The Permanent Delegation of the Pacific Islands Forum to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The 'Geneva Office' is charged with representing and assisting Forum Island Country (FIC) WTO Members and Observers, and to assist other Forum Island Countries to engage more fully with the WTO. At present, there are five Forum Island Countries who are full members of the WTO (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Samoa) while one FIC, Vanuatu, is undertaking final preparatory arrangements to accede to the WTO.
The role of the Geneva Office is to:
- Provide high-quality technical advice and assistance to stakeholders on matters relating to WTO negotiations and other WTO fora;
- Provide support, including fully representing the interests of counterpart governments at the WTO, as and when mandated by the Forum Leaders through the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat;
- Provide appropriate support for Ministerial and Official attendance at WTO meetings;
- Maintain close liaison and work collaboratively with Pacific Island Missions in Europe, in particular Brussels and London, to enhance the representation of Forum Island Countries in the ACP-EU arena;
- Assist Forum Island Countries to access Aid-for-Trade and capacity-development programmes;
- Provide, as and when necessary, on-the-job training including facilitating work attachment programmes for Forum Island Country rotational representatives at the Permanent Delegation.
The Geneva Office is headed by a Permanent Representative who reports to the Director of the Economic Governance Programme of the Secretariat in Suva, Fiji. The Permanent Representative is supported by a part time Administration Assistant and a number of Technical Advisors and Officers, as funding allows.
Recognising the importance of the WTO as the world’s most significant international opportunity for negotiation of trade and commercial issues, in 1999 the Pacific Forum Leaders agreed to establish a Forum delegation in Geneva. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat was given the task of setting up and resourcing the Geneva Office.
In February 2003, the Swiss Federal Council granted the Geneva Office privileges and immunities, including diplomatic status under the Vienna Convention of 1961 identical to those granted to Permanent Missions to States Members to the United Nations (UN) Organisations, the Specialised Agencies and other international organisations.
This paved the way for the Secretariat to formally establish the Geneva Office and appointed the first Permanent Representative in January 2004. The Geneva Office operations and annual activities are funded through a number of direct and indirect arrangements including through the Secretariat’s core budget, Forum Island Country WTO member contributions, the European Union, Australia and other development partners.
Our Contact Address
Permanent Delegation of the Pacific Islands Forum to the WTO
15b Chemin Louis-Dunant (3rd Floor)
Tel: (41-22) 730 1730
Fax: (41-22) 730 1733