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    ITC Moves Forward


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2006

    © ITC/L. Cassaro Mrs Olubanke King-Akerele, Minister of Commerce of Liberia (left), attended the informal meeting of ITC's Joint Advisory Group.

    The views of ITC clients and donors are helping the new management team to shape the ITC of tomorrow, in a changing environment for trade development.

    ITC's new senior management is using the recommendations of a major external evaluation of ITC, led by Denmark, as a point of departure to initiate a change management process. The aim is to transform the organization into a centre of technical excellence that responds effectively to its clients in developing and transition economies.

    The first step was to set up focus groups at the beginning of the transition process in June 2006, to explore areas outlined in the evaluation report. This has provided useful insights and recommendations for ITC's future orientation and programme of work. It has resulted in some initiatives being launched and decisions being taken.

    These include:

    • Updating ITC's mission statement and strategic objectives (see box).
    • Setting up pilot country teams to review how ITC can have a more strategic, coherent and holistic approach to country projects, using sound results-based principles.
    • Strengthening the strategic planning, resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation function within the Office of the Executive Director.
    • Taking measures to strengthen the communications team, including consolidation of communications-related functions under one umbrella.
    • Introducing an Operations Committee to review and decide on operations-related matters.
    • Reviewing ITC's suite of tools and products to ensure the alignment of ITC's toolkit to client needs, assess possible redundancies or overlaps and identify new areas where tools, products and services need to be developed.
    • Researching the potential to provide a methodology for Trade Promotion Organization Benchmarking.
    • Reviewing ITC performance standards.
    • Closer, more frequent consultation with stakeholders.
    • Preparing an annual Consolidated Programme Document (CPD) that includes ITC's yearly work programme in the form of a "logical framework" and introduces targets and expected results.

    Ongoing discussions

    Recommendations related to ITC's governance structure, resource mobilization and trade-related technical assistance (TRTA) delivery mechanism were the subject of a retreat with stakeholders in October 2006. At the meeting, stakeholders agreed that further consultation and research were necessary before changes could be made to the governance structure. ITC will continue to discuss this subject with different groups in order to prepare a proposal which will increase efficiency and improve oversight of the organization. This will be done in 2007.

    On the other hand, stakeholders unanimously welcomed the idea of presenting a Consolidated Programme Document linked to ITC's work programme and endorsed its proposed format. ITC is looking to expand the number of donors and develop more partnerships with United Nations agencies and other organizations. It is hoped that donors will consider the CPD as a basis for voluntary contributions to ITC.

    A new management tool

    The Consolidated Programme Document is designed to facilitate a more results-oriented approach in planning ITC's activities. It aims to respond to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and promote country ownership of ITC's programmes. The CPD aims to:

    • Ensure that ITC's programme of technical assistance remains relevant and addresses the needs articulated by its clients.
    • Ensure that ITC does not work in isolation but situates itself in the broad context of trade-related technical assistance, focusing on its competitive advantages and working together with strategic partners, where possible.
    • Provide a framework for monitoring and measuring the impact of ITC's activities with appropriate levels of transparency and accountability.
    • Provide a road map for the coordination of ITC's work programme within the organization.
    The CPD will reflect the results of the organization's strategic planning, resource needs, targets and measurement indicators. ITC management presented a framework version of the CPD, which elaborated an outline of ITC's work programme for 2007, at an informal meeting of its Joint Advisory Group in December 2006. ITC's management will refine the document to reflect both the comments made at the meeting and the wide and intensive consultation with ITC's clients in the field and donor partners. The regional chapters of the document will provide the basis for defining programme goals for each region. ITC will also identify performance indicators to allow for efficient monitoring and impact measurement.

    A full-fledged version of the Consolidated Programme Document will be presented to ITC's stakeholders at the next meeting of the Joint Advisory Group in 2007.

    Integrated approach to trade development

    ITC will continue to apply an integrated approach to trade development, which takes into account the complexity and interrelatedness of trade and development issues. Its interventions to build trade capacity at three levels - firms, trade support institutions and policy- or strategy-makers - help provide sustainability for trade development initiatives.

    ITC works to build bridges and partnerships between the private sector, government institutions and civil society organizations, all of which have an important role in trade development.

    ITC will also enhance its collaboration with other TRTA providers, to ensure coherence and synergy in the delivery of technical assistance for trade to clients. Focusing on its specialized mandate and competitive advantages, ITC will promote a business orientation in the design and delivery of TRTA, in particular within the context of Aid for Trade and the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance.

    Redefining ITC

    ITC is the joint technical cooperation agency of UNCTAD and WTO for business aspects of trade development.

    ITC's mission

    Contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development through technical assistance in export promotion and international business development.

    Strategic objectives

    • Strengthen the international competitiveness of enterprises and sectors to increase employment and incomes.
    • Increase the capacity of trade support institutions to help businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular.
    • Support the design and implementation of national trade development programmes that help the business sector integrate into the global economy.

    This report was prepared by ITC staff in the Office of the Executive Director.