United Nations

A/RES/44/211


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

22 December 1989

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                                       A/RES/44/211
                                                       85th plenary meeting
                                                       22 December 1989
 
          Comprehensive triennial policy review of operational
         activities for development of the United Nations system
 
     The General Assembly,
 
     Recalling its resolutions 2688 (XXV) of 11 December 1970, 32/197 of
20 December 1977, 41/171 of 5 December 1986, 42/196 of 11 December 1987 and
43/199 of 20 December 1988,
 
     Taking note of the report prepared by the United Nations Population Fund
on the review and assessment of population programme experience,  pursuant
to the request contained in resolution 43/199,
 
     Reaffirming the exclusive responsibility of the Government of the
recipient country for formulating its national development plan, priorities or
objectives, as set out in the consensus of 1970 contained in the annex to its
resolution 2688 (XXV), and emphasizing that the integration of the operational
activities for development of the United Nations system with national plans
and objectives would enhance the impact and relevance of those activities,
 
     Reaffirming also that national plans and priorities constitute the only
viable frame of reference for the national programming of operational
activities for development of the United Nations system,
 
     Reaffirming further that the fundamental characteristics of the
operational activities for development of the United Nations system should be,
inter alia, their universality, their voluntary and grant nature, their
neutrality and multilateralism, and their ability to respond to the needs of
the developing countries in a flexible manner, and that the operational
activities of the United Nations system are carried out for the benefit of the
developing countries, at the request of those countries and in accordance with
their own policies and priorities for development,
 
     Recognizing the different and complex situations and conditions that
exist in developing countries and the consequent need for the activities of
the United Nations development system to respond effectively to them,
 
     Recognizing also the urgent and specific needs of the least developed
countries,
 
     Aware of the acute problems of island and land-locked developing
countries and their particular needs for development to overcome their
economic difficulties,
 
     Recalling the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic
Recovery and Development 1986-1990,
 
     Recalling also its resolution 42/231 of 12 May 1988 on the Special Plan
of Economic Co-operation for Central America,
 
     Concerned about the worsening economic and social situation of many
developing countries,
 
     Stressing the need for a significant increase in real terms in the
overall resources available for development co-operation, taking into account
the economic problems of developing countries, the economic capacities of
developed countries and recent developments in international relations, which
may have an impact on resources available for development, and emphasizing in
this respect the need to increase the grant element of development
co-operation resources,
 
     Concerned that the resources available for operational activities are
insufficient in relation to the requirements of developing countries,
 
     Stressing the consequent need for a substantial increase in resources for
operational activities for development on a predictable, continuous and
assured basis, commensurate with the increasing needs of developing countries,
and emphasizing the special needs of the least developed countries,
 
     Recalling the role of the United Nations Development Programme as the
central funding mechanism for the United Nations system of technical
co-operation, the full potential of which has not yet been realized,
 
     Recognizing the need to reorient operational activities in order to
strengthen and utilize fully national capacities in all aspects of the
programme and project cycle,
 
     Stressing that co-ordination in funding arrangements and procedures of
the operational activities for development of the United Nations system should
minimize the administrative and financial burden on recipient Governments in
their endeavours effectively to monitor and co-ordinate programmes and
projects and should maximize their complementarities and avoid duplication, so
as to increase the positive impact of such activities on the development of
developing countries,
 
     Stressing also that government/national execution and full utilization of
national capacities would contribute to ensuring that programmes and projects
are managed in an integrated manner and to promoting their long-term
sustainability and wider impact on the development process,
 
     Emphasizing the need to increase and strengthen the promotion and
implementation of technical co-operation among developing countries on a
priority basis, through the rapid and full implementation of the Buenos Aires
Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Co-operation among
Developing Countries, in order to enhance the capacities and collective
self-reliance of developing countries,
 
     Emphasizing also the need to further decentralize capacity and authority
in the United Nations system to the country level in order to increase
responsiveness to the needs of developing countries, enhance coherent and
efficient programming and resource utilization, achieve the objectives of
programmes and projects, and strengthen and utilize national capacity,
 
