NGO Representation on Indian Government Delegation, to the Doha Ministerial Conference
|NGO Representation on Indian Government Delegation, to the Doha Ministerial Conference|
Representatives in the Official Indian Delegation to International Meetings
for Evaluating Our Request
Experiences of UK and Kenyan NGO Representatives
Representation on Indian Government Delegation, to the Doha Ministerial
This is a note to reiterate our
request on inclusion of NGO representative on government delegation to the
fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to be held
at Doha, Qatar in November 2001.
In the past, in international
conferences NGO representatives have been a part of the official Indian
delegation. Even WTO ministerial meetings have had representations from the NGO
community, as part of a country’s official delegation. These include NGO
representatives from both developed countries and developing countries like
Kenya and Uganda as well.
A precedence was set by the
Government of India by taking business representatives in the official Indian
delegation to the Seattle ministerial meeting, ignoring the claim of NGOs which
For more information regarding
our advocacy, please look into the enclosed annexures.
NGO Representatives in the Official Indian Delegation
to International Meetings
for Evaluating Our Request
of UK and Kenyan NGO Representatives
NGO Representatives in the Official Indian
Delegation to International Meetings
World Summit on
Sustainable Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Anil Agarwal, Centre for Science
and Environment, New Delhi
World Summit on
Social Development, Copenhagen, Denmark
Sharada Jain, Sandhan, Jaipur
Amitabha Mukherjee, Action Aid
Conference, Beijing, China
Rekha Kishore, Guild of
Services, New Delhi and two others
Evaluating Our Request
Member of the Think Tank of the Ministry of Commerce, 1996 which
was set up to advise the government in the run-up to the Singapore Ministerial
Conference of the WTO, December 1996.
Member of the National Advisory Committee on International Trade
and its various working groups. Contributed constructively and passionately in
the meetings of the Committee.
Member of the Expert Group of the Commerce Ministry on the
Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy.
Have been working on GATT/WTO issues for over a decade, thus
having experience of understanding issues in right perspectives.
Attended all the Ministerial Conferences of the WTO, and several
UNCTAD meetings, thus having institutional memory on issues covered in the
previous meetings. This can become handy for government officials who are new to
the Trade Policy Division of the Ministry of Commerce, in terms of consulting us
on any issues, if they feel so.
Given our networking strength, during the ministerial meeting we
will be able to provide instant information on what’s happening on the field.
Compatible positions with that of the Government of India. In
fact, on many issues, like the implementation problems of existing agreements,
our thinking is similar.
The Ministry knows our analytical capacity in comprehending WTO
issues and value that as well. The government officials and the Minister have
acknowledged this on many occasions.
Our position is for the WTO to progress and take on board
developmental concerns while implementing the existing agreements. Thus,
including us in the government delegation will give a right signal to a section
of NGOs who are hell bent on opposing the WTO, many of who do not event know the
Experiences of UK and Kenyan NGO
The following is a summary of a
paper written by Hilary Coulby of the UK NGO Trade Network, with contributions
from Gichinga Ndrangu of Action Aid, Kenya.
Both the NGO representatives
themselves and their NGO colleagues found their presence on the government
delegation beneficial to lobbying activities and ensuring NGOs had good access
to Ministers and officials.
communication from the Kenyan and UK
governments following the Seattle Ministerial demonstrated that they also
had found the presence of an NGO
representative on the delegation beneficial. [emphasis added]
It was important for NGO
representatives to establish protocols for their conduct, with or without
conditions being set, that ensured that they:
gave equal attention to promoting the different issues raised by
their colleagues, whether or not they considered them significant;
shared all information gained in their role as representative
openly with all their colleagues; and
did nothing to undermine government confidence in NGO competence,
nor to harm the future prospects of NGO inclusion.
Although formal and informal
protocols were followed in both cases, neither NGO representative found these
oppressive because they felt they were playing a constructive role in helping to
advance NGO agendas.
Since the role of an NGO
delegate is largely focused on representation and liaison, much of its value
depends on the presence of other NGO personnel with whom close contact can be
In terms of persuading
governments to include an NGO representative on the official delegation, the
Kenyan experience differed from that of UK NGOs because Kenyan NGO positions
generally were close to those of their government, while UK NGOs had serious
disagreements with government policy. Nevertheless, there were some common
factors in persuading governments to include NGOs on the official delegation:
both governments had got to know NGO personnel during the year
proceeding Seattle, allowing trust and respect to be established;
in theory, government had the opportunity to select the person who
would represent NGOs themselves (in practice, they only had one name in front of
they understood that NGO representatives were willing to work
within formal or informal protocols appropriate to their role on the official
Additional factors, that
influenced the Kenyan government were that:
the person would be a source of additional expertise; and
the government knew that the NGO representative would be willing
and able to carry the government agenda on most issues in Seattle.
Additional factors that
influenced the UK government were that:
the request for inclusion were relentless;
there were precedents both from Europe and Africa; and
the Labour government had committed itself to transparency in
relations with civil society and Ministers wanted to demonstrate that they were
in line with Party thinking.
UNITY & TRUST SOCIETY
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Jaipur 302 016, India,
Fx: +91(0)141-228 2485
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Ph: 91.141.2282821, Fax: 91.141.2282485
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