United Nations

A/52/155


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

29 May 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                   A/52/155
                                                   E/1997/68
                                                   


GENERAL ASSEMBLY                             ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Fifty-second session                         Substantive session of 1997
Item 58 of the preliminary list*             Geneva, 30 June-25 July 1997
RESTRUCTURING AND REVITALIZATION             Item 12 of the provisional
  OF THE UNITED NATIONS IN THE                 agenda**
  ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND RELATED               IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL
  FIELDS                                       ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 50/227

     * A/52/50.                                         ** E/1997/100.


            RESTRUCTURING AND REVITALIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
                  IN THE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND RELATED FIELDS

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                           Paragraphs  Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION ..........................................  1 - 2     2

II.   IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 50/227 ..  3 - 64    2

      A. Recommendations ...................................   3 - 18    2

      B. Implementation ....................................  19 - 64    4

III.  EXECUTIVE BOARDS OF THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT
      PROGRAMME/UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND, THE UNITED
      NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND AND THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME .. 65 - 83   13

      A. Number and scheduling of meetings and sessions ....  66 - 70   13

      B. Agendas and organization of work ..................  71 - 73   14

      C. Participation of observers ........................  74 - 76   15

      D. Reporting and documentation .......................  77 - 80   15

      E. Rules of procedure ................................  81 - 84   16


 
                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   The present report is in response to General Assembly resolution
50/227 of 24 May 1996, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-
General to report on its implementation at the fifty-second session,
through the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of
1997.  The mandate, in Assembly resolution 45/264 of 13 May 1991, for
an annual report of the Secretary-General on restructuring and
revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and
related fields is also subsumed in this report.

2.   Section II of the report summarizes the recommendations with
respect to the implementation of resolution 50/227 and provides
information on efforts made by the Assembly and the Council on
relevant provisions of the resolution.  Section III focuses on the
Executive Boards of the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP)/United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).


           II.  IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 50/227

                              A.  Recommendations

3.   The recommendations enumerated below are made in regard to various
aspects of restructuring and revitalization in the economic, social
and related fields.  References are to annex I of resolution 50/227:


           1.  Funding of operational activities for development of the
               United Nations system

4.   Action could be taken on the proposals contained in reports of the
Secretary-General (A/48/940 and A/49/834 and others) on the funding of
operational activities for development in the Assembly and the Council
in accordance with their respective mandates.

5.   A systematic review could be carried out on the discussions held
in various forums on innovative funding sources that could be an
additional element for the provision of resources for operational
activities for development (para. 17).


                             2.  General Assembly

6.   Informal sessions could be encouraged in the form of an open
interactive dialogue, including with non-governmental organizations. 
An assessment could be made as to whether these informal sessions
should be held throughout the meetings of the Second and Third
Committees, as done at the fifty-first session, or should be
concentrated in the early parts of the work programme.  Consideration
needs to be given on how to finance the informal sessions (para. 19).

7.   The possibilities of streamlining the programmes of work of the
Second and Third Committees could be further explored.  The Bureaux of
the Second and Third Committees at the fifty-second session could draw
lessons from the experiences of the two Bureaux of the fifty-first
session (para. 21).

8.   Greater efforts could be made to further streamline the texts of
draft resolutions to make them more focused, concrete and operational. 
Submission of joint draft resolutions could be encouraged (para. 24).

9.   To enrich and deepen the debate, rather than having a formal
debate on each item on the agenda, consideration could be given to
having discussions on a few urgent areas without excluding the
possibility of submitting draft resolutions under the other agenda
items (para. 27).

10.  Consideration could be given to setting relatively short time
limits for formal statements to allow for more dialogue among the
delegations.

11.  Consideration could be given to the scheduling of the resumed
substantive session of the Council before the meetings of the Second
and Third Committees in the fall to enable the Committees to carry out
their sessions without interruption.


                     3.  Documentation and related matters

12.  Informal executive briefings could be held in accordance with
Assembly resolution 50/227.  The Bureau should, in consultation with
the Committee, decide on the items for the executive briefings
(para. 31).

13.  Careful consideration needs to be given in requesting additional
reports of the Secretary-General.  Apart from restraint in requesting
additional reports, further efforts could be made for an inventory of
available information to avoid duplication (para. 34).

