Geneva, 11 July 2017
In a boost for global efforts to work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the European Unionannounced a contribution of €10 million to the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), the only global Aid for Trade (AfT) programme exclusively designed for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), to help the countries realize their trade potential and reduce poverty by building inclusive sustainable development and economic growth.
The contribution was signed at a special high-level meeting for Ministers from the LDCs, EIF Donor countries and Heads of Delegation on the sidelines of the Global Review of Aid for Trade taking place at the World Trade Organization's headquarters in Geneva from 11 to 13 July 2017.
The EU, collectively with its Member States, is the world's largest provider of AfT. The new contribution from the EU brings its financial contributions to the EIF to approximately US$24 million and ensures the continued support to provide policy, technical and capacity‑building to the LDCs in ways that contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development.
The EIF Trust Fund currently receives financial contributions from 24 Donors. The EU is a long‑term supporter of the EIF and has previously contributed US$13 million for the implementation of EIF Phase One (2009-2015) that generated 131 projects totalling US$143.39 million, including 95 projects supporting trade and development policy capacity and 36 projects helping the countries to address barriers and increase their ability to trade.
"Trade has helped to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty worldwide, but the benefits of growth have not been felt equally across countries and regions. We need to more effectively link our different means of implementation – including Official Development Assistance, domestic policies in favour of inclusive and sustainable trade, as well as investment policies. The European Union, together with its Member States, is the largest provider of Aid for Trade worldwide, and today's new contribution of €10 million shows that we continue to spearhead to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty," said H.E. Mr Neven Mimica, European Commissioner, International Cooperation and Development of the European Union.
The EIF partnership works with 47 LDCs and four recently graduated countries to tackle supply‑side constraints to trade, including internal constraints, such as a lack of productive capacity, poor infrastructure, poor trade diversification, inefficient customs procedures, excessive red tape and difficulties to meet technical standards in high‑value export markets. These constraints hinder the ability for the LDCs to trade and the competitiveness of their exports, which the EIF helps to re‑address.
“I am very pleased to see the EIF receiving additional financial resources to deliver on its very important mission to support the LDCs to leverage growth, development and job creation. This is essential to creating a truly inclusive trading system – and to achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals,” said Mr Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization. "I am particularly thankful to the European Union and Commissioner Mimica for the generous donation that was formalized this week at the WTO, during the Global Review of our Aid for Trade initiative."
"The contribution made by the EU will go a long way in supporting the EIF's ability to keep delivering results, including in helping the countries draw additional funding to implement their trade agendas," said H.E. Mr Daniel Blockert, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sweden in Geneva and Chair of the EIF Steering Committee. “We hope that all the goodwill and commitment that we have seen on the part of Donors to date can be translated into further support, complemented by the key roles played by all members of the EIF partnership."
Mr Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat for the EIF, said: "We greatly appreciate the EU's timely and valuable support to the EIF Trust Fund. Through the EU Commissioner, we would like to thank the EU and its Member States and people for the practical and tangible demonstration of the confidence in the EIF, as evidenced by this contribution. The significance of this noble gesture is quite timely, particularly with the programme's role clearly defined in the Sustainable Development Goals."
With the support from the EU, the EIF programme will continue to support the poorest countries to facilitate trade reforms, improve their business environments, support private sector engagement and overall help the LDCs to be part of the global trading community. This will help increase market opportunities to translate into increased job and income opportunities in the LDCs, especially for the poor, for women and for youth.
Notes to the editors:
The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) brings together partners and resources to support the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in using trade for poverty reduction, inclusive growth and sustainable development. The EIF is a global partnership between the LDCs, Donors and International Agencies, underpinned by a multi-donor trust fund, which provides financial and technical support to build trade capacity in 47 LDCs and 4 graduated countries. The EIF is the only global Aid for Trade (AfT) programme exclusively designed for the LDCs and therefore is uniquely placed to assist the countries to develop sustainable trade strategies. Through a multilateral approach, the EIF ensures a coordinated, transparent and efficient delivery of AfT. The EIF is recognized under Goal 8a of the Sustainable Development Goals.