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United Nations. Special Fund

  • Corporate body
  • 1958-10-14 -

The United Nations General Assembly resolved to establish the Special Fund on 14 October 1958 in order to enlarge the scope of the UN programme of technical assistance in certain basic fields. The Special Fund was to concentrate on large projects “in the fields of resources, including the assessment and development of manpower, industry, including handicrafts and cottage industries, agriculture, transport and communications, building and housing, health, education, statistics and public administration (UN, GA, 1958). UNESCO participated primarily in projects in the fields of education and public administration. Assistance might take the form of “surveys; research and training; demonstration including pilot projects; … implemented by the provision of staff, experts, equipment, supplies and services as well as the establishment of institutes…and other appropriate means, including fellowships (UN, GA, 1958). In other words, the Special Fund was to be for ‘pre-investment’ types of projects aimed at creating conditions making new capital investment in a country either feasible or more effective (Alexander, p. 12). The Special Fund reported to ECOSCOC which would then consider EPTA and the Special Fund in relation to each other. However, the Special Fund had its own governing body, the Governing Council, consisting of representatives of eighteen States as elected by ECOSOC, with equal representation from more developed and less developed countries. The Special Fund was administered by the Managing Director and his staff. The third organ of the Special Fund was the Consultative Board which provided advice in the examination of project requests and proposed programmes. Representatives of specialized agencies could be invited to the Consultative Board deliberations, but the Board consisted of the Secretary-General of the UN, the Executive Chairman of the Technical Assistance Board (TAB), and the President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or their designated representatives.

Governments made requests directly to the Special Fund. Specialized agencies were asked to be ready to assist governments in the preparation of their requests, and could also be asked to assist with the evaluation of requests to be examined by the Fund’s Governing Council. Specialized agencies could also then be the agent (or one of the agents) responsible for the execution of the project, as per the terms of an agreement between the agent and the Government in question with the concurrence of the Fund’s Managing Director.

The Special Fund entered into agreements with the governments and the concurrence of the executing agency would only be sought in cases of substantial modifications of the terms affecting the executing agency. These agreements signed with governments set forth the conditions under which the Special Fund was to render help to the country and the conditions under which projects were to be executed. An exchange of letters could clarify any provisions open to interpretation. UNESCO signed a Basic Agreement with the Special Fund in 1959 following the Executive Board’s approval at its Fifty-fifth Session. These Basic Agreements set forth the conditions under which the executing agency was to undertake projects within its fields of competence. In total there were then three types of agreements: agreements between the Special Fund and the executing agencies; agreements between the Special Fund and the requesting governments; and Plans of Operation signed by the Special Fund, executing agency and recipient government for a specific project. Plans of Operation set out in greater detail the obligations of the parties for the duration of the project, guidelines for the control of the project, and for its measurement and evaluation. These Plans of Operation tended to vary in form and content before the Special Fund established a model Plan (Alexander, p. 54).

In the first year of project implementation, UNESCO was allocated US$ 613, 903. The figure grew to US$13,968,970 in 1965 (UNESCO, 1987). The EPTA and Special Fund were amalgamated effective 1 January 1966 to form the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). However, EPTA and SF continued to be maintained as two separate funds by UNDP until the 1970 Consensus, approved by the General Assembly in December 1970, to take effect in 1971. In 1970, UNESCO implemented US$26,073,904 of SF projects (UNESCO, 1987).