14.  Decisions should be made on the recommendations put forth by the
Secretary-General in his reports (A/50/697 and Corr.1, sect. F, and
A/51/501, sect. C) on the simplification of existing reporting
requirements, in particular, on the following, taking into account the
reports that will be required for the follow-up to United Nations
conferences (para. 35):

     (a)  Mandating the presentation of oral rather than written
reports, particularly in regard to progress reports and reports that
are presented on an annual basis;

     (b)  Encouraging the submission of a single "consolidated" report
on related topics under a single item or sub-item of the agenda;

     (c)  Requesting the Secretariat to compile for the Council and for
each of its subsidiary bodies a list of documents mandated in
resolutions and decisions to be adopted at a given session in order to
give members a clear picture of all documentation requested and to
include in the report on the status of documentation for a given
session a list of all reports already mandated for the coming year;

     (d)  Making increased efforts at biennialization or
triennialization of agenda items or sub-items.  The Council and its
subsidiary bodies should consider if, in fact, the majority of agenda
items need to be examined on an annual basis.


                        4.  Economic and Social Council

15.  The consideration of poverty issues on the basis of the report of
the Secretary-General (E/1996/61), which lead to the Council's Agreed
Conclusions 1996/1, was considered useful.  Similar consideration
could be given to other cross-sectoral themes to ensure harmonization
and coordination of the agendas and work programmes of the functional
commissions.  The Council may also wish to make recommendations for
further implementation of the recommendations in paragraph 39 of
Assembly resolution 50/227 (para. 39).

16.  The Council will undertake consultations on the theme for the
high-level segment of 1998 with a view to reaching a decision, if
possible, during the 1997 substantive session, but not later than at a
resumed session in the autumn (para. 53).  After reaching a decision
on the high-level theme, the Council may consider a preparatory
process that could include entrusting the appropriate functional
commission or appropriate body with the task of preparing for the next
high-level segment.


           5.  Relationship between the United Nations and international
               finance and trade institutions

17.  The Assembly and the governing bodies of the Bretton Woods
institutions, based on the conclusions of the joint exploratory review
(see para. 61 below), should consider concrete areas and forms of
collaboration in the field of development-related activities
(paras. 86 and 87).

18.  The first high-level special meeting of the Council could be
scheduled for spring of 1998.  The high-level meeting could be in the
form of an informal discussion with a senior-level panel selected,
inter alia, among the Chairmen of the Interim Committee of the Board
of Governors of the International Monetary Fund, the Development
Committee of the World Bank, the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-
four on International Monetary Affairs (World Bank), and the Group of
Ten (World Bank) (para. 88).


                              B.  Implementation

             1.  Funding of operational activities for development of
                 the United Nations system

19.  In regard to the provision in Assembly resolution 50/227 that all
aspects of funding of United Nations operational activities should be
examined by the Assembly and the Council in accordance with their
respective mandates (para. 9), the reports of the Secretary-General
(A/48/940 and A/49/834) included analytical assessments of the
implications on operational activities for development of various
funding mechanisms and offered proposals thereon.  The report of the
Secretary-General (E/1997/65/Add.1), in response to Council resolution
1996/42 and Assembly resolution 50/120, includes an analytical
assessment of the implications on operational activities for
development of the recent trends in core and non-core resources and
also includes recommendations on how to increase core resources.

20.  The Assembly requested the Council to consider, on an annual basis
in the operational activities segment, the overall financial picture
of the funds and programmes, including the availability of resources,
the priorities and programmes agreed upon in the funds and programmes,
the adopted targets and further guidance on priorities, and to make
recommendations thereon to the Assembly and the funds and programmes. 
It also requested policy makers to engage in the broader issues for
development cooperation (paras. 11 and 60).

21.  Annual reports of the executive boards of United Nations funds and
programmes include such assessments.  The analytic report of the
Secretary-General drawing the attention of the Council to policy
issues prepared in consultation with the funds and programmes (UNDP,
UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP) on issues arising from their executive boards,
including the overall financial picture, is also available to the
Council (E/1997/65/Add.5).  The theme for the 1997 high-level segment
of operational activities for development is funding for operational
activities for development: implementation of General Assembly
resolution 50/227.

22.  The Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare a report
on new and innovative ideas for generating funds, to be considered by
the Assembly, on a priority basis, not later than at its fifty-first
session, taking into account the discussions in the substantive
session of 1996 of the Council (see Council resolutions 1996/42 and
1996/48).

