United Nations

A/53/226


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

12 August 1998

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                                          Original: English 

Fifty-third session
Item 98 of the provisional agenda (A/53/150)
Operational activities for development


         Triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for
         development of the United Nations system
         
         Report of the Secretary-General

Contents                                                  Paragraphs    Page

           I.     Background and context . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 17     3
          II.     Impact of operational activities . . . . . . . . 18 35    6
         III.     Follow-up to global conferences and the 
                  role of the resident coordinator system          36 43    8
          IV.     Gender perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 48    9
           V.     Civil society. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 52   10
          VI.     Regional dimensions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 58   11
         VII.     Resources and funding. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 64   11
        VIII.     Strategic frameworks and programming . . . . . . 65 84   13
                  A.   Country strategy note . . . . . . . . . . . 68 71   13
                  B.   United Nations Development Assistance 
                       Framework                                   72 77   14
                  C.   Programme approach. . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 80   15
                  D.   Harmonization and simplification of 
                       programming                                 81 84   15
          IX.     Monitoring, evaluation and accountability. . . . 85 94   15
           X.     Field-level coordination . . . . . . . . . . .   95 111  17
                    A.   Resident coordinator system . . . . . . . 95 100  17

                    B.   Field committees and thematic groups. . . 101 104 18
                    C.   Decentralization and delegation of 
                         authority. . . . .  . . . . .  . . . . .  105 107 18
                    D.   Common premises and administrative
                         services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  108 111 19
         XI.     Capacity-building, national execution and 
                 related questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 115 19
        XII.     Humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation, 
                 peace-building and development . . . . . . . . .  116 127 20
       XIII.     Technical cooperation among developing countries .128 130 22
        XIV.     Role of agencies in the field . . . . . . . . . . 131 134 22
         XV.     Cooperation with the Bretton Woods institutions. .135 139 23


        I.     Background and context

1.              The present report has been prepared in accordance with
General Assembly resolutions 50/120 of 20 December 1995 and 52/203 of 18
December 1997 and Economic and Social Council resolution E/1998/L.43. It
contains an analysis and assessment of the implementation of policy directives
of those resolutions and recommendations of the Secretary-General. The aim of
the present report is to review relevant issues arising in the implementation
of Assembly resolution 50/120 and related resolutions. To obtain the broadest
possible range of views on the issues, questions were submitted to recipient
countries, major donor countries, the resident coordinator system at the
country level and the organizations and bodies of the United Nations system at
their headquarters. 1/ One innovation in methodology has been the conduct of
impact evaluations, in accordance with paragraph 56 of Assembly resolution
50/120.  2/

2.              The current triennial policy review provides an opportunity to
chart the course of the operational activities of the United Nations system
into the first years of the coming millennium. Although previous reviews (the
process was started 20 years ago by the Assembly in its resolution 33/201 of
29 January 1979) have focused on specific operational issues, the current
context requires a broader approach. In recent years, the range and diversity
of operational activities have increased considerably in response to the
growing diversity of situations and demands facing the United Nations system.
At the same time, mandates and tasks are being implemented in a more holistic
manner as the linkages between the various dimensions of development are
better understood. Activities in support of peace, humanitarian assistance,
rehabilitation and development are being programmed in a mutually reinforcing
way, and on the basis of initiatives supported by ACC under the leadership of
the Secretary-General. International conferences that have produced a broad
consensus on development goals and policies are being followed up by the
system increasingly on the basis of common objectives and coordinated
programming at the country level, as described in the report of the
Secretary-General on the integrated and coordinated implementation and
follow-up of major United Nations conferences and summits (see E/1998/19,
sect. II. A), and as reviewed at the Council's session on that topic of 13-15
May 1998, and in Council resolution E/1998/L.42.

3.              Development cooperation operates increasingly in a context of
interdependence among nations due to globalization and interdependence of such
issues as private capital flows, transforming new technologies and
communication. Developing countries need United Nations system support and
assistance to enhance their capacity to integrate into a globalizing world
economy. An underlying priority is poverty eradication, particularly the
feminization of poverty, and related economic and social issues, including
population, health, food security, education and environmental impact.
Cross-cutting themes, such as finance, trade, science and technology and human
resource development as well as human rights, gender, children and governance,
shape the orientation of nationally determined priorities supported through
operational activities for development. Many developing countries are engaged
in far-reaching political and economic reforms, and are asking for United
Nations system support to that end. Within the system, renewed effort is being
made to link research, normative and operational activities. Traditional
approaches to technical and financial assistance are being replaced by more
flexible approaches based on learned experience that link financial assistance
more directly to capacity-building. The system is paying increased attention
to upstream policy and advocacy functions, is replacing the project approach
with the programme approach, and is supporting, when requested, appropriate
forums and mechanisms, such as round tables that facilitate and guide a policy
dialogue among the partners in the development process. In so doing, the
system is not only contributing to a more effective integration of external
assistance with national priorities but is also better able to respond to
national requirements in a more effective and comprehensive way. Moreover, the
number of countries in special situations has grown. United Nations system
intervention in those countries has to be qualitatively different from
intervention in societies in a state of relative stability. The role of the
United Nations system in countries in transition also requires an approach
that is best suited to their specific circumstances and needs.

4.              The growing range and complexity of demands for United Nations
system operational activities make it increasingly necessary for the United
Nations development system to deepen its relations not only with Governments
but also with society at large. In particular, the system's effort to
contribute to the integrated implementation, at the national level, of global
plans of action, combining advocacy with specific operational activities, can
only succeed if countries perceive the United Nations development system as an
integral instrument in their development effort, which should include
strengthened relations of the system with all relevant development
constituencies, and has also required the introduction of new and more
flexible coordination and programming processes.

5.              The heterogeneity of the operational context of development
cooperation is increasing, posing the twin challenges to the system of
enhancing its flexibility and responsiveness to specific national development
requirements, while at the same time enhancing the overall coherence of its
operational policies to achieve optimal use of resources and greatest impact.
The wide variation in the volume of assistance provided through the system to
different countries requires differing approaches and points of entry tailored
to each country situation. Initiatives being taken to that end by individual
organizations and agencies of the system, as outlined in the present report,
are being accompanied by a renewed effort on the part of the system as a whole
to adapt its overall approaches to development cooperation in the new
international context, and to ensure that the reform processes under way
result in a qualitative strengthening of the overall coherence and impact of
the United Nations development system. Indeed, many of the major new
cross-cutting challenges facing the system do not fall into one stated mandate
but rather cut across more than one mandate; they can only be addressed
collectively and in a coordinated manner. The review needs to reflect this
operational context.

6.              An important part of its outcome must be to enable and empower
representatives at the country level to be more flexible in the design and
delivery of operational activities. The new challenges facing nations and the
international community require the organizations of the system to network
with a variety of national partners and to adjust policies and programming, as
well as methods of working and country-level presence and expertise, to
different national requirements.

7.              The reform programme encompassing the United Nations as a
whole, including its programmes and funds, is beginning to have a major impact
on the effectiveness and relevance of United Nations operational activities.
Other agencies and organizations are undergoing far-reaching reforms. In
addition, they are increasingly engaged in contributing to the effective
implementation of the Secretary-General's reform programme, particularly in
the practical, day-to-day operational context at the country level. The system
is thus in a state of transformation, and can be expected to be better placed
to meet a wider range of development challenges in more varied national
contexts. The triennial review will need to take fully into account the
momentum generated by the reform process, which constitutes a solid platform
for achieving greater efficiency, coherence and effectiveness. Moreover, the
triennial review will need to take fully into account the cross-cutting issues
requiring country-level follow-up to major United Nations conferences and
summits.

8.              There is a clear and urgent need to reverse current declining
and stagnant funding trends, particularly in the area of core resources. The
note by the Secretary-General entitled "United Nations reform: measures and
proposals concerning core resources for development" (A/52/847) contains
recommendations on multi-year pledges and other measures. The note indicates
that recent trends in core funding are disturbing and may eventually affect
the capacity of the United Nations to discharge its development cooperation
mandate precisely at a time of broad consensus achieved at the recent cycle of
global conferences on the principal dimensions of United Nations system
support to national and regional development. The demands placed on
operational activities have increased, including (a) capacity- building
through institutional and human resource development in strategic sectors and
areas of priority to enable developing countries to integrate better into the
world economy; (b) translating internationally agreed goals and objectives
emerging from conferences into concrete programmes at the country level with
poverty eradication as a major underlying objective; (c) helping to establish
social safety nets for the most vulnerable groups during periods of economic
adjustment; and (d) responding to the new political, humanitarian and
socio-economic needs in a growing number of countries. Furthermore, the
efficiency, coherence and impact of United Nations system development
cooperation would increase markedly with the availability of adequate levels
of funding, particularly core resources, which represent the central building
block for sustained development support by the system. This is confirmed by
the six impact evaluations covered in the next section. Agreement on
sustainable funding strategies by the executive boards of the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) is
vital to the future course of operational activities. It is essential that
immediate and effective steps be taken to achieve greater predictability in
voluntary funding of core resources.


          Recommendations

9.              The General Assembly may wish to take note of the considerable
progress in the implementation of its resolution 50/120 as concerns
improvements in the coherence, effectiveness and efficiency of the operational
activities of the United Nations system. The link between implementation of
the resolution and the Secretary-General's reform initiatives in operation
activities should be recognized. The General Assembly may wish to identify
areas where further progress is required, as indicated in various sections of
the present report. In so doing, it may wish to take into account the new and
changing context of operational activities, as described in the preceding
section, and to encourage further reforms of the operational activities for
development of the United Nations system, based on lessons learned and by
addressing changes both at headquarters and the country level, bearing in mind
that the ultimate impact of these changes must take hold at the country level.
Thus, the Assembly may wish to call for measures that can be supported by the
requisite resources and support mechanisms to permit their rapid and global
implementation. Local requirements for flexibility should be fully respected,
and maximum delegation of authority in the application of new measures should
be ensured. Further measures should build on progress made and on provisions
for a sustained effort to permit change to take hold.

