A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter

 

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Issue #31 - December 2011 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter

Thank you for all your support and cooperation throughout the past year.
The Vi team wishes you all the best for 2012!

>_NEWS  
 

Global Network of Development Think Tanks

 

 


 

Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh

 

 

 

 

 

Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies

Vi moves home, adopts bigger family - Welcome development think tanks!
On November 14, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Supachai Panitchpakdi, decided to merge the activities of the Virtual Institute with those of the Global Network of Development Think Tanks, established in 2008 by the Member States of UNCTAD, and managed by the Division of Globalization and Development Strategies, where the Vi now resides.

"Through the integration of UNCTAD's work with universities and research centres, UNCTAD will continue to support the development of local teaching and research capacities in member countries and cooperation among academic institutions and between researchers and policymakers," he wrote.

Two think tanks have already answered the call to take part in the Vi network.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in Bangladesh aims to enhance national capacity for economy-wide policy analyses, foster regional cooperation in poverty alleviation, trade, investment, transport and other key areas, and addresses issues which concern Bangladesh's effective integration into the process of globalization. With a staff of 71, CPD is a non-governmental civil society think tank involved in knowledge generation, policy influencing and awareness-raising, and capacity building. Its research areas include: trade; regional cooperation and global integration; investment promotion; infrastructure and enterprise development; macroeconomic performance analysis; agriculture and rural development; eradication of poverty; climate change and environment; human development and social protection; development governance; and policies and institutions.

CPD's Executive Director, Mustafizur Rahman, professor of Economics at the Faculty of Business Studies of the University of Dhaka, with a PhD in Economics, will serve as Vi member coordinator. His current research interests include trade-related issues, particularly trade policies and reforms in Bangladesh and South Asian countries; regional trading cooperation and free trade area in South Asia; the trade-poverty nexus; the multilateral trading system; and WTO negotiations and interests of LDCs.

Working with Rahman will be Distinguished Fellow, Debapriya Bhattacharya, holder of a PhD in Economics and former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the WTO, UN, and other international organizations in Geneva. A macro-economist and public policy analyst, his research interests include: trade and investment; LDCs in the global trading system; trade facilitation; the political economy of international trade; and macroeconomics and development policies.

The Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies is an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Leuven (K.U.Leuven) in Belgium, hosting more than 60 researchers in the humanities and social sciences. Its goal is to promote, support and carry out high-quality international, innovative and interdisciplinary research on global governance. The Centre also carries out independent applied research and offers policy advice and solutions to policymakers on multilateral governance and global public policy issues. Its areas of research include WTO law; foreign direct investment and human development; climate change, food (safety), and sustainable forestry governance, corporate social responsibility and private standards.

The Centre's Director, Jan Wouters, holder of a PhD in Law, and Chair ad Personam of European Union and Global Governance at K.U.Leuven, will serve as Vi member coordinator. His research interests include public international law, law of international organizations, global governance, and the European Union.

Wouters is joined by two other colleagues: Research Manager, Axel Marx, holder of a PhD in Social Sciences whose research interests include private standards, network governance, and certification; and Nicolas Hachez, Project Manager and Research Fellow, holder of an LL.M. in International Legal Studies, and interested in international investment law, transnational private regulation (focus on food governance and CSR), international legal theory and EU law.

 

United Nations Development Account


Government of Finland

 

 

Vi takes on trade and poverty project
The Virtual Institute has been selected to implement a two-year, USD 493,000 project addressing the top Millennium Development Goal: poverty reduction. Staunch Vi supporter, the Government of Finland, has donated EUR 100,000 to co-fund the first year of the project, part of the United Nations Development Account.

The Vi will leverage the analytical power of the network to develop research into national trade policies conducive to improving the livelihoods of the poor. To this effect, the Vi will begin with intensive capacity building of network academics on trade data research tools and methods specific to the analysis of the link between trade and poverty. Top graduates of the online course, scheduled to begin in the fall, will be invited to submit proposals for research projects which will benefit from expert guidance through a face-to-face workshop in Geneva, and through e-mentoring.

To maximize the impact of the project and encourage evidence-based policymaking, every effort will be made to involve national government officials from the inception of the research to ensure that it addresses countries' top priorities. At the conclusion of the studies, the researcher-policymaker pairs will be invited to a research conference in Geneva, where they will present their findings to country representatives and top international experts.

Work on the development of the online course is currently under way.