23.  The report of the Secretary-General (E/1997/65), in response to
Council resolution 1996/42, includes such an assessment.


                             2.  General Assembly

24.  In its resolution 50/227, the Assembly encouraged the High-level
Open-ended Working Group on the Strengthening of the United Nations
System to consider promoting the use of innovative mechanisms, in
accordance with the rules of procedure of the Assembly (para. 19). 
The work of the Working Group is ongoing.  However, at the fifty-first
session of the Assembly, the Second Committee had two informal panel
discussions and four interactive debates on topical issues involving
agency representatives and experts.  The topics covered included
global economic trends and external debt, the review of Agenda 21,
climate change, and development strategies.  The Third committee held
three dialogues with executive heads on drugs, refugees, and human
rights.  These informal sessions gave additional impetus to a more
focused debate in the Committee.

25.  The Secretary-General was requested to provide information on the
total cost associated with the reports submitted annually to the
General Assembly under current mandates, so that the General Assembly
may review and take appropriate action on them (para. 20).  The
Council will have before it at its substantive session of 1997 a
report on the matter and is expected to report to the Assembly
subsequently.

26.  The Assembly stated that there was a need to promote greater
coherence and complementarity between the work of the Second and Third
Committees (para. 21).  At the fifty-first session of the Assembly,
the Bureaux of the Second and Third Committees met to review their
respective programmes of work in order to exchange information on the
issues discussed in each, to identify potential areas of overlap or
duplication, and to examine means of considering in a more coordinated
manner issues related to the follow-up of the major United Nations
conferences.

27.  The Assembly also stated that there was a need to consider
possible measures to allow for the coordinated consideration of the
report of the Council during its session (para. 22).  The report of
the Economic and Social Council is currently considered in four of the
Main Committees and in the Plenary.  In this regard, consultations
between the Bureau of the Council and the Bureaux of the Second and
Third Committees took place to discuss the coordinated consideration
of the report.  Significant improvements have been made in the
structure and presentation of the report of the Council to better
assist the Assembly in its deliberations.

28.  To the extent feasible according to resolution 50/227, the
discussions in the Second and Third Committees should not commence
until after the end of the general debate in the plenary meetings of
the General Assembly (para. 23).  The discussions in the Second and
Third Committees commenced after the end of the general debate in the
plenary meetings of the fifty-first session of the Assembly.

29.  The Assembly suggested that, for issues of a procedural nature,
decisions, instead of resolutions, should be used to the maximum
extent possible.  Resolutions should be shorter, in particular as
regards preambular parts.  The Bureaux, in reviewing the respective
agendas, could identify and recommend those individual items or
clusters of related items that could be effectively considered in
omnibus resolutions (para. 24).

30.  Compared to the fiftieth session, during the fifty-first session
of the Assembly in the Second Committee, the number of resolutions
adopted was reduced from 43 to 28.  In almost all cases their length,
in particular of preambular parts, was shortened.  If resolutions were
drafted one or two per agenda cluster, the number of resolutions could
be reduced to about 14.  This would lead to a better structured,
focused and transparent negotiating process, with less dispersed
informal meetings.  The Third Committee adopted omnibus resolutions
under the agenda items on narcotic drugs and follow-up to the Fourth
World Conference on Women.

31.  The Assembly also suggested that arrangements in the Assembly and
in the Council for considering the coordination of humanitarian
assistance and special economic assistance to individual countries and
regions should be reviewed during the fifty-first session of the
General Assembly (para. 25).  The Council will consider the sub-item
entitled "Special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief
assistance" for two meetings during its substantive session of 1997. 
The Assembly, in its resolution 51/194, welcomed the request to the
Secretary-General by the Council in its resolution 1995/56 that a
comprehensive analytical report be submitted to it at its substantive
session of 1997.

32.  In order to ensure a common approach and clear system-wide mandate
for issues dealing with special economic assistance to individual
countries, the Assembly recommended that each resolution could contain
a common preambular section, while specificity (individual needs)
would be maintained within a number of operative paragraphs
(para. 26).  This provision could come into effect at the fifty-second
session of the Assembly.

33.  To facilitate discussions based on an integrated approach to
development issues, the Assembly stated the possibility of choosing a
principal theme or themes should be explored to focus substantive
debate under each "cluster" in the agenda without prejudice to the
right of delegations to raise any other specific issue in the debates. 
Consultations should be held at an early stage, in an organizational
session of the Committee, before the start of its general debate,
based on proposals from the Bureau for decision, on clustering of the
agenda (paras. 27 and 28).  While efforts were made to further cluster
the agenda in both Committees during the fifty-first session of the
Assembly, further improvements could be made for the fifty-second
session.


