Negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies: Taking Stock after MC11

WTO: Paths Forward
Organised by
10 April 2018
Geneva, Switzerland

At the December 2017 WTO Ministerial Conference, members reaffirmed their commitment to addressing harmful fisheries subsidies, an objective reflected in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 14.6. However, with the UN’s deadline of 2020 for eliminating IUU subsidies and prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies approaching quickly, significant questions remain surrounding possible new rules.

This seminar aims to clarify key questions in the negotiation and discuss implications of options on the table in specific areas such as the identification of IUU fishing activity and overfished stocks, and potential interactions of the new rules with existing WTO law and other international legal frameworks. The event will build and expand on previous dialogues and research on these topics.

This event is part of the first set of dialogues of the ICTSD initiative "WTO: Paths Forward." Building on the outcomes of MC11 in Buenos Aires, this initiative will provide a platform to exchange perspectives and in-depth analysis on possible options for WTO-based processes going forward and into the 12th Ministerial Conference.

This event is by invitation only. 

Ricardo MELÉNDEZ-ORTIZ is founder and Chief Executive since 1996 of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Previously, he co-founded and was General Director of Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (Quito). He has represented Colombia as a negotiator in several multilateral fora, including as permanent delegate of Colombia in Geneva and as a negotiator in GATT’s Uruguay Round, the Rio’92 UN Conference process, UNCTAD VIII, the Climate Change Convention, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Montreal Protocol. He acted as spokesperson for the G77 in several fora and served as chair of the UN Standing Committees on Commodities and on Trade Preferences. Earlier, he had served as Principal Adviser to the Colombian Minister of Economic Development and as Chief of Administration of the Office of the President of Colombia.

Since 1997, Mr. Meléndez-Ortiz has been the publisher of BRIDGES and its sister publications, and has edited, authored and published a wide range of books, articles and opinion pieces in English, French and Spanish on economic governance, trade, sustainable development and conflict management.

He has served or currently sits on advisory committees and the boards of a number of global policy initiatives, including as Board chairperson of the Meridian Institute (U.S.); World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Biodiversity and the Bio-Economy; World Economic Forum’s Stewardship Board on Trade and Investment; a Convener of the 'E15 Initiative’, an international undertaking involving over 400 experts seeking options for the global trade and investment system; Member of the Board of Intellectual Property Watch (Geneva); the Operating Board of AccountAbility (London); the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Trade and WEF’s Working Group on Trade and Climate Change; The Pardee Center Task Force on Governance for a Green Economy (U of Boston); The Center for Global Development’s Global Trade Preference Working Group (Washington, DC); The Evian’s Group Brains Trust (IMD); the Global Governance Network of Globus et Locus (Milano); the Steering Committees of DfID’s Global Trade and Finance Architecture Initiative and of UN DESA’s Sustainable Development Knowledge Partnership (New York), a Patron of the Earth Focus Foundation (Geneva); in the recent past he served as Chair of the Global Action Network’s Council (Cambridge, MA); and member of the U.N. Secretary General Millennium Project Task Force on Trade; the WTO’s Director General NGO Advisory Group; and the MOFCOM/IISD China Sustainable Development and Global Markets Task Force.

In 2016 he was an advisor to the G20 China Presidency on Trade and Investment, in 2017 co-chair of the T20 Task Force on Trade and Investment during Germany’s G20 Presidency, in 2018 co-chair of T20 Task Force on Trade, Investment and Tax Cooperation during Argentina’s G20 Presidency and in 2018/2019 co-chair of T20 Task Force for Trade, Investment and Globalization during Japan’s G20 Presidency.

Since 2015, he is part of the Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Global Digital Futures Policy Forum.

Mr. Meléndez-Ortiz, a graduate of Harvard University, has recently co-authored the New Industrial Revolution: Upgrading Trade and Investment Frameworks for Digitalization (21 August 2018) with Axel Berger: this policy brief was produced by the T20 Task Force on Trade, Investment and Tax Cooperation under the G20 Presidency of Argentina in 2018; Renforcer le système international du commerce et de l’investissement au 21ème siècle (1 December 2016) with Richard Samans; The Law and Economics of a Sustainable Energy Trade Agreement (30 August 2016) with Gary Hufbauer, Richard Samans; Envisioning China’s G20 Presidency: Proposals for the global trade and investment regime in the 21st century (19 March 2016); Strengthening the Global Trade and Investment System in the 21st Century, Synthesis Report, under the E15Initiative (22 January 2016) with Richard Samans, Harsha V. Singh, Sean Doherty; Enabling the Energy Transition and Scale-up of Clean Energy Technologies: Options for the Global Trade System, under the E15Initiative (22 January 2016)Envisioning a Sustainable Development Agenda for Trade and Environment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) with A. Najam and M. Halle, and co-edited Rebuilding Global Trade: Proposals for A Fairer, More Sustainable Future(Global Economic Governance Programme at Oxford U. and ICTSD, 2009) with C. Deere; Agricultural Subsidies In The WTO Green Box: Ensuring Coherence With Sustainable Development Goals (Cambridge University Press, 2009) with C. Bellmann and J. Hepburn; Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development, Agendas in a Changing World(Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009) with P. Roffe; and, WTO Dispute Settlement: The Developing CountryExperience (Cambridge U. Press, forthcoming November 2010) with G. Shaffer. He holds the Colombian nationality and is a resident of Switzerland where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

