Strengthening capacity for evidence-based policymaking and the economic resilience of CARICOM

Services can be the key to a just economic transition and stronger resilience against external shocks if better managed. Efforts of structural transformation must consider the unique circumstances of these countries resulting from the small size of their economies, their remoteness, and climatic conditions. A seamless functioning of transport, telecommunications, energy, and finance - all “services” sectors - is a pre-requisite to speedy and efficient recovery from shocks.

To date, such progress has been hampered by pressing data gaps on trade in services, as highlighted by member States at the UNCTAD Multi-year Expert Meeting on Trade, Services and Development in July 2022. Reliable data are indispensable to better understand the region’s opportunities and challenges and for countries to be able to benefit from global value chains in services.

Objective of the Project

This project aims to strengthen the capacity and data infrastructure of selected CARICOM member States to improve their evidence-based policymaking for increased resilience and transformational change via global services. This will be achieved by regional and bilateral capacity support including statistical training workshops, advisory services and e-learning on collecting and compiling official trade in service statistics, including by adjusting to countries’ needs UNCTAD’s Trade-in-Services Information System (TiSSTAT) which can be used by statistical authorities to collect data from enterprises, edit and validate data, and compile final statistics. These efforts will be strengthened by policy support, including an analysis of the role of services trade in the countries, advisory services, and a sub-regional workshop on how to use data and analyse on trade in services for evidence-based policies. As a result, countries will achieve an enhanced capacity and data infrastructure to analyse services trade which enables evidence-based policies to increase resilience and transformation via services.


This objective will be reached by enhanced statistics and skills in using them for more effective policy. In practice, the two related outcomes pursue enhancing the statistical capacity of countries to produce harmonized disaggregated and bilateral trade in services statistics on a regular basis (OC1) and by improving their knowledge base and analytical skills using the new data architecture of services and services trade for strengthening economic resilience of the region (OC2).

OP1.1 Statistical capacity enhancement will start in a sub-regional workshop intended to raise awareness of the importance of trade in services statistics for policymaking and sharing of globally agreed methods, good practices and tools to compile high-quality, granular and timely trade in services statistics, including the Trade-in-Services Information System (TiSSTAT), developed by UNCTAD Statistics, as a modern tool designed for countries to compile statistics on international trade in services..

OP1.2 The skills of statisticians and policy experts will be deepened in an e-learning course on trade in services statistics, organized by UNCTAD Statistics and Train for Trade, jointly with the World Trade Organization and UN Statistics Division.

OP1.3 the project will offer national technical workshops and advisory missions to define whether countries will benefit from using the TISSTAT system, install the system, or plan other enhancements, and test the improvements and ensure skills for their application in the countries.

OP1.4 The project will explore adjustments and carry out improvements in the current statistical tools and systems applied by countries and will adjust TiSSTAT and its application for each country context considering the local data environment.

OP 2.1 To enhance the analytical skills for evidence-based policy, UNCTAD will develop a report to analyze the role of services and services trade for strengthening resilience in the CARICOM region, including by using available data and statistics from the countries.

OP2.2 Advisory support, tailored to national specific needs and contexts, will be provided to national trade policy makers to help countries’ experts to analyze the services sector and related trade including with the new statistics.

OP2.3 A sub-regional workshop will be held to share the progress, findings, and insights from country level work and to discuss further work to address remaining challenges and identify synergies for collaboration and sub-regional action.

Intended Outcomes

Outcome 1. Enhanced statistical capacity to produce harmonized disaggregated and bilateral trade in services statistics on a regular basis.

Outcome 2. Improved knowledge base and analytical skills using the new data architecture of services trade for strengthening economic resilience

Link to the SDGs

While targets 17.11 and 17.18 were set for 2020, they were not yet achieved and remain essential for developing economies. SDG indicator 17.11.1 on ‘Developing countries’ and least developed countries’ share of global exports’ requires data on both trade in goods and services. UNCTAD, jointly with the WTO and the International Trade Centre (ITC), acts as the custodian of this indicator.

  • Target 8.2: Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors.
  • Target 8.3: Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.
  • Target 9.1: Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.
  • Target 9.3: Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.
  • Target 17.11: Significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020.
  • Target 17.18: By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Progress will be monitored in regular, quarterly meetings of project entities and partners to assess whether outputs are progressing in line with the project plans and to see when implementation challenges arise. This will help to determine the need to revise any project plans early, particularly to incorporate lessons learned during the project, changes in demand from the beneficiary countries or to maximize synergies with the work of other agencies or member States.

UNCTAD will carry out the formal monitoring and reporting of the project and will submit annual progress reports to the Development Account team by the end of March in 2025, 2026 and 2027, jointly with partners and as required by the UN Development Account.

Project Code

Project Code



Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)


United Nations Development Account (16th Tranche)


Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Navis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines





$ 600,000


For queries related to policy:

Ms. Dong Wu

For queries related to statistics:

Ms. Nour Barnat

For queries related to project management:

Ms. Ekaterina Chernova




Statistics and data Statistics and data