United Nations

A/RES/50/120


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

16 February 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 97


                  RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

              [on the report of the Second Committee (A/50/619)]


            50/120.  Triennial policy review of operational
                     activities for development of the United
                     Nations system

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolutions 44/211 of 22 December 1989 and 47/199
of 22 December 1992, as well as other relevant resolutions,

      Reaffirming that operational activities for development within
the United Nations system have a critical and unique role to play in
enabling developing countries to continue to take a lead role in the
management of their own development process,

      Bearing in mind that the effectiveness of operational activities
should be measured by their impact on the sustained economic growth
and sustainable development of developing countries,

      Stressing that national plans and priorities constitute the only
viable frame of reference for the national programming of operational
activities for development within the United Nations system, and that
programmes should be based on such development plans and priorities,
and should therefore be country-driven,

      Also stressing in that context the need to take into account the
outcomes and commitments of relevant United Nations conferences, as
well as the individual mandates and complementarities of the
organizations and bodies of the United Nations development system,
bearing in mind the need to avoid duplication,

      Further stressing that the fundamental characteristics of the
operational activities of the United Nations system should be, inter
alia, their universal, voluntary and grant nature, their neutrality
and their multilateralism, as well as their ability to respond to the
needs of 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 urgent and specific needs of the low-income
countries, in particular the least developed countries,

      Noting the progress that has been achieved in a number of areas
in the implementation of its resolution 47/199, while stressing the
need for individual organs, organizations and bodies of the United
Nations system, as well as coordination mechanisms of the United
Nations system, to continue to work towards the full and coordinated
implementation of that resolution,

      Also recognizing that the United Nations development system
should take into account the specific needs and requirements of the
countries with economies in transition and other recipient countries,

      Recalling that the General Assembly is the highest
intergovernmental mechanism for the formulation and appraisal of
policy matters relating to the economic, social and related fields, in
accordance with Chapter IX of the Charter of the United Nations, and
that the functions and powers of the Economic and Social Council are
provided for in Chapters IX and X of the Charter and are elaborated in
relevant Assembly resolutions, including resolutions 45/264 of 13 May
1991 and 48/162 of 20 December 1993, in which the Assembly defined the
relationship between the Assembly, the Council and the executive
boards of the funds and programmes, in particular the Council function
of overall guidance and coordination of the operational activities for
development of the United Nations system,

      1.    Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the
triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for
development of the United Nations system  1/ and welcomes its user-
friendly format;

      2.    Reaffirms its resolution 47/199 and stresses the need to
implement fully all the elements of that resolution in a coherent
manner, keeping in mind their interlinkages;

      3.    Endorses Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/51 of
28 July 1995 on overall guidance on operational activities for
development to the United Nations funds and programmes;

      4.    Notes with regret that, although significant progress has
already been made on the restructuring and rationalization of the
governance and functioning of the United Nations development funds and
programmes, there has  not been, as part of the overall reform
process, any substantial increase in resources for operational
activities for development on a predictable, continuous and assured
basis, nor have the consultations on prospective new modalities for
financing reached a conclusion;

      5.    Strongly reaffirms that the efficiency, effectiveness and
impact of the operational activities of the United Nations system must
be enhanced by, inter alia, a substantial increase in their funding on
a predictable, continuous and assured basis, commensurate with the
increasing needs of developing countries, as well as through the full
implementation of resolutions 47/199 and 48/162;

      6.    Urges developed countries, in particular those countries
whose overall performance is not commensurate with their capacity,
taking into account established official development assistance
targets, including targets established at the Second United Nations
Conference on the Least Developed Countries  2/ and their current
levels of contribution, to increase substantially their official
development assistance, including contributions to the operational
activities of the United Nations system;

      7.    Notes with appreciation the sustained contributions of many
donors and recipient countries to the operational activities for
development in a spirit of partnership;

      8.    Expresses serious concern at the persistent insufficiency of
resources for the operational development activities of the United
Nations, in particular the decline in contributions to core resources;

      9.    Stresses the 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;

      10.   Decides that intensified consultations and negotiations on
prospective new specific modalities for financing operational
activities for development on a predictable, continuous and assured
basis, in accordance with paragraphs 31 to 34 of annex I to resolution
48/162 on the restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations
in the economic and social fields, should lead to an agreed outcome in
the framework of the review process of that resolution;

