In the wake of COVID-19, governments have recognized, more than ever, the need to put in place the reforms necessary to ease the movement of goods across borders. Trade facilitation must be at the heart of any country’s recovery efforts. Setting up and maintaining a national Committee is one of the most traditional and most crucial trade facilitation measures to ensure that the leading public and private stakeholders are consulted and engaged in the elaboration and implementation of national trade facilitation reforms.
However, developing and least developed countries face many challenges to create sustainable and efficient committees. The lack of knowledge on trade and transport facilitation matters, lack of coordination among different institutions, the frequent replacement of members, the lack of qualitative participation of members are some examples of those challenges.
Therefore, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has entrusted UNCTAD to deliver a comprehensive Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Committees, in five countries, namely, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mongolia and Peru. This is a modular capacity building program training at national level Members of Committees in implementing trade facilitation reforms, including in the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The main objective of this Project is to strengthen the roles and capacities of NTFCs as effective coordinating entities of trade facilitation reforms through a capacity building program with country-specific advisory services to the NTFCs in accordance with their needs and stages of development.
In times of the Covid-19 crisis the secondary objective of the Project is to ensure that in the field of trade facilitation countries are prepared for similar crises situations with appropriate procedures, transparency, and communications tools.
- Increasing technical knowledge: The Project will consist of delivering the UNCTAD Trade Facilitation e-learning course, composed of nine modules and webinars, in the five recipient countries. The webinars are fully adapted to the specific needs of the selected countries.
- Tracking trade facilitation reforms: Recipient countries will set up with UNCTAD support Reform Trackers tools. The Reform Tracker is a web-based project management and monitoring tool for trade facilitation reforms. It has been designed by UNCTAD to empower National Trade Facilitation Committees in their role as coordinators of trade facilitation initiatives, specially those related to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
- Increasing preparedness for future crisis: Covid-19 has greatly disrupted global supply chains and trade. In order to assist the selected recipient countries’, address the Covid-19 disruptions, the post-recovery and being prepared for future similar crises, the Project will include rapid scans, i.e. short assessments per country of the crisis preparedness in the field of trade facilitation.
- Delivering Tailored advisory services: UNCTAD specialists will deliver country-specific advisory services to the NTFCs in accordance with their needs and stage of development. Stakeholders will be involved in solving practical cases related to trade facilitation.
- Functioning and sustainable NTFCs that provides the necessary multi-stakeholder consultative mechanism for Trade Facilitation oversight and reform, as per the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
- Reform tracker tools and rapid scan reports are in place and adopted by NTFCs
Link to the SDGs:
One of the Project focuses is to improve decision-making capacity and implementing skills of national trade facilitation committees in the selected countries to fulfil their mandate. This objective directly contributes with SDG 10.6 as NTFC will be able to enhance their countries’ representation and voice in decision-making in the Trade Facilitation arena. The Project also contribute with SDG 16.6 as NTFCs will be operationalize in an effective, accountable, and transparent way. Besides, the Project also promotes SDGs 8, 9 and 10.
Monitoring and Evaluation:
The team will use the logical framework achievement indicators, developed in accordance with UNCTAD internal Result Based Management requirements, in monitoring project results during the project implementation period and beyond.