United Nations. Extended Programme of Technical Assistance

  • Corporate body
  • 1949-11-16 - 1970-12-31

In 1949, with the creation of the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance (EPTA), the United Nations General Assembly also created a mechanism for the participation of specialized agencies – the Technical Assistance Board (TAB). The Board was comprised of the executive heads (or their representatives) of the UN and its specialized agencies and was the forum where technical assistance requests were discussed, progress reports given, and agency programmes presented. The TAB then made recommendations on the total programme to a Technical Assistance Committee (TAC) of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). TAC would approve the overall programme and then the projects would be initiated when multilateral or bilateral instruments were signed. Starting in 1949, “Basic Agreements” were signed between governments and TAB on the general rules governing the provision of technical assistance. Supplementary Agreements were signed between the UN, the specialized agencies and the requesting governments for individual projects. These early instruments were found to differ considerably in form and content (Alexander, p. 52). A more uniform “Revised Standard Agreement” was introduced in 1954 and these instruments superseded any Basic Agreements entered into previously. The meaning of certain provisions could then be clarified by an Exchange of Letters or an Additional Explanatory Protocol. Supplementary Agreements were replaced by Programs of Operations.

Requests to UNESCO for technical assistance for which UNESCO would have implementing responsibility could be made by member, non-member and trust and non-self-governing territories. The requests were then considered by the Executive Board before presentation to the TAB. The services of UNESCO could also be requested as a cooperating body for projects considered by TAB originating from other agencies. Requests could be for experts, fellowships, equipment or supplies and could take the form of financing of training institutions, pilot projects, topical seminars, technical literature, or group study tours. In the first fifteen years, US$450 million was distributed (not including operational costs of agencies or of TAB). Over this time, 31,000 fellowships were granted and 32,000 years in expert manpower was assigned. Fellowships decreased in popularity for requesting governments due to the phenomena of brain drain (Keenleyside, p. 188-191).

For the first distribution of funds for the EPTA, UNESCO was allocated 14% of the total, as compared to 11% for ILO and 29% for FAO (UN ECOSOC, 1949). At these early stages of “agency programming,” specialized agencies tended to prescribe the aid needed to a Member State: agencies identified the needs and then allocated their percentage of EPTA according to these needs (Keenleyside, p. 162). Member States often found themselves in “a combination of unrelated and sometimes conflicting projects” resulting from different requests submitted to different agencies (Keenleyside, p. 148). The practice of fixed shares to agencies was ended by decision of ECOSOC in 1954, but with a guarantee that the allocation for each year would be no less than 85% of the previous year’s allocation (Browne, 2011; UN ECOSOC, 1954). This marked the shift to Country Programming, where governments drew up a country programme in consultation with the resident representative (Keenleyside, p. 170). The 85% guarantee was intended to help agencies cope with fluctuations in funding, but it was abolished in 1961 (Browne, 2011; UN ECOSOC, 1961). A 12-14% reimbursement rate for project implementation costs borne by agencies was however introduced (UNESCO. Executive Board, 1990).

The EPTA and Special Fund (SF) were amalgamated effective 1 January 1966 to form the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Prior to this, the administration of the Programme was carried out by several UN Secretariat units: the Technical Assistance Administration (1950-1958) and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (1959-1965). The EPTA and SF continued to be maintained as two separate funds by UNDP until the 1970 Consensus, approved by the General Assembly in December 1970, to take effect in 1971. In 1970, UNESCO implemented US$ 10,143,861 of EPTA projects (UNESCO, 1987)

Fields of EPTA funding can be grouped into ten headings: 1) assisting governments in the formulation and implementation of development plans; 2) development of public utilities; 3) industrial production and mining; 4) agricultural production; 5) auxiliary services to industry and agriculture; 6) health services; 7) education; 8) community development; 9) other social services; and 10) atomic energy. UNESCO-led projects were generally in the fields of auxiliary services to industry and agriculture, education and community development (Keenleyside, 193).

United Nations

  • Corporate body
  • 1945/10/24 -

"The United Nations was a name devised by the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was first used in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942 when 26 nations pledged to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers. The United Nations Charter was drawn up by the representatives of countries at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, 25 April-26 June 1945, and was based on proposals worked out earlier at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. by representatives of China, the USSR, the United Kingdom and the United States in August-October 1944. The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945. The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945 when the Charter was ratified by China, France, the USSR, the United Kingdom and the United States, and by a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year" (Guide to the Archives of International Organizations).

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