The broken chair outside the UN building- Mari is posing!

The first day we headed to the Norwegian delegation office, to meet with the Official Delegation (OD), the agriculture and food minister Lars Peder Brekk and all the Norwegian NGO´s and Civil Society Institutions (CSI).

In this informational meeting the OD shared some of the ideas of their agenda and opened the table for questions from the people present.

One of the main concerns brought up in the beginning of the meeting, was the neglect of civil society participation during WTO working sessions. Aksel Nærstad, from the Development Fund suggested that the sessions should be television transferred to the NGO centre. Brekk agreed and emphasized the importance of transparency.

But it can also make us think of a proposal where each official delegation can agree on letting NGO´s and CSI´s participate, therefore the will of the plenary will allow an open, transparent and more democratic flow of the meetings.

On the field of agriculture and food, Brekk underlined the huge challenges, and promised that he would work on behalf of the Norwegian agricultural sector, although he doubted there would be any progress on that field.

LO expressed deep concern on the issue of decent work and social rights, and how the ILO agenda on this matter should be incorporated into the WTO.

It was a nice and interesting expression of transparency and cooperation. With people of deep knowledge in different issues, making the right and perhaps controversial inquiries, it all became a full exercise where the official and “normal” answers of the OD were demanded.

Our World Is Not for Sale

With that spirit we walk to the Centre International de Conferences Genève (CICG) where the Conference is being held. Strict badge checks, airport-style security procedures and then you are in the main building. But this infrastructure is just for the “real” Conference, the one were only the Official delegations can be inside the auditoriums doors.

Properly identified press and civil society representatives can get close and be in the halls, but not inside the auditoriums.

For us there was a building right in front, where Seminars and Conferences were about to take place. These, and other venues around, are the places to exposes the ideas, policies, messages and debates that keep our institutions running on the pursue of Justice, Fairness, Development and Improvements goals in the Trade issues.

This is one of the greatest challenges, and with the presence of the NGO´s and Civil Society Institutions, we are putting up a concrete fight for it: achieve a transparent and democratic functioning of the WTO.

A lot of activities were going on outside the conference as well, and people from all over the world were protesting against the WTO.

From the program of activities we attend the Conference called “The Rights approach to trade rules”, in short there were presented different aspects on how to incorporate the Human Rights approach or perspective to Trade, with special attention to the right to food, which is an item ratified (made law) by more than 160 countries.

Briefing meeting held by Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINS, NGO network) Aksel from the Development Fund is looking tired!

Written by Felipe Diaz and Mari Haave Sveen