GENEVA - Margaret Mensah-Williams, the Chairperson of the National Council was elected Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization (PCWTO).
The PCWTO aims to enhance parliamentarians’ understanding of the WTO and to allow them to oversee the WTO’s vital work in setting global trade rules and settling disputes. The conference is also designed to promote common parliamentary action on international trade, especially regarding the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda and the implementation of the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial Decisions. This interaction helps the global trade regime to be more transparent and accountable.
The PCWTO was co-founded in 2003 by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, which serves as co-chair of the conference’s steering committee. The Committee comprises 22 national parliaments and other regional and international parliamentary assemblies and structures. These include the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and representatives of the WTO Secretariat. Each member parliament or organization has the right to choose its representative(s).
In her acceptance speech in Geneva recently, Mensah-Williams emphasized the important role that parliamentary oversight plays in socio-economic growth and democracy, adding that she is “honoured to be the first woman and African to be co-chair of the PCWTO”. “Due to her great experience and knowledge on the work and functioning of the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU), as well as her great trajectory and leadership as Chairperson of the National Council of the Republic of Namibia, Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams is a worthy representative of the IPU, as Co-Chair on the PCWTO,” said Gabriela Cuevas Barron, IPU President.
Mensah-Williams is a respected figure in parliamentary diplomacy including in the Africa region, at the United Nations and most especially at the IPU.
She initially served for two years as Vice-President of the IPU’s Bureau of Women Parliamentarians from 2012 to 2014. She then ascended to the position of
President of the same body in 2014 and also served as a member of the IPU Executive Committee from 2014 to March 2018.
In October 2017, Mensah-Williams was elected Vice-Chairperson and advisor of the IPU Working Group on Syria, which is an effort by the global parliamentary community to find ways of a peaceful settlement to the Syrian conflict.
Most recently, she has been elected by delegates to the just ended 139th IPU Assembly to serve on the preparatory committee of the 2020 global Speakers’ Conference.