      11.   Reaffirms the need for priority allocation of scarce grant
resources to programmes and projects in low-income countries,
particularly the least developed countries;

      12.   Emphasizes that recipient Governments have the primary
responsibility for coordinating, on the basis of national strategies
and priorities, all types of external assistance, including that
provided by multilateral organizations, in order to integrate
effectively such assistance into their development process;

      13.   Urges the members of the United Nations development system
to continue to develop an agreed division of responsibility, in
accordance with their respective mandates, under the coordination of
Governments as well as greater complementarity in their respective
roles at the field level in response to the needs and priorities of
recipient countries;

      14.   Stresses the need for the United Nations system to take full
account of the interests and concerns of all recipient countries, and,
in that context, stresses the need for it to give serious
consideration to ways of ensuring a more coherent response by the
system to the national plans and priorities of recipient Governments;

      15.   Also stresses the need for all organizations of the United
Nations development system to focus their efforts at the field level
on priority areas, in accordance with the priorities identified by
recipient countries and the mandates, mission statements and relevant
decisions of their governing bodies, in order to avoid duplication and
enhance the complementarity and impact of their work;

      16.   Further stresses that, in the context of the reform of the
United Nations Secretariat and the restructuring and revitalization of
the intergovernmental process, the mandates of the separate sectoral
and specialized entities, funds, programmes and specialized agencies
should be respected and enhanced, taking into account their
complementarities;

      17.   Reaffirms that the country strategy note remains a voluntary
initiative of recipient countries that should be formulated by
interested recipient countries in accordance with their development
plans and priorities, with the assistance of and in cooperation with
the United Nations system under the leadership of the resident
coordinator, in all recipient countries where the Government so
decides;

      18.   Decides that, where in place, the country strategy note
should be the common framework for country programmes of United
Nations system organizations and for programming, monitoring and
evaluating United Nations system activities in such countries, and
that the country strategy note should outline the United Nations
system contribution, including, where appropriate, an indication of
the level of resources needed to meet the requirements therein;

      19.   Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with
interested Member States and in order to be able to respond more
effectively to the needs of recipient countries, to undertake further
work on:

      (a)   Broad common guidelines, with the aim of promoting greater
consistency and clarity in the United Nations system contribution to
country strategy notes;

      (b)   Enhancing its operational relevance by ensuring that the
development of individual country programmes takes fully into account
the framework provided by the country strategy note, where it exists,
so as to promote an agreed division of responsibility within the
United Nations system in accordance with paragraph 13 of the present
resolution;

      (c)   Promoting the exchange of experiences gained in producing
country strategy notes among recipient countries;

      20.   Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member
States and United Nations organizations, to consider ways of enhancing
the coordination of United Nations development activities at the
regional and subregional levels, including ways of enhancing the role
of the regional commissions and of promoting the national ownership of
regional programmes;

      21.   Stresses that the United Nations system, where requested by
interested Governments, should support the establishment of the forums
and mechanisms that facilitate and guide policy dialogue among the
partners in the development process, primarily in order to ensure that
their programmes are integrated with national plans and strategies;

      22.   Decides that the objective of capacity-building and its
sustainability should continue to be an essential part of the
operational activities of the United Nations system at the country
level, with the aim of integrating their activities and providing
support to efforts to strengthen national capacities in the fields of,
inter alia, policy and programme formulation, development management,
planning, implementation, coordination, monitoring and review;

      23.   Recalls the importance of accountability as well as of
simplifying reporting requirements, which should be in line with
national systems;

      24.   Decides that, where Governments so desire, the United
Nations system should be ready to engage in providing an enabling
environment to strengthen the capacity of civil societies and national
non-governmental organizations that are involved in development
activities, in accordance with national priorities;

      25.   Also decides that the United Nations system should use, to
the fullest extent possible, available national expertise and
indigenous technologies;

      26.   Calls for further work on the development of common
guidelines at the field level for the recruitment, training and
remuneration of national project personnel, including national
consultants in the formulation and implementation of development
projects and programmes supported by the United Nations development
system in order to enhance the coherence of the system;

      27.   Decides that the United Nations development system should
continue to work on promoting a common understanding and the
operationalization of   capacity-building concepts, as well as on ways
of enhancing the sustainability of capacity-building;

