Thursday, November 10, 2011

Website of the WTO

The debate about the role and relevance of the WTO dominate literature in trade circles. I have been fascinated by the WTO website. I was impressed by the sheer volume of information and "user-friendly" nature of the website. It definitely promoted transparency. It definitely outshone several other Government and International organisation websites. The design, layout, ease of access and most importantly content and "uptodate" nature of subjects uploaded is very impressive. The Agreements, Dispute settlement cases as well as plethora of documents make very interesting reading. 

However Charnovitz is critical of the transparency efforts of the WTO in his comments here and pushes for more transparency in the International Organisation's functioning.

Interestingly, Steve Charnovitz in his article "The World Trade Organisation in 2020"" observed on page 183,

" ...Catalyzed by nongovernmental organizations in the early 1990s, the new WTO soon moved into the front ranks of international organizations with regard to transparency by instituting an information-rich website. Numerous areas of secrecy remained, yet year by year, the list of restricted document categories was reduced. When the Delhi Round began in 2010, the WTO agreed that all negotiating documents and Secretariat ‘Notes’ would be posted to the website immediately. The obsolete document formats on the WTO’s website were eliminated in 2005 when the WTO outsourced the management of its website to a software consultancy in Bangalore ..."

I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that the WTO website is designed by a Bangalore based software consultancy. Globalisation hitting the Geneva based International Organisation! The website does make interesting reading!

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