Technical Cooperation Mandates

UNCTAD provides technical assistance tailored to the needs of the developing countries. Special attention is paid to the needs of the least developed countries (LDCs) and countries with the greatest needs. UNCTAD technical cooperation activities are a significant element in achieving the objectives outlined in the Nairobi Maafikiano adopted by UNCTAD 14, held in Nairobi (Kenya) in July 2016.

In its Decision 529 (LXIII) of December 2016, the Trade and Development Board "reiterates the relevance of the technical cooperation pillar of UNCTAD, as reaffirmed in the Nairobi Maafikiano, in contributing to inclusive development in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals".

As the focal point within the United Nations system for the integrated treatment of trade and development and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment, and sustainable development (see paragraph 12 of the Nairobi Maafikiano), UNCTAD addresses these issues in a mutually complementary fashion, including through its technical cooperation activities.

UNCTAD technical cooperation is implemented in partnership with other agencies that provide trade-related technical assistance, in consonance with their respective mandates, expertise, and areas of comparative advantage. In the delivery of its technical cooperation services, UNCTAD coordinates its activities with its partners, and in particular, members of the United Nations Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity.

UNCTAD's technical cooperation is provided and implemented by its substantive divisions.

UNCTAD's Technical Cooperation Service supports divisions in this endeavor and promotes a holistic, cross-divisional perspective, with a view to enhance synergies, increase cost-effectiveness and share best practices and lessons learned in the design and implementation of technical assistance activities. It plays a major role in matchmaking between donor funding strategies, requests of recipient countries and the respective UNCTAD core programmes.

Basic principles of UNCTAD technical cooperation:
  • Demand-driven
  • Embracing country ownership
  • Based on principle of transparency, efficiency, effectiveness and accountability
  • Geographically balanced implementation
Targeting all developing countries
in particular:
  • Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
  • The African Continent
  • Landlocked Developing States
  • Small-Island Developing States (SIDS) and other vulnerable and small economies

The Busan Partnership document lays out a set of common principles for all development actors that are key to making development cooperation effective, namely:

  • Ownership of development priorities by developing counties: Countries should define the development model that they want to implement.
  • A focus on results: Having a sustainable impact should be the driving force behind investments and efforts in development policy making
  • Partnerships for development: Development depends on the participation of all actors, and recognises the diversity and complementarity of their functions.
  • Transparency and shared responsibility: Development cooperation must be transparent and accountable to all citizens

UNCTAD recognizes the importance of following these common principles when implementing its technical cooperation projects so as to ensure positive results.

UNCTAD works closely with beneficiary and donor countries, the UN Secretariat as well as other in order to increase predictability, transparency and coherence in the planning and implementation of technical assistance programmes with a view to enhancing the effectiveness and impact of the technical cooperation.

UNCTAD also cooperates with other United Nations organizations, particularly those operating at country level, in order to enhance the role of trade and related issues in United Nations development assistance plans, undertake joint operations at the country level and enhance inter-agency cooperation in system-wide Cluster initiative.

In order to ensure effective management, evaluation and reporting of all technical assistance activities applies a Result-Based Management (RBM) approach to all its programmes.