     Emphasizing further that the range and quantity of skills and expertise
assembled by the United Nations system at the country level, under the team
leadership of the resident co-ordinator, should correspond to the
multisectoral and sectoral technical backstopping needs and requirements of
developing countries and should be within the framework of the respective
government programme of co-operation of the United Nations system, rather than
to the institutional structure of the United Nations system,
 
     Reaffirming the need to promote the full integration of women in all
aspects of the development process in accordance with the Nairobi
Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women,
 
     Affirming the need to promote the survival, protection and development of
children and youth and the full integration of their concerns in the
development process of the developing countries,
 
     Recognizing the importance of regional, interregional and global
co-operation for solving common problems in the light of current concern for
global, regional and subregional problems,
 
     Affirming the responsibility of the Director-General for Development and
International Economic Co-operation for leadership in promoting the coherence,
co-ordination and effectiveness of the operational activities for development
of the United Nations system,
 
     Welcoming the positive reaction of the governing bodies of the
organizations of the United Nations development system to the conclusions and
recommendations contained in the report on the case studies undertaken in
1987 and in General Assembly resolution 42/196 adopted subsequently,
 
     Taking note with appreciation of the decision adopted by the
Administrative Committee on Co-ordination in April 1989, concerning the
role and functioning of the United Nations development system in the 1990s,
particularly the unequivocal resolve of its members to continue to adapt, both
individually and collectively, to present needs, evolving circumstances and
challenges, in the developing countries,
 
     1.   Takes note with interest of the report of the Director-General for
Development and International Economic Co-operation on the comprehensive
triennial policy review of operational activities for development of the
United Nations system, including the report on the integrated country
reviews on the functioning of the operational activities for development of
the United Nations system;
 
     2.   Reaffirms that the recipient Governments have the sole
responsibility for the co-ordination of external assistance and the principal
responsibility for its design and management and that the exercise of those
responsibilities is crucial to the optimal use of external assistance and to
the strengthening and utilization of national capacity;
 
     3.   Stresses that, in order to attain the goal of self-reliance in the
developing countries through the strengthening of national capacities, the
operational activities of the United Nations system should emphasize the human
dimension of development, in particular through education, training and the
development of human resources, should emphasize the need to reach the poorest
and most vulnerable sections of societies and should have a positive impact on
the overall quality of life and development;
 
     4.   Reaffirms the need for priority allocation of scarce grant resources
to programmes and projects in low-income countries, particularly the least
developed countries;
 
     5.   Requests the Secretary-General to include in his report on
international co-operation for the eradication of poverty in developing
countries a section analysing the role that operational activities for
development could play in that area;
 
     6.   Stresses the need for maximum participation of populations, local
communities and organizations, including national non-governmental
organizations, in the development process, and encourages, when Governments so
request, promotion of participation at the grass-roots level and of the
productive sectors in the operational activities of the United Nations system;
 
     7.   Reaffirms the importance of the integration of women in United
Nations development programmes as participants in all aspects of the
development process and calls upon the funding, technical and specialized
agencies to intensify efforts to increase the participation of women,
particularly those from developing countries;
 
     8.   Emphasizes the protection and support of children as integral to the
development process, and recognizes the need for education and the promotion
of opportunities for youth and the need to reflect the concerns of children
and youth in development co-operation programmes of the United Nations system;
 
     9.   Calls upon the international community, in particular donor
countries, to make a real and significant increase in resources for
operational activities for development on a continuous, predictable and
assured basis, and urges all countries to increase their voluntary
contributions for operational activities for development;
 
     10.  Urges developed countries, in particular those countries whose
overall performance is not commensurate with their capacity, taking into
account established official development assistance targets, and present
levels of contribution, to increase their official development assistance
substantially, including contributions to operational activities of the United
Nations system;
 
     11.  Emphasizes the primary importance of funding through core resources
in operational activities for development, and, at the same time, recognizes
the value of special-purpose grant resources, provided that they are designed
as a means to ensure additional resource flows and that their projects are
coherently and effectively integrated in the technical co-operation programmes
of the United Nations system, in conformity with each country's national
development plan and programme and in accordance with the respective mandates
of United Nations programmes and organizations;
 
     12.  Stresses the value of the concept of central funding of technical
co-operation through the United Nations Development Programme in order to
promote co-ordination and responsiveness to national priorities through the
country programming system, and urges all Governments to channel the maximum
possible share of resources available for multilateral technical co-operation
through the Programme;
 
