United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

13 August 1998


                                              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


                                                      Paragraphs     Page

I.     Field-level coordination . . . . . . . . . . . .    1 71       3
       A.   Resident coordinator system and country
            coordination                                   1 47       3
           1.  Management of the resident coordinator
               system                                     12 17       4
           2.  Human resource management issues in the
               resident coordinator system                18 31       5
           3.  The resident coordinator system and
               follow-up to conferences                   32 33       7
           4.  Field-level committees                     34 37       7
           5.  Thematic working groups                    38 41       8
           6.  Funding provided to resident coordinator
               system                                     42 47       8
       B.  Cooperation with the Bretton Woods 
           institutions                                   48 53       9
       C.  Aid coordination and management                54         10
       D.  Decentralization and delegation of authority   55 63      10
       E.  Common premises                                64 69      12
       F.  Role of technical agencies in the field        70 71      13

II.    Strategic frameworks and programming               72 113     14
       A.  Country strategy note                          77 87      15
       B.  United Nations Development Assistance
           Framework                                      88 98      17
       C.  Programme approach                             99 101     19
       D.  Issues in programming: harmonization and
           simplification                                102 107     19
       E.  National execution                            108 113     20

III.   Humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation and
       development                                       114 120     22

IV.    Post-conflict peace-building                      121 129     24

V.     Regional dimensions of operational activities     130 134     25

VI.     Evaluation                                       135 153     26

VII.     Resources and funding                           154 161     28


         1.  United Nations funds and programmes senior
             field-level representatives, by gender, 1995 
             and 1998                                                 6

         2.  Ratio between headquarters and field-level 
             personnel in United Nations agencies with field
             presence, 1992, 1995 and 1997                           12

         3.  Current status of premises of four funds and 
             programmes in all countries                             12

         4.  Current status of offices of four funds and 
             programmes in the 65 countries where all four 
             have a field presence                                   12

         5.  Expenditures on grant-financed development 
             activities by United Nations specialized and
             technical agencies, and UNDP share, 1986 1996           13

         6.  Country strategy note status, 1995 and 1998             15

         7.  UNDAF pilot phase countries                             18

         8.  Initial stage of country programming: comparison of
             four funds and programmes                               21

             I.     Field-level coordination

     A.     Resident coordinator system and country

1.   The full impact of steps taken as a result of the
Secretary-General's reform measures to strengthen
collaboration and coordination among United Nations
system organizations and achieve a consistent response of
the United Nations system to the country's development
needs will require more time to take full effect. What is
apparent is that the number of entities and participating
organizations in the resident coordinator system is
increasing, and most have separate financial and technical
resources. Moreover, the demands being placed on the
system are changing to involve more upstream advocacy and
policy work as compared to project implementation, and
new initiatives to promote strategic consultation and
coordinated programming, such as the country strategy note,
common country assessment and the United Nations
Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). Although
there is a strong need for effective coordination, there is
also a potential risk of overburdening the resident
coordinator system with coordination tasks; the costs and
benefits of coordination must, therefore, be kept in mind in
assessing country-level coordination.

2.     The need for coordination is becoming more evident
because it seeks to ensure that recipient countries receive
maximum results from scarcer resources; that the expanding
advocacy mandates of each organization are carried forward
in a mutually supportive and consistent framework; that
despite the growing diversity the system works effectively
on the basis of simplified and harmonized policies and
procedure system; and that each United Nations system
country team is equipped to respond rapidly and effectively
to a wide range of requirements at the country level.

3.     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.

4.     Although considerable progress has been made in
improving coordination by initiating common databases,
joint policy studies and policy dialogue, more progress is
required, including results-oriented programming and
management. The impact evaluations suggest a need to
establish basic targets at the country level and a simple
system to monitor and evaluate impact. The positive results
achieved thus far can be summarized as follows: (a)
promotion of joint advocacy has enhanced the effectiveness
and impact of the United Nations support at the country
level; (b) greater sharing of information and experience is
taking place at an earlier stage in the decision-making
process; (c) common data banks and indicators, such as the
ones needed for common country assessments, are being
established; (d) collaborative and joint activities involving
more than one agency are increasing; and (e) responses to
conferences are being pursued in a more consolidated

5.     Among the key constraints on improved coordination
is the apparent contradiction between the increased demand
placed on the resident coordinator system as a result of the
changing and more complex requirements of responding to
developing countries, the improved approaches and learned
experience, and shrinking core resources available for
United Nations system operational activities for
development. That problem has been noted by a number of
recipient countries, and many resident coordinators have
emphasized its importance.

6.     Responses by donor countries address the need for
better coordination, while appreciating the progress made
in that area; they emphasize the need to further strengthen
the resident coordinator system.

7.     Several recipient countries hold similar views. Many
stress, however, that the strengthening of the resident
coordinator system should not be an objective in itself but
should lead to a better linkage of United Nations system
activities with national objectives and improved support to
national development programmes. Some comment
favourably upon the effectiveness of the resident
coordinator system in assisting resource mobilization
efforts; others are more critical. The mobilization of
external resources is considered by many recipient countries
as a crucial support function for the United Nations system.
Some recipient Governments express the view that the
resident coordinator system has not yet realized its full
potential. A few Governments have indicated that the
resident coordinator system sometimes complicates
dialogue between national authorities and individual
agencies, and that coordination has focused on internal
arrangements within the United Nations system and less on
effective relations between the system and its national

8.     The relationship between the resident coordinator
system and the host Government was the object of an
assessment provided to the Economic and Social Council
in 1997. It identified a number of needed improvements: (a)
an explicit government focal point for the resident
coordinator system, and regular meetings between the
resident coordinator system and this focal point, with agreed
agenda and participation of various government
organizations; (b) regular flow of information to the
Government on the activities of the resident coordinator
system; (c) expanded interaction between the Government
and the resident coordinator system through various
opportunities; and (d) capacity-building efforts to enhance
the Government's coordinating role.

9.     Recipient countries expressed concern that United
Nations support does not always respond to national
priorities, and there is inadequate participation of the
Government in the activities of the resident coordinator
system. In some cases, there is a need to establish better
relations with the national partners. Periodic meetings with
the host Government and improved consultation between
the Government and members of the resident coordinator
system were suggested by some countries.

10.        Agencies consider the resident coordinator system as
the key coordination mechanism of the United Nations
system at the country level. They are becoming increasingly
active participants in that mechanism, although the extent
and degree of involvement is not uniform. Organizations
without field representation express the fear that they risk
being marginalized. The United Nations programmes and
funds, especially since the introduction of reforms by the
Secretary-General, are more deeply involved and committed
to the functioning of the resident coordinator system. The
establishment of the United Nations Development Group
(UNDG) and its Executive Committee is fostering this trend
at the headquarters level. United Nations system
organizations agree that considerable progress has been
made in strengthening the resident coordinator system:
participation in consultation meetings and the launching of
joint initiatives are an important achievement, and such
initiatives as the country strategy note, common country
assessments and UNDAF have had a positive impact on the
resident coordinator system.

11.        Further progress is required, according to agencies,
in the following respects: (a) the need to improve the
division of responsibility among United Nations system
organizations within the framework of the resident
coordinator system; (b) simplification and harmonization
of policies and procedures within a context of
decentralization; (c) a more equal level of delegated
authority and decentralization of United Nations system
organizations, including timely country level access to the
resources of subregional offices; (d) the establishment of
effective channels of communication and information
between the resident coordinator and organizations without
field representation; (e) special attention to the activities of
the smaller technical agencies and their role in the
development cooperation policies at the country levels; and
(f) fuller information-sharing on the regional dimensions
which are relevant at the country level, especially in the
preparation of major frameworks (country strategy note or
UNDAF) and when promoting the follow-up to global

        1.     Management of the resident coordinator system

12.        The General Assembly decided in two resolutions that
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
resident representative is normally the resident coordinator
(see Assembly resolutions 34/213, para. 3, and 48/209, para.
4). Moreover, the Secretary-General's report on reforms
(see A/51/950, para. 152) states that UNDP continues as the
manager and funder of the resident coordinator system. The
resident coordinator system will be strengthened by the
selection of resident coordinators from all organizations
concerned. The Executive Committee on Development
Operations agreed on a series of measures designed to
advance this process, while identifying some areas on which
further consultations are required. Subsequently, the
Secretary-General reiterated his position in a letter to the
members of the Executive Committee of UNDG earlier in
1998, in which he asked that they focus on common efforts
to strengthen the resident coordinator system based on the
legislative link between the resident coordinators and
UNDP resident representatives. A number of decisions have
been taken or are under active review, including the
selection and appraisal of the resident coordinator on the
basis of an agreed job description, reporting procedures,
competency-based assessment and related actions. The
Executive Committee of UNDG has agreed to review all
other remaining issues.

13.        The current link between resident coordinators and
resident representatives was endorsed in the responses to
the triennial review questionnaires. A few responses have
raised issues concerning the management arrangements of
the resident coordinator function, referring in particular to
the need to achieve greater collective "ownership" of that
function by the United Nations system as means of
furthering field coordination.

14.        Both the ACC Consultative Committee on Programme
and Operational Questions (CCPOQ) and UNDG agree that
all members of the United Nations system country team
have a dual responsibility, both as representatives of their
respective organization and as members of the resident
coordinator system. The notion of that dual responsibility
thus applies to the resident coordinator and to all the
members of the country team. Job descriptions are
beginning to reflect that fact.

15.        The issue of further strengthening the function of the
resident coordinator is being addressed by UNDG. Among
the issues being considered are the selection process, job
description, the dual responsibilities of all representatives
representing their organizations and being part of a team,
as well as the funding of cooperative activities. Steps are
being taken by UNDP to ensure appropriate handling of
day-to-day operations of UNDP, whenever the workload of
the resident coordinator function requires it. Specifically,
all resident representatives have been instructed by the
UNDP Administrator to give the highest priority to the
resident coordinator system at all times and to solve any
conflict in favour of the resident coordinator function.
Moreover, if the resident coordinator function exceeds 75
per cent of his/her time, special arrangements are foreseen.

16.        UNDG has agreed that annual work plans should be
prepared collectively, including as a basis for performance
evaluation of the entire resident coordinator system team.
Furthermore, UNDG has agreed that there should be a shift
in the resident coordinator system from inter-agency
information-sharing to goal-oriented collaboration, while
fully respecting the individual strengths and lead roles of
each organization in their respective areas.

17.        Some donors expressed the view that UNDP should
continue to administer the resident coordinator system since
changes in this management system would inevitably lead
to losses in efficiency and effectiveness. Some support for
a more participatory functioning of the resident coordinator
system was indicated by a few countries. The view was also
expressed that the resident coordinator should not be linked
to any one organization. A few donor countries suggested
that consideration be given to wider sharing of the financing
of the resident coordinator system by the various United
Nations organizations in addition to UNDP. One country
suggested that the cost should be part of the regular budget
of the United Nations system. Another country suggested
that the resident coordinator should report directly to the
Deputy Secretary-General.

        2.     Human resource management issues in the
               resident coordinator system

               Recruitment and selection

18.        Based on approaches agreed upon by CCPOQ and
UNDG, steps are being taken system-wide to enlarge the
"ownership" of the resident coordinator function by the
system by widening the selection pool; using an advisory
panel composed of representatives of organizations of the
United Nations system for the selection of the resident
coordinator; adopting competency-based assessments of
candidates on the basis of agreed criteria and an agreed job
description; and applying new appraisal procedures for
resident coordinators, including the monitoring of an annual
work plan formulated by the resident coordinator system at
the country level. Specific results achieved in broadening
recruitment are provided below. Some of the new measures
will be applied for the first time late in 1998 and early in
1999; their effectiveness could be considered by the Council
in 1999.

19.        UNDP has the responsibility for developing post
profiles for each country vacancy. It prepares a draft of the
post profile in consultation with the United Nations system
country team members, non-resident agencies and the host
Government, as required in General Assembly resolution
50/120, paragraph 37(b).