10.                 The General Assembly may wish to stress the importance of
more effective collaboration among all development actors. Thus, collaboration
should encompass the programme countries, the United Nations system, including
the Bretton Woods institutions, other multilateral and bilateral donors,
non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The comparative
advantage of the United Nations system, particularly in the formulation of
internationally agreed norms and targets and their translation to the country
level, should be fully used and synergy within the system should be promoted.
The responsibility of the programme country to coordinate external assistance
should be recognized at all times, and appropriate capacity-building should be
supported by the system, if requested.

11.                 The General Assembly may wish to address the issue of
achieving greater coherence within the system in the provision of policy
guidance on programme priorities matters by various intergovernmental bodies.
Under the overall guidance of the General Assembly, periodic review of
policies adopted in the area of operational activities should be undertaken at
the operational activities segment of the Economic and Social Council to
ensure the coherence and consistency of policies with the policy guidelines
established by the General Assembly in the triennial comprehensive policy
review.

12.                 The General Assembly may wish to take fully into account
the current context of operational activities, marked by increasing attention
to issues arising from greater globalization and the emergence of a range of
cross-cutting issues requiring the development of policies and strategies for
a better integration of programme countries into the world economy through
capacity-building, including in the areas of finance, trade, science and
technology and human resource development, as well as institutional reforms.
It may also wish to address policy issues at an upstream stage of development
cooperation, including advocacy as mandated as a result of various United
Nations conferences. Therefore, the Assembly may wish to endorse measures that
lead to greater coherence of the system's response, including effective
linkage between research, standard setting and operational dimensions in
development cooperation.

13.                 Intergovernmental bodies, including the Economic and
Social Council and the boards of the funds and programmes, could be invited to
ensure the complementarity and mutual support of the activities of various
organizations, bringing the normative and operational dimensions of
operational activities effectively to bear on all national and regional
development cooperation activities.

14.                 The General Assembly may wish to reiterate the importance
of coordination among United Nations entities for maximum effectiveness and
impact in the implementation of its policy guidelines emerging from the
triennial policy review, and may wish to request that actions for
implementation, and the initiation of related reporting to be submitted by the
Secretary-General should be undertaken in close cooperation and coordination
by ACC and its standing committees.

15.                 Since the triennial comprehensive policy review of
operational activities for development of the United Nations system is both an
event and a process, the General Assembly may wish to call for a sequence of
benchmarks for the Secretary-General's reports and Council deliberations in
the years 1999 and 2000, in preparation for the next triennial review in 2001.
This sequence should be based on (a) the analysis and recommendations on the
implementation of policy guidance by the Assembly; (b) the evaluation reports
on capacity-building and the eradication of poverty; (c) identification of
effective responses to new and emerging issues. In accordance with the request
of the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1998/42, the following
possible themes are being suggested for the consideration of the General
Assembly and for an eventual discussion at the Council's working-level
meetings of operational activities segment for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Undoubtedly, these themes will need to be reviewed in the light of the outcome
of the triennial policy review at the organizational sessions of the Council.
Both in 1999 and 2000, the Council will receive an annual report of the
Secretary-General on operational activities that will take fully into account
the provisions of the recently adopted Council resolution 1998/27 on reporting
of the United Nations funds and programmes to the Economic and Social Council.
In addition, in each year, a progress report should be provided on the
implementation of key provisions of General Assembly resolutions 47/199,
50/120 and the upcoming resolution on the triennial policy on issues, covering
such areas as resources, strategic frameworks and programming, field-level
coordination, capacity-building and national execution, as well as the role of
operational activities in humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation,
peace-building and development. Increasingly, these reports should also
provide the results of impact evaluation studies that deal with results
achieved in supporting national implementation of follow-up to United Nations
conferences and summits through operational activities. In 1999, it might be
desirable to provide a first set of results achieved in the area of gender in
development and poverty eradication. In 2000, other areas might be retained,
including human development and sustainable development. The theme for the
year 2001 should focus on forward-looking perspectives of development
cooperation, with a focus on identifying new and emerging dimensions of
development cooperation within the United Nations system.

16.                 All measures called for in the triennial review by the
General Assembly should become part of a management plan prepared under the
authority of the Secretary-General in consultation with the United Nations
system. It should include appropriate monitoring mechanisms, including through
appropriate intergovernmental bodies, and should identify evaluation and
monitoring reports as inputs to the Secretary-General's annual report to the
Economic and Social Council on operational activities, as mentioned in
paragraph 15 above.

17.                 Bearing in mind its role in relation to the Economic and
Social Council, the specialized agencies and the executive boards of the
United Nations funds and programmes, the General Assembly may wish to request
other intergovernmental bodies concerned to address the implementation of its
resolution and to provide information to the Secretary-General for inclusion
in the report on the implementation of General Assembly policy guidelines to
be submitted to the Council, as indicated above.


       II.     Impact of operational activities 3/

18.                 In accordance with paragraph 56 of General Assembly
resolution 50/120, six evaluations were undertaken to address (a) the impact
of United Nations system support on capacity-building of national processes
and organizations between 1980 and 1995; (b) the evolving ability of the
United Nations system to develop common approaches to priority issues; (c) the
learning of lessons on how issues of building capacity for development can be
addressed; and (d) the continuing need to refine evaluations and   where
necessary   monitoring to serve the ever-widening scope of operational
activities. This was a first attempt to assess the impact of operational
activities on a system-wide basis. 4/ Three evaluations focused on
capacity-building in basic health and education; the other three focused on
capacity-building related to transfer of technology, peace-building and
environment.

19.                 The reports show that capacity-building evolved both as a
concept and in practice between 1980 and 1995, and the evaluation criteria
need to reflect that evolution. Originally called "institution-building" it
meant improving individual public sector organizations through training and
transfer of techniques. By the mid-1990s, a broader concept, "capacity
development", defined such organizations as parts of larger systems that
needed improvement.

20.                 The evaluations point to a sense of instability and
fragility permeating much of the public sector, which was often no longer the
principal deliverer of social services. They show that effective national
development depends heavily on the effectiveness of a country's organizational
infrastructure, and that the inability to implement plans and programmes
effectively could nullify the impact of sound strategies and policies. Thus,
capacity development is no longer seen as being subsumed under other project
and programme objectives but instead is being identified as a specific
objective requiring the dedication of resources to achieve it.

21.                 Traditional factors that according to the evaluation
reports enable the United Nations system to have an impact in this area
include its perceived independence, impartiality and balance in its handling
of issues. Because of the continuity of its presence at the country level, the
United Nations system develops an understanding of evolving circumstances that
helps it to adapt its approaches. More recently, the United Nations system has
been acting locally as a convenor of various development partners to help
address capacity-building issues, complementing its role as a forum for Member
States on global issues, in particular follow-up to global conferences.

22.                 The reports confirm that the degree of coherence and
collaboration within the United Nations system can be a crucial factor for
positive impact, particularly if several organizations are involved, as on
such issues as health or human resource development. This fact
notwithstanding, the experience in building capacity in the telecommunication
sector in one country demonstrates that high quality technical support from a
small technical agency can have a very considerable positive impact on the
development of a country. In general, the evaluations suggest that operational
activities are effective in handling cross-cutting issues, such as
capacity-building where the organizations of the United Nations system work
with the Government on a common set of goals, mutual expectations and limits,
which gives their technical competence and advocacy roles an opportunity to be
most effective.

23.                 Among the other factors identified by the reports that
account for the varying levels of impact of the United Nations system are (a)
civil and political stability; (b) appropriate degrees of decentralization or
centralization of national capacity; (c) technological specificity in the
capacity required and degree of competition affecting the institutions or
entities concerned; (d) ability of countries to deal overall with the effects
of policy reform; (e) national ownership; and (f) an effective analysis of the
requirements to develop fully operational capacity. Of these factors, (a) and
(e) appear to be of particular relevance.

24.                 Reasons for lack of positive impact identified by the
evaluations include proliferation of effort over too many projects; pressure
to undertake projects recommended by individual entities with the United
Nations system, with the number and diversity of proposals going beyond the
country's managerial capacity; and failure to build sustainability into
project design and transfer ownership and accountability. The picture
presented by the evaluation reports is more complex, and shows a variability
not reported separately by resident coordinators, specialized agencies and
individual funds and programmes in their responses for the present report.

25.                 Impact was seen in different forms, time-frames and
levels, reflecting both the diversity of areas for which Governments sought
United Nations system support and the changes in the concept of
capacity-building, as well as the way United Nations support to
capacity-building has evolved. In six countries examined by the evaluation
reports, some positive impact was found in all, though to differing degrees.

26.                 One evaluation showed that there was an evolution from
direct support to institutions to capacity-building through policy advocacy.
Although the latter is more difficult to evaluate in terms of specific
outcomes, it nevertheless exemplified an important area of assistance by the
United Nations system. Other evaluations showed that United Nations system
support helped to translate internationally agreed concepts into national
policy and helped to readjust capacity-building to meet new and changing
policy environments. In one case, institutional capacity developed with United
Nations system support was eventually bypassed as new approaches to health
programmes were being introduced. However, the United Nations system was able
to adjust its operational activities to help empower local initiatives to
manage community- based health services.

27.                 One evaluation found that capacity-building support to
meet the changing needs of telecommunications had considerable positive
impact. Moreover, with a small amount of funding, the United Nations system
helped to bring the country into the world informatics market and the
multiplier effect was extraordinary. One essential lesson, which has broad
implications, emerges very clearly from that dynamic experience. In that
country, support was given to creating different parts of a parastatal
telecommunications institution to meet the growing needs of the sector. The
institution served its purpose, and eventually developed into other
institutions suited to meet evolving requirements.

28.                 Another evaluation found that the United Nations system
helped to set up institutions, such as the national ombudsman, civil police
academy and public security. However, those institutions are still fragile and
are just beginning their own process of development. To ensure the full
development of this capacity for the protection of human rights, justice, and
public security, sufficient support and time will be required.

