Delivered on 12 June 2014 by ITC Executive Director Arancha González at the 48th session of the Joint Advisory Group - WTO headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland
Thank you Ambassador for your excellent stewardship of this 48th JAG. And let me also thank Mexico and the UK for their contributions to the 50th celebration; Tequila, margaritas and mariachis will be hard to beat!
This has indeed been a very special JAG. Not only because it is the 50th anniversary but because it is clear to me that even as ITC reaches its golden celebration it remains more relevant and more innovative than ever before. And I say this in relation to the comments and contributions of JAG members and our clients over these last three days; and the many stories we have heard from you on impact of ITC’s work on the ground.
My sense of the room is that we are all driving on the same lane and that lane is forward looking and aimed at a destination of doing more and doing better. Let me reassure you that we have refuelled our tank and are ready for the challenges and opportunities of the next year.
During my first JAG as Executive Director this was an opportunity to introduce you to the new senior management team, to set out my vision for the organisation, to discuss the results of the independent evaluation and to map out the contours for our 2015-2017 strategic plan. I appreciate the thoughts and constructive debate you have offered on all of these subjects over these last few days and the endorsement and clear sense of direction you have provided. We are all in this TOGETHER
I am strongly committed to address existing gaps in our work and implement many of the recommendations that we have heard these last few days. I commit to report to you on the progress we will make in this respect by year end as I maintain an open and transparent dialogue with you going forward.
The bottom line is that ITC is committed to respond to the needs of our Members and partners in an organised yet flexible manner which corresponds to the clear priorities of our clients and within areas where we have a comparative advantage and will bring value. Our work will be guided by showing outcomes, impacts and results.
We will continue to focus the bulk of our energy on LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS and Sub-Sahara Africa but we will continue to innovate the solutions that we offer to post conflict and fragile sates and to the middle income countries who are both very important partners of the ITC.
Our relationship with Middle income countries will continue to evolve as we deepen our partnership with them as recipients of ITC assistance but also as partners in providing expertise to other countries who are eager to learn from their experience. This will very much inform our renewed focus on South South cooperation and collaboration- Brazil, China, India, Turkey and much more
I have heard a clear message from developing countries about where they see the pulse of our work in the coming years. We have heard these element from the chairperson. You have my personal assurance that we will continue to deepen and mature our offer in all of these areas and more.
The evaluation has been an opportunity for ITC to better understand its strengths and its challenges. As we have agreed, we will meet again later this year to continue the comprehensive discussion on the collective response to the recommendations in the report, which we have already begun to implement.
But here there is a need for a comprehensive solution based on collaboration with you, our members.
Demand is increasing, in trade facilitation, SME competitiveness, strengthening of institutions and the list goes on. This is why in the later part of this year we will come to you with specific suggestions around financing. We will cluster our pipeline around the six baskets which will give you a clearer idea of where the gaps are between the expressed needs of our beneficiaries and the resources that we have to respond so that we can take the discussion on financing forward.
I thank all development partners that have made specific announcements on funding earlier this morning. You can be assured that your investment will bring excellent returns in terms of transparency, accountability and trade impact for good. That is my compact with you.
I want to thank the interpreters who have helped us communicate in a multilingual world.
Last but not least, thanks whole heartedly – from top management down to support staff – for the great work they have put in ensuring we would deliver a seamless JAG.
As we come to an end of our three days of work and of celebration I thank you all for your continued commitment to the ITC. And with this let me invite you to the ethical fashion show and cocktail this evening in the atrium where you will see ITC's work in living colour right before you. It will be loud. It will be bright. But it will be impactful.
I thank you