Open Letter On Institutional Reforms in the WTO
For several months now, the WTO has been preparing for its first Ministerial meeting since the debacle in Seattle in 1999. However, current processes and procedures illustrate that the systemic inequalities and imbalances - which were so graphically exposed in Seattle - remain to be acted upon. WTO processes and negotiations are dominated by a few powerful countries, many delegations continue to be excluded from informal consultations, and not much has been done to level the playing field. The treatment of transparency issues in the draft Ministerial Declaration for Doha is totally inadequate. In addition, restrictions on the number of civil society representatives allowed to attend the Doha Ministerial Meeting has reinforced the widespread perception that the WTO is closed to public scrutiny and participation. As WTO members meet for the final stretch of negotiations on the draft Ministerial declaration before Doha, the undersigned NGOs urge them to seriously address the systemic inequalities and imbalances, which have prevented them from making meaningful progress on key substantial issues and continue to cast doubts on the legitimacy and transparency of the multilateral trading system. This open-letter focuses on issues and concerns related to internal and external transparency.