29.                 In one country, it was judged that the majority of
capacities developed with United Nations system support had yet to demonstrate
clear impact. Concern was raised over the administrative burden on the
Government imposed by the large number of projects supported by the United
Nations system. Moreover, only two of the agencies involved in the country
were judged to have systematic documentation of initiatives and lessons
learned to allow institutional memory. Indeed, that absence of an adequate
institutional memory at the country level was brought out by several other
evaluations: where key data are not systematically collected, analysed and the
results fed into programming, an assessment of impact becomes very difficult.
Although the evaluation found some impact on the development of strategic
capacities at the national level, the overall cost-effectiveness of United
Nations system support to capacity-building was judged as not having been
established.

30.                 The evaluation reports show that United Nations system
activities were able to prepare conditions for larger programmes to be
implemented (for examples of the role of the United Nations system in
innovation, testing and demonstration, which illustrate the multiplier effect
of operational activities, see the paper mentioned in footnote  3/).

31.                 The evaluations show that a major factor for achieving
positive and sustainable results is the availability of a critical mass of
financial resources in order for the national programmes which the United
Nations system is supporting to be effective. As more than one report notes,
having recorded the achievements of United Nations system support to national
capacity-building, capacities so created are vulnerable to resource
uncertainties. This holds regardless of whether these resources come from
within the United Nations system, or from national or other external sources.

32.                 In conclusion, the pilot impact evaluations suggest that
United Nations system support to capacity-building has had a positive impact
in the selected sample. That impact is often direct and immediate but
sometimes, subtle, diverse and long-term, and noticeable only as changes set
in motion. The conduct of the six evaluations provides the basis for a more
in-depth analysis of a larger sample with more refined techniques.


          Recommendations

33.                 This pilot exercise has produced useful results and should
be repeated on a more extensive scale covering a larger sample of countries.

34.                 All major capacity-building programmes supported by any
parts of the United Nations development system should have simple explicit
indicators of performance as well as baseline data built into the programme
before being approved.

35.                 Capacity-building requires a more systematic approach
within the United Nations system. Among the steps needed is for the system to
agree on country-level targets and indicators. This will require dedicated
work by subject and country specialists, and should be linked to the country
strategy note/UNDAF processes. Programmes dealing with advocacy should be
particularly explicit about the national, regional or local capacities that
they are endeavouring to support or expand.


      III.     Follow-up to global conferences and the role of the resident
coordinator system

36.                 It should be recalled that in paragraph 39 of General
Assembly resolution 50/120, the Assembly reaffirmed the important role of the
resident coordinator system in the follow-up to United Nations conferences and
summits. At its recent special session in May 1998, the Economic and Social
Council reviewed progress in this respect, including on the basis of a
separate report (E/1998/19) on the integrated and coordinated implementation
and follow-up of major United Nations conferences and summits prepared in
response to Council resolution 1997/61, with a special focus on country-level
implementation. The resident coordinator system is increasingly focusing on
integrating the follow-up to global conferences in differing national
contexts. The analysis of responses from the field contained in addendum 1 to
the present report (A/53/226/Add.1) indicates that the resident coordinator
system is devoting a large part of its attention to this subject task. It may
be helpful in future to focus evaluation studies on the link between global
conferences, the resident coordinator system and results achieved at the
country level. Furthermore, the mid-term reviews of the various conferences
are providing a comprehensive picture of results achieved. The impact studies
carried out in the context of the preparation of the present report indicate
linkages in this respect.

37.                 Governments are the key actors in the implementation of
global conferences, and the United Nations system has a supportive role to
play as a facilitator, especially through the resident coordinator system,
promoting policy dialogue and linking it with the programming of operational
activities for development. A key concern in implementing conferences is to
take into account country-specific situations and national priorities, as well
as the specific mandates and capacity of each United Nations system
organization. Therefore, a first important step of programming United Nations
system support is increasingly a situation analysis conducted by the resident
coordinator system and the Government which deals with how national policies
and priorities support conferences goals and with the effectiveness of the
institutional mechanisms for follow-up and monitoring. The introduction of the
common country assessments can facilitate that task.

38.                 Thematic groups are a main instrument for coordinated
United Nations system support for conferences implementation by the
Government. Such groups are being established in many countries. However,
their capacity to facilitate a coordinated approach to follow-up to global
conferences varies, in particular their capacity to address cross-cutting
themes of conferences. ACC has called upon the United Nations system to
utilize fully mechanisms, such as the country strategy note and UNDAF, to
support the development of national strategies and action plans for integrated
conferences implementation based on national priorities. The country strategy
note and UNDAF represent important opportunities to establish links between
programming instruments and implementation of conference goals. The critical
need for relevant indicators to monitor the implementation of conferences at
the country level should also be emphasized, and should be integrated in the
use of such tools as the common country assessment, the country strategy note
and UNDAF, in coordination with the efforts that the United Nations system and
other international organizations are making in this area.

39.                 Lack of financial resources and limited national
capacities remain major obstacles to the follow-up to global conferences at
the national level in many countries. Capacity-building initiatives are thus a
main priority. Guidelines of ACC task forces and ACC guidance for the
follow-up to global conferences are useful tools for enhancing the efforts
undertaken by United Nations country teams for conference implementation. The
annual reports of the resident coordinators could be used more fully as a
monitoring tool and to disseminate best practices. Partnership and cooperation
between the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions is being
further enhanced in conference follow-up, in close consultation with the
Government.


          Recommendations

40.                 Operational activities should be increasingly focused on
providing support in the coordinated follow-up to global conferences.
Internationally agreed strategies and targets should be integrated into
operational activities, as determined by each programme country. The effective
integration of gender issues and other key cross-cutting issues into
operational activities (including social impact assessment through such
mechanisms as the common country assessments introduced by the United Nations
funds and programmes) and the establishment of common databases should become
a priority. Progress made in these areas should be reviewed periodically.

41.                 National capacity should be developed, where required, to
ensure follow-up to global conferences. As indicated in the recommendations on
funding and resources, the required funding must be made available to enable
operational activities to support national and regional action in follow-up to
global conferences.

42.                 The tools for the resident coordinator system and
operational activities for the coordinated follow-up to conferences should be
implemented fully and their use assessed periodically. These tools should
support the policy functions of the system at the country level, and should
serve to carry out social impact assessments and other activities for the
elaboration of collaborative programmes.

43.                 In order to facilitate a coordinated follow-up to global
conferences at the country level, the resident coordinator system should
promote, in collaboration with national Governments and other development
partners, a coherent framework for conference follow-up, as well as any other
advocacy responsibilities. The framework should include the preparation of
joint situation analyses and the establishment of necessary monitoring
mechanisms that identify relevant indicators and capacity-building
requirements. These mechanisms should be harmonized with system-wide tools,
such as the common country assessment, the country strategy note and UNDAF, in
order to create a link between the implementation of global conferences and
programming of operational activities of the United Nations system.


       IV.     Gender perspective

44.                 In accordance with paragraph 7 of Economic and Social
Council resolution 1998/42 and bearing in mind the outcome of the high-level
part of the operational activities segment of the Council, the present section
deals with mainstreaming a gender perspective in the operational activities of
the United Nations system. The report of the Secretary-General entitled
"Advancement of women: implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and
the role of operational activities in promoting, in particular,
capacity-building and resource mobilization for enhancing the participation of
women in development" (E/1998/54 and Corr. 1) provides an assessment of the
current situation with respect to mainstreaming gender in operational
activities. In particular, it reflects the responses received from various
development partners, including Governments, the resident coordinator system
and agencies of the system, during the preparation of the triennial
comprehensive policy review. The responses indicate that gender programming
and gender activities have progressed to different levels, and that further
progress is essential.

45.                 The report also highlights the practical relationship of
the gender mainstreaming strategy of the United Nations system with various
approaches and modalities, including the country strategy note, UNDAF, the
common country assessment, monitoring and evaluation, staff training and
resource mobilization strategies. The preliminary assessment of the
introduction of the UNDAF concept reveals that it can provide an opportunity
to facilitate a focus on gender issues by each participating organization. It
should also be noted that at the ACC level, gender mainstreaming is receiving
increased attention by the resident coordinator system through an ACC guidance
note on field-level follow-up to global conferences developed by CCPOQ.
Although it was not possible, within the deadlines for finalization of the
present report, to obtain updated information on funding by the United Nations
system for gender activities, preliminary information is provided in the
report submitted to the Council (see E/1998/48 and Corr.1 and Add.1).
Moreover, in its report to its Executive Board on successor programming
arrangements of 8 July 1998 (DP/1998/34), UNDP notes that although only three
per cent of programme outlines focus specifically on gender, it is nonetheless
an important secondary focus area for most programmes where the primary focus
is on poverty, governance or environment. Gender concerns are emphasized in
most programmes at both the institutional and the grass-roots levels.


          Recommendations

46.                 The General Assembly may wish to take note of Economic and
Social Council resolution 1998/26 and thus to reaffirm the importance of
operational activities for development in assisting developing countries to
implement the commitments of the Beijing Platform for Action.

47.                 The General Assembly may also wish to call on the United
Nations system to increase its efforts to incorporate a gender perspective
into all operational activities, particularly within their poverty eradication
activities, and to ensure the availability of funding sources for such
programmes.

48.                 The General Assembly may further wish to stress the role
of the resident coordinator system in incorporating a gender perspective in
the programming and implementation of operational activities and undertaking
joint monitoring and evaluations to measure progress in this area. The General
Assembly may also wish to call on the United Nations system to provide
periodic progress reports, based on monitoring and evaluation, which will
provide comprehensive information to the Council and the Assembly in the
context of the next triennial review on the accomplishment of the targets set
in the Platform for Action.


        V.     Civil society

49.                 Links with civil society and the private sector are
growing. Non- state actors, non-governmental organizations, the private
corporate sector, academia and the scientific community are essential to
effective economic and social development, locally and internationally, and
are increasingly so regarded. The United Nations development system is
presently cooperating with non-state constituencies far more broadly and
deeply than ever before. In turn, those entities are becoming more active in
the execution and implementation of United Nations system-aided activities, as
agents of change and as conduits for global goals. In keeping with paragraph
24 of Assembly resolution 50/120, United Nations system capacity-building is
increasingly oriented to assist and make use of those non-state actors, which
has consequences for the relevance and operational viability of current
approaches and practices.

