Members of civil society of the least developed countries (LDCs) will meet in Dhaka next month to give their views on the multilateral trade regime and explore the possibilities of forging a common stand on agenda for the WTO meeting in Hong Kong.
The development organisations, non-governmental organisations, trade bodies, and academics will meet at the two-day civil society forum titled, "Pre-Hong Kong International LDC Civil Society Forum," in Dhaka.
The meting will highlight the expectations of the LDC countries before the sixth WTO meeting to be held in Hong Kong on December 13-18.
They will promote and advance the interests and concerns of the LDCs at the ongoing negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) is organising the civil society forum scheduled to be held from October 3-5, 2005 in a city hotel.
Action Aid International, Consumers International, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Enda Tiers Monde, EU-LDC Network, Oxfam International, South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute are jointly organising the forum.
Sources said the LDC civil society forum would ventilate the stakeholders' concerns and provide a platform for interaction on issues of concern among various civil society organisations.
The LDC civil society would prepare a 'Declaration' on civil society's views from LDC's perspectives on the Hong Kong Agenda, which will include a list of priority issues to be considered by LDC Trade Ministers.
A National Advisory Committee (NAC) has already been formed with Bangladesh's 27 leading non-government organisations, business chambers, trade unions, gender groups and environmental groups and individuals.
"This forum is important to reach in a common strategy on four major issues including the plea to reduce agriculture subsidy in developed countries, zero tariff entry of LDC products in developed and developing countries and ensure trade benefit to the disadvantaged group," CPD Executive Director Debapriya Bhattacharya told the FE Saturday.
After failing of Cancun's World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting the LDC countries would be looking forward to the sixth WTO ministerial to be held in Hong Kong from December 13-18, he said.
The CPD top official said representatives from over 20 LDC countries have already confirmed their participation in the forum to reach a common strategy for the world's poorest countries.
"The declaration of the civil society forum along with letters of recommendations would be sent to the trade ministers of the LDC for negotiations in the forthcoming WTO ministerial meeting," Debapriya said.
Meanwhile top trade officials from across the third world countries would gather in Geneva for a two-day meeting tomorrow (Monday) to forge a common stand on "trade facilitation" for Hong Kong Agenda.
Bureaucrats from the 32 LDCs including Bangladesh will be participating in the meet from September 19-20 at the WTO headquarters with a view to reaching a consensus on tricky issues.