The role of the multilateral trading system in the context of the current economic crisis will be the central focus of this year’s WTO Public Forum and representatives of civil society, academia, governments and the media will be encouraged to engage and debate on how the system can best provide global answers to the crisis.During the course of the three day meeting, 28-30 September, participants can choose to attend 44 interactive workshops covering the full spectrum of trade related issues and concerns.
“At a time of economic crisis, the civil society contribution is needed more than ever as we come together to seek global solutions to global problems” said WTO Director General Pascal Lamy.
Trade, as one of the pillars of the global economy, has an important role to play in stimulating growth. The forum will also offer the possibility to debate and reflect upon how the WTO and its rules-based multilateral trading system can contribute to the post-crisis agenda.
The forum begins with a high level inaugural debate featuring WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, Special Envoy on Climate Change for the UN and former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland and Uruguayan Senator and former Foreign Minister Sergio Abreu. The opening session will be moderated by Rui Chenggang, a prominent presenter for the Chinese television network, CCTV.
The annual WTO Public Forum, first launched in 2001, provides a platform for public debate and discussion across a wide range of WTO issues and activities, including the current Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. Since then the WTO Public Forum has become one of the most important platforms for dialogue between the civil society and governments. It is now a significant feature of the international calendar. Over the years, 8,500 representatives from civil society, academia, business, the media, governments and inter-governmental organizations including regional economic and development organizations, attended the Public Forum.