Since 2016, UNCTAD has successfully provided an intensive professional capacity building programme for members of national trade facilitation committees (NTFCs) and their secretariats in over 40 countries worldwide.
The Programme aims to empower NTFCs to successfully undertake their mandate to implement trade facilitation reforms in a coordinated manner, including the provisions of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement. Result-oriented and efficient NTFCs will help countries streamline their international trade, contributing to bringing prosperity to all.
With the inclusion of NTFC-specific digital tools in 2020, the Programme moved away from a face-to-face only training to a hybrid holistic support approach.
National Trade Facilitation Committees can now choose from a wide range of technical assistance products and methodologies depending not only on the level of maturity of their NTFC and their specific needs but also contingent upon national and international Covid-19 related restrictions.
Assessment of NTFC needs: the first step to tailor your Empowerment Programme
When preparing a technical assistance action plan for a specific country, we will undertake a first assessment of the specific NTFC. The creation or update of an NTFC profile in the Database for National Trade Facilitation Committees will allow us to obtain a NTFC-specific Sustainability Score, highlighting the NTFC strengths and weaknesses and addressing these in a technical assistance action plan.
E-learning: Creating awareness of the importance of National Trade Facilitation Committees
Lack of knowledge and awareness about trade facilitation is one of the biggest challenges faced by National Trade Facilitation Committees. This issue gets exacerbated by the continuous rotation of NTFC members.
The Trade Facilitation e-Learning platform provides a continuous learning environment for new and dedicated members. Ten self-paced modules will introduce decisions makers to the key concepts of trade facilitation they need to master to successfully perform their duties as members of the NTFC. They include 150 videos, 60 quizzes, handouts, further readings, and a series of webinars to support participants in their e-learning journey.
The platform is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese and also works as a social network platform for trade facilitation practitioners. Committee members can connect and interact with each other using the community features of the platform.
E-coaching National Trade Facilitation Committees
The Empowerment Programme also foresees a Coaching Plan for National Trade Facilitation Committees. Based on the assessment undertaken at the beginning of the project, UNCTAD will propose a series of coaching activities to set up or improve the NTFC’s planning, management and communications approaches, with the overall objective of transforming the NTFC into an effective and result-driven body.
Due to the existing travel restrictions, Our coaching activities are currently being delivered remotely, in a combination of self-paced tasks and targeted group exercises and workshops.
Our e-Coaching modules:
- How to set up an effective NTFC
- How to run a successful NTFC
- How to become the chairperson your NTFC needs
- How to draft a communication strategy for NTFCs
- Effective communications for NTFC members
- How to draft a National Trade Facilitation Roadmap
- How to establish a Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy
- How to draft a Resource Mobilization Strategy
- How to draft trade facilitation project proposals
- How to draft a knowledge transfer strategy
- How to use UNCTAD Reform Tracker
- How to do Business Process Analysis
- How to simplify trade procedures
Digitalising trade facilitation committees
At the end of 2020. UNCTAD launched its Reform Tracker for National Trade Facilitation Committees, an online project management and monitoring tool to assist NTFCs in their role as coordinators of trade facilitation reforms.
This tool helps NTFCs to organize information about their members and systematically inform them about the latest updates related to international trade.
It enables a coordinated interagency implementation of priority trade facilitation initiatives by involving stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
It provides a platform that automates task distribution, resource planning, team collaboration, and reporting, among others.
The platform’s shared workspace facilitates project documentation and allows for systematic knowledge transfer between NTFCs, providing new members with access to current and past projects to quickly get acquainted with their roles.
The Reform Tracker was designed to be user-friendly for trade facilitation practitioners. It can be easily tailored to each country’s needs. With regular feedback from the ground, every single feature in the tool responds to a need expressed by trade facilitation practitioners. For the countries using the Reform Tracker, UNCTAD experts meet with their NTFC secretariats every week.
Trade policies for the low-carbon transition need to take into account least developed country structural features
Non-exhaustive list of links to available online resources from international organizations and industry groups that provides up-to date information about the ongoing developments in various countries and also provides an overview of the multitude of measures of countries' COVID-19 measures responses.
The presentations of the Forum deal with all aspects of establishing and sustaining NTFCs, including the sharing of best practices and coaching techniques. Other presentations present how to access technical assistance for the NTFCs, including information on the challenges faced in identifying and sourcing necessary funding.
National Trade Facilitation Bodies - Recommendation N°4 - (UNECE)
The revised Recommendation No. 4 integrates Guidelines that provide a detailed description of the steps for establishing the NTFB as well as a model terms of reference for an NTFB which countries use or customize based on their national context. It also provides a non-exhaustive list of those stakeholders that should be represented in an NTFB, including: importers, exporters, freight forwarders, carriers, customs, other government agencies, banks, insurance companies and others.