WTO hosts global review of Aid for Trade

The WTO will host “Mobilizing Aid for Trade: A Global Review” at its Geneva headquarters on 20-21 November 2007. It will be preceded by a technical workshop on monitoring and evaluation of Aid for Trade on 19 November 2007. The review will also be open to registered NGOs and the press.

The Global Aid-for-Trade Review is the focal point of WTO's monitoring mandate for 2007. It will provide an overview of what is — and what is not — happening in the delivery of Aid-for-Trade, including current flows, existing gaps, and where improvements need to be made. It will also create incentives — by shining a “spotlight” on the issues — to deliver more and better Aid-for-Trade, and to strengthen mutual accountability between partner countries and donors. Against this background, the 2007 Global Aid-for-Trade Review has three main objectives:

1. Taking stock of what is happening

One objective is to weave together the various inputs in the monitoring process into a more coherent picture. Members will have an opportunity to examine and discuss the results of the “three tiers” of monitoring — the global numbers, the donor self assessments and the partner country self assessments. The results and recommendations of the three Regional Reviews in Lima, Peru for Latin America and the Caribbean, in Manila Philippines for Asia and the Pacific, and Dar es Salaam for Africa will also be discussed.

2. Identifying what should happen next

A second objective is to shift the focus from raising awareness to implementation — and to agree on a road map for future work. Partner countries, donors, and agencies will be encouraged to identify key objectives and to discuss how these objectives can most effectively be met — including the development of national and regional strategies. Collaborative approaches will be encouraged. As the emphasis shifts from raising awareness to implementing Aid for Trade, there will also be a need for more technical-level dialogue, analytical work and information sharing, which should be reflected in the WTO's monitoring agenda for the coming year.

3. Better monitoring and evaluating progress

A third objective is to discuss ways of better monitoring and evaluating progress by partner and donor countries — including by, inter alia, launching a work programme aimed at developing qualitative targets for improving trade capacity. While this year has largely been focused on establishing a system for measuring Aid-for-Trade flows (e.g., definitions, amounts, trends), more conceptual work needs to be undertaken on the qualitative assessment of Aid for Trade, and on identifying indicators or benchmarks that can better measure results and encourage mutual accountability. The aim is to build on existing approaches and mechanisms, so key actors in this area, such as the World Bank and the OECD, will be encouraged to play a lead role.