The International Trade Centre (ITC) was given the thumbs-up for its work in 2018 by member states attending the meeting of the 53rd session of the Joint Advisory Group on 2 July.
Held at the World Trade Organization’s headquarters, the annual meeting takes stock of ITC’s work in the previous year and set out the path for its future work. A full 45 interventions were heard in the course of the one-day meeting, including from 12 funders, 34 developing countries and three regional groupings.
Addressing attendees, ITC Executive Director Arancha González said: 'In 2018, 86% of ITC’s country-specific interventions were in LDCs, sub-Saharan Africa, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states, small vulnerable economies, and post-conflict states. These are the countries with the most urgent development needs. Not coincidentally, these are countries that typically have been on the margins of global trade.
‘Our challenge now is to “scale up for structural transformation”, while nimbly adjusting to changes in technology and the trading environment.'
Ms González’s message resonated among participants, who praised in particular ITC’s work towards making trade more sustainable and inclusive. Several speakers also highlighted the organization’s work to boost the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and connecting them value chains.
Member states also made several recommendations on the way forward. These included the need to strengthen the ongoing focus on women and inclusiveness in trade and step up focus on partnerships, including with the private sector, donors and other international organizations.
During the meeting, Ms Terhi Hakala, Finland’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva was appointed Chairperson of the Joint Advisory Group. She succeeds the ambassador of Costa Rica, which has held the post in the past year.