Informal Learning and WTO Renewal. Using Thematic Sessions to Create More Opportunities for Dialogue
30 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2020
Date Written: August 2020
Thematic sessions are a broad class of meetings that are sponsored by or associated with a WTO body in some way, but that are not part of its formal meetings. The WTO held over 100 such sessions in the three years from 2017 to 2019. They bring dynamism to WTO by allowing committees to consider what works well and what does not under an agreement, including by sharing experiences with implementation, and helping to define what is next on the agenda. This paper analyses how such meetings are organized, focusing on how themes are chosen, participation (who speaks), the degree of transparency, and funding, drawing on a database of all thematic sessions from the beginning of 2017 until the end of 2019. Enhanced use of thematic sessions can contribute to strengthening connections between Geneva delegations and capitals.
Keywords: WTO committees; institutional reform; trade governance; international cooperation
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