20.        Analysis of data on recruitment of resident
coordinators shows that: (a) 35 per cent of the resident
coordinators appointed in 1997 were from outside of
UNDP, bringing the total of first assignments as resident
coordinator from outside UNDP to 15; and (b) the pool of
candidates for resident coordinator positions has now been
widened to include, in addition to funds and programmes,
the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization
(ILO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Health
Organization (WHO). Those organizations currently submit
candidates to the selection process. It should also be noted
that resident coordinators and the host Governments are
consulted on the formulation of a particular vacancy
announcement for the resident coordinator position.

21.        A special effort has been made to increase the number
of women resident coordinators, pursuant to paragraph 43
of Assembly resolution 50/120; the results are shown in
table 1.

22.        Most donor countries consulted indicated that the
selection procedure for resident coordinators should be even
more transparent and should be based on a broader and
gender-balanced range of candidates, which should be
accomplished by even wider consultations within the United
Nations system and the introduction of an appropriate
selection process.

Table 1
United Nations funds and programmes senior field-level representatives, by
gender, 1995 and 1998

                          1995                        1998
Agencies                Female    Male  Total     Female   Male   Total

United Nations resident
UNDP resident
representatives           21      110    131        24      107    131


     Regional Directors    4        1      5         3        5      8

     Representatives      22       54     76        17       66     83


     Representatives      13       42     55        13       47     60

WFP                        5       66     71        13       53     66


23.    Since the challenges before the resident coordinator
system have become more difficult the training of resident
coordinators and senior field representatives of the United
Nations system is being improved. Under the aegis of
CCPOQ, almost all United Nations system country teams
participate in workshops at the United Nations Staff
College, the International Training Centre of the ILO at
Turin, Italy. New curricula are being developed for those
workshops and for training courses aimed at both first-time
and experienced resident coordinators. Furthermore,
initiatives taken in several countries further those training
activities through the use of retreats and local workshops.

24.    Training requirements of the resident coordinator
system team are being evaluated by UNDG, in cooperation
with CCPOQ, including the country-level coordination
workshops under the CCPOQ aegis and the United Nations
Staff College. Training programmes for the resident
coordinator system need to be strengthened, with emphasis
on team-building, leadership and interpersonal skills and
effective support to national programmes.


25.   The increase since 1995 in the workload for system-wide
activities, both for resident coordinators and senior
United Nations representatives, reflects the strategic,
upstream functions, coupled with programme and project
responsibilities, as well as: (a) new initiatives of
collaborative programming (such as common country
assessment and UNDAF) or the intensification of other
initiatives of similar nature (country strategy note, joint
review of country programmes, preparing the policy
dialogue with the host Government); (b) system-wide
advocacy, including the coordinated preparation of, and
follow-up to, global conferences and related actions; (c)
promoting collaborative programmes/projects and
corresponding intensification of the consultation processes;
and (d) coordination of humanitarian assistance efforts,
where applicable. Specific data are reviewed below;
although wide variations exist among countries, there
appears to be a trend towards an increase in the workload
of the resident coordinator function. Similarly, there was
an increase in the workload of the resident coordinator
system, which affects the workload of all representatives of
the United Nations system.

26.   The 1995 report on the triennial comprehensive policy
review (see A/50/202, paras. 138 139 and table 6) had
illustrated the increasing role of the resident coordinator
over the 1992 1995 period, not only in programme matters
but also on security, humanitarian, common administrative
and protocol issues. The time spent on the resident
coordinator function was on a global average 39 per cent,
with 41 per cent on UNDP activities, the remaining 20 per
cent being devoted to representing various funds and
programmes of the United Nations system.

27.   In 1998, the time devoted to the resident coordinator
function has increased in almost all programme countries.
About 60 per cent of a sample of the resident coordinators
consulted devote between 45 and 80 per cent of their work
time to system-wide functions, while for another 25 per cent
the resident coordinator function represents between 30 and
40 per cent of their time. Only 15 per cent of resident
coordinators report between 15 and 30 per cent of their time
devoted to that function.

28.   As for the resident coordinator system workload for
representatives of other United Nations system agencies, for
50 per cent of respondents it ranges between 10 and 15 per
cent time, for 30 per cent of respondents it ranges between
15 and 30 per cent and for about 20 per cent of respondents
it ranges from about 5 to 10 per cent.

29.   The workload includes resident coordinator system
functions with respect to the responsibility for security,
administrative collaboration and the management of United
Nations information centres, and in some countries the
coordination of humanitarian affairs (unless a special
coordinator is appointed).

         Performance assessment

30.     Performance appraisal of resident coordinators used
in 1997/1998 will benefit from a new system to be used in
all organizations which identifies exceptional performance
or major problems. Each organization is asked to base its
appraisal on: (a) the annual work plan of the resident
coordinator system; (b) the achievement of the resident
coordinator system in the previous year; (c) the agreed
competency framework, which defines the competencies
required for successful coordination; and (d) the resident
coordinator's job description, which is currently under

31.   The competency model for the assessment of resident
coordinator performance represents an attempt to establish
an objective appraisal of potential candidates, requiring a
competency assessment test, which should be operational
by late 1998. New resident coordinator applications for
1999 vacancies will be assessed with this performance
assessment, including on: (a) the ability to achieve agreed
objectives; (b) stewardship skills of the United Nations
system at the country-level; (c) ability to articulate a vision;
(d) personal attributes; (e) team-building capacity; (f)
capacity to manage relations with the Government; and (g)
capacity to maintain relations with United Nations agencies.

        3.     The resident coordinator system and follow-up
               to conferences

32.     Resolution 50/120, paragraph 39 addresses the role
of the resident coordinator in facilitating a coherent and
coordinated follow-up to major international conferences,
in full consultation with national Governments. The
implementation and follow-up to global conferences is a
major focus of the resident coordinator system in most
countries. To that end, CCPOQ agreed on specific guidance
to be issued to the resident coordinator system on this
subject, reflecting a system-wide position. As analysed
further below, common programming frameworks and
common databases are being developed, links with civil
society are widening, and collaboration with Bretton Woods
institutions and other partners is intensifying.

33.    Based on field missions and a workshop with the
participation of resident coordinators and representatives
of the United Nations system and senior recipient country
officials, broad, system-wide guidelines for the resident
coordinator system have been finalized by CCPOQ and
approved by ACC, and have been submitted to the resident
coordinators and country representatives of all agencies and
organizations of the system. Moreover, CCPOQ recently
agreed to issue guidelines to the resident coordinator system
on the field-level follow-up to global conferences, which
have been presented by the Chairperson of CCPOQ at the
special session of the Economic and Social Council in May

        4.     Field-level committees

34.     More than half of the resident coordinators report that
field committees review substantive activities and lead to
the adoption of system-wide decisions. In a number of
countries, the field-level committee functions well,
reflecting the substantial engagement of the members of the
country team to a system-wide approach. The field-level
committee, at the senior representative level, is often
supported by working groups and thematic groups.

35.        Nonetheless, it is difficult to assess the extent to
real system-wide decisions and corresponding commitments
of the country team with a bearing on the orientation,
definition, approval and harmonization of new programmes
are achieved. The experience in the functioning of the field-level
committee following the introduction of UNDAF as
a new mechanism to harmonize country programming will
yield useful additional insights on this question.

36.    In about 35 per cent of the countries examined, no
formal arrangements for the participation of United Nations
system organizations in the field-level committee seemed
to have been adopted, even though "heads of agencies
meetings" take place and help to define annual work plans.
In many of those cases, the field-level committee has not
been established due to limited United Nations system
presence in the country or other prevailing conditions (e.g.
political instability). Sometimes, the field-level committee
meets but its role is very limited and does not include the
review functions recommended by the General Assembly.
Often, other types of arrangements for exchange of
information appear to be preferred, on sectoral lines or in
response to Government's demand or in coordination with
other donors. In some instances, these appear to be working
reasonably well.

37.    In 10 per cent of the cases, the field-level committee
is focused on the analysis of a number of relevant policy
issues even though the committee appears more as a forum
for discussion, a clearing house for information and an
opportunity to promote contacts also with other partners,
such as the Bretton Woods institutions, other donors and
Government representatives, than a decision-making body.
Although in its resolutions 47/199 and 50/120, the
Assembly highlighted the importance of the relationships
with the national Government in the functioning of the field-level
committee, several recipient countries have expressed
the view that they wish to be more closely associated with
the work of field committees.

        5.     Thematic working groups

38.     Thematic working groups represent a modality
frequently adopted to foster collaboration at the country
level. In 1997, such groups could be found in 84 out of 107
programme countries. Those groups often facilitate the
formulation of the country strategy note, the common
country assessment or more recently, UNDAF, and they
undertake coordination of follow-up to conferences.

39.        Some groups include only representatives of the
United Nations country team and are led by a lead agency.
They play a role of internal coordination among United
Nations organizations. They promote advocacy on common
issues and assist the United Nations system in defining joint
positions as part of the resident coordinator system. In other
cases, they promote information-sharing, with limited
substantive coordination. There are also cases with a wider
membership, including the Bretton Woods institutions and
bilateral donors or national representatives from the
Government or other national entities. Sometimes the
leadership is provided by the World Bank or a major
bilateral donor.

40.        There are a number of working groups led by national
authorities; some were suggested by national authorities,
others were established in response to suggestion of external

41.        The variety of thematic working groups depends on
the different origins and tasks of each group.
Standardization of these structures is not desirable.
Thematic groups increase the participation of various
United Nations system organizations in the resident
coordinator system. Increasing utilization of thematic
groups in the preparation of global frameworks, such as the
country strategy note, common country assessment and
UNDAF, must be noted.

        6.     Funding provided to resident coordinator

42.        UNDP, based on its tripartite relationship with the
United Nations development system, is providing its
comprehensive, global network of country offices and
financial resources to support the resident coordinator
system. This is done essentially through five major
instruments: (a) the UNDP administrative budget; (b)
special programme resources, which have been used in the
past to support round tables and other aid coordination
mechanisms; (c) a specific allocation from core resources
to support the resident coordinator system throughout the
world; (d) funds made available through UNDP country
cooperation frameworks for the specific purpose of assisting
Governments in better managing their official development
assistance (ODA), and in the case of crisis and post-crisis
countries; (e) the Executive Board has also made available
a specific allocation of funds to support priority activities
in the field of governance, rehabilitation and reintegration
of displaced persons, mine clearance and other activities,
which are linked to a broad, multisectoral approach to
reconstruction and development. A few Governments have
indicated a preference for a wider sharing of the cost of the
resident coordinator function; this view is usually linked
with other suggestions concerning the management
arrangements of the resident coordinator function.

43.        In 1995, the UNDP Executive Board, in its decisions
95/22 and 95/23 on the future of UNDP and on the
successor programming arrangements of the 1997 1999
period, set aside 6 per cent of total UNDP allocation for
resident coordinators to support the United Nations system
and aid coordination. The new facility covers: (a)
programme support to resident coordinator/aid coordination
(1.7 per cent), which includes collaborative programming,
promoting and building country-level information about
United Nations global initiatives (such as facilitating
national preparations and follow-up for United Nations
conferences) and rationalization of common services and
premises; and (b) support to United Nations system
operational activities (4.3 per cent): it covers resident
coordinator/resident representative activities in the
following areas: support to non-UNDP programmes for
which resident coordinators/ resident representatives are
responsible, assistance to Governments in aid coordination
efforts, security related matters covering all United Nations
personnel in a country, and support to United Nations
system agencies for their regular and trust fund

44.        A very small fraction of the total UNDP allocation for
resident coordinator system funds are intended to allow
resident coordinators to respond quickly to opportunities
for the United Nations system collaboration. Each funded
activity is designed to act as a catalyst for the development
and strengthening of country coordination initiatives. Funds
are also provided as seed money to facilitate joint
endeavours of the United Nations system for which it is
expected that United Nations agencies, donors and/or the
Government will provide direct or in-kind contributions.

