The WTO’s identity crisis

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by Ben Lilliston | September 3, 2009 • In the latest issue of Geneva Update, IATP’s Anne Laure Constantin reports on the unusually quiet summer at the World Trade Organization. Despite WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy’s best efforts, there is no serious momentum to re-start the WTO’s Doha round of negotiations to further liberalize global trade rules. The Obama Administration has yet to appoint a new WTO Ambassador. And an upcoming WTO ministerial in late November is more a formality than an attempt to advance negotiations.

Think Forward is a blog written by staff of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy covering sustainability as it intersects with food, rural development, international trade, the environment and public health. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.

The global financial crisis, the rising number of hungry people around the world and international negotiations on climate change have all usurped the WTO in international circles. Constantin writes that it is time for “a realistic assessment of the specific role of the WTO and a better definition of how it fits within the broader multilateral system when it comes to food.”