InfoPoint Conference: Overcoming Technical Barriers

Posted on: July 02, 2015

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In the context of the European Year of Development (EYD), the TBT Programme together with DEVCO and the ACP Secretariat organised a lunchtime event at the InfoPoint of the European Commission. The activity, held on June 2, was the first one convened in the context of thematic month dedicated to sustainable growth as part of the EYD calendar.

The lunchtime presentation focussed on the series of challenges confronting ACP countries in the are a of TBT Programme’s efforts to overcome technical barriers to trade in the ACP. This work is couched in a context that and while ACP face high export requirements to gain effective market access, these countries require considerable TRTA needs to benefit from Global Value Chains. The interaction allowed the TBT Programme to inform participants its won interventions aimed at supporting the ACP countries to overcome these TBT challenges.

In his introductory remarks, Denis Salord, Head of DEVCO Unit on Regional Programmes Sub-Saharan Africa and ACP-wide, noted a series of recent intra-ACP actions as well as the new challenges ahead related to the post-2015 agenda. Mr. Mootoa Rammoneng, Expert on Intra-ACP Projects Portfolio Management and Quality at the ACP Secretariat, recalled the Cotonou Agreement’s objective on integrating the ACP countries into the world economy and the importance of the related intra-ACP instruments.

Junior Lodge, Team Leader of the ACP EU TBT Programme, presentation covered the following areas, i.e. the Programme’s major work; the context of the rising use of TBT measures; the imperative of TRTA to  ACP export performance; the mechanics behind the TRTA delivered to ACP states and regions; and the results achieved after 2 years of implementation.

The presentation triggered a series of questions and comments, of which the principal ones were: the added value of interventions in the field of TBT, the long-term impact of the TBT Programme’s work as well as the ownership of the actions among beneficiaries and, as a consequence, the actual sustainability of the approach adopted by the PMU.

The TBT Programme is currently half way of its implementation and therefore the question of impact is too early to consider. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the Programme already establishes sustainability as the basis of implementing its projects. The PMU’s capacity building methodology, seeks to build the competence of actors that will provide assistance in the future. Additionally, the Programme has monitoring and evaluation built into its design with efforts undertaken by an in-house M&E expert. In that sense, the PMU’s overall objectives of anchoring sustainability in its interventions can be tested and tweaked where deemed necessary. From this perspective, the TBT Programme pursuit remains that of ensuring sustainable impact.

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