Type of entity
Authorized form of name
United Nations. Extended Programme of Technical Assistance
Parallel form(s) of name
- Nations Unies. Programme élargi d'assistance technique
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
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 A more uniform “Revised Standard Agreement” was introduced in 1954 and these instruments superseded any Basic Agreements entered into previously.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).
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Created by AWT 11/03/2013. Revised with addition of Browne 2011 as source, AWT, 9/2/2015. Revised with addition of Alexander and Keenleyside as sources, AWT, 12-2-2016.
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