UNCTAD technical cooperation in support of SDGs

UNCTAD gears its technical cooperation towards contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. The UNCTAD Toolbox -—
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has been developed to better align technical cooperation with the SDGs. Total technical cooperation expenditure of UNCTAD surpassed US$46 million in 2021, delivered through 217 projects in 74 countries. UNCTAD’s technical cooperation projects are delivered at the interregional, regional and country levels (see figure 1).

Figure 1. Distribution of project expenditures by region, 2021

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Project expenditure by SDG has not experienced a major shift in the last few years, as it has after 2018, when relative expenditures on SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) more than halved, offset by significant increases after 2018 in expenditures to support SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and SDG 17 (partnership for the goals) (see figure 2). SDGs 17, 9, 15 (life on land), and 8 (decent work and economic growth) dominate project expenditures. The amount of expenditures not directed to a specific SDG (marked as ‘multiple’ in figure 2) has slowly diminished in 2018-2021; also, for the first time, in 2021 some project expenditure (albeit very small) was directed to support SDG 2 (zero hunger).

Figure 2. Percentage distribution of project expenditures by SDG, 2018-2021
(In percentage of total expenditure)

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UNCTAD in action on various topics

With more than 450 staff members, UNCTAD delivers high-quality technical support to many areas benefiting countries and national stakeholders, as well as the international community, building partnerships to jointly address the challenges of today. Only a handful of activities are selected here to showcase hard numbers speaking for UNCTAD’s work in support of member States in the pursuit of the 2030 Agenda:

TRAINFORTRADE

TRAINFORTRADE provides technical assistance to developing countries focusing on three areas: (1) port management; (2) international e-commerce; and (3) international trade statistics. The aim of the programme is to empower countries to participate in, and reap the benefits of, international trade in an equitable and sustainable manner. The programme has enhanced capacities of more than 11 000 participants from 208 different countries from 2017 to 2021. 44 per cent of all participants were female.

Debt management and Financial Analysis System (DMFAS)

The UNCTAD DMFAS programme advises developing economies in debt management and helps them to record and report reliable debt statistics for policy making. Timely, comprehensive and reliable debt statistics contribute to the formulation of financial policies and strategies, and consequently to improvement of financial stability and governance – even more so relevant in the face of challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the war in Ukraine.

The DMFAS programme offers countries a set of practical solutions for the management of public liabilities and the production of debt statistics, including software, training and advisory services. DMFAS has trained over 6 300 experts from 67 countries in debt management.

Empretec – Inspiring entrepreneurship

UNCTAD Empretec promotes entrepreneurship and enhances the productive capacity and international competitiveness of SMEs in developing countries. Empretec training is delivered by centres in 41 countries around the world. Since its inception in 1988, Empretec has successfully trained more than 481 000 people. The programme’s Women in Business Awards rewards outstanding businesswomen previously trained by the programme.

Trade facilitation – making trade easier and faster

Trade facilitation contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, in particular to the integration of developing countries to global trade, tackling trade barriers and improving the efficiency of trade by reducing delays and transaction costs. Since 2016, UNCTAD has developed capacity in 56 countries around the world to improve their trade facilitation. UNCTAD Empowerment Programme, providing intensive professional programme for NTFCs, has trained almost 2 500 people in 34 countries, with average female participation at 42 per cent.

Research on trade and sustainable development

In July 2017, UNCTAD launched a new research paper series. Since that time and up until March 2020, 41 research papers have been published, which have been downloaded almost 86 000 times. The importance of SDGs 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 10 (reduced inequalities) and 17 (partnership for the goals) is evident in UNCTAD research papers.

The convening power of UNCTAD

UNCTAD uses its convening power to bring together governments, businesses, civil society, academia and other international organizations to advance sustainable development and inclusive trade and economy for all. Since 2016, almost 60 000 participants attended more than 1200 official and registered meetings; share of female participants has steadily increased, reaching 47 per cent in 2022.

Enhancing productive capacities – project with Angola

UNCTAD has been supporting Angola in building institutional capacities to foster economic diversification through the EU-UNCTAD Joint Programme of Angola: TRAINFORTRADE II (2017-2023). Over 1 800 people were trained on enhancing economic strength of Angola in 2021 and 2022, 29 per cent female. Many similar activities are ongoing also in other countries to support them in fostering their productive capacities.

Mobilizing development finance

Mobilizing financial resources for recovering from the pandemic is essential to achieving the SDGs. The project produced research papers, policy tools and sessions to support policy makers: 22 research papers have been provided and more than 400 people registered for the events, of which 44 per cent were female. The web-based virtual knowledge platform MobilizingDevFinance.org gathers and disseminates the project’s outputs, and makes them accessible to member countries, CSOs, scholars, researchers and the general public.

More than 400 people registered for the events, of which 44% were female.
The project provided 22 research papers with 9 female co-authors.

Measuring illicit financial flows

UNCTAD supports member States to strengthen their statistical capacity to define, measure and disseminate statistics on IFFs as a custodian of SDG indicator 16.4.1 with UNODC. UNCTAD has organized 33 workshops to enhance national capacity to measure IFFs in twelve pioneering countries in Africa and two in Asia with partner organizations in 2021-2022. In total, 1 561 participants attended these capacity-enhancement activities, one quarter women.

The pilots have showed us that much hinges on concerted action – collaboration across borders and the ability to establish a whole of government approach. IFFs cannot be curbed in silos, national authorities – central banks, customs, tax, financial intelligence, statistical offices and ministries – must pool their data, expertise and political powers.Rebeca Grynspan, SG of UNCTAD, The fifty-fourth session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Senegal, May 2022

References

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