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Capacity Development and Advisory Services

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Capacity Development and Advisory Services

Least Developed Countries

UN Photo:DPAD's capacity development activities for LDCs focus on assisting countries in the category with access to international support measures and improving utilization of these measures.

The category of LDCs was introduced in 1971 to allow these countries to benefit from the special international support measures. International support measures are provided in four main areas: (a) preferential market access, (b) special treatment regarding WTO-related obligations, (c) official development assistance, and (d) technical cooperation. The LDC list remains too long, indicating lack of success in development. This is the result of many factors, one of which is the inability to take sufficient advantage of the existing benefits associated with LDC status. A handful of countries have recently been recommended for graduation, but the withdrawal of effective support could lead to a disruption of progress achieved so far and result in countries' backsliding to the LDC category. DESA's development capacity activities aim to deliver a more effective development impact of international support provided to LDCs.

Capacity building for removing constraints in utilizing trade-related international support measures for Least Developed Countries
(2012–2015)

  • Objectives
  • Activities
  • Countries
  • Outputs
  • Partners
The objective of this project is to increase national capacity in the governments and export sectors of participating LDCs to access and effectively use the trade-related international support measures for advancing the development strategies of LDCs in overcoming structural handicaps and economic vulnerability.

Forthcoming activities with a focus on improved capacity in LDCs to address institutional constraints in accessing and sharing information about the availability of trade-related international support measures will:

  • Facilitate and assist national counterparts in project countries to prepare diagnostic studies identifying institutional constraints in the use of trade-related international support measures
  • Provide country-specific training to strengthen capacity of ministries and export sector representatives in evaluating the availability of relevant international support measures and in drawing up and executing an implementation plan for removing institutional constraints for accessing those measures
  • Prepare concrete implementation plans for project countries to implement identified priority actions to access the support measures
  • Set up a network of trade experts (including experts from developing countries and LDCs) to advise project countries and other LDC Governments on increased access to trade-related international support measures
  • Establish a web-based information portal focused on providing advice from trade experts on accessing the support measures
  • Implement an economy-wide modelling framework for the assessment of policy options related to the potential impact of trade-related international support measures on LDCs' export sectors, economic diversification and growth dynamics
The project will focus on four pilot countries in Africa. Selection of these LDCs will take into account expressions of interest by Governments to participate in the project and depend on availability of local experts in the capacity building activities; quality of participation in previous project activities on international support measures; potential for use of these measures; and expected ability to sustainably maintain the results obtained through the project outputs.

Selected outputs to be delivered under the project are:

  • Diagnostic studies identifying institutional constraints in the use of trade-related international support measures
  • Web-based information portal focused on providing advice from trade experts on accessing the support measures
  • Economy-wide modelling framework for the assessment of policy options related to the potential impact of the implementation of trade-related international support measures on LDCs' export sectors, diversification and development progress
For implementing the project, DESA will seek the collaboration from the EIF Secretariat, ITC, UNCTAD, UNDP, WTO and other interested international organisations

Graduation strategies for Least Developed Countries in Asia
and Africa (2008–2011)

  • Objectives
  • Activities
  • Countries
  • Outputs
  • Partners
The project aims at improving the capacity of LDCs to access and benefit from the special support measures adopted by the international development community. For those countries graduating from the category, the project will also provide the necessary tools to assess the likely impact of graduation and assist in developing strategies for the possible phasing out of the support associated with LDC status.
  • 17–20 October 2011—A scoping mission and inception workshop on "Strengthening Macro-Micro Modelling Capacities to Assess Development Support Measures and Strategies" was organized in Entebbe, Uganda at the request of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. The workshop introduced the analytical framework to assess and maximize the use of support measures and strategies in Uganda.
  • 11 May 2011—The LDC Information Portal was launched during the Fourth LDC Conference on LDCs. (Istanbul, Turkey)
  • 23–24 September 2010—A peer review workshop was held to discuss the first draft responses of French speaking LDC/WTO Members. The surveys were discussed by respondents and reviewed by experts and officials from the CDP Secretariat, ITC and WTO. (Geneva)
  • 11–12 August 2010—A peer review workshop was held to discuss the first draft responses of English speaking LDC/WTO Members. The CDP Secretariat benefitted from the assistance of resource persons and experts from WTO and the International Trade Center. (Geneva, ITC)
  • 9–10 August 2010—A training workshop was held on trade-related international support measures for French speaking LDC WTO Members. With the assistance of the CDP Secretariat, resource persons, and experts from WTO and the International Trade Center (ITC), participants from French speaking LDCs worked on providing responses to a detailed technical survey addressed to LDCs on special and differential treatment regarding WTO disciplines and market access. (Geneva)
  • 28–29 June 2010—A training workshop was held on trade-related international support measures for Least Developed Countries. With the assistance of the CDP Secretariat, resource persons, and experts from WTO and the International Trade Center (ITC), participants from LDCs worked on providing responses to a detailed technical survey addressed to LDCs on special and differential treatment regarding WTO disciplines and market access. (Geneva)
  • 10–11 February 2010—An Expert Group Meeting was organized by the CDP Secretariat and hosted by the WTO to discuss the content and implementation process of technical surveys. Experts from LDCs, trading partners and international organizations all agreed on the usefulness of these surveys. (Geneva)

Activities with a focus on capacity building for assessment of the likely impact of graduation and support for the design of smooth transition strategies include:

  • Case studies on countries' experiences in preparing or planning to prepare for a smooth transition;
  • Design of a country-specific macroeconomic model framework for:
    • Assessing the benefits and the potential loss of benefits resulting from graduation as an input to the impact assessments
    • Simulating the economy-wide effects of compensatory policy responses
    • Assessing the consistency of macroeconomic policies in response to the country's external vulnerability with long-term development objectives
This project benefits all 48 existing LDCs as well as countries graduating and graduated from the category. Seven country case-studies on international support used and constraints faced have been implemented. A case study on Nepal focusses on the experience with acceding to the WTO. Another study reviews Bangladesh's experience in benefiting from preferential market. The studies on Cape Verde and Samoa discuss these countries experiences with graduating from the LDC category. In the case of Samoa, the study describes the use of support measures and their contribution to assisting the country in preparing for graduation. The case study on Cape Verde reviews its experience with graduation and smooth transition from the category. Two additional reports review LDC-specific support through multilateral funds for LDCs, with the study on Mozambique focussing on climate change and the study on Mali on trade-related capacity building under the enhanced integrated framework (EIF).
  • The LDC Information Portal, dedicated to sharing information about availability and utilization of international support measures
  • Surveys of donors, the WTO, trading partners and LDCs on the availability and awareness of the benefits associated with LDC status, and the degree to which beneficiary countries are taking advantage of such benefits
Project activities are implemented with assistance from ECA, ITC, OECD/DAC, OHRLLS, WTO, UNCTAD and UNDP. International organisations, bilateral donors, trading partners and LDC Governments provide critical information about the availability and use of LDC specific international support measures.

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15 November 2012 —Redesigned Support Measures Portal for LDCs introduced to New York delegates.