WTO 8th Ministerial Failed to Respond to Food, Jobs and Financial Crises, 99% Say

17 December, 2011

December 17, 2011

Activists Send Global Civil Society Message to Negotiators Entering Final Plenary

This afternoon, a group of civil society from the global Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network, present in Geneva for the 8th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), sent a message to negotiators entering the closing plenary of the 8th Ministerial in Geneva using the Occupy Wall Street tactic of “Mic Check!”

Activists entered the lobby of the main plenary hall, where delegates were amassed awaiting the closing plenary of the WTO. They then raised their voices using the “mic check” popularized by the Occupy Wall Street movement. After getting the attention of the hundreds of delegates present, they expressed their strong condemnation of the failure of the WTO to “Turnaround” its agenda.

They then expressed their strong opposition to the use of the WTO by many rich countries – calling the United states, the EU, Canada, Japan, and Australia to account in particular - to push global trade rules that benefit the 1%, ignoring the needs of the 99% in the face of a global economic crisis.  Within the Ministerial, these positions included 1% agenda issues such as: new plurilateral negotiations on investment, trade facilitation, and competition policy; further liberalization of financial services; and a “standstill” on tariffs embodied in the “Pledge Against Protectionism,” – which, if agreed to at the WTO, would devastate the policy space available to countries to preserve jobs in the global crisis.

They then put forward, in typical “mic check” fashion, the positive agenda of fixing existing problems with the WTO that the 99% of global civil society have been demanding, which are necessary to address the global economic, financial, and food crises. These fixes include: an agenda for job creation and economic growth; policy changes (such as the Special Safeguard Mechanism) necessary to achieve true Food Sovereignty and Food Security; a comprehensive package for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs); elimination of WTO financial deregulation requirements; preserving policy space for development; and other demands detailed in the statement WTO Turnaround: Food, Jobs, and Sustainable Development First. These positions reflect many of the positions forwarded by governments of poor countries, such as the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group, the Africa Group, and the ALBA group of Latin American nations.

Video is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eax2kV0nc_k&feature=youtu.be.

Civil society delegates are participating in OWINFS/ITUC activities from: Argentina, Australia, Benin, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Italy, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Uganda, the United States, Vanuatu, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. ###

OWINFS is a global network of NGOs and social movements working for a sustainable, socially just, and democratic multilateral trading system. www.ourworldisnotforsale.net

For more information, contact: Deborah James +41 (0) 76 652 6813