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Director General Pascal Lamy received the go-ahead for his 2008 Aid for Trade roadmap from members of the WTO Committee for Trade and Development (CTD) during a 25 February session of the group. Mr Lamy welcomed the approval, saying that this year's reviews will be "more focused, technical and results-oriented."
The Director General's Aid for Trade roadmap will provide comprehensive reviews and analysis of the results of Aid for Trade programmes on national and sub-regional levels in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and the surrounding Pacific.
Aid for Trade was established in December 2005 to help developing countries overcome capacity and infrastructure constraints that limit their gains from multilateral trading systems. Through the initiative, developing countries are provided technical assistance for trade and support for the development of production capacity and trade-related infrastructure.
The recently approved roadmap includes three stated objectives: to increase developing countries ownership of Aid for Trade; to shift the focus from making plans operative, toward monitoring implementation; and to launch a work programme that will identify performance indicators and improve self evaluations.
Identifying methods for measuring the impact of Aid for Trade is the most important concern of this year's programme said the Director General in his presentation of the plan. This could be achieved, according to Lamy, via potential partnerships with the OECD and the World Bank, among others. The Director General said that by the end of the year he would like to bring together all partners to create a basket of indicators that could serve as a guide for measuring impact for countries participating in the programme.
Each of the reviews taking place will be structured into three parts: assessing plans, determining priorities, and agreeing on how plans and priorities should be implemented. Lamy stressed that the WTO should not lead these efforts, but should rather let donors, development banks, and the countries themselves come to their own conclusions. The WTO "should remain an advocate, a catalyst, and a facilitator" throughout the review process, said the Director General.
ICTSD Reporting; "Lamy's 2008 Aid for Trade Roadmap gets green light" WTO, 25 February 2008.