      28.   Also decides that the United Nations development system
should continue to work on improving the definition and guidelines for
national execution and the programme approach;

      29.   Requests the organizations and bodies of the United Nations
system to undertake efforts in the context of national execution and
capacity-building to enhance the absorptive capacity in developing
countries, in particular in the least developed countries and Africa,
and to assist similar efforts undertaken by those countries;

      30.   Stresses the important role of the specialized agencies of
the United Nations system in transferring and facilitating the
necessary technical and substantive expertise to support the national
execution of United Nations-funded programmes and projects, and
invites the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the heads of
specialized agencies, to inform the Economic and Social Council of the
measures taken by those specialized agencies in response to General
Assembly resolution 47/199, in particular as regards national
execution;

      31.   Also stresses that the governing bodies of all funds,
programmes and specialized agencies should make further progress in
order to ensure that the prescribed limits on field-level authority
for cancelling, modifying and adding activities within approved
programmes and shifting resources within approved budget lines of
individual components of a programme and among components of a
programme, with the approval of national authorities, should be
expanded to become equal and uniform, to the maximum extent possible,
in the context of enhanced accountability;

      32.   Recognizes that monitoring and evaluation processes,
including joint evaluations, should continue to be nationally led, and
that the United Nations system should therefore support, where
requested by Governments, the strengthening of national evaluation
capacities;

      33.   Also recognizes in that context the need to strengthen
capacities to perform both effective programme, project and financial
monitoring and impact evaluations of operational activities funded by
the United Nations;

      34.   Requests the United Nations system to strengthen its
efforts, in consultation with recipient countries, to ensure that:

      (a)   Monitoring is carried out in a way that ensures the timely
identification of problems and effective remedial action;

      (b)   Organizations of the United Nations system, operating at the
country level, coordinate their periodic programme reviews and
evaluations;

      (c)   The lessons learned from both monitoring and evaluation
exercises are systematically applied into programming processes at the
operational level, and that responsibility for such application is
clearly assigned;

      (d)   Evaluation criteria are built into all projects and
programmes at their design stage, bearing in mind the need for
adequate training;

      35.   Underlines the importance of promoting, under the leadership
of Governments, greater collaboration on issues relating to evaluation
among recipient Governments, the United Nations development system and
relevant development partners at the country level;

      36.   Requests the Secretary-General to make the resident
coordinator system more participatory in its functioning at the field
level by, inter alia, making greater use of thematic groups and
adopting a more consultative approach;

      37.   Also requests the Secretary-General to:

      (a)   Identify ways of encouraging wider participation in the pool
of candidates for resident coordinator positions;

      (b)   Promote greater governmental involvement in the selection
process for resident coordinators, in particular by ensuring that
national Governments are consulted before the post profile for
resident coordinators is passed to the Joint Consultative Group on
Policies, and keeping up to date the selection criteria for resident
coordinators and, through the respective executive heads, for senior
representatives of United Nations agencies in the field, bearing in
mind the specific circumstances of individual countries;

      (c)   Develop common guidelines for staff performance appraisal
for the funds and programmes, including ways of assessing the
contribution of staff members to United Nations system coordination;

      (d)   Urge all members of the United Nations development system to
give clear guidance and direction to their country representatives to
promote the effective functioning of the resident coordinator system;

      (e)   Promote training in the areas of team-building and
interpersonal skills;

      38.   Invites the United Nations system, including the funds and
programmes, specialized agencies and the Secretariat, to provide, as
appropriate, support to the resident coordinator system;

      39.   Reaffirms that resident coordinators, in full consultation
with national Governments, should facilitate a coherent and
coordinated United Nations follow-up to major international
conferences at the field level;

      40.   Decides that in order to promote coordination and a better
division of labour resident coordinators should, at an early stage of
formulation, be informed of planned programme activities of the United
Nations agencies, funds, programmes and bodies;

      41.   Also decides that the field-level committees organized by
the United Nations system country team, which were established in
accordance with paragraph 40 of General Assembly resolution 47/199,
should review substantive activities - including draft country
programmes, sectoral programmes and projects - prior to their approval
by individual organizations, and should exchange experience acquired,
on the understanding that the result of the work of the review
committee should be submitted to national Governments for final
approval through the national focal points;

