In a significant stride towards understanding the trade and development priorities of developing economies and least-developed countries (LDCs), WTO members launched the Aid-for-Trade monitoring and evaluation exercise during a Committee on Trade and Development meeting on October 9th. This exercise aims to scrutinize how development finance, provided by partners, is addressing the unique needs of these nations. The insights gained will pave the way for the upcoming Global Review of Aid for Trade, scheduled for June 2024.
During the meeting, WTO members unanimously approved the new monitoring and evaluation questionnaires, which will serve as instruments to collect essential information from developing economies and LDCs. These questionnaires will not only capture their financing needs but also help track how Aid for Trade aligns with these priorities. Stakeholders involved in Aid-for-Trade initiatives have until November 30th, 2023, to submit their responses, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive assessment.
Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang underscored the critical significance of this exercise, stating, "The Aid-for-Trade monitoring and evaluation exercise is a vital step towards comprehending the trade and development priorities of developing economies and LDCs, donors, South-South partners, and regional economic communities. The evaluation underscores the WTO's commitment to fostering inclusive trade."
Ambassador José R. Sánchez-Fung of the Dominican Republic, Chair of the WTO Committee on Trade and Development, emphasized that the monitoring and evaluation exercise forms the factual foundation for the Aid for Trade Global Review. He highlighted that members' perspectives on their Aid-for-Trade needs, the support provided, and the effectiveness of that assistance will shape the future direction of trade and development support.
The Aid-for-Trade Initiative, led by the WTO and launched in 2006, has been instrumental in encouraging developing economies and donors to harness the role of trade in development. The Aid-for-Trade Work Programme for 2023-2024 centers on understanding how stakeholders are integrating trade into their development strategies in light of the myriad challenges faced by developing economies and LDCs on their journey towards achieving the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Global Review serves as a platform to share key insights emerging from the monitoring and evaluation of Aid for Trade. It will enable members to collaboratively chart the course for future endeavors in this vital area, ensuring that trade continues to be a force for positive change in the world's economies.