 

Participants of UNCTAD/WTO/ITC Vi trade analysis workshop

Government of Finland

UNCTAD, WTO AND ITC join in Vi trade analysis workshop
UNCTAD experts, along with Vi partners, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), introduced 22 academics from 20 developing countries to trade policy analysis tools and methods during a Vi professional development workshop held in Geneva October 10-14.

Funded by the Government of Finland, the workshop began with a keynote speech by Patrick Low, Director of the WTO's Economic Research and Statistics Division, outlining the main issues on the trade and trade policy agenda. WTO colleagues, Marc Bacchetta and Cosimo Beverelli, followed with an introduction to research methodologies and data sources for analyzing and quantifying trade policy, and hands-on practice on tariffs and non-tariff measures.

Exercises continued with ITC's Olga Skorobogatova and UNCTAD's Samuel Munyaneza who guided participants through the mechanics of data manipulation with online database tools, ITC's Market Access Map (MAcMap), and World Integrated Trade Solutions (WITS).

"The hands-on descriptive statistics on trade flows and tariffs with Stata®, MacMap and WITS gave me tools on how to gauge the effect of trade policy on the economic development of my country," said Willy-Marcel Ndayitwayeko, Assistant Lecturer at the University of Burundi.

WTO's Roberta Piermartini, ITC's Yvan Decreux, and UNCTAD experts, Marco Fugazza and Alessandro Nicita, conducted a series of sessions on econometric modelling using gravity, partial equilibrium and general equilibrium models.

"Immediately after this workshop I intend to continue with the research that I had started some time back but could not finish due to lack of knowledge as to how to conduct analysis using these models," said one participant. "My research work is really going to improve following this workshop."

The workshop culminated with a round-table discussion between the participants and a panel of Geneva-based policymakers, H.E. Faizal A. K. Ismail, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the WTO, Permanent Mission of South Africa; Elijah Manyara, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Kenya; Leulseged Tadese Abebe, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Ethiopia; and Guillermo Valles, Director, UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, and former Ambassador of Uruguay. The idea behind the session was to encourage dialogue between researchers and policymakers -- each side presenting its expectations and constraints -- to forge alliances that will feed solid analysis into countries' policies.


 

 

 

Diana Barrowclough presents the TDR11 to members in Russia


Heiner Flassbeck presents the TDR11 to researchers at IPEA

 

Alfredo Calcagno presents TDR11 to members in Peru

 

Kalman Kalotay presents WIR11 to members in St. Petersburg

 

Diana Barrowclough presents findings of TDR to the University of Jordan


Diana Korka (left) leads first Vi virtual research seminar

Brazil, Colombia, Jordan, Peru, Russia join in Vi videoconferences
End-of-year Vi videoconferences linked UNCTAD experts with nearly 300 academics, students and representatives of the public and private sector in five countries for discussions based on flagship publications, the Trade and Development Report (TDR), the World Investment Report (WIR), and the organization's work on information and communication technologies (ICTs).

On October 6, Diana Barrowclough, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (DGDS), highlighted post-crisis challenges in a presentation based on this year's TDR, for 77 participants from five Russian universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg -- the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), the Higher School of Economics (HSE), the St. Petersburg State University (SPSU), the St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance (FINEC), and the North-West Institute (NWI).

On October 31, DGDS Director, Heiner Flassbeck, lead author of the TDR, was joined by 10 researchers at Vi Brazilian member, the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA), for a discussion on the findings and recommendations of the report, framed in the context of G20 meetings from which he had just returned.

UNCTAD's view on the prospects of the world economy has proved correct, Flassbeck said. All major developed countries are faced with a "Japanification" scenario, a combination of stagnation and deflation which has been observed in the Japanese economy for the past 20 years.

“In the US, the neoclassical paradigm of flexible labour markets is hitting a wall,” he said, referring to growing unemployment and the lowest household income expectation in history, referred to as the wageless recovery in the TDR. "The situation in Europe is worse than in the US,” he added. “EU leaders have tried to save the euro, but did not come to the crucial questions. UNCTAD’s view is that the recommended fiscal tightening -- cutting public expenditure and wages and increasing taxes, such as in the case of Greece -- in a moment when economies are in depression will only deepen the depression and create more deficits."

On November 24, Alfredo Calcagno, also of DGDS, "re-baptized" the TDR for a Spanish-speaking audience of 60 gathered by Vi core university member, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP).

“It is subtitled ‘Post-crisis economic policy challenges’, but it should read ‘Challenges after the beginning of the crisis’ -- because it has not ended,” he said.

