The programme is demand-driven and targeted to the specific needs and requirements of individual acceding countries. Ownership by the beneficiary country is also a key feature of UNCTAD technical assistance in support of WTO accession.
The benefits derived by a country once it is a WTO member are largely based on the terms agreed during its accession process. UNCTAD´s main objective under this programme is therefore to help these countries to accede to the WTO on terms that are consistent with their levels of development - otherwise known as ´balanced terms´ - and their ability to implement obligations associated with WTO membership. It is also to ensure their beneficial integration into the international trading system.
UNCTAD´s short- and medium-term objective is to sensitise the acceding countries to the development dimension of the WTO agreements, the challenges and opportunities of the trading system, their rights and obligations in the accession process, as well as to support their institutional and human capacity-building. In addition, UNCTAD pursues a long-term objective to enable acceding countries to benefit from, and contribute to, the multilateral trading system.
Activities under the accession Trust Funds draw on the tree pillars of UNCTAD's work (consensus-building, research work and technical assistance), and include among other tailor-made activities:
- Pre-accession assistance (needs assessment, training and capacity-building in the area of trade policy);
- Formulation and definition of national policy objectives;
- Internship of individual trade policymakers in UNCTAD for exposure to trade and development work, as well as to attend relevant meetings in WTO;
- Technical advisory missions on the substance and process of accession (including. assistance in the preparation of the Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime and other accession-related documents);
- Workshops and training sessions for the negotiating team, policymakers, private sector, academia and civil society;
- Conduct of sectoral and impact assessment studies;
- Facilitation of exchanges of experience between acceding countries and recently acceded members;
- Diffusion of trade policy information and multimedia training material for trade negotiators, private sector, academia and civil society;
- Post-accession assistance, in particular to put domestic regulatory frameworks in conformity with accession commitments made when acceding to WTO; and
- Assistance to build national research capacity and support.