                     3.  Documentation and related matters

34.  As to the provision that the Secretariat and representatives of
the specialized agencies provide executive briefings on the matters to
be covered under the items on the agenda at least a week prior to the
opening of the Assembly (para. 31), five briefings were organized by
the United Nations Secretariat and agencies in relation to items on
the agenda of the Second Committee (UNICEF, UNIDO, Habitat, UNESCO and
UNCTAD).  Other briefings were organized for the Third Committee by
the Secretariat (United Nations Office at Vienna, UNICEF and the
Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development) on the
subjects of narcotic drugs, crime prevention and criminal justice, the
involvement of children in armed conflict, advancement of women and
social development.  The briefing by UNICEF on the mid-decade review
of the World Summit for Children also related to the Third Committee's
agenda.  These briefings were considered useful.

35.  In regard to the request that the Second Committee, in accordance
with resolution 48/162, look early in the session into all aspects
related to the improvement of the working methods of the Committee
(para. 31), one week before the opening of the general debate in 1996
the Chairman of the Second Committee convened informal consultations
to discuss ways to improve the working methods of the Committee. 
Aspects discussed included time limits for interventions, deadlines
for submissions of resolutions under the various items, timely start
of each meeting and proposed themes to focus interventions under
clusters or subclusters of items, as well as informal briefings and
panels parallel to the Committee.  As a standard part of its work
programme the Third Committee held an informal meeting to discuss
organizational issues and proposals for streamlining at the beginning
of its session.

36.  According to resolution 50/227, greater use should be made of
relevant background documents in the Second Committee such as the
World Economic and Social Survey, the Trade and Development Report,
the World Development Report and the World Economic Outlook; in the
preparation of the first two reports, cooperation and coordination
between the Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy
Analysis of the Secretariat and the secretariat of the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) should be enhanced
(para. 32).

37.  The World Economic and Social Survey, and the World Development
Report will be available for the high-level segment of the Council. 
With the announced consolidation of the three departments (Department
for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, Department for
Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, and Department
for Development Support and Management Services) and the establishment
of the Executive Committee for Economic and Social Affairs, it is
anticipated that the objectives of paragraph 32 will be attained more
effectively.

38.  In regard to the Assembly's request that continued improvement be
made in order to make other reports more concise and action-oriented
and that all documentation be provided within the specified timetables
and page limits and in all official United Nations languages
(para. 33), reports are increasingly responding to these
recommendations and efforts continue to be made to have all
documentation available in time and in electronic form.

39.  As to the request that the Second and Third Committees consider
procedural decisions regarding requests for reports, including where
possible integrated reports on closely related items, as well as items
to be inscribed on the agendas for the next sessions (para. 34),
possibilities for consolidation of some of the reports that are
requested every year should continue to be examined.  Recommendations
are contained in paragraphs 12-14 above.

40.  Finally, as regards requests by both the Assembly and the Council
for proposals to simplify existing reporting requirements, the
Secretary-General has elaborated on this matter in detail in his
progress report to the Assembly at its fiftieth session (A/50/697 and
Corr.1, sect. F) and has reaffirmed the recommendations in his report
to the Assembly at its fifty-first session (A/51/501, sect. C).  As
part of his reform initiatives, the Secretary-General has set a target
of 25 per cent reduction in documentation to be achieved no later than
the end of 1998.


                        4.  Economic and Social Council

41.  In the follow-up to United Nations conferences, the Assembly
requested the Council to ensure the harmonization and coordination of
the agendas and work programmes of the functional commissions by
promoting a clearer division of labour among them and providing clear
policy guidance to them.  It suggested that the Council could
periodically organize meetings on specific issues to allow for more
dialogue with the chairpersons and the secretariats, as appropriate,
of the functional commissions, other subsidiary and related bodies and
the relevant executive boards.  If an effective and coordinated
follow-up process suggests the need, then the consolidation of
activities of subsidiary bodies may be considered (para. 39).

