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I will focus on climate change as WTO Director-General, says Sports CS Mohamed

SPORTS By Waweru Titus | September 25th 2020
Sports CS Amina Mohamed at a past press briefing. [Photo: Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Sports, Culture & Heritage Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed has vowed to focus on climate change if she is selected to head the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Kenya nominated CS Mohamed two months ago for the post of WTO Director-General. She progressed on Friday to the second round of selection, along with four other candidates.

The Sports CS said she would make the WTO's trade and environment committee active, adding ‘going green is the future.’

"How is it possible that the WTO does not discuss climate change?... WTO must be a part of the global conversation on climate change.

"At the end of the day, it is about the bottom line, but that bottom line can actually be improved by going green because that is the future," CS Mohamed told an online media briefing from Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday.

According to the former Foreign Affairs CS, the committee's priority would be to draw up rules for the international trade of environmental goods and services like wind turbines and solar panels.

After a two-week consultation between envoys of the 164-member WTO, the global trade referring body retained Mohamed, Nigeria’s Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Yoo Myung-hee (South Korea), Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri (Saudi Arabia) and (Dr Liam Fox) the United Kingdom.

The five will compete in the next round that starts on September 24 and end on October 6.

CS Mohamed is seeking to succeed Roberto Azevêdo, who stepped down on 31 August 2020.

She ran for the Director-General post unsuccessfully in 2013.

Outgoing World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Roberto Azevedo gestures as he speaks during a press conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, on January 20, 2017 in Davos. [AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI]

The WTO deals with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments.

The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

Ambassador Mohamed has already guided the organisation successfully as chairperson of all its highest decision-making bodies, including the Ministerial Conference (2015), the General Council (2005), the Dispute Settlement Body (2004) and the Trade Policy Review Body (2004).

Her skills of strategic leadership, effective communication, institutional reform and consensus-building have made a major contribution to the WTO’s key achievements.

As Kenya’s Foreign Affairs CS from 2013-2018, she chaired the 2015 WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi.

As the first African to chair the WTO's highest forum, she played a crucial role in reaching positive outcomes, especially the decision to eliminate export subsidies in the agriculture sector.

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