190. The representative of the Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat said that the Integrated Framework (IF) was Aid for Trade in action for LDCs. In other words, the IF was a mechanism that LDCs used to make Aid for Trade work for their purposes. Presently, the IF was often referred to as the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF). This was because the programme, the IF, had been undergoing a process of improvement, or enhancement, over the past couple of years. The EIF was, however, not a new programme and the enhanced version of the IF merely took over from where the IF left LDCs before the enhancement.
191. The IF's overall objective was to support LDCs to further and better integrate into the global trading system. The key IF principles were: (i) the IF was a process that aimed to support LDC governments in trade capacity building and integrating trade issues into overall national development strategies; (ii) the IF was a partnership comprising of LDC governments, bilateral, regional and global development partners and the six IF core agencies (IMF, ITC, UNCTAD, UNDP, World Bank and the WTO); and (iii) the IF was built on the principles of country ownership, partnership, and no intervening external conditions.
192. Experience with the IF so far showed that the trade development needs of the LDCs covered a wide area and typically included increasing macroeconomic stability, developing trade policy and trade administration capacity, enhancing efficient management of import and export procedures to supply side constraints, meeting international standards, developing infrastructure, and developing export promotion capacity and developing targeted economic sectors. This, while extensive, was not a conclusive and exclusive list of trade development needs – in the context of the IF, it was for the LDCs to define their own needs and the needs varied, to some degree, from one LDC to another. The implementation of the TRIPS Agreement could therefore be an integral part of the IF, provided that LDCs made it a priority in their domestic IF processes.
193. The IF process consisted of the following four phases: (i) awareness building on the importance of trade for development in the beneficiary LDC, and establishing/strengthening of the IF in country governance structure; (ii) preparing a Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) or a DTIS update to identify constraints to overall competitiveness and sectors of greatest export potential. The DTIS included an Action Matrix – a list of trade priorities – for better integration into the global trading system, as well as a write up on the LDC's strategy for the IF implementation; (iii) mainstreaming – or integrating – trade into the national development strategy – making trade really work for the country's development goals; and (iv) seeking financing from development partners and the EIF Trust Fund for priority actions requiring external funding.
194. The DTIS exercise, the analytical part, was an important component of the IF process. A DTIS and its updates was a detailed analysis by the LDC identifying the constraints to the overall competitiveness and sectors of greatest export potential. The DTIS and its Action Matrix provided key inputs for mainstreaming, or integrating the trade priorities into the country's national development strategy, such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The mainstreaming, in turn, would feed the trade priorities into the dialogue between the LDCs and their donors. This would facilitate the generation of the bulk of necessary funding for the priorities resulting from the DTIS process.
195. The IF was by its nature a partnership. The IF Focal Point, who was often a Director or a Vice Minister at the Ministry of Trade, was, with funding available from the Enhanced IF Trust Fund, assisted by a National Implementation Unit. At the national level, the IF Steering Committee was the forum for decision making and coordination between the various government entities expected to participate in the IF process, as well as the Private Sector and in some countries, the Civil Society entities. The national players were supported by the IF donor Facilitator in country and by the IF Executive Secretariat – based at the WTO, the Trust Fund Manager which was the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the IF Board. The Board supervised the overall IF programme at the global level and consisted of representatives of the LDCs, donors and the IF core agencies.
196. Finally, moving to the question of how LDCs' IPR priority needs could be addressed through the IF, she said that it all started at home. To receive funding for IPR priorities through the IF – be it from the development partners present in the country or from the global EIF Trust Fund – IPR issues needed to appear in the DTIS and IPR activities had to be prioritized in the DTIS Action Matrix. For those LDCs that had already had their DTIS written and that were going to update them, IPR issues should appear in the up dated DTIS and Action Matrix. The IF built on country ownership and it was for the LDC government to decide which trade development issues should be covered by the DTIS and which activities should be prioritized for funding by the Action Matrix. Thus, for anyone seeking to promote taking on board the IPR needs, it was extremely important to make sure that the IPR sector be analysed by the DTIS or its up date and that the findings be translated into priority actions. To do this, the national IPR entities might wish to consider contacting the countries' IF Focal Point.