50.                 As part of the response of the United Nations system to a
Government's wish to strengthen the capacity of civil society and national
non-governmental organizations that are engaged in development activity, the
resident coordinator system could review, in close consultation with the
Government, the requirements of non-State actors that may need technical and
substantive strengthening, including their legal status, and appropriate
approaches for their involvement. Adopting such an approach could be another
major contribution towards decentralization and delegation of authority, in
line with the Secretary-General's reform programme.


          Recommendations
51.                 Operational activities should contribute to enhancing
links with civil society, non-governmental organizations and the private
sector in carrying out development programmes as agreed with the host country.
The inherent flexibility and adaptability of operational activities should be
enhanced in this regard, based on learned experience and with a view to
facilitating alliances to seek new and innovative solutions to development
problems.

52.                 The United Nations system should continue to expand its
relations with national and international elements of civil society,
consistent with the desires of Governments, in order to broaden the
participation of all relevant groups in development. United Nations entities
should give particular attention to assistance for capacity-building of local
bodies.


       VI.     Regional dimensions

53.                 As mandated, operational activities focus primarily on the
country level. The vast proportion of those activities is organized within
individual countries. A relatively small proportion (10 to 15 per cent in
terms of total resources) is undertaken at the regional and subregional
levels. Although relatively small in financial terms, those regional and
subregional operational activities offer broader perspectives and open up new
opportunities for generating productive forms of multilateral action,
especially important to transboundary development cooperation and for
peace-building. The United Nations system has important comparative advantages
in this respect: its objectivity; neutrality and acceptability in dealing with
sensitive questions, particularly important when managing intercountry issues;
its access to intersectoral resources and global and regional databases; its
systems of grant funding; its role in setting norms and standards on a global
and regional scale; and its growing intercountry technical support and
managerial structures.

54.                 Regional and subregional development cooperation offers a
range of opportunities for enhancing the development prospects of individual
countries. The growing technical capacity of the United Nations system at the
subregional level offers substantive and technical support to operational
activities at the country level. United Nations organizations have established
a varied pattern of relationships with subregional and regional
intergovernmental organizations with the aim of finding common solutions to
complex transboundary development problems. There is an expanding prospect for
technical cooperation among developing countries, on which a separate report
will be submitted to the General Assembly at its next session. There continues
to be a need to achieve greater complementarity between country and
intercountry activities, as well as improved coordination of intercountry
operational activities.

55.                 In accordance with paragraph 20 of Assembly resolution
50/120, attention is being given to the need to strengthen the regional aspect
of United Nations development support. Analysis shows that regional dimensions
of operational activities are not sufficiently linked to the country level at
the stage of developing programme frameworks or in implementing programmes and
projects. Current evidence indicates that there should be improved information
exchange on intercountry activities within the resident coordinator system,
greater involvement by national authorities, and better mechanisms to obtain
access to technical capacities of United Nations organizations at the
subregional and regional levels. Similarly, at the intercountry levels there
could be greater exchange of information among the United Nations system
organizations and greater transparency in their programming activities. A more
coordinated approach to United Nations system cooperation with subregional and
regional intergovernmental bodies would also be desirable. A separate report
to the Economic and Social Council on regional cooperation in the economic,
social and related fields (E/1998/65 and Add.1-3) gives attention to some
aspects of the matter.


          Recommendations

56.                 The General Assembly may wish to reaffirm the importance
of the regional dimension in development cooperation as an integral part of
the operational activities of the United Nations system. Efforts should be
undertaken to ensure that this dimension is taken into account when
formulating national strategies and programmes, thus taking advantage of the
potential of intercountry and regional cooperation and economies of scale. The
Assembly may also wish to take note of the outcome of the substantive session
of 1998 of the Economic and Social Council on the review by the Council of the
regional commissions, as mandated by General Assembly resolutions 50/227 and
52/12 B, as contained in its agreed conclusions.

57.                 The resident coordinator system should give greater
attention to intercountry aspects of the work of the United Nations system,
bearing in mind the regional and subregional settings of host countries and
the substantive competences of United Nations agencies, whether or not locally
represented. Greater emphasis should be placed on complementarity and
coordination of efforts within the United Nations system, and on linkage with
relevant intergovernmental bodies. Regional and subregional capabilities of
the United Nations regional commissions, funds and programmes, and specialized
agencies should be more closely associated with the resident coordinator
system and with programming mechanisms, such as UNDAF.

58.                 Further intergovernmental deliberations on the role of the
United Nations regional commissions in operational activities should aim at
maximum effectiveness of the system at all levels of activity.


     VII. Resources and funding

59.                 Concessionary resource flows to developing countries have
reached a critical stage: instead of moving towards the globally agreed target
of 0.7 per cent, they are in a state of steady decline at a time of increasing
needs and demands. In nominal terms, official development assistance (ODA)
from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)/Development
Assistance Committee (DAC) countries has declined from US$ 60.5 billion in
1994 to $59.7 billion in 1995 and $58.2 billion in 1996, representing a
significant decline in real terms. Although ODA has declined, other types of
resource flows to developing countries have increased, reducing the share of
ODA in total net resource flows to only 22 per cent in 1996, as compared with
a share of 64 per cent in 1994. The problem with those primarily
market-directed flows is that they are largely confined to only a few
developing countries that have the capacity to attract foreign investments and
loans. Most low-income developing countries, in particular the least developed
countries and countries in Africa, have not gained from private flows and have
been adversely affected by the decline of ODA. Their problems have been
further exacerbated by the burden of debt repayments, for which a lasting
solution is being sought.

60.                 The activities of the United Nations system in many
recipient countries have been affected in recent years by the marked decline
of the share of ODA in total resource flows. Moreover, as shown in table B-1
of the statistical addendum to the present report (A/53/226/Add.2), the share
of the United Nations system development grants in declining total ODA has
dropped in nominal terms from about 8 per cent ($4.9 billion) in 1993 to less
than 7.5 per cent ($4.3 billion) in 1996. As shown in table B-6, the share of
United Nations specialized and technical agencies within total United Nations
system grant assistance dropped from 26 per cent ($1.3 billion) in 1993 to
about 19 per cent ($0.9 billion) in 1996. The preliminary report for 1997 will
become available in September 1998; however, there is an indication that the
trends of stagnation and decline have continued. Resources to fund activities
at the country level through the United Nations system vary from 1 per cent of
total external aid to 100 per cent; on average, it is below 10 per cent of
external assistance. Such wide variations have an important effect on the
points of entry for the United Nations system interventions, their role and
character, the influence it can wield in policy and advocacy, and in the types
of partnerships that it can build with other development partners. Resource
levels are a key ingredient in the efficiency and effectiveness of United
Nations operational activities. The fragility and inadequacy of United Nations
development resources are, therefore, a matter of concern. The United Nations
system is expected to play a role qualitatively distinct from other external
development partners, and its unique and lead role in many circumstances is
affected by growing resource constraints. The decline of resources available
to the United Nations system for operational activities targeted on
development is a particularly negative and disturbing trend that would affect
the continuing dynamic process of development cooperation and the pursuit of
global compacts.

61.                 Official development assistance (ODA) and contributions to
the United Nations system should be seen within the broader framework of
financial flows to developing countries. There has been a radical shift in the
overall financial flows, with market-mediated investment and lending flows
increasing dramatically and with significant decreases in official flows. ODA
itself has undergone a change in its traditional paradigm, with the focus now
largely on poverty-related assistance, rather than filling financial gaps in
the balance of payments and government budgets of developing countries.

62.                 ODA has many components, and each component has an
important rationale attached to it. A large part of ODA is now disbursed in
the form of grants, although there is still a highly significant proportion of
ODA being disbursed as loans and credits, both by bilateral and multilateral
organizations. Within the ODA system and also within the multilateral system,
the United Nations is unique for its almost exclusive focus on grant-funding.
Such assistance is, therefore, particularly critical at a time of heavy debt
burdens carried by many developing countries, including the poorest amongst
them. The United Nations system has led the way in bringing about the paradigm
change to focus on poverty and sustainable patterns of development, and
creating the national capacity needed to address those issues at the same time
shaping the global agendas for new approaches to development cooperation.
Current declining trends of resources available to the United Nations system
may have a damaging effect on the positive contribution that is sought through
the new development paradigm. The total amount available to the United Nations
system for operational activities for development in the last three years in
nominal terms has remained stagnant and has declined in real terms, as
follows: $5.5 billion in 1994, $5.5 billion in 1995 and $5.4 billion in 1996.
Moreover, as indicated in the statistical addendum (A/53/226/Add.2), there is
a trend towards increased earmarked funding of operational activities for
development.

63.                 As a response to Assembly resolutions 50/227, 52/12 B, and
52/203, the executive boards of United Nations funds and programmes have
reviewed their current funding arrangements, and have developed proposals for
arresting and reversing the decline of core and non-core resources received by
them. As recognized by the Assembly in its resolution 52/203, the fundamental
strengths of United Nations operational activities for development are to be
found in their universal, voluntary and grant nature, their neutrality and
their multilateralism. Within those parameters, proposals have been developed
to facilitate the flow of resources on a predictable, continuous, and assured
basis (for a more extensive discussion of these issues, see A/52/847).


          Recommendation

64.                 The General Assembly may wish to give special attention
to, and act, as appropriate, on the conclusion of the consideration of funding
strategies by the executive boards of the funds and programmes to reverse the
declining trend in core resources. The General Assembly may also wish to
reaffirm the importance of core resources, while also recognizing the
increased relevance of non-core and other sources of funding of operational
activities. It may further wish to consider how best to attract resources from
new donors and private sources. The General Assembly may also wish to indicate
the importance, in mobilizing resources, of demonstrating the results and
impact of operational activities.


