Development cooperation

Advisory Center for WTO Law, ACWL


Full-fledged participation of developing countries in international trade and use of opportunities of trade to advance their own development and reduce poverty necessitate operating in accordance with the international trade laws. The rules of international trade are jointly agreed upon in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO trade rules and procedures for resolving possible disputes form a complex system. Developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries, have limited knowledge on the WTO trade laws and modest capacity to administer complicated disputes. Their financial resources to acquire needed expertise are also limited. Advisory Centre on WTO Law is an intergovernmental organisation based in Geneva. It started its operations in 2001. The objective of ACWL is to offer legal advice to developing countries, support them in dispute settlement proceedings and provide capacity-building in WTO law. The work aims at helping developing countries understand the rights and obligations of the WTO membership as well as to be able to defend their rights in WTO disputes at equal terms with developed countries. In 2020, ACWL worked on 18 trade disputes, of which three were new ones; provided 216 legal opinions to 45 countries, of which 15 were LDCs; and offered capacity building, e.g. 25 individual training sessions (all virtual due to pandemic) that gathered 30-40 delegates each on average. In addition, four trade lawyers started in ACWL's Secondment Programme for the course of 2020/2021. The ACWL activities benefit primarily developing country governments and ministries whose knowledge on international trade rules strengthens and who can receive fundamental expert advice in order to resolve their trade disputes. Unhindered trade benefits both enterprises in developing countries but also their trading partners elsewhere, as well as the people in developing countries who can get incomes from trade and enjoy better prosperity and public services. The funding is Finland's voluntary contribution to ACWL. The organization does not have a membership fee but its activities are financed through voluntary contributions. Finland contributes 1,400,000 euros to ACWL in 2022-2026.

More information

Funding decision

1 400 000 €

Objectives monitored by OECD's Development Assistance Committee

  • Participatory development/Good governance

Field of activity

  • Trade policy and administrative Management 100%

Funding channel

Maailman kauppajärjestö - Lakitiedotuskeskus



Code for the object of funding