      42.   Reaffirms the need to enhance the responsibility and
authority of resident coordinators for the planning and coordination
of programmes, as well as to allow them to propose, in full
consultation with Governments, to the heads of the funds, programmes
and specialized agencies, the amendment of country programmes and
major projects and programmes, where required, in order to bring them
into line with country strategy notes;

      43.   Requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations
development system to take the need for gender balance fully into
account when making appointments, including at the senior level and in
the field, in accordance with relevant General Assembly resolutions;

      44.   Requests the Joint Consultative Group on Policies and, to
the maximum extent possible, the specialized agencies, to raise
substantially the target for achieving common premises on the basis of
cost-benefit analysis and avoiding an increased burden on host
countries;

      45.   Calls for further simplification and harmonization of rules
of procedure used by the United Nations development system in its
operational activities, in particular by the promotion of greater
consistency in the presentation of budgets at the headquarters level,
as well as in sharing administrative systems and services in the
field, where possible, and in developing common databases, in
consultation with national Governments;

      46.   Urges the members of the United Nations development system
to adopt a more collaborative approach in preparing reports at all
levels;

      47.   Requests the Secretary-General to promote the creation or
further development of common guidelines on procedures relating to,
inter alia, programme components and project formulation, appraisal,
implementation, monitoring, evaluation and administration, in
fulfilment of paragraph 33 of General Assembly resolution 47/199;

      48.   Takes note of Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/50
of 28 July 1995, in which the Council decided that the high-level
meeting of the operational activities segment of its substantive
session of 1996 should focus on strengthening collaboration between
the United Nations development system and the Bretton Woods
institutions in the area of social and economic development at all
levels, including the field level;

      49.   Takes note of the mission statement of the World Food
Programme and the decision of the executive boards of the United
Nations Development Programme/United Nations Population Fund and of
the United Nations Children's Fund to establish mission statements for
their respective organizations;

      50.   Emphasizes the importance of disseminating the experience of
effective and efficient cooperation with the United Nations
development system, inter alia, through interregional projects of
technical cooperation, and urges the United Nations system to give
support to such activities;

      51.   Calls upon the United Nations system, in implementing the
present resolution, to bear in mind the specific requirements of the
continuum from humanitarian assistance through rehabilitation to
development;

      52.   Requests the Secretary-General, after consultations with the
funds, programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations
system, to present to the Economic and Social Council at its
substantive session of 1996 an appropriate management process
containing clear guidelines, targets, benchmarks and time-frames for
the full implementation of the present resolution;

      53.   Invites the Economic and Social Council, during the
operational activities segment of its substantive sessions of 1996 and
1997, to examine the operational activities of the United Nations
system with a view to ensuring the full implementation of the present
resolution;

      54.   Also invites the Economic and Social Council, at its
substantive session of 1996, to consider, inter alia, the issues of
harmonization and administrative services, common premises and
monitoring and evaluation, and, at its substantive session of 1997, to
consider, inter alia, capacity-building, field and regional-level
coordination, and resources, on the basis of progress reports by the
Secretary-General, including appropriate recommendations;

      55.   Reaffirms that the governing bodies of the funds, programmes
and specialized agencies of the United Nations system should take
appropriate action for the full implementation of the present
resolution, and requests the executive heads of those funds,
programmes and specialized agencies, bearing in mind paragraph 46 of
the present resolution, to submit a yearly progress report to their
governing bodies on measures taken and envisaged for the
implementation of the present resolution, as well as appropriate
recommendations;

      56.   Decides that, as an integral part of the next comprehensive
triennial policy review, there should be, in consultation with Member
States, an evaluation of the impact of operational activities for
development, and requests the Secretary-General to submit to the
Economic and Social Council at its substantive sessions of 1996 and
1997 information on progress in that regard;

      57.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General
Assembly at its fifty-third session, through the Economic and Social
Council, a comprehensive analysis of the implementation of the present
resolution in the context of the triennial policy review, and to make
appropriate recommendations.

                                                          96th plenary meeting
                                                              20 December 1995


                                     Notes

1/       A/50/202-E/1995/76.

2/       See Report of the Second United Nations Conference on the
Least Developed Countries, Paris, 3-14 September 1990 (A/CONF.147/18),
part one.

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