     13.  Emphasizes the need for full utilization of national capacities in
all aspects of the programming processes and project cycles of operational
activities;
 
     14.  Stresses the need, in this context, to improve the operational
activities of the United Nations system, in particular with respect to
programming, simplification and harmonization of rules and procedures
governing the programming processes and project cycles, decentralization of
authority, role of the country office structures and reorientation of
execution modalities, in order to enable the recipient Governments to exercise
their management and co-ordination responsibilities and strengthen their
national capacities;
 
     15.  Emphasizes that the United Nations system at the country level
should be structured and composed in such a way that it corresponds to ongoing
and projected co-operation programmes rather than to the institutional
structure of the United Nations system and, to this end, decides:
 
     (a)  That the country offices and the resident co-ordinators should
effectively provide ongoing multidisciplinary technical advice and support to
the Government in its programming and executing responsibilities;
 
     (b)  To reinforce the team-leadership capacity of the resident
co-ordinator within the United Nations system at the country level for the
integration of the sectoral inputs of the system and for the effective and
coherent co-ordination of the response of the United Nations system to the
national programme framework, through, inter alia:
 
     (i)  A clarified and strengthened mandate from the Administrative
          Committee on Co-ordination, in accordance with General Assembly
          resolutions 32/197, 41/171 and 42/196;
 
    (ii)  The effective co-ordination of technical advice and input from the
          United Nations system;
 
   (iii)  Closer co-operation of the field representation of the United
          Nations system at the country level with the resident co-ordinator;
 
     (c)  To request the Director-General for Development and International
Economic Co-operation to include in his annual report on operational
activities for development, in 1991, an analysis of possible ways and means of
providing multidisciplinary technical advice from the United Nations system at
the country level, including the concept of multidisciplinary teams and their
ability to provide effective and flexible assistance, taking into account the
need to maximize the utilization of the capacities of the country offices and
field representations of the United Nations system and the varied situations
and needs of the developing countries;
 
     (d)  To request all organs, organizations and bodies of the United
Nations system to make, without delay, the necessary arrangements, in
co-operation with host Governments and without additional cost to developing
countries, to establish common premises at the country level, and to request
the Director-General to include in his annual reports on operational
activities information on progress made in that area;
 
     16.  Recognizes the urgent need to improve the field representation of
the United Nations system in accordance with the functions set out in the
present resolution, and requests the Director-General to present a report
containing comprehensive information, drawing on all relevant reports on the
field representation of the United Nations system, and to make specific
recommendations for improvement and increased effectiveness in line with the
objectives of the present resolution to the General Assembly at its
forty-sixth session, and requests the executive heads of all the organizations
concerned to co-operate fully in the preparation of that report by providing
the relevant information;
 
     17.  Calls for more integrated and co-ordinated programming of United
Nations system co-operation, in which programming processes would be based on
an overall national programme framework for operational activities for
development to be prepared by the recipient Government, with a view to
submitting it to the organizations of the United Nations system for their
support and funding, whose response would be co-ordinated by the resident
co-ordinator, and decides that:
 
     (a)  Governments should formulate, in accordance with their own
development plans and priorities, integrated national programme frameworks
setting out co-operation requirements of the organizations of the United
Nations system, which would enable the system to support more effectively the
development priorities of developing countries and to be more country-focused
and would facilitate the development of a programme approach, through the
clear definition of national objectives and systematic analysis of development
problems and constraints;
 
     (b)  The organizations of the United Nations system should adapt their
programming processes to base them upon those national programme frameworks
and the needs and practices of recipient Governments;
 
     (c)  Programme cycles of all funding agencies of the United Nations
system should be harmonized with and adapted to the planning periods of
national Governments, and further consideration should be given to the
introduction of budgetary cycles on a rolling-cycle basis;
 
     (d)  The need for a shift from a project approach to a programme approach
implies that all relevant governing bodies, in particular the Governing
Council of the United Nations Development Programme, should develop more
programme-oriented mechanisms for the provision of technical co-operation,
with a view to allowing more flexible and effective support of national
programmes;
 
