Some 130 representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), universities, and related institutions had signed up for the course as of 22 October.
The online course, organized jointly by UNCTAD and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), aims to explain why it is important that international trade and the enhancement of productive capacities should feature strongly in development efforts.
More specifically, the course focuses on United Nations country-level assistance strategies, and on how trade and productive capacities can be incorporated effectively into these strategies.
Expanding a country's productive capacity - that is to say, increasing its ability to produce a variety of goods, and goods of increasing complexity - has been cited by UNCTAD for some years as a critical factor in helping poor countries to raise living standards and achieve stable economic progress.
The course aims to raise the profile of international trade and productive capacity, so that these may feature prominently in the formulation of United Nations assistance on economic and trade-related issues. It also aims to help government officials and others to carry out the inter-agency coordination needed to bring this about.
The online course is part of a larger programme that includes national and regional workshops on the topic. So far, a national workshop has been conducted in Lesotho, and regional workshops have been held in Mali and Nepal. Additional workshops are planned for 2013.
The training material for the course was developed within the United Nations Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity to ensure that the vision and the expertise of all the members of this group are reflected in the course and are conveyed to the trainees.