In Peru, Alan Fairlie, PUCP Vi member coordinator, was joined by Edgar Vasquez, of Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade. In Geneva, Calcagno and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku, were joined by Luz Caballero and Katia Angeles, of the Permanent Mission of Peru to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

On December 2, UNCTAD's Kalman Kalotay, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, updated 70 students and lecturers from three Russian Vi affiliates, FINEC, SPSU and NWI, on global and regional foreign direct investment trends and prospects, based on WIR findings. This year's WIR reports an uneven post-crisis recovery in 2010, with developing countries registering a modest 12 percent increase in FDI inflows, while developed country and transition economy flows continued to decline, with the exception of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, whose flows increased by 2 percent.

“There has been a dramatic change in the geographical composition of FDI in 2010,” Kalotay said. “For the first time, developing and transition countries represented more than half of the world FDI.”

On December 8, Barrowclough's presentation on the TDR served to complement the University of Jordan's courses on international trade and international finance. Nearly 60 students and lecturers participated in the discussion, moderated by Vi member coordinator, Taleb Awad.

On December 19, the Vi held its first-ever virtual research seminar, involving 15 students of Vi Russian affiliate member, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). The virtual seminar focused on the development of the information technologies sector in emerging markets -- Brazil, India, Russia and China (BRIC countries).

Diana Korka, of UNCTAD's Division on Technology and Logistics, led the videoconference exchange, where students presented the results of group work analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the IT sector in the four BRIC countries.

 

Vi hosts German study visit

 

 

 

 

Non-tariff measures topic of third Vi study tour for Colombia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study tour for MGIMO

Germany, Colombia and Russia in Geneva for study programmes
In November, the Vi developed training sessions in Geneva to complement the studies of 92 students and lecturers from nine Vi member universities in three countries.

The month of visits kicked off November 9, with a session for 30 graduate students from the Master's in International and Development Economics of German Vi member, the University of Applied Sciences (HTW), Berlin.

Jörg Mayer, from UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, introduced the group to the objectives and constantly evolving role of the organization, and engaged the students in a discussion on the organization's proposals for financial reforms vital for post-crisis economic recovery.

Vi team members, Nora Circosta and Susana Olivares, briefed the students on employment and internship opportunities at the UN Secretariat, as well as services of the Virtual Institute, before the group continued its tour with visits to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Labour Organization and the United Nations Development Programme.

The following week (November 14-18) marked the third annual study tour for Colombian Vi member universities. This year, 36 students and lecturers from seven universities joined experts from UNCTAD, the WTO and country representatives for a programme addressing non-tariff measures (NTMs), to which countries increasingly resort in an effort to regulate trade.

"The NTM universe is much more complex (as compared with tariffs)," said Guillermo Valles, Director of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities (DITC), the main partner of the Vi in the design and delivery of the tour. "Not only is their relative importance increasing but as they constantly evolve and are less transparent, it is difficult to have a complete picture and determine their impact."

In addition to getting a better understanding of UNCTAD as an organization, from Technical Cooperation Chief, Manuela Tortora, students also learned about WTO agreements on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, antidumping and rules of origin. They were also introduced to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.

Particularly valuable for their learning process was a session with Geneva-based national representatives, Ambassador Eduardo Muñoz and Deputy Minister Alfredo Ramos Gonzalez, who introduced the students to the country's trading interests and negotiations, in particular those concerned with NTMs.

"It was a unique intellectual opportunity to get first-hand knowledge on policymaking and research supporting domestic and international trade policies," added Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez, professor and Vi coordinator at core university member, Universidad EAFIT.

The tour culminated with a group exercise where students presented their analyses of different NTM-related questions put forward by UNCTAD's trade division experts, Marco Fugazza and Alessandro Nicita.

"The session has been a real success," said Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku. "I was impressed by the way the students tackled the exercise and presented their positions. The topic of the tour was clearly of interest to students with different backgrounds (business, economics, international relations) -- each of them found and presented an angle related to their studies and future work."

"My expectations - having the opportunity to take all the knowledge from the classroom to a real case scenario and understanding the international environment - were all fulfilled," said one student.

"It has been an enriching experience," said another. "It is necessary to keep on organizing such study tours to empower and prepare new generations on this topic, to achieve important results in the future."

Finally, on November 28, UNCTAD experts brought 26 students from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) up to speed on a variety of international trade topics important to Russia and the region.

Nicolas Maystre, of UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, contributed a presentation on the world’s current economic situation and post-crisis policy challenges. Kalman Kalotay, from UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise, covered the basics of foreign direct investment, as well as FDI flow trends and prospects for the region. Former Vi staff member, Piergiuseppe Fortunato, now part of the Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries, outlined the key role of emerging economies and developing countries in driving global economic growth.

