The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has published its 2023 Annual Report, providing a comprehensive account of the organisation’s activities in 2022 and the early part of 2023.

The publication references key events over the past year, focusing specifically on WTO work carried out in addressing a number of global challenges.

These issues include climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and food security.

WTO director-general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala commented: “The past year was another tumultuous one for the world economy and for global trade. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic began to recede, the international community was tested by one crisis after another.

“Despite the shadow cast by rising geopolitical tensions, trade has proved itself to be a force for resilience and recovery.

“We can and must continue to strengthen this vital institution and ensure that multilateral cooperation on trade does its part to provide solutions to problems facing people, nations and the wider global commons.”

WTO Annual Report

The 2023 report reflects on many of the key agreements reached by WTO.

Its 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), held in June 2022, resulted in a series of important outcomes, including decisions on an emergency response to the food crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic and a groundbreaking agreement on curbing harmful fisheries subsidies.

Following MC12, members focused on implementing outcomes and on how to approach areas such as agriculture, WTO reform and a second wave of negotiations on fisheries subsidies.

The organisation’s director-general has urged members to find solutions – wherever they can – especially in topics such as green technologies, services, digital commerce and inclusiveness.

In December 2022, the General Council of WTO agreed that MC13 will be held in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) in February 2024.


WTO is keen to highlight the role it played at last November’s COP27 Climate Summit in Egypt.

According to Okonjo-Iweala, trade is the missing part of the puzzle for more ambitious, more effective climate action.

Alongside the heads of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group and World Food Programme, WTO is calling for an urgent response to the food security crisis.

The latest figures confirm that 349 million people across 79 economies are acutely food insecure.

WTO’s agriculture committee has launched a work programme to address the food security concerns of vulnerable economies around the world.

Looking to the future, the WTO director-general has specifically warned against the fragmentation of the world trading order along geopolitical lines.

She fundamentally believes in the principle of strengthening trade cooperation, not weakening it.