Latest News
HomeAssociationsResolution approved on status of territories

Resolution approved on status of territories

WTO General Assembly-The General Assembly of WTO<.> adopted the resolution produced by the WTO working group on the modernization of the Organization and approved a separate compromise resolution to clarify the question of how to deal with membership applications from territories…

WTO General Assembly-The General Assembly of WTO<.> adopted the resolution produced by the WTO working group on the modernization of the Organization and approved a separate compromise resolution to clarify the question of how to deal with membership applications from territories.



The debate opened with a plea from the chairman of the session, Jamaica's Special Envoy for Tourism Frank Pringle, who said that after speaking with colleagues within WTO they felt there was a definite need for a consensus decision.



"The tourism world is looking to the WTO for leadership, vision and guidance," he said. "The challenge of this General Assembly is to respond positively and in a manner where we are perceived as an organization of inclusiveness and not exclusiveness."



At the last General Assembly, in Santiago, the Executive Council and Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli were entrusted with undertaking an in-depth review of ways of offering states or territories a greater role in WTO activities, particularly in countries that have decentralized tourism administration.



An agreement had been in jeopardy until a series of last minute intensive consultations in Seoul had produced a compromise, said Mr Frangialli. He too added a plea for unanimity. "We have to come to terms with reality," he said.



Under the terms of the resolution, delegates agreed to the principle whereby regions and local entities must be represented by the Member State on which they depend, adding that WTO should promote the accession of new members.



In the case of territories belonging to non-member or member states, their candidatures will have to be presented by the central government of their country.



Applications will be submitted first to a session of the Executive Council, which must then agree to the start of talks about a possible presentation of the candidature to the General Assembly. No candidatures will be considered by territories whose sovereignty is the subject of a dispute between two or more states.



Regional or local tourism bodies unable to aspire to Associate Membership will still be entitled to join WTO as Affiliate Members.



It was also agreed that the Executive Council, in cooperation with the Secretary General, will submit a report to the next General Assembly to evaluate whether the resolution provides a satisfactory solution to the problem of the decentralization of responsibilities by many governments and the expanding role of local authorities in the field of tourism.



The delegate of one of the six autonomous territories which currently have Associate Member status thanked all the members of the working group for their efforts in helping find a suitable compromise.



"They have found an acceptable resolution for the future of the Organization," said Alfons Mouling, Deputy General Administrator at the Office of Tourism for the Flanders region of Belgium. "And thanks to the General Assembly for that vote," he added.

12/07/2024
11/07/2024
10/07/2024
09/07/2024
08/07/2024