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Sambian järjestöt tukevat hallitustaan: Ei uutta WTO-kierrosta

Max von Bonsdorff
3.10.2001

Sambiassa 24.-25.9. järjestetyn Maailman kauppajärjestö WTO:ta käsittelevän seminaarin (Lue myös 27.9. päivätty uutinen aiheesta) jälkeen kokoukseen osallistuneet järjestöt luovuttivat yhteisen kannanottonsa Sambian kauppa- ja teollisuusministeriön edustajille viime torstaina.

Kannanotossaan järjestöt ilmaisevat tukensa Sambian hallituksen seminaarissa esittelemälle kannalle: WTO:n ei pitäisi aloittaa marraskuun ministerikokouksessa uusien kauppasopimusten neuvottelukierrosta vaan keskittyä olemassaolevien WTO-sopimusten toimeenpano-ongelmiin. Järjestökannanotossa painotetaan hallituksen tavoin myös vähiten kehittyneiden maiden aseman vahvistamista WTO:n päätöksentekojärjestelmässä.

Kansalaisjärjestöt esittävät hallitukselle myös joukon lisävaatimuksia. Hallitukselta toivotaan esimerkiksi konkreettisia toimenpiteitä helposti haavoittuvien, pienkauppaa käyvien yrittäjien sekä pienviljelijöiden aseman suojaamiseksi entistä vahvemmin myös WTO-säännöstöllä. ZARDin (Zambia Association of Research and Development) kokousedustajien valtuutuksella allekirjoittamassa kannanotossa todetaan myös, että sukupuolten völisen tasa-arvon näkökulma on huomioitava nykyistä vahvemmin Sambian WTO-politiikassa.

Sambian maatalouden ongelmat olivat myös vahvasti esillä seminaarissa. Järjestökannanotossa korostetaan kahta ehdotusta. Ensiksi vähiten kehittyneille maille on myös myönnettävä mahdollisuus tukea maatalouttaan, erityisesti pienviljelijöitä. Toiseksi Sambian kaltaiset maat tarvitsevat teknistä apua, jotta maanviljelijät voivat ratkaista tuotannon kasvattamiseen liittyvät ongelmansa. Seminaarissa korostettiinkin, että pelkkä mahdollisuus päästä länsimarkkinoille ei ratkaise Sambian maatalouden ongelmia. Laajalti puuttuvaa kapasiteettia tuottaa lännessä kaupaksi meneviä maataloustuotteita on myös vahvistettava.

Köyhyys on kasvanut Sambiassa 1990-luvun aikana huolestuttavan paljon, eräiden arvioiden mukaan jopa yli 80 prosenttia maan kansalaisista elää köyhyydessä. Kansalaisjärjestöt korostavatkin, että kansainvälistä kauppapolitiikkaa on aina määriteltävä köyhyyden vähentämisen näkökulmasta. Kauppapolitiikan integroimista kansalliseen PRSP-köyhyydenvähentämisohjelmaan pidetään siksi tärkeänä.

Koko kannanotto on liitteenä.


LIITE


PRESS STATEMENT

WTO - Issues and Challenges for Zambia, National Conference, 24-25th September, 2001,
Mulungushi Conference Centre, Lusaka, Zambia

Civil society recognizes the importance of multilateral trade in the economic development of Zambia. However, the present multilateral trading system still remains skewed to the advantage of the developed countries. The coming of the World Trade Organisation as a successor institution to the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) has not helped to improve the benefits accruing to countries like Zambia and the playing field is still not level. Against this background, the Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD) in 1999 started an advocacy and capacity building programme on International trade with a specific focus on gender and trade. ZARD therefore, did participate in the NGO Parallel forum at the Third Ministerial Conference at Seattle - USA in November 1999. This was later followed by the first ever National Conference on the World Trade Organisation held 29-30th May, 2000 at the Mulungushi Conference Centre, Lusaka, Zambia. In order to create awareness on the larger issues of international trade, ZARD published a book which was a compilation of various papers covering the priority areas of concern.

To build on this process, ZARD in cooperation with Kepa Zambia and Ms Zambia, held a second national conference entitled ' WTO - Issues and Challenges for Zambia', 24-25th September, 2001, Mulungushi Conference Centre, Lusaka, Zambia. In preparation for the Ministerial meeting in Doha, the aim of the conference was to critically analyze and discuss the proposed new issues on the WTO agenda and come up with a civil society position on Zambia's stance with regard to the world trading system. The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Hon. Yusuf Badat officially opened the conference. The conference paid particular attention to gender and WTO, Market Access, Agriculture and WTO, and TRIPS and Genetic Resources.

Conference Recommendations

The conference was in agreement with government's position on the new non-trade related issues being proposed by developed countries. A new round should not be started and previous commitments under GATT should be implemented. It was further felt that the non-trade issues being pushed for by the developed world should not be addressed by WTO, but continue to be addressed by relevant specialized agencies. For example, intellectual property issues are better dealt with by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and labour issues by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The conference further concurred with the governments position on the need for a more inclusive decision-making process in WTO to ensure that LDC's are adequately represented. However, it was noted that Gender concerns were not taken into account in the Government position paper, especially with regard to the inclusion of women in the decision making process of the WTO. Furthermore the government position paper ought to include particular suggestions on improving the situation facing women traders, entrepreneurs and small-scale farmers.

The conference recommended that international trade should contribute to poverty reduction and that trade should take a central role in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and the Civil Society Poverty Reduction Paper (CSPR).

The conference recognized the importance of technical assistance as presently provided by WTO. However, it was noted that technical assistance should not only be confined to the development of trade negotiating skills but also be extended to the improvement of the supply capacity of local producers, particularly those peculiarly vulnerable to the negative effects of the world trading system, e.g poverty stricken communities, especially women.

The conference paid specific attention to TRIPS and genetic resources and recommended that the OAU Model Law on The Protection of Rights of Local Communities, Farmers and Breeders, and for the Regulation of Access to Biological Resources, be used by African Governments. In addition, it was suggested that the regulation of access to biological resources is a preferable Sui-generis option. The Zambian Government should enact legislation that recognizes, protects, and rewards, knowledge and innovations derived from traditional knowledge systems.

There was skeptism on the usefulness of Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) for LDC's as currently understood by WTO. Rather than use the option of Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) to protect the relatively weak LDC economies by simply extending the transition periods, the conference felt that SDT should be used to protect the vulnerable communities in LDC's such as women traders, entrepreneurs, and small scale farmers. To reduce the unequal 'trade' divide between men and women, the conference was of the view that the Zambian Government and WTO should provide economic literacy for women to improve their capacity to: understand the world trading system and make the most of its potential benefits to women; understand some of the adverse consequences of the current world trading system on women; participate in the negotiations of WTO and advocate for policy change that will take into account the trade concerns of women.

It was also recommended that WTO should create a level playing field for LDC's especially in the agriculture sector. LDCs should be accorded the option to subsidise the agriculture sector particularly small-scale farmers. Furthermore, anti-dumping and countervailing provisions should be simplified for local producers. Government should put in place legislation that will deal with biotechnology especially Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which threaten food security.

Finally, regarding market access, the conference recommended that WTO should ensure that there is balanced market access, that takes into account the differences in the level of development and that skewed power relations should be checked. It further recommended that Zambia should develop its supply capacity, through collective efforts with SADC and COMESA.

It is our sincere hope that the some of the short comings identified in Governments position are addressed.

Signed (on behalf of the delegates)

ZAMBIA ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (ZARD)