use the blended formula to escape serious cuts.

However, the text on market access treats developing countries very poorly.  They are also subjected to the blended approach.  This will result in much steeper cuts for developing countries generally.  Compared to developed countries, the developing countries have more tariff lines with higher bound tariffs.

The major developed countries insisted that developing countries commit to opening their markets more, and the revised draft has bowed to their influence.  This is most unfair because many developing countries are already suffering from increases of agricultural imports (artificially cheapened by subsidies) and the only tool they have (i.e. tariffs) to counter unfair competition from the rich nations is being removed very significantly through the Draft.

Data from the study by India show that the blended formula would result in developed countries having to reduce their tariffs by only 30% on average, whilst developing countries would have to reduce by 30-70 percent on average.

The following are some of the negative aspects of the Draft:

---  PARA 2.7 of the Draft imposes a blended formula on the developing countries. The blended formula comprises three categories of products with different rates of reductions:  (i) a percentage of products to be subjected to an average tariff cut with a minimum rate for each line; designated Special Products (with conditions to be determined) will be subjected to a minimum percent linear cut.  (ii) a percentage of products to be subjected to a Swiss formula reduction;  (iii)  a percentage of products to be subjected to 0 to 5 percent tariff.

Thus developing countries have to commit to very significant reductions.  Only in one category will there be an average reduction target, and even here there is a minimum cut for each tariff line.  The SP category is also subjected to a minimum cut.  On two other categories, the tariffs are subjected to steeper cuts---under a Swiss formula (with much steeper cuts) or to reductions to very low levels (0-5 percent).    Under the Swiss formula, the higher the tariff, the steeper will be the cut; and since many developing countries have rather high agriculture bound tariffs, they will be subjected to steeper cuts.  Under the third category, the commitment is even stricter as tariffs have to be brought down to 0-5 percent.  Of course it is important to know what is the percentage of  tariff lines are to be in each category.  The developed countries are likely to press to maximize the portions of tariffs in the second and third categories, in which case a large majority of developing countries’ tariffs will be subjected to very steep cuts.   For example, if the ratio is one third of tariff lines in each category, then developing countries would have to reduce a large majority of their tariff lines very steeply.

Since developing countries have little or no capacity to provide subsidies, this serious erosion of their ability to use tariffs to protect farmers against imports will have severe adverse implications on rural livelihoods and poverty eradication objectives.  In the Geneva draft (24 August 2003) the obligations were bad enough but there was a flexibility for developing countries whether or not to have the Swiss formula applied to them.  This flexibility is now removed.

·        Inadequate Treatment of SPs and SSM.  There is very inadequate treatment of Special products (SPs) and Special safeguard mechanisms (SSM) in the draft.  More than 30 developing countries had formed an Alliance for SPs and SSM in Cancun to press their case for strong SP and SSM mechanisms, in which they can self-select certain products as SPs which would not be subjected to tariff cuts, and in which an SSM can be used in a simple and effective way to counter import surges (reflected in an increase in import volume, and/or a decrease in import prices).  This is required to protect farmers’ livelihoods and food security.  The draft mentions these two concepts in a very inadequate way.  SPs are only mentioned in para 2.6 (i) where the following restrictions apply:  (a) they can only be selected from one category of products in the blended approach;  (b) there will be conditions attached, which are to be determined.   On SSM, there is only a mention that its establishment will be “subject to conditions and for products to be determined.  This opens the road for so many conditions and so few products to qualify that in the end the mechanism will have limited use.

 

On EXPORT COMPETITION, the draft is similar to the Geneva text, and contains its weaknesses.  The text basically adopts the US-EU proposal, in which both parties agree to tolerate each other’s protection in equal measure (making use of the term “in parallel”) in relation to export subsidies and export credits.  Thus there is no date placed for elimination of subsidies, nor of credits.  This violates the Doha mandate that export subsidies will be reduced with the aim of phasing them out.  Now the draft states that “the question of the end date for phasing out all forms of export subsidies remains under negotiations.”

 

IMPLICATIONS

The implications of the Derbez text on agriculture are that:

(a)  The developed countries will be able to continue maintaining high domestic support, through shifting subsidies from Amber Box to Blue Box and Green Box.  They can also continue export subsidies and concessional export credits, with no time bound commitment for elimination.  The blended formula also allows them to have low reductions in tariffs, and the tariff peaks (including in products of interest to developing countries) will continue with slight reductions.

