The Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute, (SEATINI) together with the (Institute for Global Dialogue IGD) held a roundtable on Development Benchmarks for Hong Kong and Beyond. The meeting ran as a side event to the African Union 2nd extra ordinary Session on Commodities and preparations for the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference on 21st November 2005 in Arusha, Tanzania. The Roundtable discussed development aspects of the Doha Work Programme, assessing the development perspectives as defined by developing countries and also outlining developmental criteria and priorities for success in Hong Kong and beyond. Below is a statement of conclusions by the meeting, which was attended by African Ambassadors and officials based in Geneva, trade officials from capitals, intergovernmental organisations, parliamentarians as well as civil society organisations.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Work Programme (DWP) promises to place the needs and interests of developing countries at the centre of these negotiations. African countries have articulated their needs and interests through detailed and well argued proposals in each area of negotiations. For our countries, these proposals constitute the development dimension of the Doha Round and progress on these proposals must be the yardstick to measure the success of the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference and of the Doha Round as a whole. During the proceedings and discussions, there was broad agreement that in order for the Doha Work Programme to succeed, it must live up to its development claim and promises. This report articulates the indicators of success for the assessment of the outcomes of these negotiations and specific recommendations. Substance must take precedence over form and development must prevail over market access considerations.