januar 2010

The main speaker was Jan F. Qvigstad, Deputy Governor of Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway). With the participation of Kristian Berg Harpviken (director of PRIO); Henrik Syse (PRIO) and Karl Ove Moene (CSCW and University of Oslo).

Now many scholars and institutions are eager to explain what happened, the why of the latest crisis. PRIO presented this very interesting seminar in which I participated and made some notes that are relevant to us, thinking on the area of Trade, Development and Anti-poverty action.

The whole seminar was very informative but a bit light on the critics and judgments. That was even highlighted in the rounds of questions, where also the argument of criminalization of the bank decision was proposed.

It was clear that there are linkages between the global flow of economy and the growth of social problems all over the world, affecting first and strongly the poorest countries or segments of the populations.

Economic measures, like trade agreements should be made to solve the existing situation and help prevent future ones. We know that a lot of efforts should be made to keep the focus of these trade agreements on Fair Development.

One of the explanations given by the Norges Bank states how banks are interested on collectives’ agendas from loans borrowers especially with focus in governance, which could be a great line but has obviously lead to catastrophic results. The main problem seems to be how ethics are left aside or presented as wishes letters.

It was also said that more controls or regulations (Macroprudential and Macroregulations) are needed in the economies, especially in the banking systems, but I guess and repeat that the biggest challenge is to make opertative the ethical values throughout the whole systems.

British Academy explained to Queen Elizabeth´ all about the crisis and she asked: why you did not studied this before it happened?

Now is clear to everyone that more research should be done to prevent future crises and that we should also join that group to present evidence or theories on how to have fairness in the center of the processes.

By Felipe Díaz

I agree with many of the reports that states that no great things were accomplished in this meeting, a no-surprises ‘housekeeping’ exercise is the descriptive remark.

Many smiles, nice speeches and it could be said an openness to dialogue (flexibility on the negotiations is not on the table). So the negotiations will have to see significant progress over the next few months, in fact March is spoken as the date to show progresses. Since the Ministers agreed that the round should reach conclusions, and things were set for it we should keep monitoring the development of these issues and the upcoming agreements.

The goal of stopping the Negotiations for a 5 year period was not achieve, but by delaying the processes the results are somewhat satisfactory. The question is, if the negotiations did not reach a forward point into concluding the DOHA round, exactly what was discuss among the Ministers and inside the particular meetings?

The meeting had proven that two of the ‘pillars’ of the WTO – implementation and dispute settlement – are working fine, the Minister of Chile said “they are alive and well,” even if the third pillar, the negotiations, is struggling a bit. It seems indeed that closed doors meetings or “bilateral talks” were much more than expected and the field of work for this Conference.

One of the many nice speeches was given by Jonas Gahr Støre, Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Here is the link to hear the speech:


Something interesting was that seemed obvious that the Minister knew that this round and the WTO negotiations have a direct impact on the Climate Issues. But nothing was done or discuss towards that aspect. Leaving everything to the Summit held in Copenhagen.

By Felipe Díaz