International Trade - Development - Economic Governance - Advisory Services

Who we are


The acronym IDEAS stands for International trade, Development, Economic governance and Advisory Services.

IDEAS Centre offers strategic high-level policy advice to government officials for the identification of national development priorities and interests, policy formulation and management, institution and capacity building as well as consultation with stakeholders in business and civil society. It assists in setting up policy action plans and in accessing external resources for development projects. It monitors projects – on behalf of recipient governments, funding agencies and implementing bodies – and ensures that everything is undertaken to achieve project objectives through the careful and efficient use of resources.

The Centre’s work is non-partisan and focuses on achieving practical results. IDEAS is independent, that is to say that it does not promote the donors’ commercial policy. This allows the Centre to act as a trusted and confidential advisor and to analyse what is in a country’s best interest.

IDEAS Centre is based in Geneva, at heart of international trade institutions and delegations


Our value added and assets

IDEAS Centre is in a position to offer a broad range of services of interest to international and regional organisations, governments, enterprises, academia and civil society.

In summary we believe that IDEAS has the following advantages:

  • a comprehensive approach to policy and negotiating advice;
  • a track record of dealing with WTO accession and Doha Round negotiations;
  • the ability to analyse WTO issues in an economy-wide and overall development perspective;
  • the Centre is based in Geneva and is at the forefront of activities involving the WTO. It has extensive contacts within the WTO, as well as delegations and Geneva-based development community ;
  • the Centre has a small structure and a result-oriented philosophy which gives greater flexibility in its project design and allows to respond to real-time negotiating needs;
  • the team is composed of three partners, three associate partners and a staff of around 7 people. They are highly experienced in international trade and development related matters and come from diverse background (former delegates, private sector, aid agencies, etc.);
  • the Centre is neutral, independent and dedicated to development, meaning that the advisory services provided are confidential and the assistance is tailored to areas where it will have the best developmental impact.


Our core competencies

Trade policy advice

The high-level policy and negotiating advice IDEAS provides aims at enhancing trade policy-making and negotiating capacities of developing countries by strengthening the knowledge of national officials concerning multilateral trade negotiations techniques, strategies and tactics. The assistance provided is demand-driven in the sense that its design, implementation, and objectives address the development priorities of the beneficiaries rather than responding to the agenda of the donors. The beneficiary fully enjoys the “ownership” of the assistance.

IDEAS Centre provides developing countries timely and tailored advice to accompany the WTO negotiating process. Our comprehensive and demand-driven approach leads to an assistance that is customised to the beneficiary’s needs. The Centre assumes the role of a proactive advisor which understands the dynamics and challenges of the process at hand and works together with its parrtners on addressing them.

IDEAS Centre provides trade policy advice in the following areas:

1. Multilateral trade negotiations

IDEAS Centre provides negotiating advice and capacity-building to developing countries and/or coalitions in the multilateral trade negotiations of the Doha Development Agenda.

2. WTO accession and post-accession

IDEAS Centre assists countries in their accession process to the WTO. It provides developing countries custom-made advice in trade negotiations across all stages of the accession process. In the post-accession phase, IDEAS Centre supports recently-acceded Members to implement their accession obligations, to build up the capacities of the often renewed staff and to participate proactively in WTO negotiations.

3. Trade Policy Reviews

IDEAS Centre supports developing and transition countries to prepare for their periodical WTO Trade Policy Review and/or to use the results of this exercise as an instrument to develop policies in line with the country’s overall development objectives. It also seeks to highlight the technical assistance and capacity-building needs the country requires in order to shape up a coherent and global approach.

4. Regional integration

IDEAS Centre assists governments and regional entities in negotiations within regional groupings or with partners outside the grouping to ensure coherence in the regional integration process. Our assistance include strategic and negotiating advice, institution-building as well as capacity-building/training.

Trade & Development issues

IDEAS Centre works on key systemic issues that are currently being addressed within the global trade arena (e.g. plurilaterals) or that are emerging on the scene (e.g. trade and climate change). IDEAS provides a platform where the various stakeholders active in trade and development engage in substantive debates on emerging issues/challenges faced by developing countries and help produce concrete and innovative solutions that promote a better integration of developing countries into the world economy.


IDEAS Centre offers tailor-made training and capacity-building programmes on the WTO, specific trade-related issues, WTO accession, WTO negotiations as well as negotiations strategy and tactics. These programmes can be delivered to government civil servants, organisations or the private sector and are adapted to the needs of the client.


The Centre works with governments in assisting them in the reform process of their procurement system to ensure that efficient, fair and transparent public procurement decisions are made and that those that make them are held properly accountable.

Contact us

  • IDEAS Centre
    Rue de l’Arquebuse 10
    CH - 1204 Geneva
  • +41 22 807 17 40
  • +41 22 807 17 41