Inter-Parliamentary UnionIPU Logo-top
    Press ReleaseIPU Logo-middle
No.124, Doha and Geneva, 12 November 2001 IPU Logo-bottom


On joint invitation by the European Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) more than 100 parliamentarians from WTO members met during the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Qatar to discuss how to enhance parliamentary scrutiny of WTO affairs. In his contribution, Mike Moore, Director General of the WTO, welcomed the intentions of the parliamentarians to continue their work on the establishment of a parliamentary forum of WTO. He was positive about WTO members opinion evolving towards more parliamentary participation.

Dr Najma Heptulla, President of the IPU Council and Carlos Westendorp, Chairman of the European Parliament delegation, co-chaired the conference.

Dr. Heptulla stressed that parliaments have a constitutional role to legislate and overseeing the government. They must take an active interest in trade negotiations and help to shape policy relating to international trade. It is therefore imperative to develop a more systematic parliamentary interaction on the international trade issues.

Mr Westendorp stressed that global trade concerns every individual and society as a whole and therefore, direct parliamentary participation is necessary to ensure more transparency and a better representation of citizen's interests. He advocated to add an independent parliamentary dimension of the WTO.

During the discussion, the members of the European Parliament, the US Congress and other Parliaments underlined their wish to establish a Parliamentary Body formally linked to the WTO; others suggested that the parliamentary dimension to the work of the WTO should be provided through the IPU. Parliamentarians agreed to establish a steering group to prepare options for the parliamentary dimension for the WTO.

At the end of their debate, the members of Parliament adopted by consensus a declaration that reflects the above agreement. In their declaration, they also call for a new paragraph to be added to the final declaration of the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in which the conference would affirm that "Transparency of the WTO should be strengthened by associating Parliaments more closely with the activities of the WTO".

Established in 1889 and with its Headquarters in Geneva, the IPU, the oldest multilateral organisation, currently has 142 affiliated national parliaments and five regional assemblies as associate members. The organisation of the world's parliaments also has a Liaison Office with the United Nations in New York.
Other press releases More information

Mrs. Luisa Ballin, IPU Information Officer
Tel. +4122 919 41 16/27
Fax: +4122 919 41 60, 919 41 97
E-mail: or