Aid for Trade: Supporting the World’s Poorest



The Heads of Agency of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) – Aid for Trade in action for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) – met in Geneva on 8 July during the Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade.

The Heads of Agencies will recommit to helping the world’s poorest communities get more from global trading networks as the international community moves to a post-2015 development agenda. The event will help to signal what now needs to be done to make sure that LDCs can channel their exports and growth to reach for more than a 1.1% share of world trade.

This historic event is being hosted by the Director-General of the WTO with keynote speakers, the Administrator UNDP, Secretary General UNCTAD and the Under Secretary General and High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, UNOHRLLS. The Chairs of the EIF Steering Committee and EIF Board will also deliver remarks. High-level representatives from across Least Developed Countries, development partners and other partner agencies will participate.

Pascal Lamy

Pascal Lamy

Pascal Lamy, Director-General, WTO remarks “The last few years have laid strong foundations. The EIF has a global reach extending to 49 LDCs and recently graduated countries. Trade features in 90% of LDCs’ national development plans. Supporting LDCs is a priority. We must show political support reaffirming our commitment and match leadership with investment in resources.”

Helen Clark, Administrator UNDP notes “UNDP considers the EIF programme a key platform for channelling support to LDCs in delivering the Istanbul Programme of Action of LDCs. While a few countries have advanced, many others require support for mainstreaming trade and capacity development. UNDP looks forward to discussions with partners to design and define delivery modalities for customized support.”

Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General UNCTAD comments “UNCTAD believes that the success of EIF is the litmus test of the effectiveness of aid-for-trade. Therefore it is important to ensure that the EIF programme delivers both in terms of supply-capacity building and the mainstreaming of trade in the national development strategies of LDCs. In some ways, it is also a litmus test for the multilateral approach to supply-capacity building in developing countries through aid-for-trade assistance.”

“Supporting LDCs is a priority. We must show political support reaffirming our commitment and match leadership with investment in resources.”

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director, World Bank notes “The EIF has allowed the Bank to respond to LDCs’ trade-related needs in a coordinated manner, collaborating with multilateral agencies and donors working to address countries’ most urgent needs. Trade remains an essential component of economic growth and poverty reduction strategies and I would like to reaffirm our commitment to the EIF partnership.”

Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director, IMF remarks “Helping the Least Developed Countries take a more active part in global trade is critical for their growth and development. This (EIF Heads of Agencies meeting) is an important opportunity to take stock and see how all contributing partners, within our respective institutions’ mandate and expertise, can coordinate this support.”

Jean-Marie Paugam, Acting Executive Director ITC comments “ITC is a 100% Aid for Trade agency and fully committed to the EIF. We are active in many LDCs with the EIF and ready to support each one of them in their project development for export promotion.”

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is a global partnership between LDCs, Donors and International Organisations that support LDCs to be more active players in the global trading system by helping them tackle supply-side constraints to trade. In this way, the EIF works towards a wider goal of promoting economic growth and sustainable development and helping to lift more people out of poverty.

The programme is currently working with 47 LDCs worldwide and two recently graduated countries, supported by a multi-donor trust fund, the EIF Trust Fund, with contributions from 23 donors. A high-level pledging event in 2007 set a funding target of US$250 million over five years – and both additional and on-going contributions are being sought. The purpose of the EIF is to: mainstream trade into national development strategies; set up structures needed to coordinate the delivery of trade-related technical assistance; and to build capacity to trade, which also includes addressing critical supply-side constraints.

The EIF was built on the original Integrated Framework (IF) established in 1997 with the joint collaboration of six core Agencies working together with the aim of increased collaboration in Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) for LDCs. The six core Partner Agencies are the International Monetary Fund (IMF); International Trade Centre (ITC); United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); World Bank Group (World Bank) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) subsequently joined the EIF as an observer agency. The Executive Secretariat for the EIF (ES) is administratively housed in the WTO with the Trust Fund Management undertaken through the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

An independent Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the EIF completed in November 2012 found that the EIF remains “highly relevant to the current trade and economic priorities of the LDCs”. It also concluded that the programme is effective, but effectiveness can still be increased; efficiency can be improved (due to design and the early stage of the programme); is likely to be sustainable, but still needs support; and that the programme is likely to deliver impact for LDCs.

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