 
Vi fellow Alexandra Koval

Forum shopping topic of latest Vi fellow
Senior Lecturer Alexandra Koval, of Vi affiliate member, St. Petersburg State University looked at the phenomenon of forum shopping for dispute settlement -- when parties to trade agreements seek the most favorable venue to settle their disputes (WTO or regional) -- during her Vi fellowship, December 5-16.

"Russia has an integration process -- the customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan -- and I am interested in the dispute settlement experience of Latin America, with NAFTA and MERCOSUR," Koval said. "There's not much research in this field now."

To assist Koval in her research, the Vi facilitated access to UNCTAD literature and data, as well as to government and non-government actors, such as experts from the WTO Legal Affairs Division and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law and delegates from Latin American missions.

 
EAFIT inaugurates UNCTAD room

FDI trends lecture supports Russian programme
Masataka Fujita, Head of the Investment Trends and Issues Branch of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, conducted a lecture based on the UNCTAD World Investment Report for 60 lecturers and students of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), in the context of the Vi's capacity-building activities for transition country academics, on October 6.

"Vi videoconference presentations of the WIR have become an integrated part of the teaching process over the past four years, since MGIMO joined the Vi network," writes Vi member coordinator, Anna Abramova. "This year, the tradition of videoconferencing was broken in favour of the precious chance to have a leading expert on FDI at MGIMO."

Fujita's lecture covered global and regional trends in FDI, investment policy, and the role of transnational corporations (TNC) in the world economy -- with special emphasis on state-owned TNCs. His presentation of the WIR 2011, "Non-Equity Modes of International Production and Development," set the report's findings against the background of transition economies.

 
Mahmoud Elkhafif, of UNCTAD's DGDS, conducts lectures at Vi core member, the University of Jordan

UNCTAD expert supports Jordan graduate programmes
Senior Economist, Mahmoud Elkhafif, of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (DGDS), conducted a series of lectures related to international finance and globalization on December 15, during a visit to Vi core member, the University of Jordan.

Elkhafif's interventions highlighted contemporary issues related to macroeconomic policies and financial crises outlined in the latest UNCTAD Trade and Development Report, for professors and 38 Master’s and PhD students of the Department of Business Economics.

 

CEDDET

Government of Spain

Second edition of online course graduates 30 Vi network members
The Vi, with funding from the Government of Spain, co-sponsored the second English-language edition of the online course, Legal Instruments of International Economic Relations and Regional Integration, held October 10 to December 11.

Led by Spanish Vi member coordinator, Ramon Torrent, of the University of Barcelona, 91 percent of the 33 participants successfully completed the course.

"We can all be well satisfied: 30 students have successfully completed the course," Torrent said, highlighting the difficulty of the content, and the fact that English is not the mother tongue of most participants, drawn from 25 developing countries.

The next stage of the project will establish a virtual network where participants will continue to exchange and learn from each other.

"The content was extremely interesting and informative for me," said one of the participants. "It greatly stimulated my awareness of international law, especially in my professional and research areas. Now I can more clearly recognize that some aspects of my previous findings need to be questioned from another point of view."

As with the previous edition, the course and the teaching team garnered big "thumbs ups" from all the participants, who plan to integrate the material into their courses and research work, as well as share it with their colleagues.

Impact is already being felt at Vi affiliate member, St. Petersburg State University (SPSU), where Alexandra Koval, former Vi fellow and online course participant, has begun to impart the knowledge from the course in her lectures for SPSU's Master's on the International Trading System. The collaboration between Vi's Russian and Spanish university members is being carried out through the WTO Chairs of both schools.

   
Vi member coordinator, Henri Ngoa Tabi, leads the Cameroon launch of UNCTAD's IER11

Vi members in Cameroon and Colombia launch UNCTAD flagship report - Second year in a row
Vi core members, Université de Yaounde II, Cameroon, and Universidad EAFIT, Colombia, hosted national launches of UNCTAD's Information Economy Report in October. This edition of the report is dedicated to the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in facilitating the development of the private sector in developing countries.

According to the report, ICTs have generated 260,000 jobs in Cameroon (200,000 in the informal sector), and the sector has become a vital contributor to the economy, with annual growth rates of 15 and 46 percent between 2000 and 2008.

"It's a record in Africa," said Cameroonian Vi member coordinator, Henri Ngoa Tabi (pictured, left), who led the presentation along with Assiga Ateba Modeste, Technical Counselor to the Prime Minister.

In Colombia, Felix Londoño González, Director of Research and Teaching, once again presented the findings of the report, which were webcasted by Vi members, Universidad EAFIT and Universidad EAN.

