International Trade Centre (ITC)
1. What decisions or new strategies has the governing body of your organization taken to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief summary below, including the overarching vision of your governing body for the Decade of Action on the SDGs.
The 2030 Agenda frames ITC’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2021 titled Trade Routes to Sustainable and Inclusive Development. ITC is fully dedicated to supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) improve their competitiveness, and use trade as a lever of growth and job creation.
Trade Routes to Sustainable and Inclusive Development outlines ITC’s vision to promote good trade. Good trade creates positive and inclusive economic, social and environmental impact. Put simply, it is trade that helps achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
ITC’s mission is to enhance inclusive and sustainable growth and development in developing countries, especially least developed countries, and countries with economies in transition through improving the international competitiveness of MSMEs. To achieve ITC’s mission the goals are 1) Improved national business and trade environments for MSMEs; 2) Improved performance of trade and investment support institutions to offer high-quality, sustainable business services to MSMEs; 3) Improved international competitiveness of MSMEs.
For the Decade of Action on the SDGs, a key focus of ITC will be to restore trust in multilateralism and mobilize various kinds of actors, including the private sector, to form practical partnerships around the SDGs, including by enabling MSMEs to contribute directly to the SDGs.
2. At the secretariat level, what steps has your organization taken (or will it take) in the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please specify actions, including but not limited to the following areas:
2.1 SDG-specific strategies, plans or work programmes;
ITC has linked its entire portfolio and underlying programmatic theories of change to the SDGs. The organization’s 15 programmes are linked to 11 SDGs and 35 targets. Additionally, each project is linked to specific SDG targets at the project impact level.
Goal 1: No Poverty
To reduce the proportion of people living in poverty, ITC works with women, men and youth living in poverty, and helps them to increase their income through economic activities (1.2). ITC works in regions with a high proportion of the population living in extreme poverty.
Over 80% of country-specific delivery is focused on least developing countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), small- island developing states (SIDS), countries in sub-Saharan Africa, post-conflict and fragile states, and small and vulnerable economies (SVEs). In these countries, ITC creates conditions for entrepreneurship and employment opportunities connected to international value chains, and thus growth in incomes. Moreover, ITC engages in the development of trade-related policies and strategies that are grounded in considerations of inclusiveness and sustainability (1.b).
Goal 2: Zero Hunger
To increase the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, ITC works with agri-businesses, farmers and cooperatives to improve their market knowledge, production practices and value addition. These efforts are complemented by work with partners along whole agricultural value chains, helping to create demand, and eliminating obstacles to local value addition, competiveness, trade and investment. Through its global public goods, ITC enables users from developing countries to identify new market and business opportunities, as well as to obtain information and increase compliance on voluntary environmental and social sustainability standards. This can increase export opportunities and the value of their produce (2.3). Working along agricultural value chains, ITC also helps to build resilient agricultural practices and sustainable food production systems (2.4). ITC identifies existing tariff and non-tariff measures in agriculture and thus helps to identify and correct trade restrictions (2.b).
Goal 4: Quality Education
To increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship, ITC works in sectors that offer particular opportunities. ITC provides face-to-face and online training to youth and adults to increase their knowledge and skills for better employability, and works with technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions to enhance their capacities and offering. ITC is a strong advocate for TVETs in the context of MSME competitiveness and engages in national and international conversations on this topic (4.4).
Goal 5: Gender Equality
ITC supports women-owned and women-managed enterprises to become more competitive and to grow their business. By advocating for and supporting women business enterprises (WBEs), ITC supports more opportunities and promotes increased participation and decision-making of women in the economy (5.5). To accelerate this progress, ITC works with business organizations to improve their support to WBEs and female entrepreneurs.
Moreover, ITC helps to develop policies that are gender-sensitive and ensure equal conditions for women's participation in economic activities (5.a). ITC also enhances the use of enabling technology to promote the empowerment of women, for example through the SheTrades platform (5.b). ITC contributes to sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, through increasing the international competitiveness of MSMEs.
