Protestors and demonstrators, violent and non-violent, have become an inevitable part of the landscape surrounding major meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other trade negotiating events, necessitating police action in some cases. Meanwhile, inside these same meetings community groups, women’s organizations, professional associations, trade unions, farmers’ groups, and business associations, coalitions and advocacy groups are accredited to and encouraged to dialogue with the WTO. But is this the most effective place for involvement by civil society in shaping trade policy? A paper that I recently developed for the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) discusses the integral roles that these organizations can play and effective consultative mechanisms for integrating their contributions into policymaking at the national level — The Role of Civil Society in Shaping Trade Policy
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