     (e)  Non-emergency food aid channelled through the organizations of the
United Nations system should be programmed coherently so as to ensure its full
integration with the development programmes of the Government;
 
     (f)  Organizations participating in programming should be invited to
increase their efforts directed towards integrated programming under the
leadership of Governments;
 
     (g)  The Director-General for Development and International Economic
Co-operation should be requested to conduct an independent study aimed at
developing, among other possible ways to improve the co-ordination of the
United Nations system, at the country level, the concept of a document
containing the integrated operational response of the United Nations system at
the country level to the national programme framework of the recipient
Government for operational activities for development, which would give
greater coherence to existing programming instruments, and to submit this
study to the General Assembly at its forty-fifth session, through the Economic
and Social Council, including an analysis containing his views on the impact
of this approach, in particular on the role of the resident co-ordinator, on
the leadership role of the United Nations Development Programme, and on the
relationship and relevance of such an approach to the existing co-ordinating
mechanisms of the organizations of the United Nations system at the country
level, such as National Technical Co-operation Assessment and Programmes,
round tables and consultative groups, and possible ways to implement the
relevant elements contained therein;
 
     18.  Decides that, in order fully to enable Governments to assume the
execution of programmes and projects funded by the United Nations system for
development, the following changes should be undertaken:
 
     (a)  The present rules and procedures for government/national execution
should be adapted, as appropriate, to promote and maximize the utilization and
strengthening of national capacities, while enabling Governments to make
effective use of the expertise available within the United Nations system in
the implementation of programmes and projects;
 
     (b)  Procedures pertaining to programme and project formulation, design,
appraisal, implementation, procurement, reporting, monitoring and evaluation
should be simplified and harmonized, taking into account costs involved for
recipient Governments and the United Nations system, at both the country and
headquarters levels, and on the basis of consultation with recipient
Governments;
 
     (c)  Governing bodies should review existing budget, audit and other
relevant practices, with a view to taking specific decisions on measures
designed to promote and maximize the utilization of national capacities
through government/national execution, a more programme-oriented approach and
the improved provision of technical advice and backstopping;
 
     19.  Considers that, in the context of the application of the system of
government/national execution of programmes and projects, as set out in
paragraph 18 of the present resolution, the participation of specialized
agencies and technical entities of the United Nations system in operational
activities should be redefined towards, in particular, the provision of
technical support to Governments on a multisectoral and sectoral basis, as
well as a supportive technical role in the project cycle, as requested by
Governments;
 
     20.  Requests all organs and organizations of the United Nations system
to improve their ability to provide Governments at the country level with
information on the capacities and needs of other developing countries, in the
required detail, so as to enable greater integration in programme and project
formulation and implementation of technical co-operation among developing
countries, with a view to strengthening the capacities of developing
countries;
 
     21.  Stresses the need to attach high priority to substantially
increasing procurement from developing countries, in order to promote
collective self-reliance, while paying due respect to the principles of
international competitive bidding, and, in this regard, emphasizes the
importance for all parts of the United Nations system of setting specific
goals for increasing procurement from developing countries;
 
     22.  Acknowledges the commitment to procurement from under-utilized major
donor countries and recommends the implementation of the relevant proposals of
the Director-General in accordance with the principles of international
competitive bidding;
 
     23.  Recommends, within the framework of a more decentralized and
strengthened capacity of the United Nations system at the country level, the
delegation of authority from the headquarters to the country level by the
organs and organizations of the United Nations system in order to develop a
country-focused approach and to ensure maximum utilization and strengthening
of national capacities and, in this regard, calls upon those organs and
organizations to introduce the following changes:
 
     (a)  Within the broad multi-year programmes and projects approved by
governing bodies, approval authority for specific programmes and projects
should, to the maximum extent possible, be delegated to the country level, in
support of improvement of programme and project appraisal capacity, and field
offices should fully exercise that approval authority with a view to improving
speed, quality and efficiency of implementation;
 
     (b)  During implementation of the overall programmes approved by
governing bodies, country offices should have the flexibility to make
budgetary revisions of projects during implementation;
 