45.        The actual distribution of the 1996 expenditures
($2,586,207) covered the following five main areas:

Areas of programme support to 
 the resident coordinator         Actual expenditures    Number of requests

Strategic policy dialogue and 
 instruments (country strategy 
 note)                               $338 470                   38

Harmonization and coordination:
 thematic groups and United 
 Nations conference follow-up        $496 879                   52

Harmonization and coordination:
 field-level committees and 
 collaborative programming
 initiatives                         $600 459                   60

Public information, including 
 in the areas of United Nations
 conferences                         $416 076                   58

United Nations common premises 
 and services                        $714 323                   57

     Total                         $2 586 207


46.        Resident coordinator funds enable resident
coordinators to undertake a range of common activities for
the United Nations field system   follow-up to global
conferences, mainstreaming gender, preparation of country
documents, such as UNDAF, the country strategy notes,
human development reports, support for activities of the
Joint and Co-sponsored United Nations Programme on
HIV/AIDS, improving information systems and preparing
information material, and other coordination facilitating
initiatives   which have contributed to consolidating the
resident coordinator system.

47.        The funds designated by the UNDP Executive Board
have so far been among the only direct contributions by
other United Nations system organizations. United Nations
organizations and their governing bodies have not been
forthcoming in allocating resources to common activities.
There is little incentive for United Nations system field
offices to be more active in developing collaborative
activities through pooling of resources.

        B.     Cooperation with the Bretton Woods

48.        The present report focuses on United Nations-Bretton
Woods institutions relations in operational activities at the
field level. The representatives of the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) are increasingly
associated with the United Nations country team, though
they are not formally members of the resident coordinator

49.        All groups of respondents to the questionnaires
favoured greater United Nations-Bretton Woods institutions
cooperation for more effective synergy of United Nations
system development assistance. While recognizing
differences in perspectives, mandates, structures, methods
of work and resources, they generally felt that all had much
to offer and much to gain through greater interaction. This
was seen as increasingly important with the growing
convergence of substantive concerns, especially regarding
poverty and follow-up to the global conferences. World
Bank decentralization of authority and stronger
representation in borrower countries were universally
welcomed. Also, the United Nations, through the resident
coordinator system, was becoming more involved in policy
dialogues among development partners, upon government
request, as foreseen in paragraph 21 of resolution 50/120.

50.        Recipient government respondents tended to support
strengthened linkages, while respecting separate functions
and emphasizing the Government's lead role. They urged
greater harmonization of interventions for more effective
support of national efforts. Several noted an increased
Bretton Woods institutional collaboration with parts of the
United Nations system that have a tradition of engagement
in the social sectors and capacity-building. They urged more
of this, for mutual benefit.

51.        Donor government respondents focused on
"comparative advantage" as a major theme. They
emphasized the importance of United Nations neutrality,
normative functions and mandates, work in the social
sectors, and close relations with recipient Governments. The
advantages of the Bretton Woods institutions were seen as
resources, scale and range of operations and focus on
macroeconomic issues. They urged more dialogue and
synergy, rather than overlap or competition. They saw
United Nations agencies as having a strong basis for
collaboration but in more of a catalytic role owing to the
limited resources at their disposal. Mention was made of the
World Bank paper "Strategic compact: a plan for renewal",
adopted by its Executive Board in 1997, which places a new
emphasis on building new partnerships with other
development organizations.

52.        Resident coordinator system respondents emphasized
that greater interaction has led to greater understanding,
which has led to greater collaboration. Responses reflected
a wide variety of country situations and relationships. Some
countries received visiting missions from the World Bank
and IMF; most others had resident staff. Aid coordination
mechanisms included round tables organized by UNDP,
consultative groups organized by the Bank, joint United
Nations-Bretton Woods institutions support to Governments
for its relations with donors, or no regular involvement at
all. In some countries, Bretton Woods institutions missions
involved or informed other entities of the United Nations
system; in others not. In some countries, resident Bretton
Woods institutions staff had little contact with other
members of the United Nations country team; in others, they
were regular participants in field-level committees, shared
data and findings, collaborated in common country
assessments and UNDAF preparation, engaged in policy
dialogue, chaired thematic groups, and/or financed joint or
collateral activities. According to the resident coordinators,
the most satisfactory relations were the most open. They
regularly extended invitations for greater Bretton Woods
institutions participation in the United Nations country
team. The experiments in Viet Nam and Mali for reciprocal
involvement in preparing the UNDAF and the World Bank
country assistance strategy, were welcomed. While
acknowledging the significance of Bretton Woods
institutions mandates and resources, resident coordinators
had a strong sense that the system had much to offer in a
more collaborative environment.

53.        Agency headquarters respondents expressed a variety
of views. Some sought greater use of agency expertise in
Bretton Woods institutions activities, more co-financing and
more involvement in Bretton Woods institutions policy
issues. Others explored the term "comparative advantage",
seeing the United Nations closely involved with the
evolution of the global consensus on thematic issues;
associated with numerous intergovernmental bodies;
mandated for work on international norms and standards,
as well as increasingly on advocacy; related to many non-governmental
organizations; a producer of various
databases and analyses; possessing an array of specialized
skills; and engaged in many forms of operational activities,
especially for broad-based and people-oriented sustainable
development. Agencies expressed some preference for an
improved division of labour to take fuller advantage of their
capacities, and they generally welcomed Bretton Woods
institutions attention to issues of long-standing concern.
Respondents further noted many areas of joint action. Also
cited was joint membership in collaborative undertakings
  the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) and UNDP; the UNAIDS
Group of WHO, the World Bank, UNDP, UNFPA,
UNESCO and the United Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF); the United Nations system-wide Special
Initiative on Africa, with a steering committee co-chaired
by the Economic Commission for Africa, UNDP and World
Bank; collaboration in countries emerging from conflict;
various jointly funded programmes; and numerous task-oriented inter-agency
committees and working groups.

        C.     Aid coordination and management

54.        The United Nations development system, particularly
through the resident coordinator, has long been involved in
working with other partners through various mechanisms,
including round tables and consultative groups. Both
recipient Governments and bilateral donors have found
support to aid coordination and management useful and
necessary. In many cases, resident coordinators are
convening regular meetings of all donor countries, often
attended by ambassadors and World Bank representatives.
Such meetings, convened with the consent of the host
country, serve to exchange information, bring the donor
community and the Government together and prepare
for consultative group meetings. Non-governmental
organizations are often invited to participate on relevant
issues. Some countries have identified enhanced support to
national responsibility in aid coordination and management
as an area in which the United Nations has a clear
comparative advantage.

        D.     Decentralization and delegation of

55.        Nearly half of the resident coordinators report that
during the past three years, delegation of authority to the
country level has taken place in almost all United Nations
agencies, although to different degrees. Several specialized
agencies still require that policy and financial questions be
referred to their regional/global headquarters for decision.
There is, however, increasing convergence in the pattern of
delegation of authority among the funds and programmes.
As reported by many resident coordinator systems,
collaborative programming and coordinated response to
national priorities would be further enhanced if all entities
of the United Nations system granted their field
representatives the authority to approve individual projects
or programmes once the general cooperation framework and
overall budget envelope have been approved.

56.        Decentralization and delegation of authority to the
field has a positive impact on the strengthening of the
resident coordinator system and on greater cooperation
among United Nations system organizations. By the same
token, inadequate and uneven decentralization and
delegation of authority inhibits cooperation. Thus,
implementation by United Nations system agencies of
common initiatives at the field level often depends on prior
clearance and instructions and on support and follow-up
from the respective headquarters. A number of resident
coordinators confirm that the unequal delegation of
authority constitutes one of the main obstacles to achieving
collaborative programming and a more coherent United
Nations system response to national priorities.

57.        Member States favour increased decentralization and
delegation of authority on both policy and financial matters
to country levels and the harmonization of delegation of
authority among United Nations organizations. Most call
for harmonization of rules and procedures and decentralized
decision-making with the aim of achieving equal levels of
delegated authority as foreseen by the General Assembly
in its resolution 47/199.

58.        Specific action taken by the funds and programmes
shows that since 1997, UNDP country offices have full
delegated authority to approve, modify or cancel all core
budget resources for the current programme cycle within the
framework of projects included in the new country
cooperation framework approved by the UNDP Executive
Board (some $100 million) (excluding programme countries
for which the Board has specifically mandated UNDP
headquarters to approve all activities on project-by-project
basis, i.e., Afghanistan, Myanmar, Iraq, Somalia, the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Democratic Republic
of the Congo and Liberia). The proportion of UNDP field-level personnel in
1997 reached 82 per cent, compared with
18 per cent at headquarters (for comparative ratios of
headquarters to field-level staff in various United Nations
bodies, see table 2).

59.        UNICEF has delegated authority for the approval and
review of country programmes and budgets for country
offices to the regional offices since 1997. Newly established
programme and budget review committees review and
approve at the regional level, within the overall resource
envelope, the country programme management plan,
including the country support budget, submitted by the
country team, and submit them to headquarters for
consolidation purposes only. Decentralization of budget
planning and administration will be phased in over the next
three years. After its implementation, the budget function
in headquarters will be in areas of coordination, overall
resources analysis, monitoring and oversight.

60.        As of 1996, the United Nations Population Fund
(UNFPA) delegated to the country level authority to
redeploy funds and revise budgets within defined limits
(allotment blocks). Gradual delegation of authority was
made possible by the introduction of new programming
tools. In the administrative management area, UNFPA also
delegated further authority to its representative.

61.        For the past three years, the World Food Programme
(WFP) has been undergoing an active process of
decentralization and delegation of authority from
headquarters to the field offices. Eight regional offices
("clusters") were created in 1997. The decentralization is
being accompanied by greater out-posting of technical
support staff in such areas as personnel, finance, public
relations, procurement and project/programme design. The
country director has authority to approve programme
activities and projects within the country programme once
the WFP Executive Board has approved the country
programme document (which gives an outline of major areas
of WFP intervention in the country and an indicative level
of resources to be made available).

62.        A number of specialized agencies (UNESCO, the
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
(UNIDO), FAO , the ILO and WHO) have also modified
their field-level operational procedures towards greater
decentralization. UNESCO has delegated to its directors/
heads of field offices the overall responsibility for general
administration and management matters, in particular the
administration of personnel assigned to the office and
financial management and disbursement. UNESCO plans
to delegate additional authority for cancelling, modifying
and adding activities within approved programmes, and for
shifting resources within the approved budget lines of
individual components of the programme and among
components of a programme. UNIDO does not operate
formal country programmes with earmarked resources;
however, within its current reform process, steps are being
initiated to delegate greater authority to field offices with
regard to project development, formulation and
implementation. FAO is going through a process of
decentralization of its operations, with five subregional
offices already established. A significant amount of
authority has been delegated to regional FAO offices. The
ILO is continuing to delegate authority to the field level
through decentralization under its active partnership policy,
under which programme/technical cooperation and delivery
is based on the priority needs, problems and concerns of its
constituents. In some regions, WHO is pursuing a clearer
delegation of authority to the country level related to
modifying and adding activities within approved
programmes, shifting resources within approved budget

63.        In paragraph 38 (b) of resolution 47/199, the General
Assembly decided that the United Nations system at the
country level should be tailored, taking into account the
views of the recipient Government, to the specific
developmental needs of the country in such a way that they
correspond to ongoing and predicted cooperation
programmes rather than to the institutional structure of the
United Nations. Responses received for the preparation of
the present report indicate that development challenges are
becoming more complex, requiring greater cooperation and
the convergence of the work of different organizations in
the follow-up to global conferences. Thus, the requirements
and opportunities for "shared skills" among United Nations
system organizations are increasing. Current practice does
not include consultations to build a "skill profile" that is
complementary and promotes synergy.

Table 2

Ratio between headquarters and field-level personnel
in United Nations agencies with field presence, 1992,
1995 and 1997
(Percentage of total)

                   1992                  1995                    1997                                Hqs
Agency       Hqs      Field-level    Hqs   Field-level     Hqs    Field-level

UNDP         19.3        80.7        17.3      82.7        17.8       82.2
UNFPA        62          38          55.5      44.5        42         58
UNICEF       15          85          14.6      85.4        14.5       85.5
WFPa         27          73          26        74          29         71 
UNESCO       81          19          79        21          78         22
UNIDO        91           9          89        11          87         13
FAO          52.33       47.7        56.6      43.5        54.2       45.8
ILO          80          20          71        29          71         29
WHO          42          58          41        59          38         62

   a/ WFP does not recruit project personnel.

