The implementation of the Doha Mandate is on good track in the area of statistics, as shown by the increasing number of requests received by UNCTAD during last months for advice, assistance and cooperation.
Through the Doha Mandate adopted at the UNCTAD XIII conference in Doha, Qatar in April of this year, member States in paragraph 31 (j) asked UNCTAD to "Continue to assist developing countries to improve their statistical capacity in the area of trade and development."
The secretariat, namely the Development Statistics and Information Branch of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, headed by Mr. Henri Laurencin, is taking new initiatives to assist developing countries to improve their released statistics in the area of trade and development.
UNCTAD's capacity building expertise is transmitted through regional workshops. Currently one of its statisticians is engaged at a workshop organized by the Commission of the African Union in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on the subject of international trade statistics. Likewise, few months ago UNCTAD was invited by the UN Economic Commission for Africa to cooperate on statistical matters.
Aiming at quality improvement and sustainability of statistical systems of countries or groups of countries, UNCTAD gives priority to multi-year projects. Doing so, high-end transfer of knowledge and effective long term working relationships are guaranteed.
UNCTAD and the Commission of UEMOA (West African Economic and Monetary Union) are finalizing a 3-years agreement in the area of international trade in services statistics, which serves as a good example of such practice.
UNCTAD is fully involved in the discussions that take place at the two Inter-Agency Task Forces dealing with international trade statistics in goods and services contributing to the recommendations and manuals preparation to be submitted to the UN Statistical Commission.
Within the secretariat, statistics and ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) teams coordinate their efforts in the area of international merchandise trade activities. In addition, new projects are discussed on how to apply UNCTAD's expertise in E-learning to capacity building in statistics.