Speech/statement | Date: 01/12/2009
WTO activities are far reaching and comprehensive and the system has served us well for more than 60 years. But the job is not finished. The WTO has to develop constantly in order to ensure that it continues to be an important pillar of the global governance architecture
Our first priority to that effect is to conclude the DDA in a balanced manner.
This is achievable, but requires political leadership and commitment, combining ambition with realism.
A balanced conclusion of the DDA can only be reached if we respect the Doha mandate, with its clear focus on the interests of developing and in particular the least developed members.
We also have to take into account developments in the world economy and new challenges that have arisen since 2001. In particular, the combined effects and the food crisis underline the importance of food security.
Let me in this context as Norwegian agricultural minister refer to the recent FAO world summit on food security in Rome which endorsed the importance of increased agricultural production and productivity, taking into account the diverse conditions in each country. The main instrument for food security is the national food production. Every country has an obligation and a right to provide food for its own population. In other words, we need to achieve a reasonable balance between liberalizing agricultural markets and the need to accommodate members’ specific domestic situation and concerns.
While concluding the Doha round in a balanced manner should be our first priority, there are still things we can do to strengthen the system without changing the rules.
The monitoring system, which was developed in response to the financial crisis, is an excellent example of how the system can adapt to tackle new challenges.
Let me also refer to the proposal to establish an appropriate deliberative process to review the WTO’s effectiveness, efficiency and transparency and consider possible improvements, which we have supported together with a number of Members.