        E.     Common premises

64.     UNDG agreed that in defining the "United Nations
House" (see A/51/950, action 10) it should be all inclusive,
bringing together all staff of resident United Nations funds,
programmes and (whenever feasible and cost-effective)
agencies in a given country. However, during appraisal
missions to study feasibility of the concept in three pilot
countries, a number of constraints surfaced, such as the
dearth of appropriate buildings and the high costs involved.
UNDG introduced a definition of a United Nations house
applicable to the funds and programmes, which will aim to
house their country representatives in the designated United
Nations house. Other United Nations entities and the
Bretton Woods institutions are encouraged to join.

65.     The UNDG Subgroup on Common Premises and
Services has identified 136 countries in which United
Nations funds and programmes have a presence, of which
65 have all four programmes present; the current situation
is summarized in tables 3 and 4.

Table 3

Current status of premises of four funds and
programmes in all countries

Type of premises              UNDP       WFP    UNICEF    UNFPA

Common                         49        35       26       47

Shared                         57         7        7       34

Alone                          25        35       89       16

Not represented                 1        57       12       37

Not applicable                  4         2        2        2

     Total                    136       136      136      136


Table 4

Current status of offices of four funds and
programmes in the 65 countries where all four have
a field presence

Type of premises              UNDP       WFP      UNICEF    UNFPA

Common                         35         32        13       35

Shared                         24          4         1       18

Alone                           6         29        51 a/    12

     Total                     65         65        65       65

        a/ UNICEF has standing arrangements for free accommodation in
          a number of countries.

66.     UNDG has approved a new methodology for the
analysis of potential common premises and detailed work
plan with specific time-frames, and has established a
prioritization schedule for analysis of potential future
common premises (United Nations houses) in the field, with
three tiers of priorities. Ten "tier one" countries are slated
to receive site missions and assessments for possible
conversion into common premises during 1998; 20 "tier
two" countries will be targeted for 1999; and another 20
"tier three" countries will be selected for analysis in the year
2000. Criteria for the selection of the 10 "tier one" countries
included critical lease dates, rental obligations, potential
cost savings, office space issues, staffing requirements,
security concerns, programmatic collaboration and
geographical diversity. CCPOQ has explored the subject of
common premises, and has concluded that in view of long-standing
arrangements with host countries and decisions of
its governing bodies, common premises are feasible only
when significant cost-savings and improved working
relations with the Government are evident.

67.     Member States welcome and support the
Secretary-General's proposal for a United Nations house and common
services. They emphasize that insufficient progress has been
made so far in improved effectiveness and efficiency
through the establishment of common premises. They favour
consolidating United Nations system presence at country
level into common premises, although they want it to be
done flexibly, proceeding on a case-by-case basis and taking
into account local circumstances, due analysis of costs and
benefits, and   in cases where the existing premises are
satisfactory   by integrating the various components of
the United Nations system through improved internal
communication systems.

          Common services

68.       Common services are currently shared in a number of
countries where agencies have common or shared premises.
To build on that experience, CCPOQ, in cooperation with
UNDG, is preparing guidelines on administrative
management for the resident coordinator system.

69.        The United Nations Office for Project Services
(UNOPS), as an autonomous body within the United
Nations, is introducing private-sector practices in the
administrative management of operational activities, which
is seen as a distinct and specialized function, different from
technical backstopping. UNOPS has developed expertise
in recruitment and placement of experts, procurement,
tendering and contracting (UNOPS has opened a
procurement office at Copenhagen, which probably can be
described as the United Nations procurement centre) at very
competitive rates, while maintaining high standards of
performance. UNOPS can also be seen as part of a new and
fledgling phenomenon within the United Nations system:
the phenomenon of establishing intersectoral, thematic
units, such as UNAIDS, GEF and the Administrative Staff
College. This trend should contribute to greater cohesion
within the United Nations system.

        F.     Role of technical agencies in the field

70.     Agencies are fully supportive of national execution
but are concerned that the way it has been carried out has
diminished opportunities for them to play their full part in
development cooperation (for trends in grant-financed
development expenditures of specialized agencies, in
particular UNDP, see table 5). Modalities designed to
enable them to contribute in the context of national
execution have not met their expectations. Also, agencies
see a tendency on the part of UNDP, the World Bank and
others to build sectoral expertise parallel to or superseding
theirs. Their participation in such processes as the country
strategy note, the programme approach and the resident
coordinator system is not uniform and does not always
facilitate their involvement. Some donor Governments
mention the problems of the marginalization of work of the
United Nations technical agencies.

Table 5

Expenditures on grant-financed development
activities by United Nations specialized and
technical agencies, and UNDP share, 1986 1996
(Millions of United States dollars)

               1986       1988       1990        1992      1994      1996

Total a/    1 101      1 266      1 434      1 304      1 137       876

UNDP b/         404        451        692        371        213       144

Source: The Secretary-General's statistical reports on operational
        activities for development.

        a/ Including FAO, IAEA, ICAO, ILO, IMO, ITC, ITU, WHO,
          WIPO, WMO, WTO, UNESCO, UNIDO and UPU.

        b/ Including UNDP administered funds and trust funds.

71.      United Nations system agencies are interested in being
fully involved at the country level in strategic frameworks,
such as the country strategy note and UNDAF in line with
their mandates and as a means to implement cross-cutting
and sectoral priorities arising from recent United Nations
conferences and summits. Some agencies are emphasizing
or re-emphasizing the strengthening of their field presence
at country or subregional level. UNESCO has been making
such placements, and the Economic Commission for
Africa (ECA) has been strengthening its Multinational
Programming and Operational Centres into subregional
centres. At the same time, however, UNDP is at an initial
stage of opening a series of subregional resource facilities
with the stated purpose of strengthening technical and other
support to country offices. Recently, UNIDO has taken
strong steps to strengthen its field presence.

       II.     Strategic frameworks and

72.     To carry out its advocacy mandates and contribute to
the policy dialogue, the United Nations system has
intensified its use of the various consultation mechanisms
and processes that are in place, to include:

      (a)     Consultations within the resident coordinator

      (b)     Consultations with government representatives;

      (c)     Consultations with civil society;

      (d)     Consultations with other donors.

73.     The lessons learned with the use of these mechanisms
can be summarized as follows:

      (a)     The involvement of representatives of the United
Nations system and the Government in these consultation
processes varies from highly participatory to very limited,
especially in the case of government representatives.
Although in some countries the lead agency concept allows
adequate participation of several organizations in the
process, there is still a need to extend its use. In other cases,
public authorities play a limited function. There is an
increasing demand for an extension of system-wide
consultation mechanisms to government;

       (b)     The consultation process is more effective when
Government's participation is not limited to coordinating
authorities but also extended to line authorities;

       (c)     System-wide responsibilities are centralized in
the resident coordinator and the United Nations funds and
programmes, although representatives of specialized
agencies can play an important role. Regional commissions,
smaller agencies and organizations with no country
representatives are not being associated with country-level
consultations with the same intensity;

       (d)     The involvement of the Bretton Woods
institutions has increased, especially on information
exchange and consultation on policies and programmes. The
interest of the Bretton Woods institutions and the United
Nations system in ensuring complementarity between
respective strategic exercises has generated opportunities
for collaboration, which have been intensified by the recent
trend towards management decentralization in World Bank;

       (e)     The involvement of other development
cooperation partners is deemed crucial but does not take
place consistently, although there are examples where the
resident coordinator system is entrusted by the host country
with a special catalytic role in support of external assistance
coordination, which remains a responsibility of national

       (f)     The involvement of non-state partners in the
policy dialogue with the United Nations system, although
still limited to specific examples, is increasing rapidly.

          Common situation analyses and
          country assessments

74.     Joint country-based situation analyses are a key step
in formulating strategic frameworks and a prerequisite for
system-wide efforts to harmonize programming activities.
Typically, they involve the establishment of agreed
indicators and a shared database. The indicators form the
basis of an analysis and assessment of trends in economic
and social sectors. Each organization brings its particular
expertise and mandates to a process of a joint review on
such broad cross-cutting themes as poverty. Although
several United Nations system organizations conduct this
type of analysis individually when they programme their
own activities, coordinated system-wide efforts have
benefited from new initiatives of the Joint Consultative
Group on Policy.

75.     JCGP took the initiative in 1997 to launch the
common country assessment as the basis to follow up
requirements to global conferences and harmonize the
system's support to national programmes. The common
country assessment involves a common database and
assessment, and constitutes a basic step for the country
strategy note and UNDAF. Its usefulness might extend to
all stages of programming. Although the country strategy
note guidelines foresaw the use of a joint situation analysis,
the country strategy notes so far adopted do not explicitly
reflect that type of analysis. Only the introduction of
UNDAF has made the common country assessment a key
step in strategic programme formulation. The common
country assessment could contribute to the updating of the
country strategy notes and strengthen the advocacy role of
the system. Resident coordinators confirm that in most
programme countries, initiatives to establish a common
country assessment are under way or are planned.

76.     A country-specific adaptation of the common country
assessment concept is proving to be essential. The common
country assessment is carried out either through working
groups promoted by the United Nations country team or
other country-specific initiatives. The Government's
involvement in the common country assessment remains an
issue. The common country assessment can enrich the
dialogue with the Government and non-governmental
organizations while monitoring development trends and be
an area to promote national capacity-building.

        A.     Country strategy note

77.     The country strategy note, launched by the General
Assembly in its resolutions 47/199 (para. 9) and 50/120
(paras. 17 to 19), is voluntary and is prepared by the
Government with the assistance of and in cooperation with
the United Nations system organizations under the
leadership of the resident coordinator; it has been adopted
in 33 countries to date. Other approaches have been used
elsewhere to provide a consistent response to the host
country's needs, such as the UNDAF concept or ad hoc

78.      Table 6 compares the status of the country strategy
note in 1995 to its status in May 1998. 1/

79.      An assessment of the country strategy note process
reveals that:

         (a)     When the process functions well, the country
strategy note can substantially contribute to a policy
dialogue, can advance advocacy of goals, and does provide
a coherent and authentic frame of reference for

         (b)     The preparation of the country strategy note
promotes exchange of information among United Nations
system organizations, increases their coordination and is a
team-building process due to the pursuit of shared, system-wide objectives;

         (c)     Country strategy notes formulated in the last
three years increasingly focus on the outcome of global
conferences and the national commitments to implement

Table 6

Country strategy note status, 1995 and 1998

Number of countries                                      1995        1998

Country strategy note completed and adopted by
Government                                                 8          33 a/

Final draft being considered by the Government for
approval                                                   6           6 b/

Formulation process not completed or at a very initial
stage                                                     72          51

     Subtotal                                             86          90

Government does not intend to pursue the country 
strategy note                                              6          17 c/

No decision about pursuing the country strategy note has
been expressed                                            39          36

     Total                                               131          143

        a/ The countries are: Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso,
          Comoros, Costa Rica, Eritrea, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala,
          Guinea, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic
          Republic, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco,
          Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea,
          Philippines, Republic of Moldova, Senegal, Sudan, Thailand,
          Turkey, Ukraine, Viet Nam and Zambia.

        b/ These countries are: Colombia, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau,
          Namibia, Niger and Syria; there were six final drafts under
          consideration in 1995.

        c/ These countries are: Bhutan, Chile, Cuba, Democratic People's
          Republic of Korea, Estonia, Ethiopia, India, Kuwait, Latvia,
          Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Nepal, Poland,
          Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Samoa; the
          Governments of these countries are not necessarily opposed to
          the concept of the country strategy note but do not believe that,
          in their current circumstances, they should pursue it.