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
ITC works with enterprises, and supports trade, investment and other business support organizations to improve their operations and services to MSMEs, to increase productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labor-intensive sectors (8.2). MSMEs and domestic financial institutions are supported to facilitate MSMEs’ access to financial services (8.10). ITC also supports policymakers to conceptualize and implement development-oriented trade and investment strategies and policies in dialogue with the private sector (8.3). ITC's work helps companies to grow and consequently to employ more people (8.5). Youth are a key client and ITC implements projects that are targeting youth employment (8.6). In this context, ITC also contributes to the development of strategies that promote youth employment and the global Decent Jobs for Youth initiative in its design and implementation (8.b). ITC helps to develop policies that promote sustainable tourism and local culture and products (8.9).
All of ITC's support is Aid for Trade. ITC actively advocates for additional support and makes a case for Aid for Trade in developing countries, in particular LDCs. ITC is an implementing partner agency of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) (8.a).
Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
ITC connects small-scale industrial enterprises from developing countries to international markets and global value chains, for example,
by supporting product and service innovation and quality improvement to meet international market demand. It supports those MSMEs to get access to finance by helping them to identify opportunities and connecting them to investors and buyers (9.3). ITC helps to create a conducive business environment and conditions that enable diversification and value addition through technology and innovation (9.b).
Goal 10: Reducing Inequality
To achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40%, ITC works on economic growth and empowerment of the base of the pyramid (10.1). ITC's mission is to make trade inclusive and it therefore empowers women, youth and marginalized groups, and thus contributes to the SDG target 10.2. To implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, ITC provides data and information on trade and tariffs, which makes trade information transparent and provides the conditions for addressing tariff lines (10.a). Moreover, ITC is a custodian agency for target 10.a and tracks progress of its attainment.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
To achieve sustainable production and an efficient use of natural resources, ITC's global public goods provide information on related sustainability standards and enable users to improve their compliance with these standards and to adopt sustainable practices (12.2). Additionally, ITC supports the establishment of quality standards and practices, and helps the trade community and consumers to make better-informed decisions vis-à-vis voluntary sustainability standards (12.6).
Goal 13: Climate Action
ITC emphasizes the green economy and works with its beneficiaries on building it. ITC raises awareness and builds capacity of institutions and MSMEs on climate change mitigation and adaptation (13.3). ITC works with policymakers and trade, investment and other business support organizations to help MSMEs transitioning to the green economy. ITC also works directly with MSMEs to adopt green business strategies and to introduce climate resilient and green practices.
Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
ITC works with business support organizations and institutions that support trade, investment, entrepreneurship, innovation and vocational training. Effective institutions are the voice of the private sector, and multipliers for our intervention. By improving their performance, we indirectly impact their beneficiaries (16.6). ITC teams plan and implement projects with a variety of partners and stakeholders and put emphasis on local ownership and participation, to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels (16.7).
Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals
ITC promotes and enhances private-public dialogues through its interventions. As a joint organization of the WTO and the UN, ITC supports and advocates for the promotion of a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system by mandate. It works with governments on trade-related policies and assists with WTO-related matters (17.10). ITC brings identified non-tariff measures to the attention of the policymakers and thereby helps to realize timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all LDCs, including by ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from least developed countries are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access (17.12).
ITC makes information on rules of origin and trade agreements available and transparent through its global public goods. By mandate, ITC works on increasing exports from developing countries and LDCs (17.11). ITC is a custodian agency for targets 17.10, 17.11 and 17.12, and tracks progress of their attainment. To mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources, ITC works directly with investors to create foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into developing countries (17.3), brings public and private actors together in the countries where it operates and works directly with multi-stakeholder platforms (17.17). ITC promotes South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on technology, innovation and knowledge-sharing (17.6).