     VIII.     Strategic frameworks and programming

65.                 The operational activities of the United Nations system
are conceived and designed with the objective of contributing to national
development. The General Assembly has stressed that national plans and
priorities constitute the only viable frame of reference for the national
programming of operational activities, and that programmes should be based on
such development plans and priorities and should therefore be country-driven.
It has also emphasized the importance of national plans in implementing the
outcomes of, and commitments entered into at global conferences and the role
of United Nations operational activities in supporting such implementation.
Moreover, in its resolutions 47/199 and 50/120 the Assembly emphasized the
imperative of integrating the United Nations system's work at the country
level into national policies, plans and programmes. Programming tools and
modalities, such as the country strategy note, the programme approach and
national execution, have interconnected dual purposes: (a) to facilitate
closer collaboration within the United Nations system, and (b) to integrate
coordinated work into national processes. Available evidence indicates that
the United Nations system has been more successful in the direction of the
former objective than the latter. By and large, the United Nations development
system is working more coherently, but further progress still could be made to
link its operational activities to national programmes.

66.                 In its resolutions 47/199 and 50/120, the General Assembly
provided directives for better coordination of United Nations system
operational activities and their better integration into national development,
through the use of a strategic framework for programming and by achieving
greater coherence by the system in response to national objectives and
priorities. The Secretary-General's reforms have given a major impulse to the
achievement of that goal through UNDAF, complementing the country strategy
note, where it exists. Common country assessments are a key step in
formulating those strategic frameworks.


          Recommendation

67.                 The General Assembly may wish to call for the full
implementation of its resolutions 47/199 and 50/120, particularly those
provisions in the area of programming that are aimed at closer integration of
United Nations system support with national strategies and programmes.


        A.     Country strategy note

68.                 Of 90 countries that expressed an interest in pursuing the
country strategy note, 33 have completed the process. Since the country
strategy note is a voluntary exercise which requires the Government's
endorsement, its preparation and approval depend to a large extent on a stable
political and economic situation prevailing in the country, as well as the
timing of national development planning. The slow start of the country
strategy note process was often affected by those factors.

69.                 When the country strategy note formulation process has
been based on broad consultation of the relevant partners, it has contributed
to policy dialogue and exchange of information with host Governments and among
system organizations, leading to better coordination. However, the involvement
of national authorities and some parts of the United Nations system in the
formulation of the country strategy notes has not always been adequate.
Current indications are that the country strategy note, in several cases, has
tended to be a single event with limited long-term impact on the coordination
of United Nations system activities, particularly when follow-up and
monitoring mechanisms were not clearly spelled out. Only a few countries have
indicated that the country strategy notes are being updated, although the
information available is limited in this area. The added value of the country
strategy note process cannot be considered as having been clearly established
in all cases, and the slow introduction of the country strategy note and its
adoption by a relatively small number of countries has limited its usefulness
as a standard framework for programming.


          Recommendations

70.                 The General Assembly may wish to take note of the
relationship of the country strategy note and UNDAF, where they both exist. It
may wish to reaffirm its resolutions 47/199 and 50/120 concerning the optional
use of the country strategy note by interested countries. It may also wish to
indicate that where the country strategy note exists, it should serve as the
basis for the preparation of the UNDAF and should ensure compatibility with
the country strategy note.

71.                 In countries where the country strategy note has been
adopted, resident coordinators should support the national Government's
efforts to monitor the implementation of the country strategy note. Resident
coordinators should also encourage the revision of adopted country strategy
notes to ensure the integration of United Nations system operations with
national priorities and enhance the development impact of United Nations
system support.


        B.     United Nations Development Assistance Framework

72.                 As a part of his reform proposals of 14 July 1997 (see
A/51/950, paras. 50 and 160-161, and action 10), the Secretary-General
requested all United Nations funds and programmes to develop UNDAF as a
framework for ensuring that the individual country programmes of the funds and
programmes are based on common objectives and harmonized time-frames. The aim
is to achieve goal-oriented collaboration, programmatic coherence and mutual
reinforcement. That initiative responds to the provisions of paragraph 14 of
General Assembly resolution 50/120.

73.                 UNDAFs are being piloted in 18 countries, with the support
of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG). 4/ The pilot phase will be
assessed later in 1998. Only preliminary lessons of the pilot phase will be
available in time for the triennial review by the General Assembly. Although
UNDAF initially covered only the funds and programmes, the Secretary-General
has invited other parts of the United Nations system to participate in the
process, and system-wide implications of UNDAF are currently being considered
within CCPOQ. In several countries, agencies are currently cooperating with
the funds and programmes in the formulation of UNDAFs. Consultations with the
Bretton Woods institutions are also envisaged, including through interfacing
with the World Bank country assistance strategy.

74.                 As described in greater detail in addendum 1 to the
present report (A/53/226/Add.1), the preparation of UNDAF entails
collaborative programming and close consultation with Governments, including
compatibility with country strategy notes where they exist. To that end,
continued efforts are required to harmonize country programmes, and strengthen
cooperation with various partners. Practical measures are being adopted by the
resident coordinator system to harmonize the two processes. Member States are
generally supportive of UNDAF although they have expressed differing views
about the relationship between UNDAF and the country strategy note process,
and some have expressed the need for simplification. Several Governments
indicated in their responses that the UNDAF process should ensure the active
involvement of national authorities and relevant stakeholders, as well as all
specialized agencies of the system, including the Bretton Woods institutions.
However, although an evaluation of the UNDAF process is premature, the
forthcoming assessment of the UNDAF pilot phase will shed further light on
this matter and will identify areas for further action.


          Recommendations

75.                 The General Assembly may wish to take note of the pilot
stage of UNDAF and the preliminary assessment of the provisional guidelines
conducted by UNDG in consultation with Governments and organizations of the
United Nations system. The General Assembly may also wish to reaffirm the goal
of enhanced coherence in programming as contained in paragraph 14 of
resolution 50/120.

76.                 In conducting further UNDAFs, particular attention should
be paid to (a) ownership of the UNDAF process through full consultation of
Governments in its preparation; (b) collaborative programming within the
framework of UNDAF, reflecting the strengths and mandates of each
participating organization; (c) joint monitoring and evaluation within the
framework of UNDAF. UNDAF should lead to more coherence and effectiveness of
the United Nations system in carrying out a coordinated follow-up to global
conferences.

77.                 In the context of the next triennial policy review of
operational activities for development, the Secretary-General should report on
his assessment of UNDAF as an instrument to achieve United Nations system
goal-oriented collaboration at the country level. In particular, it will be
important to assess the value of UNDAF in harmonizing country programmes and
promoting policy dialogue and consultation with all relevant development
partners, and its capacity in providing a consistent United Nations response
to an authoritative statement of national requirements.


        C.     Programme approach

78.                 The experience of applying the programme approach shows
that recipient Governments are generally committed to this modality. It has
been especially applied to sectoral areas, and has been subject to varying
interpretations by United Nations system organizations, depending mostly on
individual agency policies and procedural provisions with respect to
programming.

79.                 Although there is a trend to introduce the programme
approach in all recipient countries, its full implementation has not yet been
achieved. In some countries, difficulties encountered in the use of the
programme approach were due to weak institutional and human resources,
although the Government may have indicated a strong interest in pursuing this
approach. The application of the country strategy note and UNDAF can
facilitate the use of the programme approach. There continues to be a need to
support national entities to facilitate the effective implementation of the
programme approach.


          Recommendation

80.                 The General Assembly may wish to reaffirm that the concept
of the programme approach be applied whenever feasible. The programme approach
should facilitate the integration of development activities supported by
various partners under national management and with a focus on results and
outputs.


        D.     Harmonization and simplification of programming

81.                 In its resolution 50/120 and preceding resolutions, the
General Assembly has called for simplification and harmonization of rules and
procedures as a means to facilitate the integration of United Nations system
activities into national development programmes, and to facilitate
collaboration among United Nations system organizations. The present review
confirms again the burden placed on many countries, including country offices,
by the complex and diverse rules and procedures governing programming within
the system, and the urgent need to introduce further simplification,
particularly in programming. The introduction of UNDAFs provides an
opportunity to work on the basis of a common database and common country
assessments. This should serve to promote further steps within the system
aimed at simplification in programming and contribute to the eventual
development of a more streamlined and collaborative United Nations system
development cooperation programme cycle.


          Recommendations

82.                 Greater progress should be made in the harmonization and
simplification of the procedures of the United Nations system in operational
activities, as already called for by the Assembly in its resolutions 47/199
and 50/120. To facilitate the use of the country strategy note and UNDAF as a
framework for programming, steps should be taken to continue to harmonize
programming cycles over the duration of a cycle and to streamline the
preparation of programmes. Whenever feasible, country programmes or their
equivalent should be presented to the Boards in a coordinated fashion by the
funds and programmes, together with the approved country strategy note and
UNDAF, where applicable.

83.                 The simplification of planning and administrative
procedures within the United Nations system should involve consultations with
other donors with a view to assessing their concerns and interest in this
area. A report on the harmonization subject could be considered by the
Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 1999 or 2000.

84.                 Greater simplification and harmonization of procedures for
designing, programming, implementing and monitoring operational activities of
United Nations system organizations should be ensured to strengthen
field-level coordination and increase the effectiveness of United Nations
development support. In particular, the country strategy note, UNDAF, common
country assessment and other frameworks adopted by the United Nations system
should be reviewed in order to verify their consistency and harmonization as
part of one cooperation programming cycle with a view to simplifying
procedures and avoiding duplications.


       IX.     Monitoring, evaluation and accountability


85.                 In General Assembly resolution 50/120 and subsequent
Economic and Social Council resolutions, notably Council resolution 1996/42,
the United Nations system was called on to ensure improvements in monitoring;
coordinate programme reviews and evaluations; apply lessons learned
systematically to build evaluation criteria into all projects and programmes
and promote national evaluation capacity; and provide the Economic and Social
Council with information on evaluation activities that is quantifiable and
comparable. All funds, programmes and agencies of the United Nations
development system were urged to identify measurable targets for strengthening
their monitoring and evaluation capabilities, to incorporate those targets in
plans to implement Assembly resolution 50/120, and to cooperate in the
development of monitoring and evaluation methodologies.

86.                 The system is responding to the guidance from the General
Assembly and other intergovernmental bodies on issues of monitoring and
evaluation in carrying out joint evaluations. A few agencies have reported
activities in support of developing national evaluation capacity. Continued
attention to this area of operational activities appears to be necessary.

