ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NGOs at World Trade Organisation

This article discusses the role of NGOs at the WTO and analyses the interface in order to ascertain the democratic potential of the former, particularly at ministerial conferences. In practice, interaction with the WTO is confined only to a handful of powerful and networked groups, with limited access for most southern NGOs. Further, participating NGOs overwhelmingly include business associations and interest groups, whereas grassroot organisations have little or no presence. NGOs in themselves are not democratising forces and there are important issues of autonomy, transparency and accountability that they need to address. At a more fundamental level, the WTO?s method of alleviating the democratic deficit largely by involving NGOs has severe limitations.

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