        (d)     In some cases, host Governments acknowledged
that monitoring the country strategy note process is an
integral part of their efforts to programme United Nations
system activities;

        (e)     The support to country strategy note formulation
through country workshops, such as those conducted in the
framework of the United Nations Staff College, proved to
be effective, given the high rate of completion of country
strategy note in countries where these workshops took place.
Support to capacity-building for monitoring and evaluation
is also relevant.

80.     A number of factors limit the value of the country
strategy note and hamper its effectiveness:

      (a)     Country strategy note formulation is often
focused on the production of the document and less on
promoting a broad and inclusive policy dialogue between
the United Nations system and the Government, and within
the United Nations system itself;

       (b)     Instead of being the initial step for a coherent
programming cycle, it is often an isolated exercise without

       (c)     The participation of national authorities
(especially of line authorities) was sometimes inadequate,
leaving the preparation of the country strategy note in the
hands of the United Nations system;

       (d)     The participation of United Nations system
organizations is not consistent. The involvement of those
that are not represented in the country is, in general, limited;

       (e)     The excessive use of consultants to facilitate the
drafting of the country strategy note in many/some cases
may have reduced its ownership by the various partners;

       (f)     National objectives were seldom indicated as
time-bound targets, with explicit mention of quantified
goals or benchmarks, geographical priorities and target
groups, thus making the country strategy note too general;

       (g)     The level of resources required for attaining the
goals enumerated in the country strategy note were seldom
indicated, even if a description of the contribution from
system organizations was included;

       (h)     Monitoring, evaluation and implementation
modalities were seldom indicated in systematic terms.
Periodic reviews of the country strategy notes were
sometimes scheduled but mechanisms to this end were not
always foreseen;

       (i)     In some cases, the adopted country strategy note
has limited impact on current activities, even though its
priorities are formally recognized in agency-specific
programming documents.

81.    Member States express different views on the need for
system-wide strategic programming frameworks and the
validity of the country strategy note. The great majority of
developing countries and many donor countries assess the
country strategy note as a useful tool for policy dialogue.
In their view, country strategy notes provide an effective
strategic framework for the Government to programme and
coordinate United Nations system's support and an
instrument to mobilize additional resources, as well as
providing a coordination tool. Some of those positive
statements were made also by countries that have not yet
approved a country strategy note or decided not to pursue

82.    The following issues were emphasized by recipient

       (a)     Inadequacy of the institutional arrangements for
the follow-up phase of the country strategy note;

       (b)     Inadequate simplification of programming
procedures of individual organizations, in particular
excessive pre-programming requirements;

       (c)     Need for mid-term revision of the country
strategy notes to appraise their impact on longer

       (d)     More flexibility should be allowed in the use of
the country strategy note to meet special countries' needs;

       (e)     Objectively identifiable and measurable
indicators should be included;

       (f)     Participation of civil society should be

       (g)     Coordination among United Nations system
organizations should be further enhanced.

83.     Some developing countries express more substantive
reservations on the country strategy note process, suggesting
that country strategy notes are suitable only in countries
with a high share of international cooperation from the
United Nations system. Therefore, the voluntary approach
adopted by the General Assembly in pursuing the country
strategy note should be continued.

84.     Donor countries also provide a mixed assessment of
the country strategy note. Many note the lack of information
to evaluate the impact and validity of the country strategy
note, suggesting that the approach should be evaluated and
revisions should be considered. Some donor countries
criticize the country strategy note either as an effective basis
for programming or for the way the modality is being
applied (the excessive use of consultants and the inadequate
treatment of the division of labour among system
organizations), and suggest that the country strategy note
should be overtaken or complemented by UNDAF. Others
recognize the value of the country strategy note in some
programme countries but not in others, and support the
establishment of UNDAF. A third group of countries stress
the complementary role of UNDAF, the common country
assessment and the country strategy note, and believe that
UNDAFs should reflect the priorities identified in the
country strategy notes. Several donors have expressed regret
that few recipient countries have utilized the country
strategy note, which questions its overall utility.

85.      Several organizations have expressed continued
support for the country strategy note based on the
involvement in its formulation and the contribution that that
mechanism provides in facilitating policy dialogue and
advocacy at a high strategic level and orienting their own
programming. Some organizations have indicated that the
effectiveness of the country strategy note process depends
on the Government's leadership role in the preparation
phase, the availability of adequate support from the resident
coordinator system and the opportunity for a productive
dialogue with national authorities.

86.      Others, especially those without field representation,
have stressed their inadequate involvement in the country
strategy note. Some have doubted the value added of the
country strategy note as an inter-agency coordination
mechanism, and suggested a thorough assessment of the
country strategy note experience as compared with countries
which did not adopt the country strategy note mechanism.

87.      System organizations also stress a number of
limitations in the country strategy note process:

         (a)     The formulation of the country strategy note has
often been product-driven; 

         (b)     The use of consultants hinders the dialogue with
the Government; 

         (c)     The final document is often too general to serve
as a basis for programming; 

         (d)     Follow-through on issues raised by the country
strategy note is often inadequate, limiting its impact on the
application of the programme approach;

         (e)     Country strategy note preparation is too complex
and discourages the participation of agency staff;

         (f)     The approach adopted has been excessively
sectoral, not suitable for tackling cross-sectoral themes;

         (g)     The country strategy note has neglected to set
targets, time-frames and development indicators to assess

         (h)     Scarce impact of the country strategy note on
resource mobilization;

         (i)     Absence of a regional dimension; 

         (j)     Inadequate reference to the activities of other

        B.     United Nations Development Assistance

88.     The purpose of UNDAF is to achieve goal-oriented
collaboration in preparing a single framework with common
objectives and time-frame. The preparation will lead to
collaborative programming and close consultation with
Governments, and will include compatibility with country
strategy notes, wherever they exist. The concept is being
tested in 18 pilot countries (see table 7) on the basis of
provisional guidelines which were presented at two informal
joint meetings of the Executive Boards of UNDP/UNFPA
and UNICEF. 

89.     In implementing the pilot phase, teams of inter-agency
facilitators, after appropriate orientation training, were
made available to country teams in the pilot countries to
assist in the use of the provisional guidelines. A network of
UNDAF focal points and antennas were identified, and
training sessions took place to ensure full support to the
pilot experience. The pilot UNDAFs are beginning to show
the potential of this process. In one of the first countries to
complete a UNDAF, the document was signed in the
presence of the Government and most United Nations
system organizations represented in the country, including
the World Bank and IMF. 

90.     The UNDAF provisional guidelines foresee 10 stages:

        (a)     Review of national authorities' measures to
translate global conference commitments and United
Nations system mandates into country-level action plans;

        (b)     The United Nations country team initiates
consultation with the Government on national priorities
(country strategy note, national plans etc.);

        (c)     Identification of key indicators, data collection,
establishment of common database;

        (d)     Theme groups are organized to dialogue with
the Government, non-governmental organizations, donors
and others;

        (e)     Preparation of the common country assessment

        (f)     The United Nations country team and the theme
groups consult with civil society representatives, donors and
others on emerging strategic programme policy issues;

        (g)     Relevant United Nations system lessons learned
from development cooperation at country level are

        (h)     The UNDAF document is prepared and
approved by United Nations country team;

        (i)     Preparation of individual country programmes,
review by the country team and approval in accordance with
the procedures of each entity;

        (j)     Implementation, monitoring and evaluation. 

91.     Several developing and donor countries expressed
support for UNDAF. Most donors considered UNDAF to
be potentially an efficient instrument for organizing United
Nations system team work in the field, increasing
harmonization of programming and reducing duplication.
Many developing countries emphasize the potential role of
UNDAF as a useful common country programming tool. 

92.     However, most recipient Governments reveal little
awareness of UNDAF. Those who refer to UNDAF consider
it premature to assess it at this time. In general, they stress
that the specific requirements of each region and country,
particularly the development plans of each country, should
be the basis of UNDAF, and that the involvement of the
Government in the formulation process requires attention.
Several recipient countries wish to preserve the benefit of
drawing on the individual identity, resource mobilization
and technical support of each organization in the context of
a single framework for programming.

93.     Most donor countries and many recipient countries
make specific recommendations on the UNDAF process:

        (a)     Following the current pilot phase, UNDAF
should become the sole reference and programming
document for the whole United Nations system, starting
with the harmonization of programme cycles and ending
with a collaborative country programming, which should
substitute other programming exercises, while preserving
the separate mandates of each organization; 

        (b)     All funds and programmes, specialized agencies
and Bretton Woods institutions should be involved in the
UNDAF exercise from the start, as well as other
stakeholders and bilateral donors;

        (c)     The operationalization of UNDAF by linking it
to individual country programmes needs to be further

94.     Some agencies expressed the view that UNDAF is still
conceived as a programming framework for funds and
programmes only, and thus does not concern them directly.
Nonetheless, some have expressed interest in participating
during the formulation of UNDAFs in pilot countries.

          Complementarity of the country strategy note
          and the United Nations Development Assistance

95.        Where the country strategy note exists, the United
Nations Development Assistance Framework offers an
opportunity for United Nations funds and programmes
(possibly also other system organizations) to provide a
United Nations response to an authoritative statement of
national requirements, and to define and integrate support
provided in a more coherent manner, while respecting the
distinctiveness and specific focus of each organization (see
A/51/950, paras. 50 and 72).

Table 7

UNDAF pilot phase countries


     Ghana            Country strategy note completed by Government

     Kenya a/         Country strategy note completed by Government

     Madagascar b/    Preliminary draft of country strategy note prepared

     Malawi b/        Preliminary draft of country strategy note prepared

     Mali b/          Country strategy note completed by Government

     Mozambique b/    Country strategy note completed by Government

     Namibia a/       Final draft of country strategy note being reviewed
                      by Government

     Senegal          Country strategy note completed by Government

     South Africa a/  Country strategy note process at initial stage

     Zimbabwe a/      Agreed work programme on country strategy note


     India            Government does not intend to pursue country
                      strategy note

     Philippines      Country strategy note completed by Government

     Viet Nam         Country strategy note completed by Government

Arab States

     Morocco          Country strategy note completed by Government

Latin America

     Colombia a/      Final draft of country strategy note being reviewed
                      by Government

     Guatemala        Country strategy note completed by Government

Europe and the Commmonwealth of Independent States

     Romania          Country strategy note process at initial stage

     Turkey a/        Country strategy note completed by Government

Source: United Nations Secretariat.
        a/ Second group of pilot countries.
        b/ Least developed country.


96.     The added value of UNDAF should be its capacity to
harmonize country programmes and promote or revitalize
policy dialogue and consultation processes with all relevant
partners, and to ensure that system-wide strategic decisions
are based on a technically thorough common country
assessment. It will be important to consider simplification
of programming procedures, as suggested below.

97.     The relationship between the country strategy note and
UNDAF is viewed by system organizations in different

        (a)     This relationship is sometimes perceived as a
comparison between demand (country strategy note) and
supply (UNDAF) for United Nations system's assistance;

        (b)     UNDAF is expected to improve the operational
efficiency of the system and expand resource mobilization,
and to act as a conceptual "umbrella" for the operational
activities of the system;

         (c)     UNDAF should emphasize the advocacy role of
the system, incorporating thematic priorities, while
preserving a division of labour on the basis of mandates of
and possible complementarities among individual agencies;

         (d)     UNDAF may fill a missing link between the high
strategic level of the country strategy note and the
operational level of individual agency country support

         (e)     UNDAF is a subset of the country strategy note
process or a downstream process of the country strategy
note, which provides a framework for collaborative
programming before each participating organization begins
its own programme preparation.

98.      The system organizations indicated a number of issues
which require further clarification:

         (a)     The value added of UNDAF;

         (b)     The compatibility between the country strategy
note and UNDAF, and the distinction between the two

         (c)     The role of the resident coordinator and the need
for training;

         (d)     The role of specialized agencies, the constraints
on small agencies and the different treatment of funding
agencies as compared with technical non-funding agencies;

         (e)     The specific role of consultants; 

         (f)     The importance of the common country

         (g)     The role of the Government; 

         (h)     The influence of the harmonization of
programme cycles; 

         (i)     The need to harmonize operational procedures
(joint versus collaborative programming).