Blaise Kuemlangan is Chief of the Development Law Service (LEGN) of the Legal Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), where he has worked for the last 22 years. He specialises in international law and fisheries and aquaculture law.   As Chief, LEGN, Mr. Kuemlangan manages FAO’s legal assistance work in food and agriculture including food and nutrition security and natural resource management.  He has provided assistance to countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia and the Caucasus, Latin America and the Caribbean regions on enhancing fisheries laws and providing support in capacity building in legal aspects of fisheries management including monitoring, control and surveillance and enforcement. He was an adviser to the processes of establishing two regional fisheries management organizations and provided secretarial and legal support to the development of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and the finalisation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Flag State Performance.

Prior to joining FAO, Mr. Kuemlangan was a senior legal officer with the Department of Justice and Attorney General of Papua New Guinea and advised on foreign affairs, trade and fisheries related treaties and conventions including the negotiations of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement on behalf of Papua New Guinea, fishing access agreements, fisheries monitoring control and surveillance, and enforcement.

Iain Sandford helps government and corporate clients address the challenges of trading goods and services across national boundaries. In pursuing clients’ objectives, Iain applies a unique blend of experience in using the important and enforceable international law levers available through the WTO and other international law trade regimes.

Iain has litigated numerous cases for parties and third parties before WTO panels and the Appellate Body, both as a government lawyer and in private practice. His experience spans virtually all phases of the dispute settlement process from strategy formulation to appearances in consultations, panel and appeal hearings, through to work during the compliance and implementation phases. He has served as a WTO dispute settlement panelist. In international trade dispute settlement, Iain draws on experience gained in commercial dispute resolution, particularly from his experience in mediation and other alternative forms of settlement for commercial disputes. Iain’s most recent international dispute resolution work has touched on trade remedies, trade discrimination, animal welfare, fisheries management and conservation of scarce mineral resources.

Before joining Sidley, Iain led the international trade practice of a large Australian law firm where he worked, in particular, with corporate and trade association clients on trade compliance matters, notably in the areas of sanctions, anti-corruption and export control. He successfully represented clients in safeguard, anti-dumping and countervailing duty proceedings in Australia. In previous roles, Iain served as a legal officer in the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat and was a lawyer for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where he was involved in negotiation and domestic implementation of international agreements, as well as a number of New Zealand’s early WTO dispute settlement cases.

Dr. Vera Agostini has recently joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as Deputy Director of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources Division in Rome, Italy. Her previous appointment was with The Nature Conservancy where she served in a number of roles (Director of Science, Director of Climate Adaptation and Senior Scientist). Dr. Agostini is a fisheries scientist by training, who has held positions across three sectors: non-governmental, governmental, and academic/educational. Her work has focused on the critical links between ecosystems and human well-being, providing technical and strategic leadership to projects and programs across the world.  Her experience ranges from comprehensive ecosystem research to broad policy and planning. Areas of focus include fisheries management, ecosystem based climate adaptation, community resilience, ecosystem approaches to fisheries, marine spatial planning and Blue Growth. 

Dr. Andrés Cisneros-Montemayor is a Program Manager and Research Associate with the Nereus Program at the University of British Columbia, and specializes in applied resource economics. Linking field and theoretic work, he has studied the economics of ecotourism, competing fishing sectors, alternative management strategies and ecosystem approaches to policy, and Indigenous fisheries, in developing and developed regions including Belize, Canada, Central America, East Asia, Mexico, Patagonia, the USA and West Africa

Louise is a Research Associate in the Fisheries Economics Research Unit of the Institute of the Ocean and Fisheries, University of British Columbia. Louise's research focuses on how interactions between humans and marine ecosystems impact fisheries sustainability. Her work covers global and local scales, ranging from global biodiversity assessments to socio-economic analysis of small-scale fisheries and fisheries policy. She has a particular interest is in small-scale fisheries of developing countries, and has been involved in marine conservation projects on valuing marine turtle conservation, marine protected area management, and climate change adaptation.

Alice Tipping is a Programme Manager and leads the ICTSD’s Environment and Natural Resources programme.

Prior to joining the ICTSD, she worked as a diplomat and legal adviser in the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has served in New Zealand’s Mission to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, where she covered negotiations on trade remedies, including fisheries subsidies, trade and the environment and the WTO’s dispute settlement system.

She has also served in New Zealand’s Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, covering several UN specialised agencies and environmental issues.

Ms Tipping has also worked as a research and strategy analyst in foreign direct investment promotion.

She holds an MPhil in International Relations from Cambridge University. She also holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with a major in Economics, from Victoria University of Wellington. Alice is citizen of the United Kingdom and New Zealand.