2.2 Aligning the structure of the organization with the SDGs and the transformative features of the 2030 Agenda, including any challenges and lessons learned in doing so;
ITC’s organizational structure was adjusted in 2016 to better enable alignment with the 2030 Agenda. In addition, ITC approved a Corporate Results Framework in 2017, clearly identifying linkages between outputs, intermediate outcomes and ITC’s contribution to achieving the SDGs. ITC’s results framework aims to track the organization’s contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on goal and target level. Moreover, the Corporate Scorecard translates ITC’s strategic objectives into a coherent set of performance measures, considering ITC’s SDG contributions (Tier 1), ITC’s development outcomes and outputs (Tier 2), and key performance indicators for ITC’s operations (Tier 3).
2.3 Readjusting or updating results-based budgeting and management, including performance indicators;
In 2015, after world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ITC identified goals and associated targets to which its work contributes most directly. They were integrated in ITC’s results-based management (RBM) system. All ITC projects are link their objectives and expected results to relevant SDG targets and provide a narrative on their development results in relation to the SDGs on an annual basis.
From 2020 onwards, in view of ITC’s growing volume of work aimed at building a green economy, ITC integrates SDG 13, Climate Action, as an additional goal with programmes and projects directly linking to select indicators at impact level. ITC’s focus in this area will be on supporting MSMEs and Business Support Organizations (BSOs) in areas related to the adoption of sustainability practices, increasing resilience to climate change and mitigating environmental risks.
2.4 Action to enhance support to the principle of "leaving no one behind" and to integrated policy approaches;
By supporting MSMEs in developing countries become internationally competitive, ITC focuses on empowering women, youth and poor communities through trade. Research indicates that MSMEs constitute about 90% of all enterprises and contribute to over 70% of employment globally. MSMEs tend to employ people in the most vulnerable segments of society, including women, youth and people living in poverty. MSMEs integrated into global markets are more productive than those that do not participate in international trade.
Lifting MSME competitiveness is a precondition for higher wages and better working conditions in the firms that collectively employ the most workers in any economy. Therefore, together, international trade and improved MSME competitiveness are important ways to ensure that “no one is left behind”.
ITC is committed to ensuring that at least 80% of its country-level interventions benefit least developed countries (LDCs), land-locked developing countries, small-island developing states, small vulnerable economies, post-conflict and fragile states, and sub-Saharan Africa.
2.5 Action to address the interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;
Trade is relevant across all SDGs and creates a reciprocal connection of the Goals. International trade and investment is explicitly recognized as a means for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. ITC works vertically with various groups of a society and horizontally across development areas. Concretely, ITC works with policymakers, trade, investment and other business support organizations, enterprises, and individuals. ITC mainstreams gender equality, youth empowerment, green growth and social responsibility across its projects. The mainstreaming focus was reinforced in 2019 with publication of the guidelines entitled ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable and Inclusive Trade in ITC Projects’. In 2020, ITC’s project quality review process will increase the demands on project designers and managers to demonstrate the contributions of projects to these cross-cutting objectives.
3. What normative, analytical, technical assistance or capacity building activities is your organization providing to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief account of the activities you have organized or intend to undertake, including but not limited to the following areas:
3.1 Enhancing national implementation including by supporting the mainstreaming of the SDGs in development plans and policies or through national sustainable development plans/strategies;
National governments are the entry points and main stakeholders in ITC’s work at country level. To ensure the effectiveness of its interventions ITC works with local governments and local stakeholders. ITC works with clients and partners on developing plans and identifying the opportunities and challenges facing specific clients to tailor its interventions and build customized solutions, to unique contexts.
ITC supports national policy and regulatory reforms for greater enterprise competitiveness, and helps national governments and regional bodies formulate trade and investment development strategies
3.2 Mainstreaming the SDGs in sectoral strategies, including specific SDG/target strategies;
ITC works across specific sectors, from agri-business to information technology, and provides holistic policy advice and technical expertise at policymaker, institutional and company level to ensure that the SDGs are addressed in sectoral development, from strategy to implementation.
3.3 Supporting the strengthening of national institutions for more integrated solutions;
Strong and responsive national governments and regulators are important pillars for a business environment that is conducive for MSMEs to increase their competitiveness. ITC helps integrate the voice of business in policymaking and regulation through public- private dialogue and supports the implementation of national policy and regulatory reforms, including those enshrined in multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements, for greater enterprise competitiveness. ITC also supports national governments and regional bodies to formulate and implement SDG-driven trade and investment development strategies.
