TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Oct15/12)
20 October 2015
Third World Network

Consultations to begin on Nairobi outcome document
Published in SUNS #8112 dated 14 October 2015

Geneva, 13 Oct (Kanaga Raja) -- The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Roberto Azevedo has announced that he is appointing three facilitators to consult with members on developing an outcome document for the organisation's tenth ministerial conference, to be held in Nairobi from 15-18 December.

According to information posted on the WTO website, the DG made the announcement at a heads of delegations (HOD) meeting on Monday.

He has appointed Ambassador Gabriel Duque of Colombia, Ambassador Harald Neple of Norway and Ambassador Stephen Karau of Kenya, which is hosting the ministerial conference, as the facilitators.

Azevedo informed trade envoys that he will be attending a series of ministerial meetings over the next two weeks away from Geneva and that he was proposing this initial process to advance the consultations during this period.

According to information posted on the WTO website, the three ambassadors will be asking members for their views on three key issues: the structure of the potential Nairobi outcome document; the elements that the document might cover (which could include priorities for post-Nairobi work); and what subsequent process could be employed to develop a draft of the outcome document.

The WTO website cited the Director-General as saying: "At the General Council last week we discussed the urgent need to address the issue of a potential outcome document in Nairobi - specifically what such a document should cover, and how we should arrive at a text."

"I think we all agree about the need to start this work, and that we should aim towards agreeing a Ministerial Declaration, but I think it is premature to start any kind of drafting exercise. The first step therefore must be to hear everybody's views. We need to have a process of consultations. It is important that all members have an opportunity to air their views.

Azevedo further said: "I will remain in very close contact with the facilitators during this time, and then I will report back to a meeting of all members to be held at the earliest opportunity. I don't want to prejudge where this exercise will lead. I will share the views that the facilitators have heard - on content and process - and we will decide at that point about what the next stage should look like."

According to the WTO website, negotiations on the potential deliverables for Nairobi are expected to continue in parallel with these consultations, mainly through the formal negotiating groups and other relevant committees.

It said that the Director-General will be attending the Arab Trade Ministers' meeting in Riyadh this week before making a visit to China for bilateral meetings with senior government representatives.

Next week, he will be attending ministerial meetings of the African Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States in Brussels. +