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18 Sept 09 - Delivering Aid for Trade: the role of the United Nations System

One United NationsAt a special session of the Trade and Development Board, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD and the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) explained how the United Nations Chief Executives Board (CEB) Inter-agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity is advancing the Aid for Trade initiative.



The Secretary-General of UNCTAD Supachai Panitchpakdi and the Director-General of UNIDO Kandeh K. Yumkella co-chaired a special session of the Trade and Development Board entitled "Delivering Aid for Trade: the Role of the United Nations System".

The aim of the session was to inform participants about the role of the United Nations CEB Inter-agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity in advancing the Aid for Trade initiative.

In their statements, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD and the Director-General of UNIDO explained how the cluster is operationalizing the United Nations system's contribution to the delivery of Aid for Trade. They highlighted that the assistance, which addresses supply-side needs, has to be delivered in conjunction with policy advice, drafting of legislative instruments and the enhancement of institutional capacity in all trade and trade-related issues. The cluster provides integrated assistance programmes at the country level that encompass in a coherent manner the expertise and mandates of several United Nations agencies. Since 2007, joint programmes on trade and trade-related assistance have been designed within the cluster under the coordination of UNCTAD. The implementation of these joint programmes is already ongoing in the "One UN" pilot countries such as Cape Verde, Mozambique, Rwanda and Viet Nam and in other countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Ecuador, Georgia and the Syrian Arab Republic. More countries will be included in this inter-agency mechanism in the next few months.

The cluster shows that inter-agency coordination facilitates the mainstreaming of trade into national development strategies and United Nations national assistance plans, especially the inclusion of the cluster operations within the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which is the picture of the assistance provided by the United Nations system as a whole for the three-four year period in response to the country's specific needs and priorities.

The Executive Secretary of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), Ms. Tembo, explained that the joint programmes prepared by the cluster also aim at ensuring the interface between the UNDAF and the EIF with a view to mainstreaming synergies and complementarities between the two schemes.

Mr. Shishir Priyadarshi, Director of the Development Division of the World Trade Organization, emphasized that better policy coherence was reached through the cluster when designing inter-agency joint programmes. Complementarities between the different mandates of the collaborating agencies with coordinated activities in various sectors proved to lead to a greater effectiveness and development impact.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) mentioned the benefits provided by the inter-agency mechanisms in support to the business sector including an improved public-private partnership.

Finally, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) mentioned the impact of the assistance provided by the cluster in the Europe/CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) region.

The special session demonstrated that:

  1. The trade-related assistance envisaged by the Aid for Trade initiative cannot be de-linked from the development role of the United Nations system;

  2. The agencies of the United Nations system have a wide range of expertise relevant to the goals of Aid for Trade and should act together to achieve the widest and deepest development impact;

  3. Pragmatic inter-agency mechanisms such as the CEB Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity operationalize Aid for Trade through coordinated assistance aligned with national development plans.

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