It’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s first day at work as first female and first African WTO Director-General

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday became the first female and first African Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

On her first day at work, Okonjo-Iweala welcomed civil society’s plea for a successful conclusion to the fisheries subsidies negotiations.

L-R: WWF's Marco Lambertini, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and chair of fisheries subsidies negotiations Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia. 
L-R: WWF’s Marco Lambertini, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and chair of fisheries subsidies negotiations Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia.

Okonjo-Iweala visited a fish ice sculpture was set up by a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in front of the WTO headquarters on 1 March. She accompanied by the chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia.

L-R: Friends of Ocean Action's Gemma Parkes, IISD's Peter Wooders, chair of fisheries subsidies negotiations Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and WWF's Marco Lambertini. 
L-R: Friends of Ocean Action’s Gemma Parkes, IISD’s Peter Wooders, chair of fisheries subsidies negotiations Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and WWF’s Marco Lambertini.

The WTO said Dr Okonjo-Iweala and Ambassador Wills met with representatives of the Stop Funding Overfishing Coalition, made up of 175 NGOs, which had set up the ice installation titled “Stop the Fish Meltdown” to highlight their call for an end to harmful fishing subsidies.

“When she was selected as Director-General by the General Council on 15 February Dr Okonjo-Iweala highlighted the importance of these negotiations, indicating that it is time for WTO members to identify appropriate landing zones and deliver an agreement for the benefit of global fish stocks as well as for the organization’s track record of forging new rules important to current and future generations,” WTO said in a statement.

L-R: Friends of Ocean Action's Gemma Parkes, IISD's Peter Wooders, chair of fisheries subsidies negotiations Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and WWF's Marco Lambertini. 
L-R: Friends of Ocean Action’s Gemma Parkes, IISD’s Peter Wooders, chair of fisheries subsidies negotiations Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and WWF’s Marco Lambertini.

According to Ambassador Wills, members must not waste the ongoing momentum in the negotiations and should close the gaps in their respective positions soon.

The latest cluster of meetings for fisheries subsidies negotiations concluded on February 19.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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