   
DAAD partnership

Vi members focus on financial sector at September workshop, call for papers on emerging markets announced: Deadline February 28
Vi core members, the University of Campinas, Brazil, and the University of Applied Sciences (HTW), Berlin, organized a three-day workshop September 27-29, to further the debate on financial sector regulation and deregulation needed in developing countries and emerging economies to help sustain economic growth and development.

The workshop, part of the DAAD partnership project led by HTW, and involving 10 other Vi university members, gathered scholars, policymakers and students to exchange insights from both the developed and developing world perspectives.

In preparation for its next research conference, organized in cooperation with Vi member, the University of Mauritius, the project has issued a call for papers on macroeconomic, trade, development and financial issues related to emerging markets.

   
End-of-year pubs pack

Vi wrapping up end-of-year presents for member libraries
The Vi team is busy procuring enough copies of UNCTAD's latest trade-related documents for our university and think tank members.

This year's package will include the 2011 editions of UNCTAD's flagship publications: the Trade and Development Report, the World Investment Report, the Information Economy Report, the Least Developed Countries Report, the Economic Development in Africa Report, the Review of Maritime Transport, and the Technology and Innovation Report. We are also putting together an interesting collection of policy briefs, statistics, and documents on science and technology, among others.

Be patient, as we have a much bigger family this year! As always, we will let you know once the "care packages" are on their way.

 
>_UPCOMING EVENTS

 

 

UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Online course on trade and poverty: Focus on econometrics - Get ready!
As part of the Vi's new trade and poverty project funded by the UN Development Account and the Government of Finland, network academics will have the opportunity to participate in an online course on applied tools and methods for the analysis of the relationship between trade and poverty reduction, scheduled to begin in the fall.

Interested researchers, in addition to very good knowledge of English, must be ready to apply their excellent Stata® skills, as the course's pedagogical approach will challenge participants to apply newly-learned skills by replicating the results of papers published by top experts in the field. The ultimate objective of the course is to prepare researchers capable of conducting analysis that will lead to evidence-based national policies addressing poverty.

At the end of the course, 10 research grants will be awarded to graduates submitting the best proposals. Priority will be given to projects addressing their countries' top poverty reduction agenda priorities, and which have been designed with the support of national policymakers.

 
>_TEACHING RESOURCES
 
 
St. Petersburg State Economic University

Vi Russian affiliate's teaching materials now available to university members
Developed in cooperation with the Virtual Institute and the WTO academic network, in the framework of the WTO Chairs Programme, the St. Petersburg State University compendium of teaching materials contains 17 case studies and working papers highlighting topics such as dispute settlement mechanisms, regional integration, and foreign direct investment.

The collection includes research by SPSU Vi member coordinator, Olga Trofimenko, and former Vi fellows, Alexandra Koval, of SPSU, and Juliana Peixoto Batista, of FLACSO-Argentina.

   
UNCTAD virtual Institute

Materials from Vi training activities now online
Presentations and background materials developed for the UNCTAD-WTO-ITC workshop on tools and methods for trade and trade policy analysis (held in October) are now available online. Lectures and exercises on research methodologies, the gravity model, and partial and general equilibrium models, as well as tools for trade data extraction, may be used by Vi academics for teaching and/or learning. The resources include recommendations arising from a roundtable discussion organized in the context of the workshop, on bridging the gap between researchers and policymakers.

Also available are presentations delivered during Vi study tours for Chinese and Colombian universities in September and November. The presentations cover macroeconomic issues, climate change, South-South integration, trade logistics, intellectual property rights, and WTO issues. For the Colombian study tour, resources focus on non-tariff measures.

 
Vi video resources

Five new multimedia teaching resources now online
This quarter's Vi multimedia teaching resources bring you the latest information and top experts' perspectives on industrial policy, post-crisis challenges, financial and commodity markets, and the Least Developed Countries (LDC).

Pursuing effective industrial policy, a two-part resource exploring the key question -- not whether to adopt industrial policy, but how to make sure it is pursued effectively -- features presentations by Jörg Mayer, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (DGDS), and Richard Kozul-Wright, Head of the Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries.

In What is wrong with the international financial architecture? Alfredo Calcagno, of DGDS, looks at the technical and political elements necessary for a stable, predictable financial system.

Taffere Tesfachew, Director of UNCTAD's Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, says Answers for LDCs may come from the South, citing LDC Report findings showing that in the last decade, LDCs' economic ties with Southern partners have intensified and become a crucial dimension in their integration into the world economy, accounting for nearly half of LDCs' merchandise exports,  40 percent of foreign direct investment inflows, and 60 percent of the USD 26 billion in remittances (2010).

