WTO Open Day 2024: An Essential Gateway to Understanding Global Trade

Jun 7, 2024 | Event

Date: June 9th, 2024

Venue: World Trade Organization, Centre William Rappard, Rue de Lausanne 154, CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland

On June 9th, 2024, the World Trade Organization (WTO) will open its doors to the public for the WTO Open Day 2024. Hosted at the historic Centre William Rappard in Geneva, this event offers a unique opportunity for visitors to gain insights into the workings of the WTO, an organization central to global trade governance. The day promises a rich program, featuring educational tours, interactive activities, and engaging sessions with WTO staff.

Open Days 2024, Understanding the WTO: A Brief Overview

The WTO is the bedrock of international trade, providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements, monitoring trade policies, resolving disputes, and building trade capacity, especially for developing economies. Its overarching goal is to use trade as a lever to enhance living standards, create jobs, and improve lives worldwide.

Trade Negotiations: The WTO’s agreements, which cover goods, services, and intellectual property, are dynamic and evolve through continuous negotiations among member countries. A notable example is the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement adopted at the 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022.

Implementation and Monitoring: Transparency is key in WTO operations. Member governments must notify the WTO about their trade policies and measures. Various councils and committees within the organization ensure compliance and implementation, with periodic reviews and monitoring reports.

Dispute Settlement: The WTO’s dispute settlement system is crucial for maintaining orderly and fair trade. When members believe their trade rights are infringed, they can seek redress through this system, which relies on rulings by independent experts.

Building Trade Capacity: Special provisions in WTO agreements assist developing economies by providing extended timelines and support for building trade capacity. Initiatives like Aid for Trade help these economies enhance their participation in global trade through skill and infrastructure development.

Outreach: The WTO engages with a broad range of stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, the business sector, and the general public, fostering cooperation and awareness about its activities.

WTO Open Day 2024 Program Highlights

The Open Day will commence with a welcome address and opening ceremony at 10:00 AM in the Council Room. Speeches will be delivered by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, General Council Chair Ambassador Petter Ølberg, and representatives of the Swiss authorities. This sets the stage for a day filled with discovery and learning.

Guided Tours: Visitors can explore the rich history of the Centre William Rappard through guided tours at 11:00, 13:00, and 15:00. These tours, available in English, French, and Spanish, will showcase the various artworks donated by governments and institutions, illustrating the cultural diversity represented at the WTO.

Interpreter for a Day: At 12:00, 14:00, and 16:00 in Room W, visitors can step into the shoes of WTO interpreters, experiencing firsthand the challenges and excitement of interpreting during international meetings.

Q&A Sessions: Room W will also host Q&A sessions at 11:15, 13:15, and 15:15, where visitors can engage directly with WTO staff, asking questions about trade and the organization’s role.

Photo Exhibitions: The Atrium will feature photo exhibitions chronicling the evolution of the WTO building since 1926 and highlighting significant moments, such as the signing of the Marrakesh Agreement in 1994.

Children’s Activities: The event is family-friendly, with activities like face painting, storytelling, and a bouncy castle on the lakeside lawn, ensuring younger visitors have a memorable day.

International Buffet: A diverse array of national foods and drinks provided by WTO members will be available throughout the day on the lakeside terrace, offering a culinary journey around the world.

WTO Videos: Room B will showcase videos on the WTO’s work, providing a visual and narrative understanding of its functions and impact.

WTO Quiz Show: From 3:00 PM to 3:30 PM in the Atrium, visitors can test their knowledge about the WTO in a fun quiz show, with prizes for the winners.

Live Music: Adding to the festive atmosphere, live music will be performed throughout the day, celebrating the cultural diversity of the WTO’s membership.

The WTO Open Day 2024 is more than just an open house; it’s an immersive experience that highlights the critical role of the WTO in global trade. From interactive tours and educational sessions to engaging activities and cultural showcases, the event offers something for everyone. Whether you are a trade enthusiast, a curious learner, or a family looking for an informative outing, the Open Day promises to be a rewarding experience that deepens your understanding of how international trade shapes our world.

Please click here to find out more about this event.