        C.     Programme approach 

99.     These system-wide efforts to improve consistency and
the impact of programming activities should be related to
efforts to harmonize the programme approach. A common
interpretation of this concept was required by the General
Assembly in paragraph 13 of its resolution 47/199 and
paragraph 28 of its resolution 50/120. CCPOQ has agreed
on issuing revised guidelines based on experience acquired
to date. The operational impact of the country strategy note
and UNDAF will be greatly enhanced by the use of the
programme approach.

100.     The value added of the country strategy note and
UNDAF depends on their capability to enhance the
coherence, relevance, sustainability and cost-effectiveness
of United Nations system operations, favouring joint
programming activities, harmonizing resource mobilization
efforts and integrating system support with national efforts
through fuller utilization of the programme approach. 2/

101.     Although local circumstances may dictate the use of
the traditional project approach, resident coordinators
report a process of gradual transition from the project
approach to the programme approach; or at least, the
programme approach is considered a longer-term objective
of all country offices. In some cases, the programme
approach is not systematically applied or not applied on a
system-wide basis; in others, United Nations organizations
are just beginning to formulate and introduce the
programme approach. The responses of recipient
Governments on the utilization of the programme approach
by the United Nations system show that in the majority of
the cases examined, the support of the system is reported
as being adequately integrated with national efforts,
although more progress is still required. Indeed, in a
considerable number of countries, the experience by most
of the system with the approach is still inadequate and its
implementation is still tentative.

        D.     Issues in programming: harmonization
               and simplification

102.     The programming activities of the United Nations
system can be described as parts of a cooperation
programming cycle, which include the following

          (a)     Establishment of consultation mechanisms;

          (b)     Country situation analyses or country-based

          (c)     Formulation of overall strategic frameworks,
which reflects national needs and priorities for the United
Nations system, linking them with global agendas;

          (d)     Harmonization of country programmes of the
United Nations funds and programmes;

          (e)     Promotion of the programme approach and
design of system-wide mechanisms of monitoring and

          (f)     Harmonization of programming cycles and
simplification and harmonization of programming

103.     This sequence includes the harmonization of complex
policies and procedures which have evolved in each
organization to translate mandates into operational
programmes. These policies have sustained and given form
and identity to the respective programmes and activities,
and have shaped unique roles for each of these
organizations in the intricate world of development
cooperation. Reforms are now under way system-wide with
a view to consolidating, if possible, some requirements into
the new instruments of collaboration, while enhancing the
effectiveness of each organization within its own
responsibilities. The multiplication of joint or harmonized
initiatives at the country level and the promotion of UNDAF
have created a momentum to make further progress in this

104.     Some Member States have called for simplification
in the procedures for country programming, especially after
the introduction of UNDAF. This demand for reform comes
primarily but not exclusively from recipient countries that
wish to reduce the excessive complexity of the development
cooperation process. In its resolutions 47/199 and 50/120,
the General Assembly calls for the simplification and
harmonization of procedures. Unfortunately, the majority
of the resident coordinators report that very little progress
has occurred since 1995 on the specific question of the
simplification and harmonization of procedures in practical
day-to-day collaboration; most believe that initiatives in this
regard need to be taken by relevant headquarters of United
Nations system organizations. Current reforms raise
expectations that simplification and harmonization can
proceed in step with UNDAFs.

105.     Further progress needs to be achieved in the
synchronization of the programming cycle to ensure that a
common strategic framework can serve all participating
organizations in preparing their programmes. According to
Joint Consultative Group on Policy (JCGP) decisions in
1996, 90 per cent of the respective programmes should be
harmonized by the next programming cycles. Once that goal
is implemented, the effective link between strategic
programming frameworks and country programmes or their
equivalent will be greatly facilitated.

106.     As current reforms in achieving collaborative
programming take hold, the processes of the United Nations
system reform will require an examination of country
programming experiences and the corresponding practices
with a view to identifying areas for harmonization and
possible process simplification. Of the range of stages by
which United Nations funds and programmes develop
country programming and the provisions for their
implementation, it is usually the initial stage that offers the
best point of departure for the consideration of objectives
and procedures in terms of "elements in common", and to
study possibilities of simplification on the basis of those

107.     A simplified illustration of the specific documentation
required by the country programming of the main funds and
programmes is reported in table 8, which shows the various
actors involved in its preparation, the type of information
required, the involvement of the Government and the
provisions for interaction between organizations of the

        E.     National execution

108.     In the past, national executive issues pertained
principally to UNDP-funded projects, and to a lesser extent
to UNFPA. WFP and UNICEF have reported full national
execution for many years; other organizations have
developed their own concepts in the area of execution of
programmes and projects. UNDP Executive Board decisions
adopted in 1992, 1996 and early 1998 introduced major
shifts in funding and associated support mechanisms. In
1992, UNDP expenditure through national execution was
reported at 23 per cent of total project expenditure;
according to the latest data for 1997, that figure has risen
to 72 per cent. UNFPA is increasing national execution, and
associated technical support services help to mobilize
national expertise. Greater harmonization of concepts and
approaches in the system is still required, a task that is being
considered by CCPOQ, which recently issued revised

Table 8

Initial stage of country programming: comparison of four funds and

Preparation of country programmes    UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP

Common feature:
When a country programme is prepared at the country level, headquarters and
the Executive Board have key responsibilities in reviewing
programme activities, but the process begins and ends at the country level.


Initial steps: the principal 
documents                                    Advisory note leading to the
                                             country cooperation framework

I.   Who prepares the principal              Country office prepares advisory
     documents                                              note, Government responsible for

II.  What information is reviewed            Country strategy note, NATCAP, a/
     for preparation of the principal        NHDR, b/ common country
     documents                               assessment, UNDAF, and

                                             consultations with Government
                                             and private sector

III.  Government involvement: form           Advisory note is appraised by
      of consultation                        local programme appraisal
                                             committee, co-chaired by
                                             Government and UNDP;
                                             Government consults country
                                             office in preparation of CCF;
                                             Executive Board reviews CCF for

IV.  Provisions for interactions             Advisory note and CCF require
     with United Nations system              appraisal by local committee,
                                             which includes local
                                             representatives of United Nations


Initial steps: the principal                 Country population assessment
documents                                    (CPA)

I.  Who prepares the principal               CPA is prepared by a working
    documents                                group chaired by national expert
                                             or public official, country office
                                             is secretariat and coordinator

II.  What information is reviewed for        Existing studies, UNDAF, and
     preparation of the principal            consultations with key
     documents                               government officials, non-
                                             governmental organizations, and
                                             members of Executive Board

III.  Government involvement:  form          Working group responsible for
      of consultation                        CPA is jointly chaired by
                                             Government and UNFPA field
                                             office in consultation with
                                             Government and headquarters

IV.  Provisions for interactions with        Analytical phase of CPA involves
     United Nations system                   consideration of planning and
                                             programme cycles of Government
                                             and concerned United Nations
                                             agencies, and their coordination


Initial steps:  the principal                Country note, based on position
documents                                    paper and draft work plan

I.  Who prepares the principal               Position paper by country office
    documents                                and draft work plan by country
                                             office in conjunction with

II.  What information is reviewed            "Milestone" strategy meetings;
     for preparation of the                  studies; existing assessments;
     principal documents                     lessons learned in the country

III.  Government involvement:                Preparatory documentation for
      form of consultation                   position paper and work plan,
                                             developed in consultation with
                                             Government and signed by
                                             Government and other partners, in
                                             line with Executive Board
                                             approved policies

IV.  Provisions for interactions with        Work plan prepared in
     United Nations system                   conjunction with Government;
                                             identifies tasks and functions;
                                             includes United Nations agencies
                                             and others


Initial steps:  the principal                Country strategy outline (CSO)

I.  Who prepares the principal               CSO prepared by country office,
    documents                                following dialogue with Director
                                             of host country institutions

II.  What information is reviewed            Consultations with Government,
     for preparation of the                  United Nations system, review of
     principal documents                     linkages with country strategy 

III.  Government involvement:                CSO prepared by country office in
      form of consultation                   collaboration with Government
                                             and technical support from
                                             headquarters; Executive Board
                                             reviews CSO

IV.  Provisions for interactions             Preparation of CSO involves
     with United Nations system              consultations with United Nations
                                             agencies, in context of Assembly
                                             resolution 47/199 and attention to
                                             country strategy note

          a/  National technical cooperation and assessment programme.
          b/  National human development report.

109.     National execution is favoured by recipient
Governments, although they have cited some problems with
implementation. Donor Governments continue to favour the
modality, although they express some caution as to local
capacities and accountability. Positive aspects were summed
up by all sides in terms of greater ownership, sustainability
of capacity-building, promotion of self-reliance, and
engagement and improvement of local expertise.
Long-standing difficulties with administrative arrangements
and the diversity of United Nations rules and procedures,
have prompted agencies and Governments to express an
interest in securing more helpful guidelines, management
training and greater support to national authorities. One of
the impact evaluations indicated that national execution is
being supported through technical assistance staff who
provide essential elements to make possible the building of
capacity for planning and implementation, thus equating
national execution with the national programme.

110.     Administrative support from UNDP and UNOPS is
welcomed by a number of recipient Governments, but
donors advise caution and the establishment of exit
strategies lest such support substitute for national
management and ultimately impede national
capacity-building and ownership. 

111.     United Nations agency responses emphasize that their
role has become much more geared to programme and
project design and related substantive work, including for
UNDP-funded programmes and projects, rather than to
project implementation. They reiterated the importance of
United Nations system support to help ensure successful
outcomes through the national execution modality. 

112.     The preparation of the present report coincides with
the finalization of new UNDP guidelines for national
execution, in which representatives of interested United
Nations agencies were consulted, and CCPOQ endorsement
of a system-wide text for inclusion in the CCPOQ
operational activities manual. The new UNDP guidelines
(UNDP/PROG/98/1) became effective in April 1998. It is
obviously not possible to assess their impact at the country
level. Both documents emphasize that the basic role of
United Nations development programmes and activities is
to support national programmes and priorities by providing
financial contributions and substantive policy advice to
Governments, and by helping to develop skills and
technology based on the comparative advantages of the
United Nations system. The focus is on strengthening
national capacities and skills in order to enable
Governments to fully manage the development efforts of the
country and to achieve national self-reliance. The guidelines
give particular attention to questions of management,
accountability, support by the United Nations system, local
capacities, financial management, monitoring and
evaluation, and audit. 

113.     The UNDP guidelines reflect priorities of the UNDP
Executive Board as expressed in its decision 98/2, and
respond to points made by the United Nations auditors
concerning accountability. Those guidelines foresee the
assessment of capacity for national execution by focusing
on technical, managerial, administrative and financial
capabilities. Where such capacities are inadequate,
provision is made for them to be improved with support
from UNDP and other United Nations system organizations.
Regarding establishment of management support units or
other UNDP-financed support services at the country level,
the guidelines make specific arrangements. 

      III.     Humanitarian assistance,
               rehabilitation and development

114.     The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) on
humanitarian assistance has taken the lead in developing a
more strategic and coordinated approach to crisis situations.
This includes putting in place coordination mechanisms at
the field level, and developing the Consolidated Appeals
Process (CAP) as an effective programming instrument,
closely linked to the planning and funding of rehabilitation
and development programmes. This is important, since
otherwise emergency programmes may come to an end
without adequate arrangements to ensure the livelihoods of
those who depended on them. Similarly, development
agencies are having to review their programming and
funding systems, in consultation with donors. That donors
often support humanitarian and development programmes
from different funding windows is a factor which must also
be addressed in this context.