National trade and investment support institutions (TISIs) are also important as service providers to MSMEs. These institutions include: business associations, trade and investment promotion agencies, chambers of commerce, sector associations, supply chain management organizations, etc. ITC supports TISIs to assess and improve performance, develop clearer strategies, adapt their service portfolio, establish results measurement systems, strengthen networks and optimize the use of resources at their disposal.
ITC supports TISIs in building their skills and services for the digital age and provide services to promote inclusive and sustainable growth. ITC develops and grows networks of TISIs, in particular on a regional level, in order to promote regional economic integration and support countries’ efforts to leverage their participation in trade and economic diplomacy.
3.4 Data and statistical capacity building;
Global access to trade and market intelligence is essential to making informed policy, strategy and business decisions. Through trade and market intelligence tools, ITC bolsters the data and statistical capacity of countries and stakeholders. ITC has a suite of online global public goods addressing trade flows, non-tariff measures, export potential assessments, and private standards. In addition to the tools, ITC builds the capacity of public institutions to collect and manage statistical data.
ITC contributes to the global monitoring of progress on the SDGs. Together with WTO and UNCTAD, ITC is the custodian agency for the indicators 10.a.1, 17.10.1, 17.11.1 and 17.12.1.
3.5 Harnessing science, technology and innovation for the SDGs;
Innovation is an important mechanism for ITC to deliver its work on the SDGs. ITC focuses on innovative impact-driven products and services that are adapted to the needs of clients. For example, ITC fosters MSMEs’ ability to make use of digital process innovations, such as new payment systems and logistics, and digital platforms to connect to markets.
ITC has an Innovation Lab that promotes new methodologies and ways of working to address the Sustainable Development Goals. ITC fosters cooperation with innovation partners in Geneva and beyond to promote scalable development solutions and engages with United Nations Headquarters and other organizations to pilot new initiatives in the context of the SDGs.
Harnessing the power of technology, ITC builds online networking platform for e-commerce practitioners or women-owned enterprises in developing and least developed countries to facilitate exchange and generate business. ITC has an online SME Trade Academy provides online courses on development-related topics.
ITC is collaborating with tech companies to leverage blockchain technology to help businesses tracking their supply chains and respond to consumer demands for ethical and environmentally friendly products.
3.6 Multi-stakeholder partnerships;
Strong partnerships are at the core of ITC’s work. ITC works with policymakers, trade and investment support institutions, private sector, partner entities within the UN development system and other development agencies for the benefit of MSMEs. ITC chooses partners based on shared objectives, commitment, and partners’ recognition of ITC’s value proposition. ITC engages in multi-stakeholder partnerships and markets its work across multiple communication platforms for the purposes of making trade development support more accessible and impactful. The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), and the Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) all provide good lessons for how to co-operate in the interest of improved client service, whether partners are located in Geneva or elsewhere.
3.7 Bolstering local action and supporting sub-national plans/strategies and implementation for the SDGs;
ITC emphasizes local ownership in order to ensure sustainable development and long-term benefits for the communities that continue beyond ITC’s interventions. ITC’s technical assistance on local level focuses on helping those who need it the most through economic development.
For example, ITC’s Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) hubs are partnerships with national institutions to provide support to MSMEs’ climate change adaptation, implementation of circular economy principles, and adoption of sustainability standards. T4SD hubs are currently active in Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Lao PDR, Peru and Vietnam with a series of new hubs set to launch in the Caribbean in 2020. The programme will work expand its work with enterprises and institutions in the textiles and clothing sector on transparency and traceability. ITC’s SheTrades initiative has also expanded its reach through locally-driven SheTrades Chapters with presence currently in 25 countries. While the global initiative focuses on connecting 3 million women entrepreneurs to markets by 2021 through addressing seven drivers for women’s economic empowerment, national chapters focus on supporting local action by adapting the initiative to meet local needs.
