Strategic Positioning and trade-related capacity development - The case of CTPL and Russia

This case explores the evolution and transformation of a trade-related capacity development initiative aimed at supporting Russia’s accession to the WTO. At the outset, the programme focused on training provision and short-term technical assistance and worked mainly with government authorities. Lack of impact led to a rethink of strategy and an overhaul of the programme. The new programme aimed at developing a sustainable institutional capability across the government and private sector divide that could respond to emerging needs and serve itself as a provider of capacity development support and catalyser of change. This was achieved through a partnership arrangement between the Canadian Centre for Trade Policy and Law and a newly established policy institute led by Russian trade experts.

The case highlights the importance of context and political support. A flexible approach was required that could adapt to a volatile political and economic climate and to the evolving stages of the accession process. Timing was essential. The case, moreover, illustrates how by thinking about capacity outcomes in a more systemic fashion and focusing on results at the organisational and country level, it became necessary to completely re-design the intervention strategy and to think carefully about strategic positioning. The case further illustrates the importance of innovation and risk taking in capacity development endeavours, selecting partners that display both a willingness and ability to engage in a change process, and the need for time to allow partnerships to be built on trust and common interest. Being a small player both politically, and financially, enabled the external partner to more easily play the part of process facilitator

Source: Rourke, P. 2006. Strategic Positioning and trade-related capacity development - The case of CTPL and Russia. Discussion Paper 57-O, European Centre for Development Policy Management. 

Year of publication: 
ECDPM Discussion Papers
Themes and sectors: 
Economic development

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