"Enhanced Integrated Framework" Serves as Model for Aid for Trade

Article excerpt

Interview with Francesco Geoffroy, ITC

The Integrated Framework (IF) is an international initiative through which the International Monetary Fund, ITC, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Development Programme, World Bank and World Trade Organization combine their efforts with those of least developed countries (LDCs) and donors to respond to the trade development needs of LDCs.

The IF strives to mainstream trade into national development and poverty reduction strategies and to assist in the coordinated delivery of trade-related assistance. Since its inception in 1997, a growing number of countries have joined the initiative.

How it works

Countries implement the Integrated Framework in three stages:

1. Preparatory activities, during which the LDC government sends an official request to participate in the IF process. A technical review is conducted. Upon endorsement by the IF Steering Committee, the government then sets up a national IF steering committee and, to the extent possible, identifies a lead donor.

2. Diagnostic phase, which results in a Diagnostic Trade Integration Study.

3. Implementation, when follow-up activities translate the findings from the diagnostic phase into an action plan, which serves as a basis to coordinate delivery of trade-related technical assistance.

By October 2006, 43 least developed countries were at different stages of the IF process. Twenty-two had validated their diagnostic studies and lists of trade priorities.

The IF in brief

Trade Forum interviewed Francesco Geoffroy of ITC, who was involved in the original development of the Integrated Framework and has been temporarily seconded to WTO to work on the transition to the Enhanced IF.

Q What is the Integrated Framework?

A It's an initiative by all major stakeholders in technical assistance for trade, to make sure that assistance to the world's 50 poorest countries is better coordinated and responds to what beneficiaries identify as their priorities. …