3.8 Leveraging interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;
Based on ITC’s clients (MSMEs, TISIs, and policymakers) and area of work, focusing on international business and trade, ITC programmes’ contribution ranges across on a number of SDGs. For instance, ITC’s empowering women to trade programme addresses SDG 1, 5, 8, and 17. The 2030 Agenda explicitly identifies international trade as ‘an engine for inclusive economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction’, and as ’contributing to the promotion of sustainable development.’
ITC’s programmes address the SDGs from different angles: macro, meso, micro. ITC intervenes in countries and works with policymakers and governments to ensure that policies and strategies facilitate trade and support economic growth. To multiply its impact, ITC works with trade and investment support institutions (TISIs) who in turn help enterprises trade. Finally yet importantly, ITC works directly with MSMEs. Through this multi-level approach, ITC ensures that interventions are leveraged through the various levels.
3.9 Supporting policies and strategies to leave no one behind;
ITC continues to deepen its work on inclusiveness to expand opportunities for women and young entrepreneurs to connect to international value chains, and to connect displaced and underserved communities to markets. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are key principles that are mainstreamed into ITC initiatives to leave no one behind.
ITC’s Trade Development Strategies Programme facilitates the development of national, regional and sectoral trade and investment strategies and includes a gender dimension on strategy and policy and the integration of youth development objectives. ITC’s SheTrades Outlook is an innovative policy tool on trade and women’s economic empowerment to assist stakeholders to assess, monitor, and improve how the institutional ecosystem supports women’s participation in international trade and supports evidence- based policy-making putting trade and gender on the policy agenda.
At the global level, in 2017, ITC championed the signature of the Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade by 118 members of the World Trade Organization, in which members pledged to remove barriers to women’s economic empowerment and better integrate gender equality in trade agreements and trade policy.
3.10 Supporting the mobilization of adequate and well-directed financing;
As part of its strategy, ITC leverages allocated resources with other forms of in-kind and blended finance from private sources. For example, in January 2020, ITC launched the SheTrades-CARE investment fund, which will provide access to finance for women-owned businesses in Asia with target investments of $75 million. This fund is a partnership with CARE International and Bamboo Capital and is one of the six funds comprising the SDG500 Partnership.
3.11 Reducing disaster risk and building resilience;
ITC works with its beneficiaries on building the green economy. ITC raises awareness and builds capacity of institutions and MSMEs on climate change mitigation and adaptation. ITC also works directly with MSMEs to adopt green business strategies and to introduce climate resilient and green practices.
3.12 Supporting international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership;
SDG 17, revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development, is at the heart of much of ITC’s work toward good trade and MSME competitiveness. ITC contributes directly to the SDG targets to promote a universal trading system, increase developing country exports, remove trade barriers for least developed countries, promote foreign direct investment and promote South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on technology, innovation and knowledge-sharing. For example, ITC’s work in supporting South- South trade and investment for Africa from India and China uses exports and investment as a vehicle for value addition, innovation, export diversification and sustained economic growth and development. The initiative connects African MSMEs to Asian trade, investment and knowledge opportunities; strengthens local and regional institutions as an ecosystem to support African companies; and provides policy advice to governments for an enabling business environment.
4. The high-level political forum (HLPF) is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Has your organization participated in or supported the work of the HLPF? If yes, please specify your involvement in the following areas:
4.1 Supporting the intergovernmental body of your organization in contributing to the thematic review of the HLPF;
ITC provided substantive inputs to the thematic review of the HLPF during the 2016-2019 cycles showcasing the organization’s contribution to the 2030 Agenda in general, and particularly to the SDGs and respective targets that are most relevant to ITC’s mandate of increasing the international competitiveness of MSMEs. ITC has also responded to the request for input from ECOSOC President Mona Juul on ITC's efforts to ensure “accelerated action and transformative pathways for realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development" for the 2020 HLPF.
4.2 Contributing to policy/background briefs for the HLPF;
ITC did not contribute to policy or background briefs so far. ITC would welcome the opportunity to engage in this regard in the future.
