Reforming the WTO: toward more democratic governance and decision-making

Reforming the WTO: toward more democratic governance and decision-making

Plans for a fair World Trade Organisation

This paper takes a critical approach to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and proposes a radical solution involving more direct involvement of civil society and the private sector in WTO governing structures. It demonstrates that the WTO is currently not meeting the appropriate standards of democracy and accountability that should govern its operation. The poorest of its members are disadvantaged by the governance system which denies them the consideration and protection they require.

A new, inclusive system of global governance is devised with a four step process for the new regime:

  • Phase 1 consists of securing conceptual support for change from NGOs, national governments, and the corporate sector, including through information and pressure campaigns if necessary
  • Phase 2 requires each of the three sectors to select its representatives in an accountable, transparent way, such that they have representative voices speaking for them throughout the process
  • During Phase 3, the three sectors will need to agree on parameters of the new system, including specifics such as how agenda-setting and debates will take place in the new regime
  • Phase 4 involves implementing the new system, integrating the efforts of the three sectors to implement and entrench the new system of global governance.


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