Type of entity
Authorized form of name
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- United Nations Development Programme
- Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement
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The Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance (EPTA) and Special Fund (SF) were amalgamated effective 1 January 1966 to form the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The governance structure was changed so that UNDP’s new thirty-seven member Governing Council took up the duties of the former Special Fund Governing Council as well as the Technical Assistance Committee (TAC) of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Governing Council members were elected in ECOSOC and reported to ECOSOC. The Consultative Board of the Special Fund and the Technical Assistance Board (TAB) were replaced by a new Inter-Agency Consultative Board (IACB) consisting of the Executive Directors (or their representatives) of the specialized agencies under the Chairmanship of the UNDP Administrator. Governments made requests directly through the Resident Representative, but IACB members advised the Council on these submissions, taking into account technical assistance being undertaken as part of their agency’s regular programme. The Consultative Board members could also be consulted on the selection of agencies for the execution of projects and the appointment of Resident Representatives. The UNDP at this stage was to act as a funder and consolidator of technical assistance for the UN system. However, its process of finance by yearly pledging conferences created a pattern of stop-and-go programming for early years (Browne, 2011, p.18).
Country programming and the United Nations Development Co-operation Cycle were introduced by the “1970 Consensus,” adopted by the Governing Council of UNDP and approved by the UN General Assembly at its Twenty-fifth session, taking effect on 1 January 1971. This change acknowledged that the government of a country has exclusive responsibility for its national development plan, and the country programme would be formulated by each government in co-operation, at the appropriate stage, with representatives of the United Nations system as led by the UNDP Resident Representative on site in the country. The country was responsible for taking into account other forms of bilateral or multilateral inputs. From the Resident Representative, the country programme would be submitted to the Administrator of the UNDP for review before submission to the Governing Council for approval. Within the context of this country programme, the Governing Council had ultimate authority to approve individual projects submitted by governments, but, in turn delegated the UNDP Administrator with this authority. UN specialized agencies were to be given first consideration as executing agents under this new framework. They were also to provide advice when requested to the UNDP Administrator on the implementation of all projects, whether executed by them or not. Executing agencies, be they UN agencies or government or non-governmental institutions or firms, were accountable to the UNDP Administrator for the implementation of the projects. Monitoring of projects was carried out by the Resident Representative and evaluation, upon consent of the Government, was carried out jointly with the Government, UNDP and the executing agency.
Up until the 1970 Consensus, the EPTA and SF continued to be maintained as two separate funds. In 1970, UNESCO implemented US$ 10,143,861 of EPTA projects and US$26,073,904 of SF projects (UNESCO, 1987). The Consensus introduced a new system of Indicative Planning Figures (IPFs) where each country was allotted a percentage of the total resources available as projected over a certain period of time. The Governing Council of UNDP set the IPFs based on the proposal of the Administrator and a Government’s comments thereon. In 1975, in the context of the New International Economic Order movement, the General Assembly resolution on New dimensions in technical cooperation made another modification which allowed for government execution of projects and national experts to work on national projects.
In a report to its Executive Board, UNESCO considered that the principle that UN agencies should be given first consideration as executing agents was “weakened during the 1980s as UNDP moved towards a greater utilization of ‘alternative modalities’: project execution by UNDP/OPS, lending institutions and governments” (UNESCO. Executive Board, 1990). Late in the 1980s, UNDP also began to build up expertise in different specialized fields and the organization began to resemble a microcosm of the rest of the UN system (Browne, 2011, p.44). For the 1990s, UNDP envisaged a diminishing Special Agency role in project execution and an expanding role in providing technical advice to UNDP and member countries. However, the funding arrangements for this support were not immediately clear and UNESCO noted that the provision of pre-project analysis did not guarantee that it would be named an executing agency in this system. UNESCO and UNDP signed an Executing Agency Agreement in 1990 which governed the relationship of the parties in the execution of projects. 1990 was also the year when the first Human Development Report was published, introducing the Human Development Index. With this flagship publication, UNDP can be seen to have embraced the human development approach as opposed to the economic school of development espoused by the World Bank and IMF (Browne, 2011). This was seen as part of a larger evolution from a purely operational organization to a development agency with research and policy activities underpinning its work (Browne, 57). Traces of the human development paradigm can be found in UNESCO’s earlier work on the balance between economic and social development.
The UN General Assembly changed the governance structure of UNDP in 1993 by changing the Governing Council to an Executive Board. The suggested conflict between UNDP’s role as a coordinating body and its emerging operational activities as a development agency was supposed to be alleviated with UNDP/OPS’s transformation into UNOPS in 1995. UNOPS is a separate entity which reports to the Executive Board of UNDP. The Resident Representatives system was also modified in 1997 so that the newly renamed UN Resident Coordinators had an added level of impartially, being charged with leading development activities of the UN system as a whole at the country-level. In 1996, UNDP introduced the TRAC (Target for resource assignments from core) financing mechanism as a more flexible system to replace the IPFs. UNDP and UNESCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2008 providing a framework for cooperation and to facilitate collaboration.
UNESCO and UNDP’s cooperation takes place in the larger context of UN inter-agency coordination mechanisms. UNESCO participated at the level of the ECOSOC’s Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), as well as its standing bodies the Consultative Committee on Substantive Questions (Operational Activities), CCSQ/OPS, or the Consultative Committee on Administrative Questions (Financial and Budgetary Questions), CCAQ(FB). Created in 1946 as the main inter-secretariat coordinating body composed of the executive heads of the UN system, the ACC was renamed the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination in 2001. Within the governance structure of UNDP, inter-secretariat coordination formerly carried out by the Consultative Board of the Special Fund and the TAB was assumed by a new Inter-Agency Consultative Board consisting of the Executive Directors (or their representatives) of the specialized agencies under the Chairmanship of the UNDP Administrator. With the 1970 Consensus, the Inter-Agency Consultancy Board was no longer responsible for advising the Administrator on all programmes and projects before their submission to the Council. IACB, later the Inter-Agency Consultative Meetings (IACM) became rather an advisory body whose principal role was to develop maximum coherence and co-ordination in the operational activities of the United Nations system as a whole, and to increase the efficiency and capacity of the system. With the UN Reform movements beginning in the 1990s, the UN Development Group (UNDG) was introduced, uniting the 32 UN funds, programmes, agencies, departments, and offices that play a role in development. The Group is responsible for coordinating UN operational activities at the country level. The Administrator of UNDP chairs UNDG and UNESCO has a permanent seat on the UNDG Advisory Group which provides the Administrator with advice on “managing the operational dimensions of the UNDG and the Resident Coordinator system” (UNDG, undated).
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Created by AWT upon start of data entry for A/293, 11/02/2013. Current draft completed by AWT 11/03/2013. Revised with addition of Browne 2011 as a source, AWT, 31/08/2015.
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