42.  The report of the Secretary-General on the follow-up to Council's
Agreed Conclusions 1996/1 (E/1997/58) addresses a harmonized and
integrated approach to intergovernmental consideration of poverty
eradication.  The reports of the Secretary-General on mainstreaming of
gender perspective and freshwater, including clean and safe water
supply and sanitation will review the harmonization of the
intergovernmental consideration of these issues.  The second part of
this request is being pursued in the context of the review of the
Council's subsidiary bodies (see paras. 49-53 below).

43.  The provision in Assembly resolution 50/227 that the Council hold
a substantive session for four weeks in July (para. 40) has come into
effect as of the substantive session of 1997.

44.  Pursuant to the Assembly's request (para. 43), the Council will
have before it at its substantive session of 1997 a study with a
comprehensive assessment of the present arrangements for the Council's
sessions.

45.  According to resolution 50/227, the outcome of each segment of the
Council should be strengthened and made more action-oriented, and
resolutions, decisions and agreed conclusions should be implemented
and followed up fully by all relevant parts of the United Nations
system.  This process should be monitored by the Council and the
Assembly on a regular basis, as appropriate (para. 44).

46.  The President of the Council may wish to bring the provisions to
the attention of the Council at the commencement of the substantive
session.  The high-level segment is expected for the first time to end
in agreed conclusions.  The agreed conclusions adopted at the
coordination segment are brought to the attention of the relevant
functional commissions and organizations of the system, and a follow-
up report is submitted to the Council.

47.  In regard to the Council's high-level segment (see paras. 53-56 of
resolution 50/227):

     (a)  A proposal for a theme for 1998 will be presented to the
Council at its substantive session of 1997;

     (b)  The report of the Secretary-General (E/1997/67) includes all
relevant issues to be discussed during the session and has made use of
inputs from the various pertinent bodies of the United Nations system,
including concrete recommendations;

     (c)  In order to better focus the policy dialogue, the
secretariats of the United Nations, UNCTAD, the Bretton Woods
institutions and the World Trade Organization have contributed to the
report;

     (d)  The outcome of the high-level segment is expected to be in
the form of agreed conclusions and will be followed up by all relevant
bodies and organizations of the United Nations system.

48.  As to the agreed conclusions of the Council concerning the
selection of cross-cutting themes common to major international
conferences and/or the contribution to an overall review of the
implementation of the programme of action of a United Nations
conference (para. 57), the Council, by its decision 1996/310, decided
that the themes for the coordination segment of its 1997 substantive
session are as follows:  "Mainstreaming of gender perspectives into
all policies and programmes in the United Nations system" as the
cross-sectoral theme and "Fresh water, including clean and safe water
supply and sanitation" as the sectoral theme.  The provision that the
implementation of the agreed conclusions of this segment should be
followed up in the general segment of the following year (para. 59) is
being implemented as of the substantive session of 1997.

49.  Pursuant to the Assembly's request that the Council should
regularly review the agenda of its general segment with a view to
discontinuing consideration of items that are not relevant to the work
of its subsidiary machinery or are duplicative of items on the agenda
of the Assembly (para. 67), the Council reviewed its agenda and
decided to reorganize it to delete two items from the general segment. 
On 21 February, the Bureau of the Council met with the Chairpersons of
the Second and Third Committees at the fifty-first session of the
Assembly to discuss whether an overlap existed between the agendas of
the Council and of the Second and Third Committees.

50.  Further, the Council will have before it at its substantive
session a document containing a consolidation of conclusions and
recommendations of subsidiary bodies for consideration and action by
the Council (para. 68).


           5.  Functional and regional commissions and expert groups

51.  In its resolution 50/227, the Assembly requested the Council to
undertake a review of the mandates, composition, functions and working
methods of its functional commissions and expert groups and bodies. 
In the case of functional commissions with the primary responsibility
for the follow-up and review of the implementation of a major
conference, the Council was requested to ensure the coordination of
their multi-year programmes, in accordance with the agreed conclusions
adopted by the Council at its substantive session of 1995 on the
coordinated follow-up of the results of major international
conferences.  Such a review is to be completed by the fifty-second
session of the General Assembly (paras. 70 and 71).

52.  Pursuant to the request in Council resolution 1996/41, the
Secretary-General submitted a report compiling updated information on
the establishment, terms of reference, membership and composition,
term of office of members, reporting procedure and frequency of
meetings of subsidiary bodies of the Council and the Assembly in the
economic, social and related fields (E/1996/97).  Further information
on the working methods of the functional commissions and expert groups
of the Council was also presented (E/1996/97/Add.1).  The Bureau of
the Council has initiated informal consultations in preparation of the
review during the substantive session.

