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    During 2007 ITC increased the overall delivery of its technical cooperation activities, including client-oriented and change management initiatives, by 14%. It was a year of refocusing, realignment and reform for the organization. The outcome was greater impact in service delivery during the year, together with a much stronger platform for sustainable growth. The more targeted and active operations are in line with ITC's focus on "Export Impact for Good".

    ITC moved from transition to a full change management process during the year aimed at making the organization more responsive and impact-oriented. Change was implemented across the organization with key reform measures initiated in the areas of human resources, results-based management, needs assessments, corporate planning and resource mobilization.

    The ITC staff were an integral part of all of the change initiatives, including leading the process of the consolidation of ITC's business offer from seventeen to five business lines. ITC will now consolidate its position within Trade-related Technical Assistance (TRTA) in the key areas of Export Strategy, Business in Trade Policy, Export Competitiveness, TSI Strengthening and Trade Intelligence. Additionally ITC's service offering was aligned to the strategic objectives and sub-objectives approved by the UN in New York.

    A major milestone for the organization was agreement from all senior managers on the need to focus on ITC's contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Results-based management, involving new performance indicators, has been introduced to measure the output and impact of our work. Key also to achieving this objective, is the establishment of units covering Policy, Planning and Evaluation within the Office of the Executive Director (OED). Our attention to the MDGs is illustrated by a full chapter in this Annual Report and a new Women in Trade Programme to be launched in 2008.

    Our flagship event, the World Export Development Forum (WEDF), debated "Bringing Down the Barriers: Charting a Dynamic Export Development Agenda". Keynote speakers such as Jagdish Bhagwati, Pascal Lamy and Richard Manning addressed over 200 experts and decision-makers from 52 countries. We will continue to evolve the WEDF to ensure connectivity to the work of the organization and to provide a platform for countries to share best practice in export development.

    This year's Annual Report has been structured primarily in four parts. The first is an overview of the strategic environment in which ITC operates and its response to challenges and opportunities. The second part describes ITC's contribution to the MDGs, while the third focuses on regional and country programmes and the fourth describes our global services and initiatives. Annex I provides detailed statistical information on the organization's projects in 2007.

    The largest portion of programme funds was spent in Africa (39%), followed by Asia/Pacific (24%). The 50 least developed countries continue to absorb about 40% of ITC's resources, closer to our target level of 50% of ITC resources to LDC, Landlocked and Small Island States.

    The Aid for Trade (A4T) initiative was fully launched by WTO in 2007 with ITC facilitating the private sector voice in the three meetings held in Peru, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania. The A4T and the One UN initiatives have provided a platform on which to build partnerships. In this regard, ITC has signed MOUs with the African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa, the Exim Bank of India and has engaged with the regional development banks. We are also an active member of the Trade Cluster being led by UNCTAD and are working in several of the eight pilot One UN countries.

    The challenge for 2008 is to embed many of the changes initiated in 2007 and to implement a performance-based culture in ITC. Mainstreaming the MDGs by scaling up programmes on poverty, gender and the environment, as recommended in our evaluations, will be a focus.

    In keeping with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, ITC is committed to countries setting their development agenda. To ensure the sustainability of our TRTA initiatives ITC is focused on building capacities of trade support institutions to deliver export development programmes at regional and national levels. With the assistance of the World Bank, our trade intelligence tools will become free to all developing countries in 2008 and we believe that our new business lines will help businesses in these countries to achieve greater export success in regional and global markets.

    The ITC Annual Report 2007 highlights ITC's impact during the year, and provides real stories of small exporters who have directly or indirectly benefited from ITC's services. The report does not pretend to be exhaustive in its coverage, but seeks to give a flavour of the breadth and depth of ITC's work around the world. This is built around concrete outcomes achieved.

    The report also acknowledges the important role played by all the UN agencies, donors and other partner institutions in making trade work for the poor. I should like to take the opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to all of ITC's donors and partners who have continued to stand by ITC and contributed generously to its programme of work. Most importantly I also wish to thank our client countries whose commitment has been vital to the success of our work.

    In closing, I should like to thank the management and staff of ITC for their dedicated service. I also wish to thank the Director-General of WTO, Pascal Lamy, and the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, for their ongoing support for our work.

    Patricia Francis
    Executive Director
    International Trade Centre