WTO wants subsidy deal to be implemented within a year
The head of the World Trade Organization has called on member states to move quickly to implement the recent WTO agreement limiting harmful fisheries subsidies.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said she wants members to urgently implement the deal within a year to protect the health of the oceans.
“The two to three years that we normally have for these agreements to come into effect – we’re trying to break that record and do it in less than a year,” Okonjo-Iweala told a conference to review the implementation of the agreement.
Developing and least-developed WTO member states will need “time, effort and money” to implement the deal, according to Okonjo-Iweala. The agreement gives these states two more years to comply with some of the rules in the form of what the WTO calls “peace clauses for the settlement of disputes”. The agreement also provides for a WTO fund of 10 million euros ($10.2 million) to finance technical assistance and capacity building for the poorest states. The fund will be managed by the WTO in collaboration with partner organizations including FAO, the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
A new report released by the WTO, “Implementing the WTO Fisheries Subsidies Agreement: Challenges and Opportunities for Developing and Least-Developed Country Memberssuggests that less than $4 billion (€3.9 billion) has been spent between 2010 and 2020 on aid projects that promote the sustainability of fisheries – a sum that pales in comparison to the 22 billion dollars (21.8 billion euros) per year estimated by the WTO. spent on government subsidies that harm the sustainability of fish stocks.
Photo courtesy of the World Trade Organization