53.  The Assembly also requested that the role and the working methods
of the Committee for Programme and Coordination should be considered
by the High-level Open-ended Working Group on the Strengthening of the
United Nations System (para. 73).  At the time of submission of this
report the work of the Working Group was ongoing.

54.  In accordance with resolution 50/227, the Council is to provide
for the review of the regional commissions, with a view to
strengthening and enhancing their effectiveness as action- and policy-
oriented bodies in the economic and development fields with better
response to the conditions and environments unique to the specific
regions; improving their coordination with the entire United Nations
system, including the specialized agencies, the Bretton Woods
institutions and the regional development banks; strengthening their
active participation relating to the implementation at the regional
level of the results of major United Nations conferences; and shall
encourage them also to undertake their own management and functional
assessments towards these ends.  One of the major purposes of the
reviews is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these bodies
by eliminating unnecessary duplication and by ensuring a better
structural relationship among these bodies and with the Council
(paras. 74 and 75).

55.  The Council, in its resolution 1996/41, requested the regional
commissions to continue undertaking their own reviews, as called for
in Assembly resolution 50/227 and to report to the Council at its
substantive session of 1997.  The Council also decided to take a
decision at that session concerning further action on how to achieve
the objectives set out in paragraphs 74 and 75 of annex I to Assembly
resolution 50/227, taking into account the above-mentioned reviews
(E/1997/5 and E/1997/40 and Add.1).


                         6.  Inter-agency coordination

56.  In the context of the discussions on an agenda for development,
the Assembly requested that a close review be made of the relationship
of the Council with the specialized agencies (para. 79).  That topic
is under consideration in the Ad Hoc Working Group of the General
Assembly on An Agenda for Development.

57.  Pursuant to the request of the Assembly in regard to the
Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) (para. 81), the report
of ACC (E/1997/54) gives information on the work of the three inter-
agency task forces and on the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable
Development and the Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender
Equality, and identifies policy and coordination issues to be
addressed by the Council and the Assembly.

58.  The Assembly requested that the periodic meetings of all concerned
senior secretariat officials in the economic and social sectors, under
the authority of the Secretary-General, should continue to be used to
improve coordination and performance and that the outcomes of these
meetings should be presented on a regular basis to the Council
(para. 82).

59.  The Secretary-General chairs the Policy Coordination Group, made
up of Heads of Departments and Offices within the Secretariat as well
as the heads of United Nations funds and programmes.  Secondly, all
United Nations departments, offices, funds and programmes have been
grouped in four principal sectoral areas:  peace and security,
humanitarian affairs, economic and social affairs, and development
operations (see A/51/829).  The overall aim of the establishment of
these new mechanisms is to involve all entities of the United Nations,
and the resulting cohesion will, inter alia, be evident in the reports
to the Assembly and the Council.


                7.  Relationship between the United Nations and the
                    international finance and trade institutions

60.  Pursuant to the request in resolution 50/227, the Ad Hoc Working
Group of the Assembly is seized of the question of the strengthening
of the relationship between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods
institutions and the World Trade Organization (para. 84).

61.  The Joint Exploratory Review called for in paragraphs 86 and 87 of
annex I to resolution 50/227, the purpose of which is to assess
mechanisms, programmes and relationships at the field, headquarters
and intergovernmental levels, is currently being conducted by the
United Nations (led by the UNDP Administrator in collaboration with
United Nations departments, funds and programmes), in cooperation with
the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.  A report on the
status of the review will be submitted to the Council at its 1997
substantive session and the Assembly at its fifty-second session. 
Action to implement this provision should follow the above-mentioned
review.

62.  In order to improve communication and cooperation at the
intergovernmental level between the Council and the international
financial and trade institutions, the Assembly requested the Council
to schedule periodically a high-level special meeting at a time
proximate to the semi-annual meetings of the Bretton Woods
institutions (para. 88).  The Council, by resolution 1996/43 requested
the Secretary-General to consult the heads of the financial
institutions by early 1997 in order to explore the possibilities and
practical modalities of scheduling such a meeting.  In February 1997,
the Secretary-General made suggestions to the Managing Director of the
International Monetary Fund and the President of the World Bank on the
organization of the meeting.  Consultations have been continuing with
a view to exploring the possibility of convening the high-level
special meeting in the spring of 1998.