4.3 Helping organize SDG-specific events in the preparatory process;
In previous years, ITC has organized SDG-specific events in the preparatory process, such as during sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women, Financing for Development Forum, etc. ITC welcomes opportunities to contribute to any preparatory processes in the context of the HLPF, including thematic reviews.
4.4 Organizing side events or speaking at the HLPF;
ITC supports HLPF by organizing side events and speaking during the Forum on issues related to the SDGs, trade and MSMEs. For example, in 2019, ITC organized a joint side event with WTO and UNCTAD on trade and sustainable development
4.5 Supporting the VNR process.
ITC would welcome the opportunity to support the Voluntary National Review process in the future, but has not done this to-date. ITC has participated in regional forums on sustainable development as preparatory meetings for the HLPF.
5. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? In this regard, has your organization launched or intend to launch any joint programmes or projects in collaboration with other UN entities? Are there any results or lessons you would like to highlight that might help improve the design and impact of such efforts? Has your organization participated in any of the following coordination systemwide mechanisms or any other relevant platform - CEB, UNSDG, EC-ESA Plus, regional coordination meetings, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG, IATT? Please specify which and indicate any suggestions you may have about improving collaborations within and across these mechanisms/platforms.
As a specialized international organization, ITC relies on partnerships with other UN system organizations to maximize its contribution to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. ITC is an active member of several collaborative initiatives across the UN System.
ITC has always worked closely with its parent organizations, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), to contribute to a universal trading system that supports sustainable development. For example, ITC, UNCTAD and WTO jointly developed the Global Trade Helpdesk and are also cooperating closely on trade intelligence and trade facilitation.
ITC is a proud member of the UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) and a keen supporter of the repositioning of the UN development system to support countries in implementing Agenda 2030. ITC will engage more in UN Country Teams, intensifying collaboration with the resident coordinators to provide its unique expertise in MSME competitiveness, trade and investment for sustainable development in support of national development priorities. Moreover, ITC also works with UN Regional Economic Commissions on the ground.
ITC is a member of EC-ESA plus, the UN interagency cluster on trade and productive capacity and the interagency taskforce on financing for development (IATF). ITC participates in the High-Level Committee on Management, which reports to the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) and identifies and analyzes administrative management reforms with the aim of improving efficiency and simplifying business practices.
In 2019 ITC joined the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (with UN Women, UNDP, ILO, UN Global Compact, and UN Office for Partnerships) in partnership with Mary Kay to support women entrepreneurs globally through skills, funding, procurement and advocacy. Along with UN University, UN Women, and GSMA, ITC is also a founding partner of EQUALS, launched in 2016 by International Telecommunication Union, a global partnership which contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda through actions and evidence-based research aimed at closing the global gender digital divide.
ITC is an active member of the ‘Global initiative on decent jobs for youth’, led by the ILO, and leads the thematic area on youth entrepreneurship and self-employment, which is supported by a plan that was developed jointly with other UN entities and partners.
The UN’s regional economic commissions are key partners for ITC in addressing cross-boundary issues. For example, ITC works closely with the Economic Commission for Africa in supporting the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, including through the establishment of an online African Trade Observatory portal for policymakers to monitor the progress of integration of AfCFTA economies.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ITC collaborate in country, for instance on the joint programming for country- based collaboration in Afghanistan in cooperation with the EU. As a UN entity with limited physical presence, ITC relies on the leadership and support of UNDP and, in some cases UNOPS to enable development operations on the ground.
To recognize the importance of MSMEs in promoting innovation, creativity and decent work for all – and achieving the SDGs – the United Nations General Assembly declared 27 June to be MSME Day by adopting resolution 71/279 in 2017. ITC is the lead UN agency that commemorates MSME Day and the vital contributions MSMEs make to sustainable development. ITC will continue to use the platform of MSME Day to advocate for the necessary change to harness MSMEs to accelerate implementation of the SDGs.
6. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups, both in supporting implementation at the country, regional and global levels, and within your own organization? If yes, please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established any multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, please describe them and how their performances are being monitored and reviewed.
