Standards and Trade Development Facility

The Standards and Trade Development Facility seeks to assist developing countries in building their capacity to analyze and employ international standards, guidelines and recommendations and thus improve their ability to secure and retain access to markets.  In order to achieve this, the STDF focusses efforts on two sets of activities:

– increase awareness, mobilize resources, strengthen collaboration and identify and disseminate good practice;

– provide support and funding for the development and implementation of projects that promote compliance with international SPS requirements.

The STDF is a global partnership established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).  The organization is administered by the WTO and aims to devote at least 40% of its project resources to LDCs and LICs.

The STDF provides project preparation grants of maximum 50,000 USD to overcome constraints faced by developing countries in enhancing their capacity to meet SPS standards. Project grant financing for a maximum of 1,000,000  USD in STDF funding is available for projects which address underlying issues of SPS capacity building through innovative, preventative and replicable approaches. The recently developed decision-support tool, based on Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), can help decision-makers prioritize and make choices between competing SPS investments.

Beneficiaries from LDCs and other LICs should contribute at least 10% of the requested STDF contribution to the project. This contribution threshold is lower than the requirements for lower and upper Middle Income Countries. From 2003 to 2017, the STDF funded 151 projects (75 projects with the project preparation grants and 76 projects with the project grants), 86 of which in LDCs. 47.7% of the project and project preparation grants went to LDCs.

In a survey organized by UNDESA to map challenges for LDCs when accessing ISMs, several barriers to access the STDF were put forward: some governments were not aware of the existence of the STDF and it was also stated that the modalities to access the fund could be made more simple and clear.

A practical guide for applicants is available on the STDF website.

Sources: STDF website

STDF presentation at UN DESA workshop “Building institutional capacity in the use of trade-related International Support Measures (ISMs) in LDCs”