(b)  This enables the major developed countries not only to protect their domestic markets but to continue to “dump” artificially cheapened subsidized products on the global markets.  Developing countries will thus continue to suffer:  (1) reduced exports in their markets and in third markets;  (2) the threat of cheap products entering their own markets.

(c)  Given this, developing countries should have been allowed to not to undertake commitments (or significant commitments) to further reduce their only instrument (i.e. tariffs).  However the blended formula is also applied to the developing countries, and because of their having a different tariff profile, this will most likely result in their having to endure even steeper tariff cuts than the developed countries or that they had to undertake during the Uruguay Round.  Thus the imbalances in the AoA will worsen.  Ironically the sense of injustice will heighten as the developed countries will be able to maintain their range of weapons (high tariffs, export subsidies/credits and various forms of domestic support) and even increase these weapons, whilst the developing countries are subjected to committing themselves to disarm in the only defence instrument they now have (i.e. to lower their tariffs further and even more steeply).  Thus, developing countries in effect are being asked to disarm their one weapon, whilst the developed countries maintain their range of conventional and sophisticated weaponry.

(d)  If the Derbez text is taken as the framework, there is thus a real danger that developing countries can be expected to suffer higher incidence of import surges, with adverse consequences for rural livelihoods and incomes and for food security.

 

 

SOME SUGGESTIONS

1.   There should be higher ambition in eliminating the Amber and Blue Box domestic support measures of the developed countries and to review the Green Box measures, with the view of reclassifying some of them as Amber Box subsidies (to be subjected to reduction and elimination), and capping and reducing the rest.

2.   On market access, the developed countries should commit to meaningfully reducing tariff peaks and escalation of products of interest to developing countries.  The blended formula should not serve as an escape scheme from this commitment.  There should be a high average reduction for developed countries,

3.   The developing countries should not be asked to commit to make more tariff reductions of a significant kind.  This is especially in view of the great likelihood that protection will remain high in the developed countries, especially in view of domestic concerns in the major countries.

4.   The blended formula as proposed in the Derbez text is unsuitable for developing countries and should not be accepted.  Moreover the Special Products category should be given more prominence and importance in the aspect of market access.

 

 

Thus for developing countries there could be a two-tier system:

Category 1 where no reduction commitments apply.  This can comprise special products (products related to rural livelihoods, food security and significant contribution to economy, etc) and other products which are vulnerable to further tariff reductions (for example because the tariffs are already very low).

Category 2 with average overall reduction target of a certain percentage.  This percentage should be lower than that for developed countries and not higher than the Uruguay Round.  The calculation of the average percent shall be based on tariff lines in Category 2.

5.   The concept of Special Products should be applied  not only in market access but also to domestic support and export competition.  Special products should also have additional flexibility in relation to the reduction commitments in these two areas.

6.   Para 2.8 on Special Safeguard Mechanism for developing countries should be strengthened to ensure that all products that are affected by import surge or price decline etc are covered, that the injury test is not required, and that the mechanism is easy to use.  The conditions for use must not be cumbersome as to render the mechanism of little utility.  A simple set of trigger points should be established which are easy to calculate and to use.

 

 

7.   Other Agriculture Issues:

 

(a)      Assistance to net food importing countries shall be made effective through appropriate mechanisms.

(b)      Effective mechanisms shall be established to assist developing countries affected by the loss of preferential margins.

(c)      There shall be binding commitments by developed countries for duty free and quota free market access for all agricultural products of LDCs.

(d)      There shall be binding commitment to assist developing countries with capacity building including to overcome supply side constraints.

(e)      Modalities shall include effective measures, including those relating to rules if necessary, to assist developing countries to cope with decline in prices, inadequate earnings, and other problems relating to agricultural commodity exports.

(f)      Modalities and practical mechanisms shall be established to assist developing countries affected by the erosion of preferences resulting from liberalisation measures of their trading partners.

 

D.  NON AGRICULTURE MARKET ACCESS (NAMA)

 

From the report on consultations given by the Chair of the General Council at a HOD meeting in mid-November, he seemed to be proceeding on consultations on NAMA on the basis of the Derbez text.   He has also indicated this text would be the basis for further negotiations.