ITC supports national governments, regional bodies, and trade and investment institutions with market intelligence, advisory and technical assistance to help MSMEs thrive. To complement its support of public sector entities, ITC also works in partnership with the private sector to address the pressing issues that hinder productive economic activity in the developing world. Together with its business partners, ITC creates investment and market opportunities for MSMEs. ITC works with the private sector in three main ways:
- Core business operations and value chains: Combining private sector strengths with ITC’s expertise to promote inclusive and sustainable value chains. Examples: Chocolats Halba provide expertise on the role of agro-forestry in climate smart agriculture; ITC and Bosch implement joint training on lean manufacturing methodologies.
- Social investments and philanthropy: Using financing and in-kind contributions from private sector to co-invest in development projects. Example: Joint development of SheTrades Platform by ITC, Google, and CI&T Consulting.
- Advocacy and policy dialogue: Using the voice and influence of the private sector to promote socially responsible business. Example: ‘Alliances for Action’ business network to support women’s empowerment and ‘climate-smart’ agriculture.
7. Has your organization organized any conferences, forums or events designed to facilitate exchange of experience, peer and mutual learning in connection with the SDGs? If yes, please provide a brief summary, below and include lessons learned and gaps identified based on the outcomes of these events. Please also include any events you want to organize in the coming years.
ITC has multiple annual and biannual events for exchange of experience and expertise. ITC’s flagship event is the World Export Development Forum (WEDF). This event brings together experts of trade and export development and in order to diversify the participants ITC organizes the event every year in a different country. ITC’s SheTrades Global is an annual event focusing mainly on SDG 8, 5 and 17 bringing women-owned business from developing countries and as well as other private and public sector actors together. ITC’s annual Trade for Sustainable Development Forum connects experts on sustainable production and voluntary standards for the exchange ideas and knowledge around green growth, and fosters partnerships in this area. ITC’s World Trade Promotion Organization Conference and Awards takes place biannually and brings together representatives from trade promotion organizations. During this conference not only knowledge and expertise is being shared, but also trade networks are strengthened and developed.
8. Is there any other information you would like to share, including annual reports of your organization and any impact assessment or evaluation reports? If yes, please use the space below and attach the document(s). Please also use this space to provide any other information, comments or remarks you deem necessary.
2019 Annual Report
2020 Operational Plan
2018-2021 Strategic Plan
9. In your view, what should strategic directions look like for the UN system in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in the Decade of Action? What key elements should they include and what major challenges should they address?
A strategic plan for the UN system in support of the 2030 agenda should include:
- Recommitment to multilateralism and UN values. As we kick off the “decade of action and delivery for sustainable development” we are facing the unprecedented global challenge of a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Facing such global challenges and achieving the SDGs require strong collaboration across borders. As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, we must reaffirm UN values and the principle of multilateralism that underpin the United Nations system.
- Highlight the urgency and interrelated nature of major global challenges, such as climate change, gender equality, public health, and their effect on the SDGs overall.
- The UN strategy should address the major challenges of achieving political commitment and strengthening accountability and transparency in its work to attain the SDGs.
10. Please suggest one or two endeavours or initiatives that the UN system organizations could undertake together to support the implementation of the SDGs between now and 2030.
1) The UN could introduce a system-wide approach of mapping its organizations’ expertise and services under each SDG, so that countries can better identify UN agencies which provide support, advice and knowledge in certain areas related to the particular Goal. Each UN entity could develop a precise narrative, accompanied by indicators, for their contributions to the SDGs, and explain how it fits in with other UN entities in terms of synergies and sequencing of interventions. For instance, in reference to SDG 8, the UN could introduce a system-wide approach on economic transformation, which would enable countries to better identify UN entities that can add value to the country’s plans for inclusive economic growth.
2) Another initiative UN entities could undertake is to lead by example and incorporate economic, social and environmental sustainability into UN business processes. The UN could for instance introduce rainwater harvesting systems and other environmental initiatives in UN buildings and operations, or set objectives to procure from women entrepreneurs and MSMEs.