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Civil Society “Mic Check” outside WTO Heads of Delegation Meeting in Bali

OWINFS MEDIA RELEASE

December 5, 2013

Contact: Deborah James +62 822 3660 5224

Bali, Indonesia — Today, a group of civil society from the global Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network and allies, present in Bali for the 9th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), raised their voices using the human amplification tactic of “Mic Check!”

Civil Society leaders were able to get their messages across to WTO delegates as they entered a meeting of the heads of delegation of all WTO members called by the Chair of the Ministerial Conference to determine whether a negotiation in Bali will be possible.

A representative group of civil society allies from at least 31 countries held hand-made signs that said “USA: Hands off our food”; “No Negotiations in Bali”; “No Chair’s Text” and raised their voices, calling out the hypocrisy of developed countries subsidizing agriculture and yet blocking subsidies for food security in developing countries.  They chanted that WTO members should agree to an already-negotiated package of policies for the LDCs, and not hold that package hostage for a bad deal for developing countries on Trade Facilitation. 

They urged WTO members to respect a non-negotiating ministerial, given that many developing countries did not send high level delegations to Bali when the WTO Director General announced last week that negotiations would not happen in Bali.  This puts small, developing countries at a disadvantage in the negotiations, and would result in a bad deal.  Civil society demands that instead of pushing a bad deal on Trade Facilitation, WTO members redress the injustice in the global trading system. They demand preserving policy space for job growth and  development; Food Sovereignty and Food Security; a full and strong package for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs); and other demands detailed in the statement WTO Turnaround: Food, Jobs, and Sustainable Development First delivered today at the Ministerial.

Photos can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8448347@N03/sets/72157638339958856/

More than 80 civil society experts – trade unionists, farmers, development advocates, and consumer activists – from 31 countries have traveled to Bali for the 9th Ministerial meeting of the WTO, working through the global OWINFS network and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Civil society delegates are participating in OWINFS activities from: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Surinam, Switzerland, Tanzania, the United States, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.

OWINFS is a global network of NGOs and social movements working for a sustainable, socially just, and democratic multilateral trading system. www.ourworldisnotforsale.org.

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