However there are many problems in the Derbez text for developing countries.

These are the most serious problems in Annex B on NAMA:

 

·        Para 3 retains the directive that the negotiating group continue work on a non-linear formula applied on a line-by-line basis.  This formula dictates that there be steeper and steeper percentage tariff cuts, the higher are the tariffs. Many developing countries have and require higher tariffs to protect their small industries.  The non linear formula will drastically reduce their tariffs and threaten their domestic industries.

 

PROPOSAL:  Delete the words “should continue its work on a non-linear formula applied on a line by line basis which”.

 

·        Para 4 tiret 2 dictates that unbound tariff lines shall also be subjected to the non-linear approach, after they are bound at (twice) the applied rate.  This would have very serious implications for many countries.  It would mean that after the exercise, (a) the presently unbound tariff lines will be bound, and (b) in many cases the new tariff rates would be below (and in some cases significantly below) the present applied rate.  The flexibility for raising applied rates would be eroded.

 

PROPOSAL: Para 4 refers to the non-linear formula.  Since that formula should be removed, the whole para 4 should also be deleted.  In any case the second part of the 2nd tiret should be removed.

 

·        Para 6 on the “sectoral tariff component” (i.e. accelerated tariff reduction eventually to zero) retains its controversial line that “participation by all participants will be important”, implying it will be mandatory.  This is against the demand by most developing countries that such a scheme should only be voluntary.  If adopted, the draft would commit developing countries to eliminate tariffs on seven sectors or more, many of which contain local industries whose survival would be seriously threatened.  (Annex B does not state which sectors are involved, and thus the door is open to cover even more than the 7 sectors mentioned in the proposal of the Chairman of the NAMA Group in Geneva).

 

PROPOSAL:    The text should be changed so that developing countries are exempted.  Or else the scheme shall be voluntary.

 

 

SUGGESTIONS

Domestic industries in many developing countries are already facing problems including closure and loss of jobs due to tariff reductions.  There is an additional problem of loss of government revenue.

The Derbez text contains elements as stated above that will worsen the situation as it would oblige developing countries to bind almost all their presently unbound tariffs, and subject the tariffs to steep cuts through the non-linear and sectoral approaches.   For many countries, an implementation of the Derbez text will mean further de-industrilisation with little or no hope of ever developing an industrial base for development.

The Derbex text should therefore not be the basis for future negotiations.

It is especially important that developing countries not be subjected to the “non-linear” and sectoral approaches.

(1)  Developing countries should be given the flexibility to determine their own rate of tariff reduction.  This could be similar to the Uruguay Round approach, in which developing countries were given a target of average overall reduction of 27%, with the flexibility to choose the rates of each tariff line.  Moreover, products and industries that are sensitive or important need not have any tariff reduction.

(2)  Developing countries also had the option in the Uruguay Round of choosing the scope of binding.  This flexibility should also be retained, as was the case in all previous Rounds.

(3)  The sectoral approach should not be applied to developing countries.

(4)  LDCs should be exempted from further tariff reduction obligations.

(5)  There are however many developing countries that are not LDCs but with characteristics similar to LDCs in relation to the poor state of their domestic industries.  Thus flexibility should be given to developing countries, not only LDCs.

 

 

E.            SINGAPORE ISSUES

 

At Cancun, about 90 developing countries (including ACP, Africa and LDC countries and many Asian countries) made clear they were not prepared to begin negotiations on any of the Singapore issues, and they would at best be prepared to further clarify the issues.  It was clear there was no consensus to begin negotiations on any of the issues.

On the final day, at the “Green Room” meeting, the EC said it was prepared to drop two issues (investment, competition)  and possibly a third (i.e.  transparency in government procurement) from the WTO agenda altogether.  The implication of “dropping from the WTO agenda” meant that the issues would no longer be discussed, even at the working group level.   At a press conference at the end of the Cancun meeting, Pascal Lamy reiterated his position and implied that it would stand even after Cancun.