87.                 The system's response to the need for established targets
as called for in Council resolution 1996/42 has been too limited. Also,
movement towards holding joint programme reviews rather than separate
exercises has been slow, although the introduction of UNDAF may encourage at
least the funds and programmes to move in this direction. Information on
achievements in terms of impact and effectiveness has been provided by only a
few United Nations organizations. Moreover, United Nations organizations
report results in different ways, reflecting the variations in mandates,
working methods and roles that exist within the United Nations development
system.

88.                 Overall, while there is reporting of results, this is not
done in the comparable terms requested in Council resolution 1996/42. There
continue to exist methodological problems of measurement and quantification
that demand ongoing attention and work. The Inter-Agency Working Group on
Evaluation, which deals with these issues, last met in June 1998. Some
relevant issues were reviewed then; however, the concerted approach by the
system suggested in Assembly resolution 50/120 and Council resolution 1996/42
has yet to emerge.
          
89.                 Lessons learned by the system are principally at the
project and programme level and confirm conclusions drawn previously. As far
as impact of the United Nations system at the country level is concerned,
recipient Governments have not reported evaluating United Nations operational
activities, although they are generally agreed that United Nations system
operational activities contribute to their development. Several countries
referred to the magnitude of resources as one important criterion by which the
United Nations system is judged. The contributions made to policy development,
especially in the social sectors, are being viewed favourably by many
countries. Mitigating the negative social effects of economic reforms is seen
as particularly important. The United Nations system is making important
contributions in aid coordination and management, and helps to integrate
transitional economies with the world economy.


          Recommendations

90.                 Improved evaluation of results and use of the lessons so
learned should be given priority attention throughout the United Nations
development system with a view to enhancing effectiveness and transparency.

91.                 Future triennial comprehensive policy reviews could
synthesize the evaluation results provided to the Secretary-General by
relevant United Nations system organizations in order to complement impact
evaluations on strategic and cross-cutting issues. The results of each
organization's evaluation work and that of the Secretariat should be fed back
into programme activities.

92.                 Organizations of the United Nations system should devote
the necessary support and resources to evaluation, and should ensure that
results are reflected in programmes.

93.                 At the request of programme countries, the United Nations
system should help to strengthen national evaluation capacity and promote its
use by acting, where appropriate, as Convener at the country level of
evaluations of major sectors in which its international partners are involved.
One of the purposes of coordinated evaluations would be simplification of the
evaluation of national development programmes, harmonization of approaches
both within and beyond the United Nations system, and enhanced national
ownership of both the process and the results of such evaluations.

94.                 Country teams should be responsible for the systematic
documentation and sharing of best practices related to the resident
coordinator system and collaborative activities, including follow-up to global
conferences, with the aim of establishing an institutional memory of
field-level coordination and orienting future training and capacity-building.


        X.     Field-level coordination

        A.     Resident coordinator system

95.                 The field coordination of the United Nations system
recognizes as a fundamental principle that recipient Governments have the
primary responsibility for coordinating all external assistance with the aim
of integrating such assistance into their national development activities. The
resident coordinator system is engaged in supporting, where requested, this
responsibility of the Government, including by supporting such mechanisms as
the round-table process and forums that guide policy dialogue among
development partners to ensure that all programmes are integrated with
national plans and strategies. The reform measures introduced by the
Secretary-General in 1997 constitute a major step forward in strengthening the
resident coordinator system in accordance with General Assembly resolutions
47/199 and 50/120. The measures are being implemented within the framework of
UNDG and in close coordination with the ACC Consultative Committee on
Programme and Operational Questions (CCPOQ). Although a number of decisions
are not yet fully operational and some issues are still being worked out, the
analysis of the implementation of Assembly resolutions 47/199 and 50/120 shows
that considerable progress has been made. Thus, the resident coordinator (a)
is recruited on the basis of agreed criteria and competency assessment from a
wider pool from within the United Nations system; (b) is better supported by
headquarters with designated focal points and by UNDG on the basis of
increasing consultations with CCPOQ (mostly through its Working Group on the
Resident Coordinator System); (c) is provided with dedicated resident
coordinator resources for coordination activities from UNDP, and some indirect
resources from other organizations; (d) is exercising broader, delegated
authority; and (e) is better supported by all United Nations system
organizations, often following team-building workshops and task-oriented
retreats.

96.                 There is extensive evidence that when the resident
coordinator function engages the collective responsibility of the country
representatives of other organizations of the United Nations system and works
towards collaborative programming, monitoring and evaluation, on the basis of
team-spirit and shared purposes and objectives, operational activities are
more effective and have greater impact. There are many examples of resident
coordinator system teams working on the basis of those principles in all parts
of the world. With the right mix of good practices, the resident coordinator
system can function and achieve the expected results, even within current
constraints.

97.                 However, much still remains to be done: greater attention
needs to be given to a range of issues identified in the present report. The
relationship of the resident coordinator system with the host country is a
particularly important area that may need further attention, including the
flow of information, the existence of government focal points for the resident
coordinator system and the need in some countries for greater interest and
support by Governments in the effective functioning of the resident
coordinator system. Periodic consultations of the entire resident coordinator
system with national partners, where such consultations do not yet exist,
would be helpful in ensuring that the resident coordinator system becomes even
more responsive to national priorities. There is also room to increase the
participation of all relevant United Nations system partners in the resident
coordinator system at the country level. In particular, ways of ensuring the
full and effective inclusion of agencies without field representation in the
resident coordinator system remain to be considered. Greater simplification
and harmonization of procedures and more equal levels of delegated authority
to the country level would also considerably strengthen the functioning of the
resident coordinator system. Other concerns are the establishment of more
systematic arrangements to facilitate the sharing of good practices and the
building of an effective institutional memory that nurtures training, and
improved selection criteria for all members of a country team. Although
several steps have been taken, greater progress in these directions would be
desirable.


          Recommendations

98.                 The General Assembly may wish to take note of progress
made in strengthening the resident coordinator system and encourage further
progress, with particular reference to: (a) ensuring the full participation of
the organizations of the United Nations system in, and support of, the
resident coordinator system; (b) continuing to broaden the base of recruitment
of resident coordinators and improve selection criteria and procedures,
including through the use of competency assessment; (c) continuing to provide
training to support team-building and leadership in substantive areas; and (d)
ensuring that the resident coordinator takes fully into account the mandates
and the interests of all United Nations development system organizations,
particularly those without field representation. All executive heads should be
urged to ensure that all United Nations system staff in programme countries
are fully aware of the functioning of the resident coordinator system and
their responsibility for its effective functioning, and that they are
technically qualified to provide such support.

99.                 All the organizations of the United Nations system should
be fully engaged in the collective efforts of the resident coordinator system
aimed at favouring collaborative advocacy and programming, monitoring and
evaluation so as to enhance the effectiveness of the United Nations system at
the field level. To that end, the participation of all United Nations
organizations, in particular those without field representation, in the
functioning of the resident coordinator system should be actively pursued both
at headquarters and country levels.

100.     The relationships of the resident coordinator system with the host
country should be strengthened through greater information exchange,
identification of government focal points and periodic consultations with
national partners with the participation of all relevant United Nations system
partners.


        B.     Field committees and thematic groups

101.     The report of the Secretary-General on progress in the implementation
of General Assembly resolution 50/120 (see E/1997/65, para. 41; see also
E/1997/65/Add.2) showed that field-level committees were established in 86 of
107 countries. Room for improvement has been identified in the responses of
Governments in a number of areas: (a) establishment of better integration of
the activities of the resident coordinator system, with national objectives,
policies and programmes; (b) better dialogue and interaction between the
resident coordinator system and national partners, including increased
involvement of host Governments in the activities of the resident coordinator
system; (c) capacity of the resident coordinator system to facilitate resource
mobilization; and (d) resident coordinator system contribution to
capacity-building to enhance the Government's coordination role. The
participation in the resident coordinator system of different organizations
represented at the country level is not uniform. The relation with the
organizations without field representation needs further improvement through
enhanced communication channels. As indicated in paragraph 105 below, the
delegation of authority and decentralization within the system is not yet
uniform. The division of responsibility could also be improved as well as the
process of simplifying and harmonizing operational procedures. Moreover,
available data indicates that there is need for flexibility in the way these
committees are organized. Skills in the management of effective meetings and
proper follow-up contributes to the functioning of the resident coordinator
system. Links to national authorities vary widely.

102.     A common purpose of most field committees and thematic groups is
information-sharing. When they go beyond information exchange, consultations
tend most often to be policy-oriented, aimed at establishing common objectives
and direction, although in some cases they implement programming tasks of a
more operational nature. The involvement of United Nations system
organizations, government representatives and other national and international
stakeholders in the thematic working groups is not uniform. The improved
functioning of the resident coordinator system appears to be closely
correlated with the structure of thematic groups and their effectiveness.


          Recommendations

103.     The General Assembly may wish to reaffirm that field-level
committees, as called for in its resolutions 47/199 and 50/120 (para. 40),
should aim to establish a better integration of the resident coordinator
system activities with national efforts by enhancing policy dialogue with the
host Government and other development partners.

104.     The United Nations system should enhance the functioning of thematic
groups at the country level as one of the most vital instruments of the
resident coordinator system to strengthen field-level coordination and policy
dialogue by providing adequate resources.


        C.     Decentralization and delegation of authority

105.     As detailed in addendum 1 to the present report (A/53/226/Add.1),
United Nations funds and programmes have achieved a large degree of
decentralization and delegation of authority, as part of the effort to enhance
responsiveness to national requirements and to facilitate country-level
coordination. Although most organizations of the United Nations system have
moved towards decentralization and delegation of authority, the levels of that
delegation have been uneven, which constitutes a constraint to joint
initiatives and cooperation. The effectiveness of the resident coordinator
system and coherence and coordination within the system would be considerably
enhanced by greater uniformity within the system in the granting of
field-level authority, in accordance with the provisions of Assembly
resolution 47/199, paragraph 25. To have the desired impact, decentralization
and delegation should go hand in hand with the redeployment of staff to the
field and the strengthening of field offices. Although the system is
undoubtedly moving in that direction, further impetus to those efforts, in
consultation with host countries, may be needed. Details are also provided in
addendum 1 on the recent trends in the strengthening of country and
subregional offices of the United Nations system through the redeployment of
staff.