In Improving agricultural commodity markets, Yan Zhang, of UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities,discusses UNCTAD's most recent technical assistance activity for countries dependent on agricultural commodities.

And last, but not least, It ain't over 'til it's over: Legacy from the crisis, a three-part video package based on Vi videoconferences for members in Brazil, Peru and Russia on the latest Trade and Development Report (TDR), featuring presentations by TDR authors, DGDS' Heiner Flassbeck, Diana Barrowclough and Alfredo Calcagno.

 
>_PUBLICATIONS  

 

UNCTAD Virtual Institute

 

Apronius Mbilinyi, Researcher at ESRF, Tanzania

Vi recommendations on research-based policymaking: Bridging the gap between researchers and policymakers
Research undertaken by universities and research institutes in developing countries can serve as useful inputs for the design of national policies and negotiating positions. However, too often a link between researchers and policymakers fails to be established due to a lack of awareness on both sides about each other's needs and capabilities.

The recommendations from Vi round tables bringing together researchers and policymakers provide a set of practical suggestions that could help both groups better interact and work together to increase the use of locally produced research in policymaking. The guidelines are structured around four topics: how to establish contact and cooperation; how to make applied research policy relevant; how to communicate research findings to policymakers and disseminate research; and how to secure funding, and build sustainable capacity for research.

The document has already served to support a presentation by Vi trade analysis workshop participant, Apronius Mbilinyi, Researcher at Tanzania's Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), at the "Dialogue on the Use of Research-Based Evidence in Policy Process and Practices in Tanzania," held November 22 in Dar es Salaam. Organized by ESRF and the Commission for Science and Technology, the dialogue was attended by representatives from research institutions, universities, policymakers, government officials and representatives of the private sector and the media.

"Your document was very helpful," wrote Mbilinyi. "We researchers need to be a bit proactive and work closer with the policy makers; be strategic to market our product (research findings). We also need to create credibility so that our output is trusted by the actors who might need to use the findings for policymaking or make changes needed in the society."


 
Least Developed Countries Report 2011

Least Developed Countries Report 2011: The potential role of South-South cooperation for inclusive and sustainable growth
The report argues that the strong GDP growth experienced by LDCs in the last decade was not complemented by structural transformation and employment creation. Most LDCs continue to deepen their specialization in exports of primary commodities and low-value labour-intensive manufacturing.

Increasing economic links between the LDCs and other developing countries, in particular the large and dynamic emerging countries which acted as growth poles for LDCs, helped to buffer LDCs from the downturn in advanced economies. South-South relations thus offered new opportunities for LDCs in terms of markets, FDI, remittances and official assistance. However, at the same time, they also represent challenges ranging from extreme competition to de-industrialization.

The report states that to maximize the benefits of South-South cooperation, national policies by LDCs ("catalytic developmental States") and South-South cooperation need to pursue the same developmental objectives and reinforce one another. Financing productive investment still remains a particular challenge for most LDCs. The report therefore calls for developmental regionalism and to re-visit the role of regional development banks so that a small part of the reserves accumulated in developing countries and managed by sovereign wealth funds could be used to support the financing of development in the LDCs.

 
UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2011

Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an enabler for private sector development
UNCTAD’s sixth edition of the Information Economy Report (IER) examines the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in developing countries’ private and public sector, and demonstrates their potential contribution to private sector development.

Four particularly relevant areas are described in the report: influence of ICT infrastructure on the investment climate; increase of private sector productivity through business use of ICTs; influence of ICT production and services on economic growth; and facilitation of private sector development through the use of ICTs by governments and public institutions. In these areas, the IER makes a series of policy recommendations that address policymakers in developing countries and the donor community.
 
UNCTAD Technology and Innovation Report 2011

Technology and Innovation Report 2011: Powering development with renewable energy technologies
In view of the 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All and the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, UNCTAD’s latest edition of the Technology and Innovation Report focuses on the technological empowerment of developing countries in the area of renewable energy technologies (RETs).

The report argues that major support from the international community is needed for the promotion and wider use of RETs. Concrete recommendations to foster technological development and innovation capacity in developing countries go beyond technology transfer, and include RETs research funding and staff training. RETs should be integrated within broader goals of poverty reduction and employment creation, emphasizes the report.

