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Institutional Reform of the WTO

Institutional Reform of the WTO

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Published by Oxfam
The WTO is facing a crisis of legitimacy. In the aftermath of Seattle, the one point on which most WTO Members appear to have reached consensus is that the Organisation's method of operation has become fundamentally unworkable. Even those WTO Members most in favour of a new Round concede that the WTO's shadowy processes are more モmedieval" than Millennial. This paper argues that if the WTO is to produce decisions that are both effective and legitimate, its institutional arrangements must be reformed to reflect its increasing membership, and the broadening scope and complexity of the issues that it covers. Proposals for institutional reform must begin by addressing demands for greater transparency and participation, particularly from developing country Members, but also from representatives of civil society.
The WTO is facing a crisis of legitimacy. In the aftermath of Seattle, the one point on which most WTO Members appear to have reached consensus is that the Organisation's method of operation has become fundamentally unworkable. Even those WTO Members most in favour of a new Round concede that the WTO's shadowy processes are more モmedieval" than Millennial. This paper argues that if the WTO is to produce decisions that are both effective and legitimate, its institutional arrangements must be reformed to reflect its increasing membership, and the broadening scope and complexity of the issues that it covers. Proposals for institutional reform must begin by addressing demands for greater transparency and participation, particularly from developing country Members, but also from representatives of civil society.

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Published by: Oxfam on Apr 12, 2011
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02/08/2013

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Institutional Reformof the WTO
 
Oxfam GB Discussion Paper 
March 2000
 
 
This discussion paper was produced by the Oxfam GB Policy Department. It draws on a paper commissionedfrom Jacob Werksman, Senior Lawyer, at Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development(FIELD), London. Parts of which were used to stimulate discussion in a workshop on ‘WTO InstitutionalReform: A Development Perspective’, held in Geneva in February 2000. The workshop was sponsored by theSouth Centre Pilot Project on WTO and Oxfam GB.
For further information, please contact Penny Fowler, Policy Adviser:
Tel: + 44 1865 312331Fax: + 44 1865 312245Email: pfowler @oxfam.org.uk  Website:
 
 
Institutional Reformof the WTO
Contents
 
Summary
................................................................................................................................................. i
 1. Introduction
..............................................................................................................................1
 2. Agenda-setting and Decision-making
.....................................................................2
 
2.1 Overview of the WTO ...................................................................................32.2 Lessons from other International Institutions................................................4
2.2.1 Formal Rules2.2.2 One Member One Vote/Equitable Geographic Distribution:the UN System2.2.3 Weighted Voting: the Bretton Woods System2.2.4 Hybrid System: Global Environment Facility
2.3 Informal Practices and Mechanisms..............................................................92.4 Reform Proposals...........................................................................................102.5 Preliminary Observations ..............................................................................11
3. The WTO Dispute Settlement System
.....................................................................12
 
3.1 Design............................................................................................................123.2 Practice...........................................................................................................133.3 Options for reform.........................................................................................14
4. External Transparency
......................................................................................................154.1 Access to Information/Input of Information ...........................................................................164.2 Access to Policy-Making Processes........................................................................................174.3 Access to Dispute Settlement Process.....................................................................................194.4 Options for Reform...............................................................................................................19
5. Global Governance
...............................................................................................................20
 
5.1 Meeting Global Challenges.....................................................................................................215.2 Review and Enforcement Mechanisms...................................................................................215.3 Global Policy Coherence.........................................................................................................22
6. Conclusion
...................................................................................................................................23
 

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