MJIEL Vol 10 Issue 3 2013 - Editorial

Communication Flows in International Economic Law

The Bali Ministerial Declaration 2013 on its own terms is described as being a ‘major step forward’ towards achieving the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). This self-congratulatory characterisation needs to be judged independently and against the set of objectives set out in the DDA. As such it is symbolically perhaps significant but certainly far from being a major development. Certainly it does not match the contribution of Nelson Mandela to humankind. Nelson Mandela’s passing away somewhat eclipsed the deliberations at the Bali Ministerial Conference and of course rightly so. These were after all negotiations that were taking place amongst stakeholders in the international economic system; who embraced the negotiations principally from self-interest. Nelson Mandela however focussed at the process of liberation and post-liberation in terms of the bigger long term picture for South Africa. An integral part of achieving his vision involved the magnanimity that he brought to bear to his former adversaries. This is a leaf from Mandela that the whole existing paradigm of multilateral negotiations could perhaps take from – moving away from reciprocity; inter-posing representative negotiations with a layer of disinterested objective and informed persona, focusing on the bigger picture.

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