Pharmaceuticals hold on to their patents and (our) governments do not remove the barriers to free production that were raised under international trade agreements years ago.
More than 150 civil society organisations, networks and interest groups from around the world have signed an urgent letter to WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, in which they call for the WTO to postpone the negotiations until all members are able to participate in them fully - physically instead of online.
Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, will be the epicenter of international trade from 15 to 18 December 2015. The representatives of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which currently has 162 member countries, will come together to negotiate. The different countries tend to have very different and often conflicting interests, which makes it difficult to reach agreements. Burghard Ilge of Both ENDS travels with Minister Ploumen as an official adviser and mediator from civil society. His role is to inform the Minister about the views and interests of civil society organisations around the world, in order for her to take these positions into consideration during the negotiations. We asked Ilge some clarifying questions.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is often seen as an institution in crisis, powerless and no longer relevant, and especially after US president Donald Trump decided in 2019 to pull the plug on one of the WTO’s most important bodies (the one dealing with trade disputes). Now, more than 150 civil society organisations, networks and interest groups from around the world have signed an urgent letter to WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, because they are seriously concerned about the state of affairs within the organization.
International trade agreements often have far-reaching consequences not only for the economy of a country, but also for people and the environment. It is primarily the most vulnerable groups who suffer most from these agreements.
Yesterday, a coalition of more than 130 civil society organisations from all over the world called upon the member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), to agree to a permanent exemption from the WTO rules on intellectual property rights for the least developed countries in the world. A group of about 20 NGOs (including Both ENDS) took the initiative for this letter, which was coordinated by the Third World Network. On June 9th and 10th the WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Council) will meet and although the agenda of this meeting is still secret, it is expected that this request will be discussed.