          Recommendations

106.     The General Assembly may wish to request further progress on
harmonization of delegated authority to the field level among United Nations
system organizations. It may also wish to request an assessment of the
situation with respect to the various organizations in order to identify areas
where further progress might be possible. This assessment could be reviewed by
the Economic and Social Council.

107.     In order to achieve more effective coordination within the resident
coordinator system, more equal levels of decentralization, delegated
authority, staff redeployment and strengthening of field offices should be
pursued by all United Nations system organizations, taking into account the
different operational requirements.


        D.     Common premises and administrative services

108.     In his reform programme, the Secretary-General decided that all funds
and programmes and United Nations information centres would be part of a
single United Nations office under the resident coordinator, and that common
premises of the United Nations at the country level would be named "United
Nations House" (see A/51/950, actions 10 (b) and (c)). This initiative should,
inter alia, serve to further the implementation of paragraph 44 of resolution
50/120, in which the Assembly requested the Joint Consultative Group on Policy
and the specialized agencies to substantially raise the target for achieving
common premises on the basis of cost-benefit analysis, avoiding an increased
burden on host countries.

109.     The range of operational support services required by United Nations
system agencies active in the field is extensive. Some of these services can
be provided on a common basis, regardless of the location of the agencies
served; others are only feasible in conjunction with the existence or
establishment of common premises. Resident coordinators emphasize that the
principal rationale for common services is economies of scale permitting cost
savings when service functions are carried out on behalf of a number of
agencies rather than individually. They stress that regardless of where
organizations are housed, common services can be achieved. It is becoming
important for future coordination to develop a common information management
system.


          Recommendations

110.     The General Assembly may wish to endorse the concept of a "United
Nations house". It may also wish to call on the United Nations system to build
on progress made in establishing common premises. In addition, it may wish to
encourage the full integration of the concept of a "virtual house" through
electronic connectivity and compatibility of software among United Nations
system organizations. The Assembly may wish to take note of current
initiatives within UNDG in pursuing common premises, including by taking a
cost-benefit study as called for by relevant resolutions.

111.     The General Assembly may wish to call for increased coordination and
rationalization in developing shared administrative services and the
rationalization of existing procedures. The Economic and Social Council may be
asked to review progress in this area with a view to ensuring that greater
coordination and cost-effectiveness are achieved.


       XI.     Capacity-building, national execution and related questions

112.     National execution has expanded greatly in recent years as a modality
for carrying out United Nations-supported programmes. National execution is
widely regarded as an effective modality in the provision of support to
national development and capacity-building. It promotes national ownership of
development programmes supported by the system, ensures sustainability once
system support ceases and helps bring national expertise to bear on
system-supported activities. In recent years, the provisions of General
Assembly resolutions dealing with national execution have focused primarily on
the expansion of this approach by UNDP and UNFPA. UNICEF and WFP have
practised national execution as part of their mandate for a number of years.
The adequacy of the necessary national technical, managerial and
administrative capabilities and the measures taken to make use of and to help
to improve them, remain issues in some cases. The use of support units can be
helpful in this respect. A particular challenge remains the complexity of
United Nations system procedures. Moreover, the agencies of the system
continue to raise issues concerning their participation in the design and
implementation of nationally executed projects.


          Recommendations

113.     The General Assembly may wish to affirm that capacity-building should
be explicitly articulated as a goal of all technical assistance provided by
the United Nations system. Capacity-building should be conceived of as not
only human resources training but also involving development of individual
organizations and the improvement of the environment in which they operate.
Methods and approaches to capacity-building should benefit from the knowledge
acquired and good practices shared among United Nations system organizations.
To achieve this purpose, the lessons of the impact evaluation conducted in the
context of the present triennial policy review should be incorporated, as
appropriate, in improving current methods. Moreover, further evaluations
should be conducted to achieve a broad sample of countries and sectors.

114.     Since the concept of national ownership is at the core of all
operational activities, capacity-building can extend to any relevant aspect of
administrative or technical capacity, including that of monitoring and
evaluating a society's own development. Both the programme approach and
national execution should be applied as a means of enhancing the achievement
of national ownership. Where necessary, measures should be introduced to
facilitate the achievement of the programme approach and national execution.
When assessing national capacity for carrying out national execution, the
United Nations system organizations concerned should consult the recipient
country. Steps should continue to be taken to increase the transparency and
accountability of operational activities under the national execution
modality. Whenever required, the technical competencies of United Nations
system organizations should continue to be available to recipient countries
within the context of national execution.

115.     Further attention is needed, by the funds and programmes and by the
specialized agencies of the United Nations system, to provision of appropriate
support to maximize the success of national execution. This includes support
to management and accountability, support on substantive issues of design,
implementation and evaluation, and facilitation of work with United Nations
procedures.


     XII. Humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation, peace-building and development

116.     In paragraph 51 of its resolution 50/120, the General Assembly called
upon the United Nations system to bear in mind the specific requirements of
humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation and development in its operational
activities, building on its earlier resolution 46/182 on strengthening of the
coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations. In
recent years, armed conflicts in a number of countries have led to
mobilization of emergency assistance programmes by the international
community. The experience of those complex emergencies has made United Nations
entities and other assistance providers increasingly recognize the essential
interdependence of their work, whether for relief, reconstruction or
development. Most respondents to the triennial policy review questionnaires
emphasized the importance of that interlinkage. The matter is also examined in
a separate report to the Economic and Social Council on humanitarian
assistance.

117.     In recent years, the United Nations has responded more frequently to
complex emergency situations, especially those deriving from civil strife and
armed conflict. To cope with those situations, which have afflicted as many as
three dozen countries on four continents, entities of the system have been
devising new capabilities and new forms of collaboration. In such situations,
their efforts are geared to responding to needs for humanitarian assistance,
rehabilitation and development support in a more coherent way, and becoming
more cohesive and effective in post-conflict peace-building. The United
Nations Secretariat, funds and programmes, agencies and other entities of the
United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, are engaged
in this work, under the guidance of intergovernmental bodies, and in response
to requests of Governments.

118.     The ideas that relief programmes can simply be phased out and
replaced with a return to "normal development programmes" in post-conflict
countries, and that assistance can be seen in a "relief to development
continuum", have given way to a more sophisticated understanding of the
relations among types of programmes and assistance providers. Humanitarian
agencies are now increasingly focused on ensuring that emergency assistance
can be supportive of recovery and development, taking into account the coping
mechanisms of affected communities. Similarly, development assistance
providers are increasingly recognizing that their early involvement in
rehabilitation efforts is important to minimize disruption, to initiate and
sustain recovery, and to create conditions conducive for the return of
displaced people.

119.     In recent years, a number of problems have arisen during the
transitional post-conflict period, when there is pressure to phase out relief
programmes. Those problems highlight the need for an integrated strategic
approach among all donors and for effective field-level coordination
mechanisms. They also reflect the need to promote participation of development
agencies in the early stages of the international response to conflict, and to
accelerate the delivery of development funding in the immediate post-conflict
phase.

120.     A concept that is still taking shape in General Assembly resolutions
and reports of the Secretary-General, post-conflict peace-building refers to
actions to consolidate peace and prevent a recurrence of armed confrontation.
It sets humanitarian, human rights and development activities into the larger
political context, thereby helping to ensure reconciliation, reconstruction
and recovery. Post-conflict peace-building, by its character and importance,
is a subject that draws the attention of many entities. It is increasingly
recognized that what is needed in such situations is partnerships where each
entity or group can apply its capacities to parts of the problem in a
consistent and coordinated manner. The different actors in the United Nations
system are becoming increasingly able to meet those challenges, whether
departments or agencies, executive committees or inter-agency machinery. Much
more is needed however, including intergovernmental support and guidance, as
appropriate, to United Nations system operational activities.

121.     With experience, approaches are evolving in the coordination of
assistance from the various United Nations entities. Development requirements
are increasingly being taken into account at an early stage, and relief
efforts are being designed to help to ensure sustainable reconstruction and
facilitate rehabilitation and the continuation or resumption of development
activities. This results from a growing understanding of requirements and of
roles at the country level, including between the humanitarian coordinator and
resident coordinator functions, and between those functions and the functions
of special representatives of the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General's
reform programme includes delineation of pertinent new structures and
relationships in the Organization's main substantive areas of work. It is
still early for analysis of their impact, but a discussion is provided in
addendum 1 to the present report. One of the chief elements that has emerged
is a greater sense of participatory leadership in which the various relevant
entities contribute to guidelines and team efforts. Related to this is the
work going forward under ACC auspices for the development of a United Nations
system "strategic framework" to guide analysis and action in crisis countries,
and agreement on arrangements for collaborative programming of international
assistance. Also related are the joint efforts to identify functions and
select candidates where the resident coordinator will also serve as
humanitarian coordinator, and the coordinated efforts for mobilization of
funds under the consolidated appeal processes.

122.     The resident coordinator system faces particular challenges in crisis
countries since United Nations system development programmes may coexist with
relief and rehabilitation assistance and with political negotiations. It has
become clear that those elements should inform and be informed by each other,
to help ensure effective support to the peace process, where appropriate, and
to support post-conflict peace-building. In two cases, the resident
coordinator has been named as Deputy Special Representative of the
Secretary-General, a model which may have merit elsewhere as well.


          Recommendations

123.     The General Assembly may wish to affirm the role of operational
activities in situations of post-conflict, peace-building, reconstruction and
rehabilitation. The effective integration of development cooperation and
humanitarian assistance should be seen as an essential element in ensuring a
smooth transition from relief to development.

124.     There continues to be a need for a coordinated approach across the
entire United Nations system that addresses the role of operational activities
in the context of humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and rehabilitation.
The outcome of the humanitarian segment of the substantive session of 1998 of
the Economic and Social Council (particularly paras. 2, 14, 17 and 18) should
form the basis of guidance by the General Assembly on the role of (a) the
resident coordinator system, including the use of humanitarian coordinators or
regional coordinators; (b) use of a strategic framework to guide United
Nations assessments and to coordinate the various partners, including
development cooperation agencies; (c) the relationship of the consolidated
appeal process for emergency relief (CAP) and its relationship to other
processes in operational activities, including programming and linkages with
development-oriented activities. The General Assembly may wish to urge the
United Nations system to clarify the link of UNDAF to the strategic framework
and CAP in order to ensure sustainability of action.

