WTO Ministers underline importance of the Enhanced Integrated Framework for post-Bali agenda

Bali – 4 December 2013

At a ministerial breakfast meeting on 4 December 2013 organized by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) on the margins of the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, ministers of least-developed countries (LDCs) and donor countries to the EIF underlined the relevance of the EIF for the trade and economic priorities of LDCs, as confirmed by the mid-term review of the programme in 2012.

The meeting provided an opportunity for ministers to discuss with the leaders and representatives of EIF partner agencies, such as the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the WTO and the World Bank, the achievements of the EIF and the challenges it faces post Bali and within the post-2015 debate on sustainable development.

"The power of trade to reduce extreme poverty should be a central element of the post-MDG [Millennium Development Goals] discussion," said Dr Muhisha Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary-General. "It is an essential instrument to reach the ambitious target of supporting half of least developed countries to graduate by 2020." 

"The partnership has gathered impressive momentum to deliver results, integrating LDCs into the global trading system,"said WTO Deputy Director-General Yonov Frederick Agah.The WTO joins the LDCs in calling upon EIF development partners to extend the EIF beyond 2015 and to scale up the support for the programme."

Ministers from Burundi, Lao and Liberia highlighted the results achieved by their countries in using the platform provided by the EIF in the areas of resource mobilization and donor coordination, trade and private sector development, integration of trade into national development policies and fostering public and private sector dialogue for the improvement of the business climate.

"The EIF is a tested and proven partnership of Aid for Trade for LDCs and as such should play an important role in the post-Bali agenda," said H.E. Shanker Prasad Koirala, Nepal's Minister of Commerce and Supplies in his capacity as coordinator of the LDC Group at the WTO.

Ministers from donor countries reiterated their support for the EIF and the importance of the forthcoming evaluation to decide the future and shape of the programme.

"We are a strong supporter of the EIF which through tools like the Diagnostic Integration Studies provides an important contribution to poverty reduction," said US Trade Representative Michael Froman. "We look forward to the EIF comprehensive evaluation to decide how the EIF can take forward the recommendations.''

During the meeting, Sweden announced a new pledge of USD 3 million to the EIF for 2014. Denmark, Finland and the European Union also expressed their continued support for the programme.

''We have a responsibility as EIF partners to focus on results and impact on the ground," said the Chair of the meeting and ITC Executive Director Arancha González in her concluding remarks. "Our immediate task is now to start focusing on what the EIF would require financially and institutionally to deliver in future when needs in LDCs will become more sophisticated."

Notes to editors:

1. The Enhanced Integrated Framework is a multi-donor programme that supports least developed countries in being more active players in the global trading system by helping them tackle supply-side trade constraints.

2. The programme is currently helping 49 of the poorest countries worldwide, supported by a multi-donor trust fund with contributions from 23 donors. A total of 58 projects and 37 Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies (DTIS) and DTIS updates are currently already under way in 43 countries.

3. The Enhanced Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat, housed in the WTO, and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) as EIF Trust Fund Manager work in support of the programme. 

For further information, please contact:

Mario Musa

Email: mario.musa@wto.org

Telephones: + 41 79 910 30 77/+ 62 81 55881322

Or visit: www.enhancedif.org