The Section focuses on developing skills, knowledge and capacities through innovative development approaches based on a recognized pedagogical method and state-of-the-art technological solutions.


Strengthening knowledge and skills through innovative approaches for inclusive sustainable economic development


  • Build sustainable networks of knowledge to enhance national ownership, South-South and triangular cooperation
  • Encourage development-oriented trade policy to reduce poverty and to promote transparency and good practices
  • Promote digital solutions and innovative thinking to enhance capacities of international trade players


  • Bridgetown Covenant 2021

The HRDS-TRAINFORTRADE Section aims at achieving the objectives at the core of the Bridgetown Covenant and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To address these targets, the section focuses on developing skills, knowledge, and capacities through innovative development approaches for inclusive sustainable economic development. 

  • Nairobi Maafikiano Mandate 2016
  • Doha Mandate and Doha Manar 2012
  • Accra Accord 2008


Promoting beneficiary involvement to ensure sustainability and ownership

  • TRAINFORTRADE aims at strengthening local trade-related capacities of individuals, training institutions and governmental entities. Local trade experts can support the design of local strategies, policies, laws, and regulations related to international trade. The implementation of development-oriented trade policies is encouraged.
  • The TRAINFORTRADE courses are developed following a rigorous methodology, in close collaboration with the government and other stakeholders in order to address the country’s training needs.
  • TRAINFORTRADE trains local experts in their countries to enable them become trainers on trade-related issues after having participating in TFT training programme. This creates local ownership to and sustainability of the capacity development process.
  • Networking amongst beneficiary countries and training institutions is crucial for knowledge-sharing and multiplier effects.
  • The courses are multilingual (currently courses are offered in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Lao and Khmer).


Typical participants in TRAINFORTRADE’s projects include:

  • Government officials and trade specialists responsible for designing and implementing trade and development policies;
  • Private sector, professional associations, local port authorities, regional organisations, civil society, NGOs and decentralized cooperation associations;
  • Local communities in charge of implementing projects in the field;
  • National institutions for training and capacity building.

Learning methods

TRAINFORTRADE’s learning approach combines e-learning with face-to-face training. This approach allows for a flexible and participatory training process:

Distance learning: an approved TRAINFORTRADE technical tutor conducts the seminar using information and communication technologies. A face-to-face wrap-up session brings the distance learning session to a close and validates it;

Face-to-face training: a TRAINFORTRADE approved trainer leads the seminar and exercises in an appropriate learning environment. 

Three types of trainings are offered:

  • Seminars aimed at the trade operators and other relevant stakeholders;
  • Training of trainers (who will teach the courses within their institutions);
  • Training of coaching (who will manage training activities online).

The TFT Project Cycle

The TFT Project Cycle includes 4 phases: 

1.         Identifying and assessing needs:

  • The beneficiary country makes an official request.
  • In close cooperation with the relevant actors, the needs for capacity development in international trade are analyzed, an inventory of ongoing initiatives is drawn up, a plan of action is prepared and funds are sought in parallel.

2.         Developing the project:

  • A national or regional steering committee is set up comprising various players in trade-related capacity development. The committee guides the project, coordinates the activities and defines the annual priorities.
  • The course material is developed, in cooperation with UNCTAD experts, on topics of priority for the beneficiary country.
  • The material is adapted to the local needs identified and translated into local languages, if necessary.
  • During the seminars, potential trainers (who conduct the face-to-face workshops) and potential technical tutors (who manage the distance courses) are identified.
  • Participants’ evaluation contributes towards making adjustments to the course material and provides food for thought for the beneficiary institutions.

3.         Spreading the knowledge:

  • Knowledge dissemination and sharing take place through the seminars given by local trainers and through formal and informal networking among participants and institutions.
  • The steering committee meets regularly, thus promoting mechanisms for long-term dialogue.

4.         Accompanying the change:

  • Advisory and support services are provided by UNCTAD experts for policy-making, in line with national and regional requests.


The HRDS-TRAINFORTRADE Section aims at achieving the objectives at the core of the Bridgetown Covenant and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To address these targets, the section focuses on developing skills, knowledge, and capacities through innovative development approaches for inclusive sustainable economic development. 

  • Paragraph 17: Reaffirms and builds upon the Accra Accord, which remain valid and relevant
  • Paragraph 18(a): Continue to play its role in the evolution of a stronger global concensus on issues within its mandate…
  • Paragraph 56 (r): Continue capacity-building activities including TrainForTrade and in the framework of paragraph 166 of the Bangkok Plan of Action
  • Paragraph 55(z): Continue capacity-building activities, including TRAINFORTRADE, as reflected in paragraph 56 (r) of the Doha Mandate;
  • Paragraph 55(i): Continue its work in transport, including maritime transport, ports…
  • Paragraph 55(u):  capacity-building in the area of e-commerce…
  • Paragraph 38(aa): capacity-building … Statistics …

Paragraph 162: UNCTAD should enhance its assistance in cross-divisional capacity-building programmes, including training for policymakers on the integrated treatment of the trade, investment, finance, technology and development issues, which must ensure wide and inclusive participation of developing countries … and foster training and capacity-building aimed at trade practitioners in order to assist member countries in developing a sustainable local capacity in trade, investment and development issues through TRAINFORTRADE. UNCTAD should also continue to uses these programmes to strengthen the synergies between its research and capacity-building activities.”

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