This year’s Global Review takes place against the backdrop of many simultaneous crises affecting the multilateral trading system. The continuing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the health risk of new waves of infection continue to cast a shadow over the economic recovery – a recovery in which global trade has been an important driver.
Digital connectivity rapidly emerged as a critical factor for resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has spurred digital connectivity and e-government is driving forward ecommerce in many developing and least-developing countries. Aid for Trade disbursements to this area are on the rise, but financing flows remain overall modest.
The 2022 joint OECD-WTO aid-for-trade monitoring and evaluation exercise points to growing awareness of climate change risks spurring action by developing countries and their financing partners. OECD data shows that just more than half (51%) of Aid for Trade commitments now include climate-related objectives, with financing going towards mitigation on the rise. While promising, this trend is some way behind both the availability of financing and the prioritization of this issue in national development strategies could be.
Encouraging efforts are being made to integrate women’s economic empowerment into national and regional development policies, including in the areas of trade facilitation and climate transition. This is an on-going process and one which would be helped by greater gender disaggregated data.
Against the challenging economic context, the opening session will review where Aid for Trade financing is going, what it is achieving and how future priorities are being informed by short term pressures and medium to long term challenges.
Past Global Reviews have been instrumental in helping to galvanize support to address supply-side and trade-related infrastructure obstacles so that developing countries can derive maximum benefit from international trade.