UNCTAD's technical cooperation programmes in the trade sector encompass several fields of action to help overcome obstacles that impede or negate the trade interests of developing countries. These programmes include:< (a) assistance in the formulation of policies that affect trade, including trade in services, and that effectively exploit relationships between trade, technology and finance, and between the evolution of the external environment and the capacities of developing countries to establish effective domestic policies. This would include trade, technology and commodity policies; and improved management of technology flows, finance, development assistance and debt;< (b) advisory services and training to exploit trading opportunities under existing trade arrangements and mechanisms, including the GSP and other trade laws, and to overcome tariff and non-tariff barriers, including RBPs;< (c) advice and capacity building relating to trade negotiations;< (d) assistance to enhance the capacity of developing countries to manage facilities and services related to international trade, including improvement of trade procedures, access to trade information, strengthening of customs administration, financial services including insurance, maritime and multimodal transport, ports, including transit-related facilities;< (e) training programmes to build capacities for human resource development in the trade sector;< (f) assistance in establishing the institutional and policy framework for facilitating the inflow of foreign direct investment, including advisory services in the evaluation of proposals submitted by foreign companies and the negotiation of contractual arrangements.
UNCTAD's technical co-operation is funded by UNDP and by voluntary and trust fund contributions from individual developed and developing countries, financial institutions and development funds. International Trade Centre UN CTAD/GATT (ITC), works with developing countries to set up effective national trade promotion and export development programmes, to assist in expanding their exports and improving their import operations. This includes:< (a) Developing a framework for co-operation in trade promotion and export development between the government and business sectors, including strengthening the organizational structure, strategies and programmes of trade promotion and export development institutions, chambers of commerce and other business organizations; establishing or strengthening essential trade services in areas such as export packaging, export quality management, export finance, export project development, costing and pricing, legal aspects of foreign trade, trade promotion communications, national commercial representation abroad, export-oriented joint ventures, and trade promotion for small and medium-size enterprises, etc;< (b) Finding market opportunities for export products, both traditional and non-traditional and including commodities; designing and implementing export marketing strategies; adapting and developing new products for export; improving the physical distribution of exports and imports; and promoting exports of technical consultancy services;< (c) Improving import operations and techniques to optimize scarce foreign exchange resources through effective import management methods; efficient procurement and materials management practices; and import market information;< (d) Training government officials, business executives and instructors in export and import techniques; strengthening training institutions; and conducting research and development of foreign trade training tool and methodologies.
Financing for ITC's technical cooperation activities in developing countries comes from UNDP, other international organizations and voluntary contributions from individual developed and developing countries. Voluntary contributions consist of either trust funds for projects in other countries or funds-in-trust provided for projects in the donor's o we country.
UNIDO promotes international cooperation on behalf of industrialization on global, regional, national and sectoral levels. It aims at promoting and accelerating industrial development in developing countries. UNIDO's assistance to developing countries includes:< (a) advisory assistance to governments on industrial policy formulation and planning;< (b) fostering investment in industry in developing countries through, inter alia, UNIDO's Investment Promotion Service (IPS) Offices in Cologne, Paris, Tokyo, Vienna, Washington DC, Warsaw and Zurich to facilitate contacts between businessmen and governments of the developing countries and their counterparts in industry and financial centres in the industrialized world;< (c) provision of information, including industrial statistics, studies of particular industries or countries, sources of technological information, patent information, industrial technology and contact with existing networks of institutions and data banks that have technological information;< (d) a forum for consultations that bring together representatives of governments, industry and labour unions to exchange information on the global prospects of a particular industrial sector. Major sectors include agricultural machinery, building materials, capital goods, fertilizers, food processing, iron and steel, leather and leather products, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and wood and wood products;< (e) assistance to developing countries to identify and quantify their need for people with various levels of skills, the training requirements this implies, and to draw up appropriate policies, and organize specialized programmes, through group training, fellowships and study tours.
UNIDO's technical assistance activities are financed mainly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The Industrial Development Fund (IDF) was established to supplement those funds provided by UNDP. As the chief voluntary fund of UNIDO, IDF receives contributions from governments, inter- and non-governmental organizations and other non-governmental sources.
FAO's technical assistance and cooperation in support of agricultural development in developing countries relates to the identification, formulation, execution, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects in such fields as crops, livestock, research and technology development, nutrition, agricultural policy analysis, fisheries, forestry and natural resources. In particular, assistance includes:< (a) advice to governments on agricultural policy and planning;< (b) provision of information - to farmers, scientists, technologists, traders and government planners - on every aspect of agriculture (including production, supply, demand, prices, and technology);< (c) investment assistance, through its Investment Centre, to help developing countries find the external capital they need to build up their agriculture, including assistance to both borrowers and financing institutions, and prepare, implement and evaluate projects.
Most of the funds available for FAO's technical assistance to developing countries are provided from extra-budgetary resources made available through various arrangements. The main sources of these funds are UNDP and trust funds - which consist of direct contributions from governments and other institutions. Other UN agencies.
ILO, UNESCO and other agencies of the UN system, including the regional commissions, provide within their respective fields, technical cooperation activities that have a bearing on the overall development of capabilities, including manpower training and education, in developing countries.
Relevant agencies of the UN system do not have, for the most part, funds of their own to finance technical cooperation. Rather they act as participating and executing agencies of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) which is often their principal source of funds for technical cooperation. Funds from this source are complemented by voluntary and trust f un d contributions from individual developed and developing countries. Other sources of funds as well as technical support include multilateral financial institutions (such as regional development banks) and development funds.
Although UNDP has accounted for the vast majority of funds available for multilateral technical cooperation, in the immediate past voluntary contributions to UNDP have fallen short of targets, with the result that UNDP resources are on the decline. Trust funds provided by developed countries are also not increasing in real terms. An encouraging development has been the increase in the number of projects financed out of funds made available by the recipient countries themselves. However, given the weak financial situation of many developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, the supply from these sources is inevitably limited.
If developing countries, especially the least developed among them, are to meet the challenges posed for their policy makers and business sectors by the continuing globalization of international trade, and to take advantage of trading opportunities, there will need to be a substantial increase in technical cooperation in coming years. More cooperation and better coordination among UN specialized agencies and bilateral donors in the provision of technical cooperation assistance in support of well-defined national programmes to enhance export capabilities in developing countries will help to produce better and more rapid results per unit of assistance expenditure.