Timeline: 2018 –2019
Donor: Germany (GIZ)
Beneficiaries: low Income Developing Countries (LIDC) with a special emphasis on ASEAN LDCs (Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar) and selected African LIDCs (notably, the WAEMU Member States – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and the WAEMU Commission).
The WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires (the MC11) was neither successful in terms of decisions adopted nor in reinvigorating negotiations. Despite this mitigated outcome, the three trade topics addressed by the Project – fisheries subsidies, agriculture and electronic commerce – are subject to active discussions at the moment (the later – mostly on the plurilateral track). Each of this topics is not only important in order to confirm the ability of the Organization to deliver, but could also make a measurable contribution towards meeting the SDGs 2030, in particular, 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16 and 17.
The Project focuses on improving the understanding of the issues at hand by the delegates in Geneva, the administration and the private sector in the capitals of LIDCs. Assisting LIDCs, enabling them to better understand the dynamics of ongoing discussion and making a meaningful contribution to them, is not only indispensable for productive outcome of the negotiations, yet, would contribute to meeting the target 6 of the SGD 10, which addresses enhancement of representation and voice for developing countries in decision-making, inter alia, at the WTO. The concerns of LIDCs need to be introduced in the process following a consensus-based approach.
- Enabling and inspiring LIDCs to make consensus-based proposals through their groups and/ or in cooperation with the other like-minded Members in the discussions and negotiations related to agriculture, e-commerce and fisheries subsidies at the WTO and, as the case may be, other fora addressing these issues.
- Supporting domestic institutions of the selected ASEAN and African LIDCs through capacity building to generate better coordinated, inclusive and transparent decision-making processes providing guidance and support to the trade negotiations in the area of e-commerce, agriculture and fisheries subsidies at the WTO and other pertinent fora.
- Raising the awareness of the MSMEs in target countries on the negotiations at hand in these areas and instruct them on how to promote and defend their interests that should aim at creating development-friendly rules in trade policies negotiations.
“ The Project provides an initial push towards instituting a gradual change in thinking of multiple stakeholders in beneficiary countries when it comes to their negotiating and trade policy options in relation to the three topics under the emphasis. This process normally does not happen instantaneously, but is the only pragmatic and viable way to introduce different ideas and concepts into thinking about policy shift. “
In Geneva, the Project supports the Beneficiaries in preparing their position in the WTO negotiations. For that purpose the project analyzes and systemizes proposals made by the other Members and works with the delegations assisting them in elaboration of the overall negotiations strategy as well as positions and submissions in particular negotiations. In addition, two workshops for capital-based officials covering the three project areas and also addressing the recent cross-cutting development – the WTO Reform – were held in June 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Vientiane, Lao PDR. The workshops gathered the capital based officials from the Ministries of Trade and the line Ministries, as well as the representatives of the private sector and local NGOs. A mission to the meeting of the WAEMU Ministers in Burkina Faso in late October 2019 to present the elaborated negotiations strategy is also previewed.