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    The New ITC: Responding to what countries and clients want


    International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2007, © International Trade Centre

    © Photo Bianco

    ITC's roadmap for the future emerged during the most recent meeting of its Joint Advisory Group, held in April this year. The aim is to move ITC from having strong products to delivering strategic solutions for its clients. Products and programmes are being reorganized to provide comprehensive solutions to clients. ITC aims to work in partnership with a range of agencies, addressing issues of poverty, ethical markets and social responsibility. Coherence among development providers at country level is critical. ITC will take a more integrated approach to designing and delivering assistance, through strategic partnerships.

    Countries first

    Stronger country programmes and in-country partnerships are high on ITC's agenda. The pilot country approach is being tested on a first generation of countries: Lao People's Democratic Republic, Romania, Senegal, Tunisia, Liberia and Uruguay. In these countries ITC has shaped a framework for a coordinated corporate solution based on consultations with the respective governments at the highest level.

    Participants at the annual meeting welcomed the new approach and made a number of recommendations to go further along these lines. Comments included:

    • Redefine ITC's lines of business according to its comparative advantage, working in partnership with a range of complementary agencies.
    • Base growth projections on proven regional and national needs assessments, in coordination with the Aid for Trade framework and donor commitments.
    • Build capacity within trade support institutions and among policymakers to achieve economies of scale and to mainstream trade into national development plans.
    • Mainstream cross-cutting issues such as poverty reduction, gender and environment in ITC's work programme.
    • Improve reporting, monitoring and evaluation of programme activities.
    • Revise and finalize ITC's programme document and governance options for discussion at the next Joint Advisory Group meeting in December 2007.
    • Concentrate on having a more sustainable impact in a limited number of countries, particularly in Africa.

    ITC follow-up

    To make change a reality, and address recommendations from the meeting, ITC created an action plan that engages staff throughout the organization in a series of initiatives that will move its change management process forward.

    The action plan has a time frame of May-December 2007 and covers the following areas: human resources; communication systems and information architecture; ITC's lines of business; strategic partnership and resource mobilization; ITC programming; planning, monitoring and evaluation; the World Export Development Forum; and the Joint Advisory Group.

    Stay tuned

    The time frame of ITC's annual meeting will move from April to December, reflecting a shift in corporate fiscal and programme reporting. The next meeting of the Joint Advisory Group will, therefore, take place in December 2007. The meeting will mainly focus on the programme for 2008-2009, issues of governance, a report on the change management process and a clearer roadmap for the future.

    The overall aim is to make organizational reform a transparent and fair process that will allow ITC to truly live up to its aim as a development partner for export success.

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