Aid for Trade in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Launched during the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Sixth Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, the Aid for Trade Initiative has emerged as a key component of the international development assistance to build trade-related infrastructure and productive capacity in developing countries. The international community provides a large and growing amount of aid for trade to developing countries, with commitments exceeding $40 billion in 2008. Distinct from the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance (EIF), the Aid for Trade Initiative is not restricted to Least Developed Countries.

UNDP's project "Wider Europe: Aid for Trade for Central Asia, South Caucasus and Western CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States)" aims to help countries in the region to benefit from increasing flows of aid for trade and to enhance the benefits of trade for human development. The project works both regionally and individually with eleven countries - Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine in the Western CIS region, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the South Caucasus, as well as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia. In each country, the project aims to support the capacity of key actors to formulate trade policies and to identify and address problems that prevent these countries from trading. Regionally, countries benefit from the opportunity to work together with their neighbours and the international community.

The project focuses on the following:

Assessing the needs for Aid for Trade: The participating countries are conducting national Aid for Trade needs assessments that highlight capacity gaps, generate debate on trade policies and map actions for potential donor support. Some studies have already been completed in Central Asia and more are underway in South Caucasus and Western CIS. For completed studies, see "Related Publications and Resources."

These needs assessment studies not only help individual countries to flag the areas for assistance by donors, but they will also enable to take a broader look at trade regionally. The country reports will be synthesized into an Aid for Trade Regional Review report to be discussed at the regional Ministerial Meeting in Azerbaijan at the end of 2010.

Promoting economic development along trade corridors in Central Asia: The project is also working with small and middle-sized enterprises (SMEs), farmers and farmers' cooperatives along selected trade corridors in Central Asia: in Kazakhstan's Semey region, Kyrgyzstan's Batken region and Tajikistan's Khujand region. It will identify products with the biggest trade potential, match potential trading partners and improve producers' knowledge about international markets, international standards and procedures.