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THE GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR AGRARIAN REFORM LAND RESEARCH ACTION NETWORK FIAN International * Focus on the Global South * La Via Campesina Social Network for Justice and Human Rights (REDE SOCIAL)
In this issue of Focus on Trade, Walden Bello analyses China's role in the Copenhagen climate talks, Shalmali Guttal takes the pulse of the WTO ten years after Seattle, and two participants report on the New Year Gaza Freedom March.
CHINA: PRINCE OF DENMARK
AILING BUT ALIVE: THE WTO TEN YEARS AFTER SEATTLE
CALL FOR “SYSTEM CHANGE NOT CLIMATE CHANGE” UNITES GLOBAL MOVEMENT
Statement of Climate Justice Now! on the COP 15
LESSONS OF THE GAZA FREEDOM MARCH
THE GAZA FREEDOM MARCH: IN THE MIDST OF A REGIONAL PANDEMONIUM
by Shalmali Guttal
11 Dec 2009
The 7th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ended as it started: on a subdued and uncertain note. Statements about the importance of a speedy conclusion to the Doha Development Round (DDR) by some trade ministers and in the Chairman's Summary during the closing plenary, lacked conviction. What came through instead was nervousness among government delegates and WTO Secretariat staff about the credibility and relevance of the WTO and its programme of corporate driven globalisation in the face of deepening crises in the real economy, agriculture and climate. Every pat on the back that delegates and staff gave the WTO was tempered by statements about the need for WTO members to respect multilateralism, past commitments, the development mandate of the DDR, transparency, inclusiveness, and the special needs of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small and Vulnerable Economies (SVEs).
Credibility, relevance and vision are certainly what the WTO lacks at this juncture. Since its establishment in 1995, numerous farmers organisations, workers' unions, government officials, academics and civil society analysts have repeatedly warned against the dangers of WTO style liberalisation on local and national economies and the environment. These warnings proved frighteningly accurate: as global trade through the WTO expanded, unemployment, food insecurity, environmental destruction, impoverishment and social dislocation increased alarmingly in developing countries.