 
Review of Maritime Transport 2011 Review of Maritime Transport 2011
The focus of this year's Review of Maritime Transport is the participation of developing countries in maritime businesses. Their strong position in ship scrapping, ship registration and supply of seafarers has been extended to other more capital-intensive and technologically advanced maritime sectors, such as ship owning and ship construction.

A chapter on legal and regulatory issues highlights the entry into force of the International Convention on the Arrest of Ships (adopted by the UN/International Maritime Organization Diplomatic Conference in 1999) and other important developments in the field of transport and trade facilitation.

 
Applying a Gender Lens to Science, Technology and Innovation Applying a Gender Lens to Science, Technology and Innovation
Prepared by UNCTAD for the 55th UN Commission on the Status of Women, this report emphasizes the need of integrating a gender perspective into science, technology and innovation (STI) policies.

It illustrates the contribution of women to STI (women in science, women in innovation) -- and how STI can contribute to women’s livelihoods and development activities (science for women). 

Examples of good practices, as well as key recommendations for gender-sensitive STI policymaking are provided that support women’s development in key sectors, gender equality in science and technology related education, employment and entrepreneurship.

 

WTO report on G-20 trade measures

 

WTO report on G-20 trade measures
"There is a growing perception that trade protectionism is gaining ground in some parts of the world as a political reaction to current local economic difficulties - difficulties that trade restrictions are very poorly equipped to resolve, such as the case of currency fluctuations and macroeconomic imbalances," according to the most recent WTO report on G-20 measures.

Covering the period of May to mid-October 2011, the report concludes that the pace of implementation of new trade restrictions by G-20 countries, particularly in the manufacturing sector, has not decelerated over the past six months. Also confirmed is the upward trend in the imposition of export restrictions affecting mainly food and some minerals.

 

Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Review

Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Reviews - Ghana, El Salvador, Peru
The purpose of UNCTAD’s science, technology and innovation policy reviews (STIPs) is to assist governments in developing science, technology and innovation plans and programmes that support the various components of the national development agenda and help the productive sectors to compete in a knowledge-based global economy, generating better paid jobs, raising living standards, reducing poverty and promoting a strategy of growth and commercial diversification.

This year, UNCTAD produced STIPs for Ghana, El Salvador and Peru. Look for them in your end-of-year package.

 
The Road to Rio+20

The Road to Rio+20
UNCTAD has released the second in a series of volumes focusing on the green economy in the context of sustainable development, the central topic of the Rio+20 Summit in 2012.

The publication provides real-life lessons on how to leverage green solutions for development in the form of 16 articles grouped in four areas: Government, the green enabler; Green business, green profits; Green transitions around the world; and Going green: history and social implications.

 
An overview of major sources of data and analyses relating to physical fundamentals in international commodity markets An overview of major sources of data and analyses relating to physical fundamentals in international commodity markets
Recent debates on whether price movements in commodity markets are determined by changes in physical supply and demand fundamentals or by speculation of financial investors clearly shows the need for better information about commodity markets.

This paper, written by Pilar Fajarnes, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, assesses the current situation with regard to the availability of information on physical commodity markets, pointing to some of the existing information gaps and areas for improvement. It also provides a comprehensive overview of the various information sources covering agricultural commodity markets (food, tropical beverages, agricultural raw materials), energy commodities, and metals and minerals markets. A wealth of website links contained in the paper facilitates the access to relevant information.

 
>_LINKS  
 
UNCTAD UNCTAD's Investment Country Profiles
A new product of UNCTAD's investment division, the Investment Country Profiles provides per country information on inward and outward foreign direct investment flows and stocks. In addition, the profiles contain information on transnational corporations (TNCs) and their foreign affiliates, including data on employment, wages and salaries, sales, value added, exports, imports, and research and development. Six country profiles (Switzerland, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Latvia) are already available; another eight (Argentina, Turkey, Italy, Greece, France, Ukraine, Tunisia and South Africa) are under preparation.
 
WTO

Updated WTO dataset on services commitments in RTAs
The dataset, first published in 2008, details the level of services commitments in 67 regional trade agreements (RTA) concluded by 53 World Trade Organization members (the European Union is counted as one). Data includes the level of market access to which parties committed in each RTA, by mode of supply and by sector, and compares it with achievements in services negotiations in the WTO. It also provides information about the highest level of market access commitments by each WTO member across all its RTAs.

WTO food security website
How well does agricultural trade policy perform in providing secure supplies of food to the world's populations? The new WTO website provides accounts of food security-related work in the WTO and other international organizations, as well as reports, analyses and debates. The information available relates to the UN High Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, and the net food importing countries, and directs visitors to websites of other international organizations concerned with food security. The site also offers analytical reports on the situation in food and agricultural markets, as well as filmed debates about the right to food, and the links between selected trade measures (such as export restrictions) and food security.

