ITC Members Endorse Organization's Plans for 2011
The member countries of the International Trade Centre (ITC) today endorsed the organization’s plans for delivering trade-related technical assistance to developing countries in 2011 at the end of the 44th annual meeting of ITC’s Joint Advisory Group (JAG).
The delegates from many of the 192 member countries discussed ITC’s Annual Report for 2009, its Consolidated Programme Document and Operational Plan for 2011, and there was broad agreement on the importance of developing the capacity of poorer countries to increase their share of world trade.
Delegates were particularly pleased that ITC had managed to surpass its target of devoting more than half of its extra-budgetary funding to projects and programmes in the least developed countries (LDCs), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs), small island developing states (SIDS), and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Closing the meeting, ITC Executive Director Patricia R. Francis welcomed members’ endorsement of ITC’s priorities. ‘We must focus on raising the value of exports. Market-led solutions are where the value lies. We work with the private sector so that we know where the opportunities are to be found before we start work,’ she said.
ITC is a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the opening session of the JAG was addressed by the Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, and WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy.
ITC focuses on supporting small and medium-sized private-sector enterprises in developing countries, and this approach was endorsed both by Dr. Supachai and Mr. Lamy. Delegates agreed that this was the area of ITC’s comparative advantage and should remain its prime focus.
Members appreciated ITC’s commitment to the WTO Aid for Trade agenda, and agreed that the third Global Aid for Trade review in July 2011 would be an opportunity to demonstrate the impact of its work in developing countries. Another important event in 2011 would be the fourth UN conference on LDCs in Istanbul in May.
Delegates also welcomed progress in reforming ITC with the introduction of results-based management (RBM) approaches, and a shift from small projects to larger, multi-year programmes, at the country and regional levels. Support was also expressed for ITC to invest in the Enterprise Resource Planning project and to implement the International Public Sector Accounting Standards as this would contribute to further embedding efficiency and RBM at ITC
The financial overview showed that the total income/appropriation available to the organization in the 2010–2011 biennium was projected to reach US$ 157.7 million, compared to US$ 149.2 million in the previous biennium. Donor countries were urged by developing countries to maintain their support for ITC and for the continuation of the administrative arrangements as they exist between the United Nations and WTO. A number of countries took the opportunity of the JAG meeting to announce funding commitments.
Delegates endorsed ITC’s efforts to focus on working towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and especially to mainstream gender in its work and its effective partnerships with other agencies. There were calls for equal attention to be given to poverty reduction, the environment and youth.
The Consolidated Programme for 2011 is structured around ITC’s five programme delivery responses, as defined in the organization’s Strategic Plan. These set the focus as being on LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS and SSA; export capacity building with a country focus; export capacity building with a regional focus; expanding the numbers of users of ITC’s global public goods; and targeting the MDGs.
The programme document also describes ITC’s approach by region for 2011, the delivery of global public goods and the continuous development of its technical expertise.
Delegates endorsed a management proposal to move the annual JAG meeting next year from December each year to the second quarter of the year, making it possible to present the Annual Report for the previous year in a more timely way.