World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. [Source: WTO/ Twitter]
The 12th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference came to an end with an unprecedented package of deliveries.
In her closing statement, Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says that not in a long while has the WTO seen such a significant number of multilateral outcomes.
Fiji’s Commerce and Trade Minister, Faiyaz Koya, together with his Pacific counterparts, lobbied aggressively for the leaders to reach an agreement on fisheries subsidies during the conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Pacific leaders wanted a credible and balanced agreement in line with Sustainable Development Goal 14.6.
On fisheries subsidies, the WTO members have for the first time concluded an agreement with environmental sustainability at its heart.
Okonjo-Iweala says this is also about the livelihoods of the 260 million people who depend directly or indirectly on marine fisheries.
The agreement prohibits support for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
It bans support for fishing in overfished stocks.
Okonjo-Iweala adds that it also takes a first but significant step forward to curb subsidies for overcapacity and overfishing by ending subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.
She says as important as the prohibitions is the transparency that will finally shed light on the actual level of subsidies going to fishing.
The Ministers also committed to further negotiations to build on these disciplines.