Capacity-building programme for diplomats in the third millennium

  • Executing agency: UN/DESA Division for Public Economics and Public Administration
  • Senior advisor: Mrs. Najet Karaborni
  • Start date: 1 January 2001
  • Partners: Government of Italy (Trust Fund)
  • Total budget: USD 397,373

I. Objectives of the project

To strengthen the capacities of developing countries' diplomats in trade negotiation and communications skills taking into account the challenges of the third millennium especially globalisation.

II. Main activities undertaken

The Capacity Building Programme for Diplomats in the Third Millennium, sponsored by the Italian Government through his Trust Fund for Human resources and Capacity Building, was promoted and Implemented by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Public Economics and Public Administration (UNDESA-DPEPA) in collaboration with the Italian Diplomatic Institute. Conscious of the incisive role played by diplomats when proposing and negotiating trade agreements in international fora, the Programme seeks to train middle level diplomats from developing countries in order to provide them with the knowledge and negotiating techniques that will ensure agreements beneficial to their countries. As trade plays an increasingly important part in ensuring economic growth, the negotiation of trade agreements is of crucial importance in furthering the entire development process especially in this era in which developing countries have to cope with the challenges caused by globalisation.

Two training workshops were held for two groups: the first one from the Mediterranean basin and the second one from Latin America.
- The first phase was directed to 28 diplomats representing the following seven Arab countries of the Mediterranean Basin: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia (four diplomats from each country) and took place in Italy (Rome and Turin) for a period of two weeks in March 2001.
- The second phase was directed to 27 diplomats representing the following nine Latin American countries: Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru (three from each country) and took place in Italy (Rome and Turin) in May 2001.

For the two phases, the first week was held at the Italian Diplomatic Institute in Rome. During the first three days, the training course concentrated on a wide spectrum of issues related to globalisation paying particular attention to most crucial themes of international competitiveness. The role of International Development Assistance and Foreign Direct Investment were presented as strategies to promote socio-economic development. The role of the International Monetary System and NGOs as well as the impact of geopolitics in international policies and global strategies were also presented by eminent professors from la Sapienza University, Rome. During the last two-day training in Rome, the Programme dealt with the UNIDO training modules on the small and medium size enterprises (SME) development experiences in Italy and some developing countries. The aim of this course was to introduce the participants to the major challenges and opportunity faced by SME in this time of globalization and to provide them with a background on fundamental issues related to this successful experience. The ultimate goal was to provide them with the knowledge in this field in order to review their national SME development experiences and identify what initiatives might be undertaken to promote this sector in their countries.

The second week of the two training phases was held at the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin. The training focussed mainly on communication tools, professional presentations, negotiation techniques, World Trade Organization (WTO), the use of Internet in international negotiations, strategic principles for successful multilateral trade negotiations, investment agreements, dispute settlements and conflict resolution techniques as well as relevant simulation exercises.

III. Project results/outcomes, including time frame

The two phases of the project were implemented as scheduled. A participatory and integrated training approach based on presentations, discussion and feedback of the participants, using multimedia was developed and followed. Each presentation was followed by a rich discussion focusing especially on the practical side as well the specific impact on the participating countries.

During the evaluation sessions held both in Rome and Turin the participants draw up useful recommendations to improve this pilot experience and ensure its follow-up. Also, the participants and the organizers as well expressed their sincere thanks to the Government of Italy for its sponsoring of this programme and to DESA for implementing it. The training was indeed a big success for all and creates greater cooperation among participating countries and among the Italian Government, the Italian Diplomatic Institute, UNIDO, Turin Centre and DESA.

IV. Implementing partners including donors, UNDP, and Government counterparts

- The Italian Government (Italian trust fund), the Italian Diplomatic Institute
- ILO-ITC, Turin Centre, Turin, Italy
- Government counterparts/participants:
Mediterranean basin Arab countries:28 diplomats were selected by DESA in consultation with the Permanent Missions to the United Nations in New York of the seven following countries: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia (four from each).
Latin American countries: 27 diplomats were also selected from the following nine countries: Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru (three from each).