                                8.  Secretariat

63.  The Assembly requested that the present structure and functioning
of the Secretariat, including the economic and social departments and
the question of establishing a post of Deputy Secretary-General for
International Cooperation and Development, be considered in the High-
level Open-ended Working Group on the Strengthening of the United
Nations System and in the Open-ended Working Group on an Agenda for
Development (para. 89).  It also requested the High-level Open-ended
Working Group on the Strengthening of the United Nations System to
consider uniform and maximum terms of service for heads of programmes
and funds and other Council and Assembly bodies (para. 90).

64.  At the time of submission of this report the work of the High-
level Open-ended Working Group was ongoing.  The Secretary-General
announced his decision on 17 March 1997 to merge the three Secretariat
Departments in the economic and social areas into a single department
(see A/51/829).


             III.  EXECUTIVE BOARDS OF THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT
                   PROGRAMME/UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND, THE
                   UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND AND THE WORLD FOOD
                   PROGRAMME

65.  Paragraphs 76 through 78 of annex I to Assembly resolution 50/227
contain provisions for the governing bodies of the United Nations
programmes and funds.  In paragraph 76 the Assembly requested that the
executive boards consider adjustments to their agendas, reporting
procedures and format, and that they review the number and scheduling
of meetings and sessions, with a view to continuing the
rationalization of the working methods of the boards.  In paragraph 77
the Assembly asked the governing bodies to describe in their reports
how the overall policy guidance and coordination provided by the
Assembly and the Council had been implemented, and to give specific
recommendations for further action.  In paragraph 78 the Assembly
requested that the effective participation of observer Member States
and observer States in the sessions of the executive boards be
facilitated and that the arrangements, working methods and rules of
procedure be reviewed.  The following paragraphs summarize the efforts
made by the executive boards to respond to these recommendations.


              A.  Number and scheduling of meetings and sessions

66.  The UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board has held its first regular session
(13-17 January), its second regular session (10-14 March) and its
annual session (12-23 May).  The third regular session is scheduled
for 15-19 September.  The Board holds informal meetings, briefings and
consultations between and during sessions to deal with difficult
issues, thereby facilitating formal discussions at the sessions.  The
Executive Board has kept its long-standing tradition of reaching
consensus on all decisions.

67.  At its third regular session of 1996, the UNICEF Executive Board
discussed the scheduling of its 1997 sessions, with several
delegations suggesting that the number of regular sessions be reduced
from three to two, eliminating the session scheduled for March.  The
Board agreed to shorten the second regular session to two days and
will again address the subject when deciding on its 1998 programme of
work.  The Executive Board has a long-standing tradition of reaching
consensus on all decisions.  To save time, most decisions are arrived
at through informal negotiations between interested delegations,
without resorting to formal drafting sessions requiring interpretation
and other conference services.

68.  Since the launch of the Management Excellence Programme in 1995,
the UNICEF secretariat has convened a series of inter-sessional and
informal meetings on progress made in order to benefit from the
guidance of Board members.  In addition to management excellence, the
meetings have covered a wide range of issues of particular concern to
Board members.  By providing information and promoting dialogue, these
informal meetings facilitated discussion and decision-making during
formal sessions.

69.  The secretariats of UNICEF and UNDP consult about the scheduling
of the two Executive Boards' sessions, which usually take place
consecutively in order to avoid overlap.  The secretariat has begun to
schedule the pre-Board information meetings some weeks before each
session to allow more time for follow-up consultation between New York
delegations and their capitals and between delegations and the
secretariat.

70.  The WFP Executive Board agreed at its third regular session of
1996 to the following pattern of meetings with a view to enhancing
efficient and effective governance:

     (a)  Formal Executive Board's sessions composed of annual session,
regular sessions and resumed and/or ad hoc sessions of the Board;

     (b)  Consultations on resources (in principle, twice a year);

     (c)  Open-ended information meetings preceding each formal session
of the Board;

     (d)  Meetings of the Executive Board's working groups.


                     B.  Agendas and organization of work

71.  For the first time, in January 1997, the UNDP/UNFPA Executive
Board adopted a work plan for the whole year, with a more defined
specialization of its sessions (organizational matters, thematic
discussions, strategic and policy-making documents and budgetary and
financial matters).