However, the EC has indicated it would like to keep its options open.   It says it is willing to drop some of the issues “from the single undertaking”.  But what this means is unclear.  It implies that on some of the issues, the EC would still try for starting multilateral negotiations and to be part of the single undertaking.  On other issues, which are “removed from the single undertaking”, it could still want discussions to carry on at the working groups, which could lead to multilateral rules at a future date (not necessarily to be established when negotiations end on other topics such as agriculture), or to plurilateral negotiations and rules negotiations.  Among the possibilities it has raised is to retain some of the issues (investment, competition) as discussion issues with the option of plurilateral agreements, whilst having other issues go into the negotiating mode.  This seems at present to be the EC’s preferred option.  These present options are not the same as the Lamy offer to drop three issues from the WTO altogether.  They represent an attempt to salvage the situation for the EU, retreat from Lamy’s Cancun offer and to keep the all the issues still alive, so that they can all still lead to agreements in the future.

At the post-Cancun consultations, the General Council chair made a proposal of “2 plus 2” i.e. having two issues (investment and competition) continue in a discussion mode, including clarifying whether the plurilateral approach is feasible, whilst having the two other issues enter into negotiations.  This seems quite in line with the EC position.

During the recent consultations at WTO, many developing countries have voiced opposition the “2 plus 2” proposal of the Chair.  Many of them proposed that three of the Singapore issues be dropped altogether, as had been offered in Cancun by the EC.  They also opposed the plurilateral approach, as the WTO is a multilateral organization.  They also fear that although such an approach may appear to give members the right not to join, in the end the developing countries would feel obliged to join. Moreover, this would open the way for more issues to enter the WTO in future through the plurilateral route.

Most of the developing countries do not want negotiations to start on any of the issues.  Many of them also think it would be futile to resume discussions at the working groups in a “business as usual” way, when the EC had already indicated in Cancun that it was willing to drop two or three of the issues.  It would be best for them if the Singapore issues were removed from the Doha work programme, and that the WTO focus on trade issues.

 

SUGGESTION

Most developing countries have not been in favour of having the four Singapore issues enter the WTO, and especially not as the subjects of legally binding rules, as they fear these rules would restrict their development policy space and also incur costs.   At Cancun, they were able to make their concerns noticed.

Before and at Cancun, the developing countries took the position that there was no consensus on modalities and thus no basis to commence negotiations on any of the Singapore issues, and that thus the process of clarification of issues should continue.

However, on the last day in Cancun, EC showed that it was ready to drop two or even three of the issues altogether from the WTO agenda.   It also indicated at the end of the Cancun meeting that it would retain this position.

This demonstrated that the Singapore issues are not really of such great importance in themselves for the EU, which were the main demandeurs.  After Cancun, they have also said that they are not the demandeurs.  If they are not the demandeurs anymore, then the argument can be made that they can agree to drop these issues.

In the new situation at and after Cancun, developing countries can now take the position that the Singapore issues should be dropped from the WTO agenda altogether.  There need not be any further discussion at the working group level as well.

If it is not possible to drop the issues from the WTO agenda altogether, then the issues should at least be dropped from the Doha work programme.  This will avoid further tensions as to whether there can be an explicit consensus on modalities, and whether negotiations on the issues can be launched, and if so when, etc.

The WTO would then not be further burdened with issues that have divided the membership for so many years, and it would be more free to carry on its real work of trade negotiations.

 

F.            DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

 

The failure of the Cancun meeting to get a decision was significantly due to the WTO’s flawed processes of decision-making at three levels:  generally, in preparations for Ministerials and at Ministerials.   The WTO has not yet made the journey from being a rich-men’s-club of GATT where decisions are made by a few and mostly in informal ways, to a multilateral and democratic system of 130 over members, most of which are developing countries.

Unlike most other multilateral organizations (eg the UN excepting the Security Council), which are more open and participatory, most important decisions at the WTO are made in informal mode, and involving a few members, with the rest expected to agree.  Minutes are not kept of the informal meetings, and drafts of texts are increasingly written by the Chairperson, assisted by the Secretariat.  Drafts do not reflect the diversity of views, but usually contain “clean texts”, and members are expected to negotiate with the Chair instead of among themselves.    In these circumstances, it is no wonder that when drafts appear at the last hour, it is anyone’s guess whether they will be accepted or rejected by some members.  At Cancun, the “clean draft” produced on 13 September lunchtime was heavily criticized by many members at an informal meeting on 13 September night, and there was no possibility that the divisions could be bridged by the next day (the final day of the conference).

