UNCTAD Commission endorses Vi's capacity-building approach Convinced that building capacities for trade would increase the competitiveness of developing country enterprises, member states at the meeting of the Commission on Enterprise, Business Facilitation and Development last month asked for the continuation and strengthening of activities of the UNCTAD Virtual Institute and other UNCTAD capacity building programmes.

The delegate of Benin, speaking on behalf of the Least Developed Countries, highlighted the importance of LDC participation in Vi activities such as the workshop on commodities held last year in Senegal, and the trade analysis workshop organized in Geneva. He also commended the integration of African Vi university members as resource persons in the Course on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda recently held in Cairo.

"This provides the sort of ownership, regional perspective and expertise demanded by African policy-makers and demonstrates innovation by the Secretariat at promoting synergies between its programmes and target audiences," said the delegate from Angola, speaking for the African countries.
Honduras, speaking on behalf of developing countries (so-called Group 77 and China), recognized the efforts of UNCTAD to generate increasing South-South cooperation and institutionalize this as a feature of its capacity building programmes, for example "through the pioneering work of the Vi, which has successfully built a network of mutually supporting academic institutions."
GRULAC (Latin America and Caribbean Countries Group) stated that the Virtual Institute "is a positive example of what can be obtained with South-South cooperation," and also through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to support and extend a network though several continents, at reduced costs.

At the end of its session, held in Geneva 19-23 February, the Commission recommended that "UNCTAD should continue its work on the strengthening of local training, research and policy-making capacities with regard to trade, investment, enterprise development, technology, finance and development issues through the training programmes of the Virtual Institute, TrainForTrade and Paragraph 166 programmes, including through the innovative use of ICTs and distance learning, as well as networks and partnerships with other agencies, international organizations and bilateral development partners for training and research; and encourage the links between researchers and policymakers and the exchange of experiences and best practices in the development of sustainable capacities for trade and development."

The commission's recommendations are forwarded to the Trade and Development Board, which determines UNCTAD's annual work plan.

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