Public Finance and Trade


Unitar’s Public Finance and Trade Programme originates from the Training Programme in the Legal Aspects of Debt and Financial Management, which commenced after a high-level expert meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1987.

With the broad array of governance issues, public finance emerges as a high-priority area, particularly in light of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) Initiative and the trend towards programmatic lending. Not only is efficient and effective public spending critical to poverty reduction, but strong public finance and expenditure management in countries helps ensure that development assistance is utilized as intended.

The increasing economic and financial globalization puts international trade and intellectual property policy high on the agenda of developing countries and economies in transition. While the potential benefits of trade and intellectual property are now widely recognized, countries still face the challenge to effectively use trade and intellectual property policy to achieve sustainable development goals.

Unitar’s Public Finance and Trade Programme supports developing countries, including LDCs, and economies in transition through developing the capacities of senior and middle level official, networking and fostering of best practices among government and private sector officials, and strengthening the capacity of selected local and regional institutions to provide training to their stakeholders.

While traditional training and networking activities continue, the Public Finance and Trade Programme has progressively introduced new ICT-based methodologies, such as e-Learning (online training), to offer its training to a wider audience of senior and middle level officials. To further enhance training outreach and effectiveness, the Programme has established strategic partnerships with several institutions working in relevant thematic areas, including other UN Agencies and Programmes.

Training methodologies


Since 2003, UNITAR’s Public Finance and Trade Programme has offered e-Learning courses primarily aimed at public and private sector officials, as well as academics and civil society representatives from developing countries, including LDCs, and economies in transition.

These courses are internet-based, moderated by senior international experts, asynchronous and place emphasis on online discussions and self-paced learning. Course content is derived from UNITAR’s past training experience and provides a synthesis of current best practices with the needs of the specific target audience in mind.

UNITAR’s e-Learning courses are structured in a very user-friendly manner with a clearly defined pedagogy and easy online navigation. As such, they are ideally suited for anyone who is even minutely familiar with the basic features of a computer and Internet browsing.

On average, the Trade and Public Finance Programme is conducting around 20 e-Learning courses per year, thereby training over 2,000 participants from all over the world.


At the request of governments or partner institutions, UNITAR’s Public Finance and Trade Programme regularly organizes seminars and workshops at the sub-regional or national level to raise awareness of decision-makers, discuss best practices, secure government commitment and facilitate regional cooperation and networking.

These seminars and workshops typically last between one to five days and are conducted by international, national and/or regional resource persons. Seminars and workshops are customized to suit the practical and priority training needs determined in collaboration with beneficiaries.

Seminars and workshops developed and organized by the Public Finance and Trade Programme are always highly interactive, with lectures by senior experts alternating with group discussions, case studies and simulation exercises.