     24.  Reaffirms the established principles of accountability within the
operational activities for development and, while maintaining the ultimate
accountability of the executive heads of the funding organizations, stresses
the need to redefine and adapt working mechanisms for ensuring full
accountability, in the light of the reorientation of the United Nations
development system towards, in particular, government/national project
execution, decentralization, delegation of authority and adoption of a more
programme-oriented approach, as noted in paragraphs 15, 17, 18 and 23 of the
present resolution, and for this purpose recommends the following:
 
     (a)  The executive heads of the funding organizations of the United
Nations system should make specific proposals to their governing bodies on
ways and means of ensuring accountability through rationalizing and
streamlining their existing systems, in the context of harmonization and
simplification of procedures, including the possibility of conferring on the
country offices a greater role in ensuring accountability;
 
     (b)  Recipient Governments should take the necessary steps to improve
their capacity to satisfy the accountability requirements of their executing
role, including financial reporting and the audit function, for operational
activities for development and, in this regard, the funding organizations
should provide appropriate technical support;
 
     (c)  All specialized and technical agencies, in the context of the review
of their budget, audit and other relevant practices referred to in
paragraph 18 (c) of the present resolution, should take specific measures to
achieve a greater degree of accountability and transparency in the use of
funds for operational activities;
 
     (d)  Governing bodies of the relevant organizations should improve their
working mechanisms so that they may exercise their overview function more
effectively;
 
     25.  Encourages the Governing Council of the United Nations Development
Programme to continue to consider the question of successor arrangements for
agency support costs from the standpoint of how best to meet the needs of
developing countries and to foster co-ordination and coherence within the
United Nations system, taking into account the need to ensure maximum
utilization of national capacity through, in particular, government/national
execution of projects, a more programme-oriented approach and regular and
timely provision of technical advice and backstopping by agencies at the
country level, as stated in paragraphs 17, 18 and 19 of the present
resolution;
 
     26.  Requests the executive heads of the United Nations funding and
technical agencies to re-examine their organizational structures and staff
deployment in support of the requirements of decentralization to the country
offices, with a view in particular to redeploying personnel and effecting
economies at headquarters;
 
     27.  Stresses the vital importance of the full, co-ordinated and timely
implementation of all modifications required of the organs, organizations and
bodies of the United Nations system, as mentioned in the present resolution;
 
     28.  Decides that the implementation of the present resolution by the
United Nations system in all the areas mentioned in the resolution should be
accomplished as early as possible, and requests the Director-General to submit
a proposed three-year schedule for the implementation of the resolution by all
the organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system to the
Economic and Social Council at its second regular session of 1990 and to draw
attention to recommendations on which he considers additional guidance is
required, particularly those facilitating the full implementation of the
present resolution, and make available his report containing recommendations
for the comprehensive triennial policy review of operational activities for
development of the United Nations system;
 
     29.  Requests the Director-General to submit, for the next three years,
annual reports on the implementation of the present resolution, on a
consolidated system-wide basis, to the Economic and Social Council at its
second regular session;
 
     30.  Calls upon States members of the governing bodies of all organs,
organizations and bodies of the United Nations system consistently to ensure
full implementation of the provisions contained in the present resolution;
 
     31.  Also calls upon the governing bodies of the organs, organizations
and bodies of the United Nations system to make the adjustments required to
implement the provisions of paragraphs 15, 17, 18 and 20 through 24 of the
present resolution and to prepare information on the measures taken, to be
included, starting in 1991, in the annual reports of the Director-General
submitted through the Economic and Social Council to the General Assembly;
 
     32.  Requests the executive heads of the organs, organizations and bodies
of the United Nations system to co-operate fully with the Director-General in
the implementation of the present resolution, including, in particular, the
preparation and implementation of the schedule referred to in paragraph 28 of
the resolution;
 
     33.  Reaffirms the provision contained in General Assembly resolution
32/197 concerning the representation of developing countries at the executive
management and other central decision-making levels of secretariat structures
in the area of operational activities for development of the United Nations
system, and requests the Director-General to include, in his annual report to
be submitted to the Economic and Social Council at its second regular session
of 1990, a section on the implementation of this provision;
 
     34.  Requests the Director-General to submit to the General Assembly at
its forty-seventh session, in the context of the triennial policy review, a
comprehensive analysis of the implementation of the present resolution and to
make appropriate recommendations.