16 June 2004

Fifth introduction course on WTO for LDCs concludes in Geneva

The Fifth introduction course on WTO for the least-developed countries, organized by the Institute for Training and Technical Co-operation of the WTO, concluded on 11 June 2004 in Geneva.

Nineteen representatives of least-developed African, Caribbean, Asian and Pacific countries attended the course, which was organized in French at WTO headquarters. The general opinion of the majority of the participants was that this training activity fully achieved what it set out to do, namely, help them gain a better understanding of the multilateral trading system and its basic principles.

During the three-week course, participants were given an overview of the structure, rules and functioning of the organization in a series of sessions with ITTC trainers and experts from the "operational" divisions of the WTO Secretariat. They also had the opportunity to develop a network of contacts and reference points both amongst themselves and with WTO staff.

Special attention was paid in all course activities, in particular during the final week, to the development dimension. A forum on technical co-operation was organized by experts from UNCTAD, the ITC, WIPO, the World Bank and the WTO, who gave presentations on the technical assistance activities of these organizations, with particular emphasis on the specific needs of the participants' own countries. Participants were also able to discuss in small groups more individualized aspects of these organizations' cooperation with each of their own countries. This forum also served to strengthen participants' contacts with these organizations.

Over the three weeks, the various speakers sought to apprise participants of the current state of play in the negotiations launched within the framework of the "Doha Development Agenda" in the different areas. A special session was also held to enable them to form a complete picture of the situation.

This course was funded from the WTO regular budget as part of the ongoing endeavour since the Doha Ministerial Conference to provide capacity-building for developing countries, in particular LDCs.

The list of participants in the Fifth Introduction Course to the WTO for LDCs was included in the press release announcing the start of the course.

Participating countries: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Haiti, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Togo and Vanuatu.