 
>_ACADEMIC OPPORTUNITIES
 
desiguALdades.net

Post-doctoral scholarships available in Germany - Deadline: January 15
desiguALdades.net, an interdisciplinary, international, and multi-institutional research network on social inequalities in Latin America, is accepting applications until January 15 from social sciences postdoctoral candidates for scholarships (EUR 1500 monthly) of 6 to 18 months starting March 1.

Postdoctoral researchers will carry out research in support of the network and produce one or more publications. They should also actively engage in academic exchange with the network's doctoral students and fellows and take part in the programme and its academic activities.

 
>_PEOPLE  

 

 

 


Camiel Pennycooke, Winner of FLACSO award
 

Evans S. Osabuohien

 

 

Maria Alejandra Calle Saldarriaga

Vi academics big winners in FLACSO's WTO Chair competition
Three of the Vi members who answered the October 3 call for papers from Argentinian member, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), received top marks on their work by members of the selection committee.

Camiel Pennycooke, of the University of the West Indies and participant of a 2010 Vi study tour, scored the top place in the competition with her paper, "Trade Policy and Food Security: The Implications of the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture for Caribbean Small Vulnerable Economies (SVEs)." Her research showed that to date, the objectives of the agreement -- the reduction in trade distortions and protectionism in international trade, creating a fair trading environment for WTO members -- have not been fully realized, and that protectionism has actually increased in developed countries. Given evidence of an indirect link between trade liberalization and food security, the paper recommends the issue be a top priority for SVEs in WTO negotiations.

Honorable mentions went to Nigerian associate member, Evans S. Osabuohien, of Covenant University, and to Colombian member and former Vi fellow, María Alejandra Calle-Saldarriaga, of Universidad EAFIT.

Osabuohien's paper, "Africa’s Development and the Global Trading System: Challenges and Options," co-authored with Johnson A. Egwakhe, of Rwanda's Adventist University of Central Africa, empirically explored development in Africa in relation to the global trading system using panel data on 50 African countries for the period 1995-2008. The research found that sub-regions with higher level of domestic investment had higher values in economic development indicators, and that increased trade integration did not translate into increased economic development in the selected African countries during the period under study.

Calle's paper, "The Impact of Bioethics and Consumer Demand on Process and Production Methods (PPMs) in the WTO: Considerations for Colombian biotrade," aims to contribute to the existing legal studies on PPMs and their connection to consumer preferences for bioethical and environmentally friendly systems of production, focusing in particular on the case of Colombian biotrade.

"I have to express my sincere gratitude for all the support of the Vi to make this achievement possible," writes Calle. "This paper was extensively supported by the research made during my fellowship at UNCTAD in 2010. Eduardo Escobedo and Lorena Mora from the UNCTAD biotrade initiative made this (paper) possible with their constant orientation and feedback."

 
Former Vi fellow, Pablo Moreno

Former Vi fellow presents research at international conference
Pablo Moreno Alemay, of Colombian affiliate member, Universidad de la Sabana, was one of 17 international researchers presenting their work at the World Business and Social Science Research Conference held in October in the United States.

His paper, "Futures contracts on agricultural commodities as financial development strategy in Colombia," is "(t)he result of research I began while a Vi fellow," Moreno said. "My principal bibliographic and data sources come from UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities."

Moreno's 2010 Vi fellowship research also served as the basis for the organization of the First Congress on Derivatives Markets on Agricultural Commodities in Colombia.

 
Henok Birhanu, Vi member, Jigjiga University, Ethiopia

Ethiopian member wins scholarships, named to virtual network
Vi Ethiopian member, Henok Birhanu, was this year's recipient of the scholarship offered in July by Vi Spanish member, the University of Barcelona (UB), for its Master's in International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO).

Birhanu brought to the network its first Ethiopian affiliate member, Jigjiga University, after attending the first edition of the online course on International Economic Law and Regional Integration, offered by the Virtual Institute, the University of Barcelona and the CEDDET Foundation, with funding from the Government of Spain.

And he does not cease to impress -- Ramon Torrent, Vi member coordinator at UB and online course director, said he has recruited him as part of the team that will guide the soon-to-be-launched International Economic Relations Network, an online platform of exchange for course alumni.

 
>_FEEDBACK  
 
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The UNCTAD Virtual Institute on Trade and Development is a capacity-building and knowledge-sharing programme designed to strengthen the capacities of academic institutions in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to teach and research trade issues.

 

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