WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade

Mr. Chairman,Ms. Arancha González, ITC Executive Director,Mr. Karl Brauner, WTO Deputy Director-General,Distinguished Delegates and Experts,Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour to be invited to introduce the ePing global alert system for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) notifications to you.

The idea for this alert system was driven by demand from governments and private sector stakeholders in Least Developed Countries. It was realized through a project implemented by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). During the implementation of that project, access to and dissemination of product requirements from trading partners were identified by our pilot countries as key impediments to entering foreign markets.

In November 2014, DESA organized a workshop in Geneva to discuss and assess options for assisting countries in overcoming their challenges in obtaining relevant information on SPS and TBT requirements. Our proposal was to build an electronic platform to facilitate access to this information. We made a conscious effort to invite and involve the WTO as the organisation at the forefront of recording and keeping track of product measures that are being developed or changed. We also reached out to colleagues in ITC due to their expertise in addressing the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries and their experience with creating and maintaining trade-related electronic information platforms.

From the outset, we also ensured to review our proposal and – later on – the ePing pilot versions with potential users, not only in LDCs, but also in numerous other countries with an interest and expertise in improving transparency on standards and regulations.

We soon learned that, simultaneous to our project findings and development of the ePing system, this Committee of the WTO was holding discussions on ways to improve the dissemination of notifications through an online alert system. We in DESA saw this as an opportunity for a successful collaboration. By combining our efforts we could make a major leap forward:

• WTO had the expertise and a database in place to access the necessary information;• DESA had the resources and expertise to develop the technology and test it in the participating pilot countries and with trading partners;• ITC was the ideal partner to maintain the system after its launch and to assist in the dissemination to SMEs.

The 3 organisations had the insight to put these various elements together and to collaborate. Today – after 2 years of joint activities – our inter-agency collaboration shows the world that, by using the expertise of different development organisations, we can address real-life problems, reach more people and move from dialogue to action.

Our tri-partite partnership pursues sustainability at two levels:

First, at the operational level, it ensures that the infrastructure, resources and expertise are in place to sustain the ePing export alert system and to build capacity in its use, thereby contributing to facilitating market access and promoting an open trading system.

Second, at the global level, the partnership seeks to reinforce the positive role of trade for sustainable development as highlighted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders at the UN, in September last year. This ambitious new global development agenda provides a broad framework that will guide international development efforts for the next 15 years. It is my hope that the widespread use of the ePing system will become a concrete example of how to foster a global partnership for sustainable development by increasing export opportunities for developing countries.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are all aware that the climate for fund-raising has changed. Now, more than ever, development partners have to collaborate effectively and join forces to make the most of available resources. In that respect, DESA will continue its efforts to foster partnerships to ensure that the ePing system reaches those who can benefit from it, particularly in developing countries.

In conclusion, on behalf of the United Nations, I would like to thank those countries that participated in this project, as well as the development partners contributing their time and expertise.

Let me also take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the other speakers on the podium today for making this collaboration so successful. I hope that this is a sign for more partnership opportunities to come in the future.

Thank you.
File date: 
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Lenni Montiel