115.     The Secretary-General's reform programme (see
A/51/950) instituted a number of relevant changes. The
Department of Humanitarian Affairs was divested of
operational responsibilities and reconstituted as the Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; liaison
between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the
Department of Political Affairs and the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations
Development Group was strengthened; some functions
related to natural disaster were transferred to UNDP;
functions related to landmines were transferred to the
Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UNDP; the
role of IASC as the focal point for coordinated humanitarian
initiatives was reinforced; the consolidated appeals process
was extended to include resource requirements for
rehabilitation activities; and the importance of human rights
concerns in conflict situations has led to the systematic
participation of the Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights in inter-agency actions. The resident
coordinator increasingly performs the function of
humanitarian coordinator; issues pertaining to this role are
being reviewed by IASC. In the new procedures for
selection of resident coordinators, particular attention is to
be paid to candidates that meet the requirements for
humanitarian coordination, where needed.

116.     In their questionnaire responses, donor Governments
emphasized the importance of interconnection   among
actions on the ground and among United Nations and other
agencies   to help support relief, rehabilitation and
recovery. They welcomed steps by the United Nations
system to adopt a more comprehensive approach for
countries in special circumstances. Several noted some
stress and overlap in United Nations efforts, from which
their own bilateral programmes also sometimes suffered,
especially when activities could not clearly be defined as
either strictly humanitarian or developmental.

117.     Responses from the resident coordinator system
reflected United Nations efforts to cope with crisis and
post-crisis situations in as many as three dozen countries on
four continents. Many emphasized that development issues
have an impact on a conflict situation, and that the mix of
skills from around the United Nations system could be
brought to bear to minimize destruction and displacements
and hasten recovery. In such cases, thematic groups and
inter-agency coordination committees were important and
met frequently. Also evident was the evolution of
development concerns, including early planning for
economic recovery, with special attention to vulnerable
and/or previously hostile groups. While inter-agency
field-level cohesiveness was evident, so also were problems
arising from separateness of agency identities, especially
as perceived in relation to agency headquarters. Resident
coordinator responses also emphasized the importance of
adopting a longer-term perspective; the United Nations
system's common response capabilities; capacity-building
and governance; strengthening of national ownership and
oversight; decentralization; civil society; and working with
bilateral and other donors.

118.     United Nations agency responses indicated
considerable growth of activities and policy attention in the
past three years. For example, the UNDP programming
system approved in 1995 included a portion specifically for
the development of strategic frameworks for recovery and
special programme initiatives, immediate support for
coordinated and urgent response to crisis, and
capacity-building in "countries in special situations". UNDP
estimated that 35 per cent of its core resources are currently
targeted for work in such countries. 

119.     The involvement of WFP in recovery aims to help
crisis-affected people to stabilize livelihoods, strengthen
positive coping mechanisms and resume the development
process. This approach seeks opportunities for introducing
development activities and strengthening the capacities of
vulnerable populations in the hope of contributing to the
prevention of conflict and emergencies. As a consequence,
WFP interventions are case-specific, with assistance for
relief, recovery and/or development being provided at any
one time in a given country. The Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted
that unless its reintegration efforts (material assistance,
infrastructural rehabilitation, local capacity-building)
formed part of an integrated international rehabilitation and
reconstruction strategy, their impact was likely to be
insufficient, circumscribed and short-lived.

120.     FAO, active in food security and rural development,
obtained clarification of its role and policies in the area of
humanitarian assistance in 1996, through the FAO Council
and the World Food Summit Plan of Action. UNICEF noted
its special capability deriving from a focus on relief and
development in a mutually reinforcing manner, its
continuous in-country presence, and its programming
partnerships with Governments and communities. The
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements reported an
increasing involvement in programmes involving the
reconstruction of physical infrastructure and services;
promoting improved governance, especially at local levels;
and restoring community institutions. UNFPA reported that
it is increasingly responsive to crisis and refugee situations
and violence against women, including Board-approved
policy guidelines and special programmes, and new
collaborative efforts and agreements within and outside the
United Nations system. UNOPS is also providing
administrative support in rehabilitation and social
sustainability, and has established a unit for that purpose at
Geneva. The War-torn Societies Project, associated with the
United Nations Research Institute for Social Development,
has sponsored ground-breaking studies and workshops. As
for the World Bank, in 1997 it formulated and deliberated
a framework document for its involvement in post-conflict
reconstruction, including lending and other operations;
established a post-conflict unit in its Social Development
Department, and obtained Board approval for a related
programme under the Development Grant Facility. Notable
in the framework paper were the many specific references
to partnership with the rest of the United Nations system.

       IV.     Post-conflict peace-building

121.     The General Assembly has addressed the subject of
post-conflict peace-building in its resolutions 47/120,
51/240 and 51/242. The report of the Secretary-General on
the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace
and sustainable development in Africa
(A/52/871-S/1998/318) brings forth a number of issues and
ideas on the subject.

122.     United Nations reforms include provisions to
strengthen cohesion for peace-building. Thus, in countries
where field operations are in place, the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General has authority over
all United Nations entities, including force commanders,
civilian police commissioners, resident coordinators and
humanitarian coordinators. At Headquarters, the
Department of Political Affairs in its capacity as convener
of the Executive Committee on Peace and Security (ECPS)
is the United Nations focal point for peace-building and
works closely with other departments and entities of the
United Nations system; further internal guidelines in this
area are being developed. ECPS, in collaboration with other
executive committees, has responsibility for design and
implementation of peace-building initiatives. Consistent
with this, the Department of Political Affairs and ECPS
have undertaken several preliminary steps on focal point
and consultative arrangements, including in relation to the
Great Lakes region of Africa. Other aspects of the United
Nations reforms, in the areas of development cooperation,
humanitarian affairs and human rights, are also pertinent.

123.     ACC is currently giving considerable attention to the
elaboration of a strategic framework to guide United
Nations system assessments and actions and ensure
necessary linkages. At its April 1997 session, ACC agreed
in principle to the concept on the basis of prior work by
CCPOQ, and identified one country for testing the idea. At
its April 1998 session, ACC considered a draft strategic
framework for Afghanistan, as well as a draft of generic
guidelines for dealing with such situations. ACC
acknowledged the difficult circumstances of the country and
this effort, agreed on priorities for next steps and welcomed
the Secretary-General's decision that the Deputy Secretary-General would
steer further development of the initiative.
Issues raised in ACC included the ownership of the process,
both by the United Nations system and by the people of
Afghanistan and their institutions; problems concerning
gender, drug control, population displacements, landmines
and international recognition of the national authorities; the
relation of assistance efforts and political efforts; the
contributions of existing United Nations mechanisms,
including CCPOQ, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee,
UNDAF, the Consolidated Appeals Process etc.; the need
for the strategic framework documentation to be
comprehensive yet easy to use; and the importance of
showing early practical benefits.

124.     Concurrent and linked with the work from
Headquarters and ACC, a framework of organizational
relationships for international assistance to Afghanistan has
been developed at the field level, led by the resident
coordinator/humanitarian coordinator and involving United
Nations organizations and agencies, bilateral and
multilateral donors, non-governmental organizations and
Afghans. Entitled "Making a reality of principled common
programming", it was welcomed at the May 1998 meeting
of the Afghan support group of donors.

125.     In its resolution 51/242, the General Assembly noted
that the multidimensional nature of peace-building demands
effective coordination. Studies prepared by the United
Nations Secretariat on lessons learned point to the
difficulties and challenges involved. As a new step, the first
United Nations peace-building support office has been
established since early 1998 in Liberia. As agreed with the
Government and members of the Security Council, the
office is intended to strengthen and harmonize United
Nations peace-building efforts; help to mobilize
international political support for the country's
reconstruction and recovery; facilitate the technical
assistance efforts of the resident coordinator and the United
Nations country team; and assist local efforts for
reconciliation, establishment of democratic institutions and
respect for human rights. The office is headed by a
representative of the Secretary-General, supported by the
Department of Political Affairs, who is responsible for
ensuring a consistent policy approach by the entire United
Nations system and for maintaining consultations with key
partners, including the Government, international financial
institutions and other major donors. The resident
coordinator in Liberia serves as deputy to the representative,
in addition to existing functions, including humanitarian
coordination. The resident coordinator is to keep the
representative informed about relevant United Nations work
and initiatives, continues to coordinate United Nations
operational activities for development, and will provide
continuity once the mandate of the office has ended. As
indicated in the recent report of the Secretary-General on
the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable
peace and sustainable development in Africa
(A/52/871-S/1998/318), it is hoped that similar support
structures may be established in other cases.

126.     Resident coordinator questionnaire respondents
described United Nations work for planning recovery,
landmines clearance, resettlement and reintegration of
populations, preparations for elections, strengthening of
judiciary and police, revamping of administrative structures,
conducting workshops on reconciliation, mobilizing inter-agency area-based
development programmes etc.
Coordination of United Nations system assessment,
planning, and implementation of relief and rehabilitation
activities was frequently noted as important, both for the
United Nations and in its relations with other actors.

127.     Special representatives of the Secretary-General were
assigned to a number of the countries reviewed. Resident
coordinators reported that a separation prevails between the
political and relief and development operations in some
cases; in others, political and operational issues are seen as
linked by local authorities and assistance providers. In one
instance of the latter, the Special Representative was invited
to chair a coordinating council for the conduct of peace
negotiations, and appointed representatives of UNDP,
UNHCR and the military observer mission to lead working
groups on socio-economic rehabilitation, refugee
repatriation and security issues. In another country,
"cooperation for development" is one objective of the
peacekeeping mission, and the resident coordinator serves
as Deputy Special Representative. In another country, the
contesting parties and the Special Representative invited
various United Nations entities to support the political and
socio-economic aspects of the peace agreements, including
technical inputs to their design and arrangements to verify
their implementation.

128.     Among United Nations agency commentaries,
UNESCO cited General Assembly resolution 52/13 on a
culture of peace, on which a full report will be submitted
to the General Assembly at its next session, and UNICEF
cited Assembly resolution 52/107 on the rights of the child;
both address needs of vulnerable groups. The World Bank
described its new framework for the introduction of
programmes in countries emerging from conflict, which
focuses on preparing a support strategy, including
partnership with the United Nations and others, and moving
to agreements with national authorities for reconstruction
activities, as conditions allow. UNDP provided much
information on its growing role in crisis and post-conflict
situations, including helping to devise specific frameworks
for assistance to reconstruction, helping to mobilize
international resources, and building new inter-agency
partnership linkages.

129.     Donor responses emphasized that reconstruction and
rehabilitation operate in a delicate political environment,
and therefore all parties should adhere to a common
framework. They called for a coordinated approach to
peace-building, making use of ACC machinery, to guide
country-specific actions.

        V.     Regional dimensions of operational

130.     As mandated, operational activities focus primarily
at 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.

131.     Subregional and regional intergovernmental
organizations have emerged in increasing numbers, with
which United Nations organizations have established a
varied pattern of relationships and linkages. While these
bodies are of diverse nature, they typically pursue the aim
of finding common solutions to complex transboundary
issues in a spirit of multilateral cooperation. The United
Nations system has helped to strengthen their structures and
technical capacities, and assists in developing and shaping
their agendas and advising on policy issues.

132.     Regional and subregional development cooperation
offers a range of opportunities for enhancing the
development prospects of individual countries. Objectives
pursued by these activities include economies of scale;
complementarity to country-level action; addressing multi-country common
problem areas; exchange of experience;
addressing transboundary issues; facilitating economic
integration; building and strengthening regional institutions
of all types; advancing global, regional and subregional
mandates; enabling advocacy and policy development; and
as instruments for resource mobilization. Regional and
subregional structures and cooperation facilitate exchange
of information.

133.     The growing technical strengths of United Nations
system regional and subregional facilities offer cost-effective support to
development processes at the country
level, and for stimulating regional technical cooperation
among developing countries. The increasing United Nations
involvement in advocacy and policy development in
sustainable human development might be pursued more
actively at the subregional and regional levels. There is also
the distinct prospect of mobilizing both technical and
financial resources from non-traditional sources through
these regional and subregional approaches.

