Geneva, 20 April 2016
The Executive Secretariat for the EIF (ES) and the World Bank organized a technical Workshop yesterday to identify and discuss ideas on how to strengthen the relevance and use of the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) work for EIF Phase Two, with a view to providing input to the revision of the DTIS guidelines. The packed venue brought together the active participation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Donors and Agencies, the main representatives of the EIF partnership.
Opening the joint Workshop, the Executive Director of the ES, Mr Ratnakar Adhikari, highlighted the importance of the DTIS tool to the EIF work through helping LDCs to identify the biggest constraints to trade integration; prioritizing actions to address these constraints; using the DTIS as a basis for development partners to provide trade-related support; and supporting governments in placing trade at the heart of national development plans.
"With 44 DTISs and DTIS Updates undertaken in the EIF and its earlier programme, the Integrated Framework, we now have a wealth of experience", Mr Adhikari said, adding that "EIF Phase Two now provides opportunities to ensure that EIF support through the DTIS is as relevant as possible to in‑country efforts in addressing constraints to trade and fully using trade development as a tool to reduce poverty. This requires bringing trade fully into the strategic priorities of the country. In particular the DTIS has to go much beyond the narrowly defined trade sector by linking trade performance to strategic decisions in other sectors, such as telecommunications, the financial sector, digitalization and infrastructure development."
The DTIS Workshop was focused around three major themes, which were addressed in the panel discussion through focus questions. On the role and relevance of the DTIS tool, the Workshop discussions reaffirmed the validity of the important functions of the DTIS work in helping to prioritize and mainstream trade, as well as in identifying specific priority actions, including key reforms, which could have significant pay-offs.
On quality, effectiveness, accessibility and implementation of the DTIS tool, it was emphasized that the DTIS work should not be taken as business as usual, in particular with regard to the form, nature, content and process underpinning the DTIS work. The Workshop discussions stressed that the DTIS tool should be streamlined to provide a more fit‑for‑purpose and flexible tool based on country context and requirements, taking into account the regional and global landscape, for example through using the DTIS to directly lead to a trade strategy linking into national programming as a way to increase its effectiveness and implementation.
The DTIS work was also seen as a powerful means for helping the LDCs to mobilize resources to address their priority Aid for Trade (AfT) needs. However, efforts were needed to implement the DTIS Action Matrix in order to translate it into projects likely to attract further investments, which required ownership and engagement from the grassroots level, as well as from the private sector, and the wider engagement of line Ministries and sectoral focal points. The Workshop discussions also noted the need to put into place DTIS Action Matrix implementation arrangements, drawing on tools, such as Medium‑term Plans and monitoring mechanisms.
Reforms were suggested to refine the DTIS Action Matrix, one of the main value-adds of the DTIS work, into an effective prioritization tool. The majority of the discussants also suggested reforms to better align the DTIS work with national development processes and donor cycles as well as to maximize synergies with export and sector strategies. With respect to the quality of analysis, it was recommended that the areas of poverty, gender and environment analysis could be strengthened, along with other trade and sector‑related areas, bringing on board national expertise and expertise within and across different agencies.
The third theme focused on the ownership and the sustainability of the DTIS tool and highlighted that ownership at the highest political levels and the accompanying capacity building and institutional strengthening were key distinguishing features. It was also underscored that the DTIS process was equally as important as the DTIS content, given the implications for ownership, effectiveness and implementation. Promoting accessibility and raising awareness, stakeholder engagement, advocacy, communications and coordination were also noted as required and should be holistically targeted to underpin the DTIS work from the initial stages. Additionally, there was an urgent need to bring in, at the outset of the DTIS process, other key ministries at the country level, including Finance, National Planning, and relevant line ministries, plus the private sector and civil society.
The Workshop was concluded with enthusiasm to continue to use and improve the DTIS tool as an effective instrument to incorporate trade into national development plans, sector strategies and plans and donor cycles; as well as an effective means for AfT coordination and a leveraging tool of AfT in the LDCs, depending on the national context.
Notes to the editors:
The EIF is a multi-donor trust fund, which provides financial and technical support to build trade capacity in all 48 LDCs and three graduated countries. The EIF programme is the only global AfT programme exclusively designed for the LDCs and is, therefore, uniquely placed to assist countries to develop sustainable trade strategies, which have a positive impact on people's lives through the promotion of private sector development and job and income opportunities.
The EIF, a global partnership between the LDCs, EIF Donors and International Organizations including the World Bank, was built on the original Integrated Framework (IF) established in 1997 with the joint collaboration of six core Partner 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); the International Trade Centre (ITC); the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the World Bank Group (World Bank) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) subsequently joined the EIF as Observer Agencies. 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).