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Development Account Projects

Strengthening capacity in developing countries for meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through policies and actions in trade and trade-related areas

Background:

In the Millennium Declaration, the Heads of State and Government underscored the importance of international trade in the context of development and the elimination of poverty by way of committing themselves, inter alia, to an open, equitable, rules-based, predictable and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system. This project will contribute to the achievement of a number of objectives in section III (Development and poverty eradication) and section IV (Protecting our common environment) of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. This project also takes in many of the points in the strategy on trade outlined in the SG’s report "Roadmap towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration" (A/56/326).

Based on over 30 years of experience in capacity building in the trade-development interface, UNCTAD's ongoing and planned activities in the areas of trade analysis, commodities, competition law and policy, trade negotiations and commercial diplomacy, as well as trade and environment will be particularly relevant to the project. In pursuing this project, UNCTAD will collaborate, as necessary, with a number of relevant organizations such as WTO, ITC, WIPO, UNDP, World Bank, FAO, WHO, ILO and UNEP, as well as UN regional commissions, and relevant regional/sub-regional institutions.

The project will pay attention to multilateral processes concerned with trade and trade-related issues, including the preparatory process and outcome of UNCTAD XI and post-Doha multilateral trade negotiations of the WTO, as well as to the follow-through processes of the Millennium Declaration.

Objective:

Assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition to strengthen human and institutional capacities needed for: (i) an enhanced understanding, in the context of national development policies, of the interrelationships between trade and relevant MDGs; (ii) mainstreaming trade policies into national development and poverty reduction efforts; (iii) integrating relevant aspects of MDGs in trade and trade-related policies and actions; (iv) more effective preparation for and participation in relevant international discussions, negotiations and decision-making, particularly multilateral trade negotiations; (v) establishing networks of relevant expertise at national, sub-regional and regional levels.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Enhanced understanding of the interrelationships between trade and the millennium development goals in the context of national development
  • Strengthened human and institutional capacities at the regional and national levels for the formulation and implementation of trade and development policies that are supportive of the millennium development goals
  • Increased interaction and exchange between policy makers at regional levels to enhance the sharing of national millennium development goal-related policies and best practices, and to strengthen national and regional capacities to formulate and pursue development-oriented agendas in international discussions and negotiations

Implementation status:

Significant impact was achieved in promoting and strengthening awareness in developing countries of the contribution of international trade and trade liberalization to the achievement of MDGs, and in initiating the formulation, adaptation and implementation of trade and development policies supportive of the MDGs. Understanding among trade policy makers and trade negotiators in the Asia-Pacific region was enhanced on such issues as approaches to improve market access through strengthened capacities to meet environmental requirements in export markets, WTO negotiations on environmental goods and services, non-tariff measures affecting trade in environmental goods, and the important contribution of organic agriculture. The potential contribution to MDGs of multilateral trade negotiations under the WTO Doha negotiations, the interface with other trade negotiations, and mainstreaming into national trade and wider development processes, including through public-private partnerships, were emphasized. Opportunities for commodity production and trade in promoting the MDGs were specifically taken up for African countries, and lessons learnt shared with other countries. The role of competition policy in promoting development continued to be publicised in countries with economies in transition.