134.     The many stakeholders in intercountry operational
activities   recipient Governments, donors, United Nations
organizations, including regional commissions, and
intergovernmental organizations at the regional and
subregional level   hold a range of views on the nature of
the future of regional and subregional cooperation.
Stakeholders are concerned with the issues of
complementarity and linkage between country and
intercountry activities; coordination of intercountry
operations; the role of regional commissions, expanding the
prospect for technical cooperation among developing
countries; and establishing closer working relationships
between United Nations regional and subregional
organizations and non-United Nations regional and
subregional intergovernmental bodies.

       VI.     Evaluation 3/

135.     In General Assembly resolution 50/120 and
subsequent Economic and Social Council resolutions,
notably Council resolution 1996/42, the United Nations
system was called upon to ensure improvements in
monitoring; coordinate programme reviews and evaluations;
apply lessons learned systematically; 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
also urged to identify measurable targets, strengthen their
monitoring and evaluation capabilities, incorporate those
targets in plans to implement Assembly resolution 50/120
and cooperate in the development of monitoring and
evaluation methodologies.

136.     The system is responding to the guidance from the
General Assembly on issues of monitoring and evaluation.
There have been some instances of joint evaluations. One
or two agencies have been active in supporting development
of national evaluation capacity. However, the overall
response remains incomplete, and continued attention by
the Assembly to this issue appears to be necessary.

137.     Few, if any, agencies responded to the need for
established targets referred to in Council resolution
1996/42. In addition, 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.
Only limited information on achievements in terms of
impact and effectiveness was provided by United Nations
organizations. Different United Nations entities report on
the results that they have achieved in different ways,
reflecting the variation in product, style and role that exists
within the United Nations development system.

138.     UNICEF reports in quantified terms on achievements
in relation to goals of the Declaration and Plan of Action
of the 1990 World Summit for Children and the Convention
on the Rights of the Child.

139.     Other agencies, such as the International Trade
Centre, refer to increased awareness of trade rules in the
business community and improved competitiveness of
enterprises and capacities in trade promotion.

140.     The United Nations International Drug Control
Programme (UNDCP) provided data on achievements in
terms of drug demand reduction and supply reduction in
specific geographical areas.

141.     UNDP's report on project evaluations indicates
83 per cent of its projects had a positive impact on final
recipients and 84 per cent had a positive impact in terms of
capacity- building. Moreover, UNDP's substantive capacity
in the areas of environment and governance is increasingly
recognized and that its annual Human Development Report
contributes to the process of making development thinking
and policies focus on people.

142.     UNFPA indicated  that it conducted five thematic
evaluations in the 1995 1997 period and initiated two more

143.     WFP reported that although no quantitative data are
available, its emergency/relief aid saved many lives and
significant numbers of people were supported in returning
to normal civilian life. Its food aid has a positive effect on
household food security and provides short-term
employment. In the context of structural adjustment, it
mitigates the negative effects of the adjustment process on
the poor.

144.     WHO evaluates its activities in terms of the Health For
All initiative, though a detailed record of performance
achieved is not available. However, evaluations of major
programmes on essential drugs make detailed estimates of

145.     FAO reports evaluation results emanating from some
148 projects, a review of special relief operations and a
thematic evaluation of food quality control. UNIDO notes
that it moved upstream to a global forum role and points to
specific achievements with regard to small and medium
enterprises, especially in Africa, and in the brokering of
$800 million investments in 1996.

146.     Thus, overall, although there is an authentic reporting
of results it is not yet done in the comparable terms
requested by the Council in its resolution 1996/42. There
are some genuine methodological problems here of
measurement and quantification, which demand ongoing
attention and work. There is thus scope for work within the
system on these issues with a view to providing greater
transparency on how United Nations entities measure and
assess their own performance.

147.     Lessons learned by the system are principally at the
project and programme level rather than at the national or
strategic level, and many are similar to conclusions drawn
previously. Thus, there is little evidence of progress in this
area. The Inter-Agency Working Group on Evaluation,
which could provide the necessary leadership on a variety
of evaluation issues, last met in June 1998. Some relevant
issues were reviewed then; however, the concerted approach
by the system suggested in General Assembly resolution
50/120 and Council resolution 1996/42 has yet to emerge.

148.     At the field level, more than half the responses from
the resident coordinator system provide detailed information
on evaluation activities. Several general conclusions
emerge. There are no common criteria for the resident
coordinator system to adopt for evaluations of their projects
and programmes. The focus is largely on evaluation work
undertaken by individual agencies. There are only few
instances of joint evaluation by United Nations system
organizations. There is little evidence that the system has
moved to carrying out programme reviews and evaluations
jointly and in a coordinated fashion. Each agency appears
to insist on evaluating "its" programme for reasons of
accountability and visibility, even though joint evaluations
could promote lesson learning, economize on scarce
national resources, and  focus attention on the relevant
national concern or programmes. The lesson learning and
accountability for performance aspects of evaluation remain

149.     There is an ongoing process of capacity-building in
the field of evaluation at the country level. Only a few
countries have requested specific assistance in upgrading
and improving their evaluation practices but capacity-
building is taking place, both formally and informally,
through a variety of interactions between government and
United Nations organizations at the field level. The
increasing attention by the United Nations system to
developing databases and benchmark indicators has assisted
governments in their own approaches to evaluations.
Individual United Nations organizations work closely with
specific agencies of governments, to upgrade evaluation
methodologies. A key area for United Nations inter-organizational
collaboration in the field of evaluation is
information-sharing on the basis of results of evaluations.

150.     As far as impact of the United Nations system at the
country level is concerned, recipient governments have not
reported evaluating of 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.
151.     Donor countries have undertaken a few evaluations
of United Nations operational activities, joint evaluation by
Canada, Finland and Germany of UNFPA work; Germany's
evaluation of trust fund projects of UNDCP in Peru;
evaluation of United Nations field system in Thailand and
Viet Nam by the United Kingdom; evaluation of UNDP by
the United States of America. Apart from these activities,
donors also have obtained their knowledge of the impact of
the United Nations system activities from other sources.

152.     Judgements on impact and effectiveness seem to
depend on the understanding of the comparative advantage
of  the United Nations system. The comparative advantage
was seen as: neutrality; as a programme country's advocate;
as sound management and cost-effectiveness; as focusing
on social sectors such as education, public health, food
security, human rights, crisis prevention and
entrepreneurship; as focusing on the areas of poverty,
eradication governance, and environment; in capacity
development and policy advocacy. The considerable
programme experience and extensive field networks is
considered as important.

153.     The impact of the United Nations system is also seen
as most effective when there is a clear mandate. Many
donors indicated that coordination among United Nations
organizations is an important factor. There is also a
recognition of the importance of greater coherence between
United Nations normative and operational activities.
Decentralization of authority to the field level was seen as
a critical factor. Design of projects and quality of
implementation, and improvement of monitoring and
evaluation also received mention in donor responses. There
is considerable scope for exchange of experience and
information on best practices.

VII. Resources and funding

154.     The contribution to core resources of UNDP 4/ has
declined in the last three years by nearly 10 per cent, from
US$ 943 million in 1994 to $911 million in 1995 and
$855 million in 1996. Core contributions to UNDP-administered funds and
trust funds have also been largely
static, at $64 million in 1994, $78 million in 1995 and
$56 million in 1996. Non-core contributions to UNDP and
UNDP-administered funds by major donors have increased
marginally, decreasing from $189 million in 1994 to
$169 million in 1995, and increasing to $244 million in
1996. The marginal increase of non-core funds has not
compensated adequately for the decline in core
contributions by major donors. UNDP and UNDP-administered funds have
mobilized significant amounts of
non-core resources from countries other than major donors.
Total non-core resources mobilized amount to $687 million
in 1994, $715 million in 1995 and $944 million in 1996.
About 60 per cent of those non-core resources have been
mobilized from 15 countries in Latin America. Most of
those non-core funds do not fall into the category of ODA.
Total resources available to UNDP increased from $1,694
million in 1994 to $1,704 million in 1995 and $1,855
million in 1996.

155.     Core resources available to UNICEF4 have declined
20 per cent in the three years 1994 to 1996. From
$679 million in 1994, it declined to $542 million in 1995
and $516 million in 1996. In compensation for this decline,
there has been a significant increase in non-core resources,
from $327 million in 1994 to $464 million in 1995 and
$425 million in 1996. Total core and non-core resources
available to UNICEF amounted to $1,006 million in 1994,
$1,007 million in 1995 and $941 million in 1996.

156.     Contributions to UNFPA4 can be described as stable
over the last three years. Core resources amounted to
$255 million in 1994, $305 million in 1995 and $232
million in 1996. Other resources increased from $11 million
in 1994 to $32 million in 1995 and $43 million in 1996.
Total UNFPA resources amounted to $265 million in 1994,
$337 million in 1995 and $275 million in 1996.

157.     Contributions to WFP4 in the last three years have
amounted to $1,515 million in 1994, $1,282 million in 1995
and $1,333 million in 1996. Nearly 70 per cent of WFP
resources have been targeted for humanitarian and
emergency purposes, leaving the balance to support
development activities. Contributions to other United
Nations funds and programmes have declined in the last
three years, from $78 million in 1994 to $70 million in 1995
and $70 million in 1996.

158.     Total resources available from donor and non-donor
sources, in the form of contributions to core and non-core
resources and including ODA and non-ODA components
to United Nations funds and programmes, amounted to
$4.6 billion in 1994, $4.4 billion in 1995 and $4.5 billion
in 1996. The overall picture is that resources available to
United Nations funds and programmes have declined. The
core resources available have declined more sharply than
total resources. Africa receives nearly 40 per cent of all
United Nations system resources, Asia and the Pacific
22 per cent, Latin America 22 per cent, Europe 6.6 per cent,
and West Asia 6 per cent.

159.     ODA from United Nations funds and programmes is
widely distributed among 130 countries. The country
coverage of United Nations operational activities far
exceeds that of any other bilateral or multilateral
organization. The significance of United Nations funds and
programmes as a percentage of total ODA receipts by
individual countries varies extensively between countries.
In Africa, more than 20 countries received United Nations
assistance in excess of 10 per cent of their total ODA
receipts in 1996; six of those received assistance amounting
to 20 per cent of ODA. In Asia, nine countries received
United Nations assistance in excess of 10 per cent of ODA
in 1996, while in Europe and the CIS States only three
countries and in Latin America five countries received
similar levels of assistance in 1996 (for more detailed
information, see E/1997/65/Add.1 and A/52/431).

160.     The UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board has established
an open-ended ad hoc working group for UNDP to develop
a sustainable funding strategy. The Board recognized the
importance of non-core resources in UNDP's overall
strategy for resource mobilization. Concerning UNFPA, the
Board is seeking ways on the basis of the intergovernmental
agreement reached at the International Conference on
Population and Development in 1994, of placing funding
on a more secure basis. UNICEF has considered funding
issues, especially in relation to questions such as burden-sharing and
multi-year pledges. The WFP Board is also
reviewing its experience with long-term funding
arrangements. It is expected that consideration of this
subject will lead to progress in this area by September 1998.

161.     In submitting their comments for the triennial review,
Member States, both donors and recipients, have expressed
their strong commitment to United Nations system
operational activities for development but expressed
concern about current trends in core resources. Ideas
contained in the note by the Secretary-General (A/52/847)
should be explored by the Executive Boards and the General
Assembly. The outcome of the review of the funding issues
at the level of the Executive Boards carried out in
accordance with Assembly resolutions 52/12 B, 50/227 and
paragraph 10 of Assembly resolution 50/120 will
undoubtedly have a major bearing on the current triennial
policy review.


         1/    The total number of countries for which information is
               available has considerably increased since 1995, from 131 to
               a total of 143 countries in 1998; the samples are, therefore,
               not completely homogeneous. However, the information on active
               country strategy notes refers to countries which were
               included in both dates, which makes the increase of the adopted
               country strategy notes still meaningful.

          2/   See ACC/1993/10; see also recommendations of a workshop
               on the theme "Best practices in the resident coordinator
               system and related matters", Turin, 18 21 February 1997.

          3/    A separate conference room paper will contain the major
               conclusions of the six impact evaluation studies.

          4/    For details, see E/1998/48/Add. 1; conclusions are reported
                if received in the calendar year.


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