United Nations. Extended Programme of Technical Assistance

Zone d'identification

Type d'entité


Forme autorisée du nom

United Nations. Extended Programme of Technical Assistance

forme(s) parallèle(s) du nom

  • Nations Unies. Programme élargi d'assistance technique

Forme(s) du nom normalisée(s) selon d'autres conventions

Autre(s) forme(s) du nom

  • EPTA

Numéro d'immatriculation des collectivités

Zone de description

Dates d’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 A more uniform “Revised Standard Agreement” was introduced in 1954 and these instruments superseded any Basic Agreements entered into previously.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).


Statut légal

Fonctions et activités

Textes de référence

Organisation interne/Généalogie

Contexte général

Zone des relations

Entité associée

UNDP (1966-01-01 -)

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Dates de la relation

Description de la relation

Zone des points d'accès

Mots-clés - Sujets

Mots-clés - Lieux


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Règles et/ou conventions utilisées


Niveau de détail

Dates de production, de révision et de suppression

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.




-Alexander, Yonah. (1966). International Technical Assistance Experts. Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers: New York. Available in UNESCO Library.
-Browne, Stephen. (2011). The United Nations Development Programme and System. Routledge: New York. Available in UNESCO Library.
-Keenleyside, Hugh L. (1966). International Aid: a summary, with special reference to the programmes of the United Nations. James H. Heineman, Inc: New York. Available in UNESCO Library.
-Perez-Guerrero, M. (1950). The expanded program of technical assistance. An international journal of forestry and forest industries. Vol. 4, No. 4. Available online in FAO Corporate Document Repository, accessed 05/03/2013: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x5357e/x5357e03.htm
-UN. Archives and Records Management Section. (2013). Draft expanded administrative history of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
-UN. Economic and Social Council, 32nd Session. (1961). Resolutions: Economic and Social Council official records, 32nd session, 4 July-4 August 1961. 854 (XXXII). Available online in UN Docs, accessed 9/2/2015.
-UN. Economic and Social Council, 18th Session. (1954). Resolutions: Economic and Social Council official records, 18th session, 29 June-6 August 1954. E/2654. 542(XVIII). Available online in UN Docs, accessed 9/1/2015.
-UN. Economic and Social Council, 9th Session. (1949). Resolutions adopted by the Economic and Social Council during its 9th session, 5 July-15 August 1949. E/1553. E/RES/222(IX). Available online in UN Docs, accessed 12/02/2013.-UN. General Assembly, 20th Session. (1965). Consolidation of the Special Fund and the Expanded Programme for Technical Assistance in a United Nations Development Programme. 2029 (XX). Available online in UN Docs, accessed 12/02/2013.
-UN. General Assembly, 25th Session. (11 December 1970). The Capacity of the United Nations Development System. 2688 (XXV). Available online in UN ODS, accessed 28/02/2013.
-UN. General Assembly, 12th Session. (1957). Financing of Economic Development. 1219 (XII). Available online in UN ODS, accessed 12/02/2013.
-UN. General Assembly, 4th Session. (1949). Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance for economic development of under-developed countries. 304(IV). Available online in UN ODS, accessed 11/2/2016.
-UN. Terminology and Reference Section. (Undated). Terms: ACC, United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, Resident Coordinator System. UNTERM, United Nations Multilingual Terminology Database. Accessed online 01/03/2013: http://unterm.un.org/
-UNESCO. (December 1987). A Chronology of UNESCO 1945-1987. LAD.85/WS/4 Rev. Available online in UNESDOC, accessed 01/03/2013: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0007/000790/079049eb.pdf
-UNESCO. Director-General, Deputy, 1963-1970 (Adiseshiah, M.). (1966). UNESCO and UNDP: address by M. S. Adiseshiah, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Turin, 29 June 1966. WS/0766.12/ODG. Available in UNESDOC, accessed 11/02/2013: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001857/185752eb.pdf
-UNESCO. Executive Board, 134th Session. (1990). Operational activities of the Organization, including UNESCO-UNDP Co-operation. 134 EX/16. PARIS, 4 April 1990. Available in UNESDOC, accessed 11/02/2013: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0008/000856/085608eo.pdf

Notes de maintenance

  • Presse-papier

  • Exporter

  • EAC

Sujets associés

Lieux associés