unctad.org | Ad-Hoc Expert Meeting on Building Skills in Developing Countries: Training, Networking and ICTs
Ad-Hoc Expert Meeting on Building Skills in Developing Countries: Training, Networking and ICTs
27 - 28 November 2006

Key Issues

Analytical capacity on trade and the linkages between research and policymaking, together with trade-related training and teaching capacity are fundamental components in our efforts to build knowledge and skills for international trade. The development of a sustainable local capacity to deal with trade and investment issues are at stake.

The Ad-Hoc Expert Meeting organized by UNCTAD aims at providing an opportunity for an open dialogue in which experiences and best practices can be shared and participants from different regions of the world learn from one another. Participation in this debate will allow developing countries and a wide range of actors and stakeholders to acquire knowledge on the methods and tools, including ICT and networking, which can be deployed when developing strategies for local sustainable human resources and institution-building in the field of trade.

Speakers will include representatives from governments, international organizations and university networks, who will present various modes of delivery specifically designed and implemented for trade-related education and training, including examples of online distance learning (e.g. Masters or short courses), twinning, regional cooperation and workshops.

Some of the questions which will be addressed by the expert panels are:

  • What are the long-term challenges in the building of trade-related knowledge and skills facing developing countries?

  • What are the different organizational models for the establishment and delivery of trade-related academic/training programmes?

  • What are the financial models behind these programmes?

  • How could the relevance and use of local research be enhanced and the links strengthened between policy makers and researchers?

  • How can one build a sustainable research/analytical capacity? How can the local research capacity be coordinated at the national level?

Government officials, representatives of the private sector, academia and NGOs dealing with capacity-building of trade-related knowledge and skills are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting.



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The Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on Building Skills in Developing Countries: Training, Networking and ICTs, convened in accordance with the decision taken by the Commission on Enterprise, Business Facilitation and Development at its tenth session, will be held from 27 to 28 November 2006. The Meeting will be opened at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, at 10 a.m. on Monday, 27 November 2006.

Background and purpose of the meeting

This Ad Hoc Expert Meeting will draw on the deliberations of previous UNCTAD meetings on training and capacity building organized over the past six years. In the first place, it follows up on the Expert Group Meeting on Human Resources Development and Training in Trade Supporting Services (October 2000) whose scope it broadens to include a wider range of trade-related skills and target audiences. Second, it builds on the debates and recommendations of the various sessions of the Advisory Group on the Strengthening of UNCTAD Training Capacities and Human Resources Development, which discussed UNCTAD training programmes (2002), networking and distance learning (2004 and 2005), and human resources development in the field of international trade and investment for the least developed countries (LDCs) and regional organizations in Africa (2006). The Ad Hoc Expert Group thus reviews and brings together the lessons learnt in the implementation of recommendations made by previous expert meetings.

Many developing countries, in particular the LDCs, have difficulties facing challenges stemming from globalization, partly because they lack the knowledge and skills required to find, analyse and apply relevant information for both the formulation and implementation of trade, investment and development (these together are referred to as trade in the text below) and the effective participation of their business sector in international trade.

Such capacity is required to: (a) be able to analyse and evaluate the developmental impact of trade policies; (b) participate actively in global and regional trade negotiations to ensure that the long-term interests of the country are adequately reflected; (c) conduct international trade operations in an efficient manner; (d) have a necessary underlying capacity for trade training and research in the academic sector of the country; and (e) ensure that an informed dialogue on trade issues can take place between the Government and other stakeholders, including the private sector and broader civil society.

There is therefore a need in these countries to build a local capacity at the government, private sector and civil society levels to better define and apply efficient trade and investment strategies that would be conducive to their economic and social development. Indeed responding to the knowledge and training needs of developing countries has been highlighted as a key recommendation of the Aid for Trade task force in the area of building capacities for trade.

To help meet this need, UNCTAD has developed training and capacity-building programmes with an integrated strategy aimed at building sustainable trade-related capacities in beneficiary countries. This approach provides for long-term support for: (a) local institutions and individuals offering foundation education for future decision-makers and operational training courses addressing specific technical skills and/or providing upgrades of existing knowledge; and (b) local institutions and individuals providing analytical and research inputs and advice to decision-makers. Together, (a) and (b) are referred to as the development of human and institutional resources for trade and development.

Approaches and tools employed have to respond to the diversity of the target audiences: current and future trade policy makers as well as trade practitioners. UNCTAD´s training and capacity building programmes foster the development of professional and knowledge networks which are sustained over time and space by the use of information and communication technologies. Internet-based platforms, as well as other tools, allow for effective sharing of information and expertise, while national, regional and international counterparts monitor activities and promote their wide distribution. The networks, further enabled through the use of ICT, allow different stakeholders - researchers, policy makers and trade professionals and their institutions - to enhance their learning, teaching, training, research and decision making, with potential immediate impacts on a country´s national policy and long-term benefits for locally sustained trade knowledge and efficiency.

The main objective of this Ad Hoc Expert Meeting will be to provide a discussion forum for developing countries to find out, through sharing of experiences and best practices, how to develop strategies for locally sustainable human resource and institution building in the area of trade. This meeting will highlight the methods and tools that can be used in such strategies.


Member States of UNCTAD are requested to nominate experts at an early date, and not later than 10 November 2006. Experts are expected to have proven expertise in the subject, and may be selected from both the public and the private sectors, as well as from universities and distance learning institutions. The Meeting may be of particular interest to government officials, representatives of the private sector and academia dealing with issues related to trade training and capacity building, including the use of networks and ICT to foster the development of such capacities.

Specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies wishing to participate in the Meeting, as well as non-governmental organizations in the general category and those in the special category wishing to participate as observers, are requested to inform the UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives by 10 November 2006.

Background documentation and expert papers

The provisional agenda for the Meeting, together with the secretariat´s annotations thereto will be circulated as document TD/B/COM.3/AHM.1/1. In order to facilitate discussion, the secretariat is preparing a background note, which will be circulated as TD/B/COM.3/AHM.1/2.

Experts are encouraged to submit written contributions related to their country´s experience on the subjects under discussion. These papers will be made available to the Meeting in the form and language in which they are received.


The Meeting will take place at the United Nations Office at Geneva, Palais des Nations. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in the six official languages of the United Nations.

Upon arrival, participants are requested, before entering the Palais des Nations, to collect their badges at the UN Security Service, Pregny Gate entrance, 14 Avenue de la Paix. The Security Service is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Because of the security measures in force, participants are strongly advised to arrive before 9 a.m. in order to complete entry procedures in good time and proceed to the Meeting in the E-Building (Bâtiment E) of the Palais. Participants are requested to carry a passport or similar national identity card with them. Taxis are not allowed to enter the grounds of the Palais des Nations, and visitors will therefore be dropped off at the requested entrance gates. Furthermore, luggage may not be brought into the buildings unless the Security Service gives special clearance.

Further information and contact details

All communications concerning representation at the Meeting should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Affairs and Outreach Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, fax: +41(0)22 917 0214; e-mail: correspondence@unctad.org.

Enquiries concerning substantive issues should be addressed to the coordinator of the expert meeting, Ms. Alessandra Vellucci, Officer-in-Charge of the Human Resources Development Section, Division for Services Infrastructure for Development and Trade Efficiency, UNCTAD, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, tel. +41 (0)22 917 4641, fax: +41 (0)22 917 0050, e-mail: alessandra.vellucci@unctad.org.

(p.p. signed)

Supachai Panitchpakdi
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
19 October 2006


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