ITC Is Poised for New Progress: After 12 Years at the Helm of ITC, J. Denis Belisle Leaves a Thriving Trade Development Organization with Confidence in Its Future

Article excerpt

Over the past 12 years, the ambiance at ITC's annual meetings has changed radically, in keeping with a new maturity and sense of self-confidence in the organization. This progress is the result of the hard work, imagination, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit of ITC staff and management--a team never afraid of challenges. The latest challenge for management is to hand over the reins to a new team, capable of taking ITC to new heights. This is being done systematically and successfully.

The outgoing management team is proud to have contributed to increasing the delivery of services by over 80% in the last five years and to have created programmes, tools and publications that are in high demand throughout the developing world.

We are very pleased to have provided developing countries with a platform where government trade negotiators and the business sector can have a constructive dialogue on the Doha round and pleased to have supported South-South trade and helped trade support institutions provide better services to small firms. These are powerful ways of using trade to alleviate poverty.

A massive external evaluation completed last year commented favourably on ITC--as did reports by the United Nations Board of Auditors and the Office of Internal Oversight Services.

There is still room for improvement. ITC is an organization constantly in the making. We have already begun to implement the evaluators' recommendations aimed at us. ITC management supports strongly the recommendations concerning ITC stakeholders, related to harmonizing donor support, creating a small and effective expert group as a core element of ITC's governance structure, adapting United Nations oversight mechanisms to ITC realities and making greater use of multi-year advance funding contributed on a more timely basis.

Senior management succession

A team of new managers has already started to arrive at ITC, combining impressive work experience, considerable field knowledge, a clear vision for the future and powerful drive.

My successor, Patricia Francis, has been President of JAMPRO (the Jamaica Promotions Corporation) for the last ten years, making it one of the most successful trade promotion organizations in the developing world. In addition, she has been Chairperson of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies and active in the private sector.

Stephen Browne, a British economist, joined us as Deputy Executive Director in March. He acquired technical cooperation and national capacity-building experience during 21 years at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), many spent in the developing world. He has been responsible for UNDP's trade portfolio and for collaboration with ITC and UNCTAD. He is a keen observer of development issues and is the author of four books on the subject.

The first new Director is Siphana Sok, who came to us from Cambodia. He played a key role in his country's accession to WTO and in masterminding the Integrated Framework programme for Cambodia and other countries in Asia and Africa. His dynamism and extensive experience will bring additional value to ITC clients.

Eva Murray from Canada joins us as Director of the Programme Support Division this summer.

Sincere thanks are due to the outgoing members of ITC's Senior Management Committee: Ramamurti Badrinath, Director of the Trade Support Services Division; Gian Piero Roz, Director of the Programme Support Division; and Peter Waiters, Director of the Product and Market Development Division. …