WTO NEWS: SPEECHES — DG ROBERTO AZEVÊDO

> DG Azevêdos letter to EIF Board


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Ambassador Getahun,  
Members of the board,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentleman.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say a few words before the meeting gets underway.

I will be brief. I just want to say three things.

First, the EIF is unique.

It is the only global trade and development partnership for the LDCs which brings together all LDCs, donors and international organizations.

There is no other programme which is as comprehensive as the EIF in supporting LDCs to address all aspects of their trade capacity — and which, significantly, puts the LDCs themselves in the driver’s seat.

The support that the EIF provides helps to create job and income opportunities for millions of people in the poorest countries in the world.

Indeed, the evaluation report recognises that the EIF remains highly relevant and important in addressing the trade needs of the LDCs.

In my view, therefore, the EIF must continue into a second phase.

And this brings me to my second point, which is that we must treat this evaluation process as an opportunity to strengthen the EIF. 

The evaluation highlights areas for improvement, including on governance and operations, and this is something which I believe should be taken very seriously.

By responding to these issues, we can make the partnership more effective, efficient and sustainable. And we can ensure that it is more able to adapt to the ever-changing trading environment — such as the role of the private sector, increased regional integration and the role of global value chains — and how the LDCs can fit into and move up those chains.

However, I think we can do all of this without creating an entirely new mechanism.

Indeed, I think that past experience suggests that such an overhaul could cause significant disruption, actually, and even loss of momentum.

Therefore I would like to see a continuation of the EIF with reform in certain key areas.

This brings me to my third point, which is that this is the moment when we must work together to support and empower the EIF.

This means ensuring that adequate resources are made available for the transition period as we move to the new phase, and for the new phase itself. So I urge donors to make this support available.

I think we all want to see the EIF grow into a stronger, more efficient programme so that it can overcome the challenges of the past, and do even more to help LDCs achieve their development goals in future.

In my view the Executive Secretariat for the EIF should play a key role in this process.  

But this is not something that the EIF can do alone.

It has always been a partnership. We worked together to create the IF and then to develop it into the EIF.

Now the WTO stands ready to work with the other partners to strengthen the EIF for the years to come.

That is my message to you today.

I have presented a letter setting out our commitment to continuing this partnership to the chairman of the EIF board — and I would be grateful if it could be added to the record of this meeting.

As Director-General I have always done everything I can to further the interests of LDCs in this organisation, and outside.

We worked together to deliver a strong outcome for LDCs in the Bali package. And I am doing everything I can right now to ensure that those outcomes are delivered.

That’s why I am here today to support the EIF — because it delivers for LDCs.

I am proud that the WTO is a core partner agency of the EIF — and that we provide the institutional home for the Executive Secretariat.

I look forward to continuing this partnership.

Thank you for listening

I wish you a productive meeting, and that we can move on to the next phase as smoothly as possible.

 

 

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