In the post-Cancun Geneva process, once again the Chair of the General Council was holding his own consultations with various members, and sometimes with groupings of 30 delegations.  Many delegations have been in the dark and do not know what is happening and have complained that they and their views are not represented at the Green Room meetings.  Many also request that they can talk face to face with other delegations instead of each Member negotiating with the Chair.   The failure after Cancun to get real negotiations going again, and the failure to be closer to a successful outcome, are signs that the untransparent and non-inclusive process of Green Rom meetings do not work.

Several NGOs before Cancun issued a joint Memo on The Need to Improve Internal Transparency and Participation in the WTO.  They correctly predicted that Cancun and other Ministerials stand a high chance of ending in failure, if current practices continue.  The WTO has a record of two failures in the last three Ministerial Conferences.  There is also discontent with the day-to-day functioning.   Thus a reform of the decision-making process, to make it more participatory, is urgently required.  It is important that any reform process makes the system more transparent and participatory, instead of its ending up less transparent and participatory.

 

Annex

 

Extract from “Memorandum on the Need to Improve the Internal Transparenhcy and Partiicipation in the WTO.”

Prepared by TWN, Oxfam, PSI, WWF, CIEL, Focus on the Global South, IATP, Africa Trade Network, IGTN and Tebtebba.

 

 

PROPOSALS FOR REFORMS

 

Changes to the WTO process are long overdue. Many organisations (at international, regional, or national levels) have rules and procedures that enable fair participation of the membership.  It is not so difficult to envisage that the WTO also establish and practice similarly fair rules and procedures.

 

 

Towards this end, we propose the following:

 

A.  General Proposals

 

1.   The consensus system should be applied in a manner that fully respects the views of developing country members.

2.   The views of every member must be respected in a decision involving consensus and explicit consensus, especially in the case of important issues.

3.   The WTO should adopt a realistic agenda and work schedule that is fair especially for smaller delegations.

4.            Developing countries should not be subjected to economic and political pressure relating to negotiations.

5.            Decisions should not be made until all members are technically ready.

6.            Developed countries should be ready to resolve development issues (including implementation and special and differential treatment) without exacting a new price.

 

 

B.   Proposals for Improving Processes linked to Preparations for Ministerial

Conferences

 

1.            Meetings, including “informal consultations”, should be open to all members. The schedule of all meetings should also be made known to all members.

2.   There should be more formal meetings of the General Council and the Trade Negotiations Committee instead of informal meetings.

3.   Proper notice should be given for all meetings and documents related to meetings should be distributed early enough.

4.   There should be agreed procedures for smaller, issue-based meetings in the event these meetings are proposed. Authorisation should come from all members and the meetings should be governed by transparent rules.

5.   There should be agreed terms of reference for the roles of chairs of formal and informal groups.  Chairs should facilitate discussions among members rather than negotiating with members.

6.   Agreed procedures for drafting of texts are needed. It should not be assumed that the Chairs would draft the texts. The practice of a chair producing draft text “under my personal responsibility” should be replaced by drafts approved by all members.

7.   There should be a fair reflection of diverse views in texts.

8.            Adequate time should be given to members to consider and discuss texts.

9.   The secretariat must maintain neutrality.

10. The holding of “Mini Ministerials” should cease.

 

 

C.  Proposals for improving processes during ministerial conferences

 

1.   The Opening Ceremony should be only ceremonial in nature and it should not adopt decisions on business matters.

2.   A committee of all members to coordinate negotiations and discussions should operate regularly (meeting at least once daily) throughout conference.

3.   The agenda, work programme and the draft declaration and other texts used as the basis for negotiations should be adopted by members at the first business meeting.

4.            Members (not the conference chairman) should appoint the chairs and facilitators to conduct discussions and determine their role and terms of

reference.

 

5.   All meetings should be inclusive and transparent, minutes should be kept and subject to members’ approval.

6.   The drafting of texts and decisions should be done in a transparent and inclusive manner and texts distributed to all.  Texts should fairly reflect the divergence of views, if any, among members.

7.   The system of holding “Green Room” exclusive meetings should be stopped.

8.   There should be proper rules and procedures for smaller issue-based meetings, which should be open to all interested members.  Authorisation should come from members who should also receive reports as soon as possible.

9.            Proposals for the  extension of the conference, amendment of agenda and other process issues should be decided on by all members.

10. The neutrality and impartiality of the Secretariat should be observed during Ministerials.

 


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