125.     All entities of the United Nations system, including the Bretton
Woods institutions and all relevant inter-agency groups, should recognize and
contribute to the interlinkage among efforts for humanitarian assistance,
rehabilitation and development, and the relation of these to the larger
context of post-conflict peace-building. Within the United Nations, the
executive committees created under the Secretary-General's reform programme
should become more interactive as concerns these issues so as to foster
improved consultations, programming, resource mobilization and action.
Intergovernmental deliberations on such items as the coordination of
humanitarian assistance should take into account the related matters of
development assistance, human rights and peace-building.

126.     United Nations entities currently working for the development or
improvement of analytic and programming mechanisms, including UNDAF, CAP and
the United Nations system strategic framework for crisis countries, should
draw upon each other for their mutual improvement and maximize their
compatibility.

127.     General Assembly may wish to take note of recent initiatives to
clarify the linkage between the humanitarian coordinator and resident
coordinator functions, and their relation to functions of special
representatives of the Secretary-General so as to maximize the necessary
cohesion for greater institutional effectiveness. Improved guidelines for each
function should ensure appropriate improvements including in the selection of
the resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator. Normally, the resident
coordinator should continue to serve as humanitarian coordinator and deputy
special representative.


     XIII.     Technical cooperation among developing countries

128.     The Economic and Social Council considered the revised guidelines for
the review of policies and procedures concerning technical cooperation among
developing countries (TCDC) both at its resumed session of 1997 and at the
operational activities segment of its substantive session of 1998. Developing
countries expressed the view that technical and economic cooperation among
developing countries should be given ample focus for effectively integrating
them into the global economy. It is, therefore, suggested that the triennial
review also consider this important and evolving dimension of technical
cooperation. The subject is broadly described in the report that was
considered by the Council (E/1997/110). Of special relevance are the revised
guidelines contained in its section VI, particularly the provisions for
greater focus by the United Nations system to this area of development
cooperation, including appropriate allocations of resources.

129.     As concerns UNDP, the most recent information on the funding of TCDC
activities is contained in paragraph 61 of the report on successor programming
arrangements (DP/1998/34). Among the salient points are the fact that 0.5 per
cent of core resources are available for TCDC. Moreover, an enhanced knowledge
network through the TCDC/INRES information system is being carried out. The
report also points out that nearly 50 per cent of the regional and country
cooperation frameworks and programme refer to TCDC as a modality for programme
implementation or as a specific activity of the programme.


          Recommendation

130.     The General Assembly may wish to encourage the United Nations system
to continue to promote TCDC by according it the requisite resources and
support in all of its operational activities. It may also wish to affirm the
guiding principles contained in section VI of the above-mentioned report
(E/1997/110). The full potential of TCDC/ECDC should be used to complement
other forms of technical cooperation both as a programme implementation
modality and as a means of strengthening South-South cooperation.


     XIV. Role of agencies in the field

131.     In paragraph 30 of its resolution 50/120, the General Assembly
stressed the important role of specialized agencies of the United Nations
system in transferring and facilitating the necessary technical and
substantive expertise to support national execution. In its resolution 47/199,
the Assembly had previously recognized the important role of those specialized
agencies, and called for a clear division of labour so as to ensure continued
appropriate support by the system for programme countries. The technical
agencies are currently giving renewed attention to the question of how better
to link their substantive capabilities to the conduct of operational
activities. Increasingly, the policy or normative or advocacy roles for United
Nations agencies are closely linked to operational activities, through
advisory services, particularly in the context of substantive follow-up to
global conferences. Agencies with country-level presence are becoming
increasingly active in thematic groups and aid coordination arrangements of
the resident coordinator system, and report that these mechanisms are good
vehicles for their involvement in system-wide concerns.

132.     United Nations technical agencies, as important constituents of the
United Nations development system, are changing considerably. The decline of
funding from their traditional partner, UNDP, had a significant effect on
project execution responsibilities, programme resources and staffing. From a
dominant role as executing agencies for UNDP-funded projects at the beginning
of the decade, these agencies have seen their participation in country-level
operational activities greatly reduced. These agencies typically have had
little financial relation with other United Nations funds and programmes. The
resources available consequently derive primarily from the core of their
regular budget financing.

133.     Some agencies have difficulties responding to demands from programme
countries because they are not represented in the country team. Smaller
technical agencies are maintaining direct contact with national technical
agencies, but their involvement in the resident coordinator system is limited.
There is a danger that they may become marginalized in the future.


          Recommendations

134.     Agencies of the United Nations system should continue to play an
important part in operational activities, particularly by taking full
advantage of their normative, research and analytical mandates and capacities.
Special attention needs to be given by all concerned to ensure agency
inclusion in the resident coordinator system and field-level processes,
including the country strategy note and UNDAF, particularly where the agencies
lack independent field representation. The provision contained in paragraph 30
of Assembly resolution 50/120 concerning transferring and facilitating the
necessary technical and substantive expertise to support national execution
should be more fully implemented.


     XV.  Cooperation with the Bretton Woods institutions

135.     The importance of further strengthening cooperation between the
Bretton Woods institutions and the rest of the United Nations system was
recognized in General Assembly resolutions 50/227 and 51/240 and Economic and
Social Council resolution 1996/43. A United Nations/Bretton Woods institutions
joint exploratory review (E/1998/61) was submitted to the Council at its
substantive session of 1998 in accordance with Assembly resolution 50/227. It
analyses relationships in six main areas, including technical assistance, and
offers recommendations for expanded collaboration at the global and country
levels.

136.     The present report supplements the analysis in its addendum 1 by
drawing on the views expressed by Governments, the resident coordinator system
and United Nations system organizations, with an emphasis on cooperation at
the country level. Those responses generally favour a greater degree of
cooperation, while recognizing the differences in mandates. With the growing
convergence of cross-cutting concerns, such as the eradication of poverty and
other priorities arising from United Nations conferences and summits, and with
the decentralization of authority by the World Bank and other parts of the
system, there is a recognition that increasing opportunities for country-level
cooperation exist, in full consultation with the host country. The resident
coordinator system is becoming more involved in supporting the policy
dialogue, as foreseen in paragraph 21 of Assembly resolution 50/120. Moreover,
the resident coordinator system and the representatives of the Bretton Woods
institutions are increasingly engaged in the exchange of information during
visits of country missions, and the sharing of data, analyses and programming
frameworks. Cooperation in the follow-up to global conferences takes place
within the thematic groups, which can lead to mutually supportive programming
activities. Collaboration is also becoming stronger in the context of
consultative group meetings, round tables and in supporting Governments'
coordination responsibilities, where requested. The Bretton Woods institutions
are associated with several UNDAF pilot exercises, and cooperation is foreseen
in preparing the UNDAF and World Bank country assistance strategy in two pilot
countries. Opportunities for further cooperation arise from the joint
commitment to eradicate poverty and common concerns in a number of areas.
These range from reform of public administration and achieving social
inclusiveness, particularly during periods of economic reforms and
adjustments, to reversing the decline in resources for development,
particularly through multilateral channels. Several initiatives to exploit
such opportunities are ongoing between individual United Nations organizations
and with the UNDG and the World Bank.


          Recommendations

137.     The General Assembly may wish to take note of recent improvements in
the prospects for increased complementarity and better cooperation on
policies, programmes and activities between the Bretton Woods institutions and
the rest of the United Nations system. In this connection, it may also wish to
take into account that consideration by the Council of the above-mentioned
report on the joint exploratory review of cooperation between the United
Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions will take place at the resumed
session of the Council.

138.     The Assembly may also wish to call for continued efforts to foster
cooperation and dialogue among relevant institutions, particularly at country
level, in the assessment of country situations, and support to the
implementation of national policies and in providing development assistance.
The General Assembly may wish to invite the Bretton Woods institutions and the
rest of the United Nations system to maximize cooperation, consistent with the
host Government's preference, while respecting their respective mandates and
responsibilities. As members of ACC, though not part of the resident
coordinator system, representatives of the Bretton Woods institutions should
be encouraged to participate actively in the United Nations country team,
including in thematic groups and field-level committees, and to maximize
information-sharing and substantive dialogue in order to strengthen the
follow-up to global conferences and increase the impact of United Nations
system development assistance. The decentralization of World Bank
responsibilities, currently in process, could be used as a further opportunity
to foster closer cooperation.

139.     Building on existing arrangements and consistent with host government
preference, steps should be taken to strengthen cooperation among the Bretton
Woods institutions and the rest of the United Nations system in support to
government external resource mobilization and aid coordination efforts,
including through the round-table process and consultative group mechanisms
and other arrangements for policy dialogue with donors.


                                     Notes


          1    Responses were received as follows: recipient Governments, 55;
major donor Governments, including a collective response by the European
Union, 17; resident coordinator system, 95; and United Nations system
agencies, funds and programmes, 25. In addition, the report relied on data
collected by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United
Nations Secretariat in 1997 on field-level coordination, and on information
obtained through the ACC Consultative Committee on Programme and Operational
Questions (CCPOQ) and the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), and other
relevant bodies.

          2    The conclusions of the six impact evaluations are provided
separately; the full studies are available upon request from the Department of
Economic and Social Affairs, Development Cooperation Policy Branch.

          3    Further information on the impact evaluations, which took place
in Brazil, El Salvador, Mali, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe, is contained in a
conference room paper submitted to the Economic and Social Council at its
substantive session of 1998; individual reports can be obtained from the
Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The first set of impact evaluations
was supported financially by Canada, France, Ireland, Switzerland and the
United Kingdom through the Trust Fund on Case Studies for Operational
Activities for Development.

          4    Two pilot phases were identified by UNDG: the first phase
included 11 countries: Ghana, Guatemala, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco,
Mozambique, Philippines, Romania, Senegal and Viet Nam; a second group of
countries was added to the pilot phase, including Colombia, Kenya, India,
Namibia, South Africa, Turkey and Zimbabwe.
 

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