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Is there a tension between accountability and effective policy making?

Presentation by: Nupur Tiwary

Factors that influence the need for CSO participation in policy making process Role of CSOs in international organisations Biotechnology regulation and WTO


Traditionally, WTO operated away from public scrutiny Need for legitimacy and transparency grew with growth in cross border interactions of the states Accountability not only to the states but also to

the citizens was recognized in the last decade

Factors that influence the need for CSO

Accountability claims
Core idea of democracy CSOs can make negotiations and monitor decision making processes In case of flawed decision, CSOs can mobilize public resistance

Epistemic Claims
More specific and strong Focuses on specific content of the decisions and their problem solving potential Experts involved can fail to provide reliable policy advises due partial lack of knowledge or disagreements from other experts etc.

Background EC Biotech case and WTO

Codex-Alimentarius Commission(CAC) jointly sponsored by WHO and FAO acts as forum for non state actor participation CAC sets global benchmarks in maintaining standard of food items CSOs act as a safeguard against the dominance of purely scientific risk assessment and also acts as a negotiator of these standards In CAC the interest of public interest CSOs is jeopardized by industrial lobbyists CAC mostly plays a role of advisory body and makes technical recommendations that can be used as a referring point in determining validity of restrictions on trade Dispute settlement board (DSB) aims to resolve conflicts which arises from violations of multilateral trade agreements Its deliberations are closed to the public

EC Biotech case and WTO

Claims were made that European authorization system of GMOs was violating WTO agreements Three amicus curiae briefs were submitted to DBS highlighting arguments that were under represented DSB acknowledge the briefs but clarified that it can not influence their decision The interim report of the panel was leaked and published on the

website of NGOs which drew criticism from the panelists

The inputs of the CSOs was substantially denied

Participatory practices at the WTO focused on enhancing external
accountability Access to WTO documents has been granted however the decision making process is still opaque

This limited access affects WTOs pursuit of public accountability

Roles of deliberators and watchdogs are conflicting for CSOs as working within system of experts demands high level of trust and as watchdogs they are meant to make information public

CSOs by publishing the confidential information from the interim

report missed the chance to be considered by WTO panelist in future Choice of any one strategy has repercussions on the ability of CSOs to perform the other

For effective policy making CSOs need to act as experts, abiding by rules, maintaining trusts but that compromises their other role as watchdogs



CAC Deliberators
Public interest CSOs
Plays the role


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