Advancing LDCs Interests in the WTO: Strengthening Participation, Securing Priorities (TTI)
The economies of the world's least developed countries (LDCs) are becoming increasingly globalized. However, their integration into world markets remains uncertain. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, held in Nairobi from December 15-18, 2015, discussed and decided on a number of important issues of concern and interest to the LDCs, particularly in the areas of market access, trade facilitation, services waiver, aid for trade, the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and trade, and the issues of coherence and special/differential treatment for the LDCs, among others. This project aims to advance LDC interests in the evolving multinational trading system and in view of the ongoing negotiations in the WTO. It will include: (i) rigorous evidence-based research on the trade interests of LDCs; (ii) identification of implications of the obligations undertaken by the LDCs; (iii) informed participation in the WTO negotiations; and (iv) promotion of LDC issues in various concerned forums. The study will also contribute to raising domestic capacity in Bangladesh to deal with trade-related issues by organizing dialogues, seminars, expert group meetings, and training programs for government officials and other key stakeholder groups. A host of communication tools will be deployed to disseminate the results. It is expected that the project will contribute to strengthening the understanding and articulation of LDC interests in the evolving global trading system, with a particular focus on issues of interest and concern to Bangladesh and Nepal. The program will be implemented in close collaboration with South Asian Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), a leading regional think tank based in Nepal. It is funded through IDRC's Think Tank Initiative, which is a multi-funder program dedicated to strengthening independent policy research institutions, or think tanks, in developing countries. The program aims to enhance their ability to provide sound research that informs and influences policy. This second TTI phase will fund 43 institutions, helping them consolidate their role as credible development actors in their countries, and in some cases, regionally and internationally.