Donors Evaluate ITC: An External Evaluation Recommends Steps to Build on ITC's Comparative Advantage as a Provider of Trade-Related Technical Assistance

By Shah, Ashish | International Trade Forum, January 2006 | Go to article overview

Donors Evaluate ITC: An External Evaluation Recommends Steps to Build on ITC's Comparative Advantage as a Provider of Trade-Related Technical Assistance


Shah, Ashish, International Trade Forum


Donors and beneficiaries welcomed the outcome of a two-year external evaluation of ITC at an informal meeting of its Joint Advisory Group in November 2005.

Led by the Government of Denmark and supported by a group of donors, the evaluation was comprehensive in scope. It resulted in six volumes of reports, including country assessments; evaluations of ITC tools, programmes and services; analysis of corporate issues such as human resource development, governance structures and business processes; and a final Synthesis Report.

ITC has a strong comparative advantage in delivering trade-related technical assistance, says the evaluation, with a "clear division of labour between ITC ... UNCTAD and WTO, ... with ITC focused on trade development and UNCTAD and WTO focused on trade policy and regulation".

ITC's advantages

ITC's main advantages were cited as: its specific mandate; practical emphasis on enterprises and trade promotion strategies; technical competence; accumulated knowledge; experience in trade development; and its convening power with the business and trade development communities.

The evaluation endorsed ITC's overall strategy, noting, "ITC has considerable knowledge of its TSI [trade support institution] partners" and considers "responding to client needs" as an essential element in its programming. It gave high scores for efficiency and relevance of ITC's operations.

Where ITC should focus

It nevertheless called on ITC to measure its results and impact more systematically. Four key recommendations emerged:

* If ITC can implement key management and institutional reforms, it should consider an increase in the scale of its operations with a greater focus on country-specific projects.

* To show its contribution to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, ITC needs a structured set of indicators to measure results, including those for trade development, poverty reduction and gender equity; and a reporting and monitoring system which includes its programme delivery partners.

* ITC should assess needs more systematically, better measure the costs of producing its tools and monitor their use, to ensure relevance and cost-effectiveness. …

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