72.  In 1997, the UNICEF Executive Board has some 33 items on its
programme of work for the year, organized into one annual (2-6 June)
and three regular sessions (20-24 January, 18-19 March and 9-12
September).  The Board agreed on the assignment of the agenda items at
its third regular session of 1996, on the basis of clustering of
related items.

73.  The Bureau of the WFP Executive Board, in consultation with the
Executive Director, may amend the provisional agenda for the
forthcoming sessions provided in the programme of work for the
subsequent year.  At its third regular session of 1996, the Executive
Board decided as a general principle that the programme of work for
the following year, together with the sequence and tentative schedule
of sessions, pre-session briefings and of its working groups (if any
were established), would be approved at its last regular session of
each year.


                        C.  Participation of observers

74.  The UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board discussions normally do not include
written statements and are characterized by a spirit of dialogue, in
which members and observers participate.

75.  As required by Assembly resolution 48/162 and the Rules of
Procedure of the UNICEF Executive Board, observer delegations have the
right of participation in all formal and informal meetings and, on
indication in the United Nations Documents Distribution List, receive
all documentation.

76.  Members of FAO or the United Nations who are not members of the
WFP Executive Board are notified of forthcoming sessions of the Board
and are invited upon request to attend the annual session of the Board
as observers.  Those members who express a special interest would also
be invited, upon request, to attend regular sessions of the Board as
observers.  In addition, representatives of appropriate United Nations
bodies would be invited to all sessions of the Board.  Other
organizations with a special interest may be invited, upon request, to
attend sessions of the Board.


                        D.  Reporting and documentation

77.  At its third regular session of 1996, the UNDP/UNFPA Executive
Board adopted decision 96/45 on documentation which, inter alia,
established strict page limits for documents to be submitted to the
Executive Board and decided, in accordance with General Assembly
resolution 50/206, that documents must be submitted to the Office of
Conference and Support Services 10 weeks before the start of the
session.

78.  The UNICEF secretariat is working continuously to improve the use
of time during each session and, in consultation with the Board and
Bureau, is working to rationalize the reports presented at each
session.  In keeping with Assembly resolutions 50/11 and 50/206, page
limits and deadlines for documents have been established and, with few
exceptions, are met by the secretariat.  In addition, the Board and
secretariat have established an e-mail list server to facilitate
communication between the secretariat and delegations.  The
secretariat is in the process of establishing an Internet site,
accessible to delegations using a password, to post copies of official
documentation, again in keeping with the Board's decisions.

79.  Documentation prepared by the secretariat for the WFP Executive
Board will be kept brief and decision-oriented and will include, where
applicable, elements of draft decisions requested of the Board, and
reference to WFP focal point officers.  At the end of the session, a
paper containing all decisions and/or recommendations is provided to
Board representatives for verification.  A brief summary of the
discussion will be prepared by the Rapporteur, to be endorsed by the
Board at its first subsequent session.  Documentation of the Executive
Board should be available upon request, to any member of WFP.

80.  Since the 1996 third regular session, all Board documents are
posted on the WFP Internet website when available in all the Board's
official languages, with an access password available to all WFP
membership.  An open-ended training course clustered by language was
organized for that purpose last March.  Page limits were set in 1996
for different categories of documents, and efforts continue to be made
to standardize formats that facilitate the reading.


                            E.  Rules of procedure

81.  The working group on rules of procedure for the UNDP/UNFPA
Executive Board, established at the end of 1996, completed its review
of new rules of procedure in February for submission to the annual
session of the Board for adoption.

82.  Immediately following the adoption of Assembly resolution 48/162,
the UNICEF Executive Board revised its Rules of Procedure to take
account of the resolution's provisions.

83.  The WFP Executive Board at its first regular session of 1996
agreed to use the rules provided by Assembly resolution 48/162 and,
when insufficient, to apply the Rules of Procedure of the former
governing body, the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes. 
The Executive Board will revise the resulting Rules of Procedure as it
deems necessary and useful with a view to codifying them after a
suitable period of operation.

84.  In addition to the powers conferred upon the President of the
Board by the Rules of Procedure, the Board decided that:

     (a)  Pro forma statements and prepared speeches from members of
the Board should be discouraged.  If a special guest is invited to
address the Board, he/she should make a contribution to a specific
agenda item;

     (b)  The debate shall be confined to the question before the
Executive Board, and the President may propose a limitation on the
time to be allowed to representatives and to the Secretariat for
providing answers/clarification.


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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:05:30
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