The Bali Ministerial Declaration and the accompanying Ministerial Decisions – informally known as the Bali Package – were adopted at the Bali Ministerial Conference on 7 December 2013. The following decisions on the outcome of the Bali Ministers were adopted by the General Council on 27 November 2014. 21In terms of international financial assistance, donor commitments to simplify and modernise border rules and procedures exceeded USD 460 million in 2012, a significant increase from the average of USD 27 million in the 2002/u201205 base period. As shown in Figure 1, most of the funds pledged went to Africa. However, the region has significant differences between Aid for Trade commitments and actual disbursements. A similar trend is observed when looking at DDPs as a group, but these differences are not reflected in other parts of the world. This gap could result in a number of donors failing to meet their aid commitments – a long-standing complaint by several developing countries that are reluctant to make costly new commitments or agreements because their development partners lack strong guarantees that technical assistance and capacity building would be available. Beyond trade facilitation, this reality could also explain why developing countries are reluctant to make new commitments in the broader context of the DDA negotiations. On the other hand, the fact that such a gap is clearly pronounced only in the least developed countries and in Africa, but that it is much less pronounced in other regions, could also be interpreted as a problem of limited absorption capacity in those countries more than as a failure of donors to meet their commitments.
Whether these differences are related to lower absorption capacity in Africa and the least developed countries, or to other problems, would be beyond the scope of this paper, but these figures clearly indicate specific problems related to aid to trade dissent in these regions. On the road to implementation, identifying the exact reasons for the existence of such a gap and overcoming this problem should be a priority for both donors and recipients of development assistance. And who knows how many more breakthroughs Friday`s deal could inspire. The Bali package ends with a commitment by trade officials to develop a “clearly defined work programme” to resolve the remaining issues in the Doha negotiations. .