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Development Account Projects

Capacity-building on key issues on the international economic agenda

Background:

The Bangkok Plan of Action adopted at the tenth session of UNCTAD (TD/386), calls, inter alia for strengthening of UNCTAD’s capacity-building activities, particularly through regular training courses, to be organized in cooperation with the United Nations Staff College, on key trade and development issues, so as to better enable developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet global economic and trade challenges.

Training courses held in cooperation with the United Nations Staff College in Geneva and Turin were organized as part of the project.

Objective:

To strengthen the human resource and institutional capacity in developing countries and countries with economies in transition so as to enable these countries to (a) gain a better understanding of the interrelated issues in the areas of trade, investment, finance and technology; (b) enhance local and regional training capacity in these areas; (c) participate as effectively as possible in discussions and negotiations on these issues; (d) establish the basis for a continuous and systematic form of training and capacity-building at the international, regional and national levels and a network of expertise in developing countries and countries with economies in transition on these issues

Expected accomplishments:

  • Strengthening of the project’s related capacities in individual countries
  • Enhanced local and regional capacity to deliver training on key issues and the international economic agenda
  • Improved understanding of these complex issues on the international economic agenda and their interdependence
  • Improved capacity to effectively participate in international negotiations

Effects and Impact:

Under the project, trade officials and academics were trained in the inter-related issues of trade, finance, investment, technology. Courses were designed to take into account regional specificities, and where possible the sharing of experience amongst participants at best practices in designing and implementing national development strategies that enhanced the learning on these issues. It also contributed to those participants whose skills were strengthened as negotiators at bilateral, regional and multilateral negotiations on trade. Since 2002 seven training courses have been organized in five different regions (Africa, Asia-Pacific, economies in transition, Latin American and the Caribbean and Western Asia). About 70% of all participants responded that the course had an impact on their professional development (improved application of knowledge/information of the course and the extent to which the knowledge has been applied/shared), and that there was indeed a value-added of the course to their professional jobs. Many also confirm the improved understanding of the complex issues on the international economic agenda and their interdependence.

The secretariat trained a total of 180 trade officials and academics during since this period. Six month feedbacks were received for five of courses (Geneva-Turin, 2002; Bangkok, 2002; Santiago de Chile, March 2003; Beirut, in June 2003; and Mauritius in January 2004. More than 65% of the responding participants and their supervisors indicated the relevance of this training course to their professional jobs and the large extent to which the knowledge and information were shared with colleagues and others, especially those on national negotiation teams. All supervisors attest the importance of the content of the course content and the positive impact on the professional jobs of participants. Skills at negotiating bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements have been enhanced. The UNCTAD Virtual Institute plays a role in sustaining the pedagogical content of the course in the programs of national universities where current and future negotiators train.