November 2, 1987 | Backgrounder on International Organizations
614 November 2, 1987 THE U,N, DEVELOPMENT PROG RAM MISSING ITS CHANCE'TO SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH INTRODUCIION The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) since 1966 has provided over 10 billion in development assistance to developing countries and, since 1971 has been responsible for coordinating all d evelopment assistance supplied by the United Nations system. This makes UNDP a key player in the global aid network.
Recognizing this, successive UNDP administrators have tried to resist the politicization that has brought other U.N. agencies into disreput e. Although these efforts have not always succeeded, UNDP generally has been able to concentrate on providing and coordinating development assistance a .task facilitated by an experienced and well-intentioned senior staff.
Nonetheless, throughout its hist ory, UNDP has suffered a series of upheavals and it still faces serious difficulties in delivering high-quality technical assistance to developing countries in a timely and predictable fashion. Some of these. difficultiesr are the result of structural con f licts caused by UNDP's unique position within both the U.N. system and the global aid network; some are triggered by the ideological and methodological assumptions underlying UNDP's work, assumptions that UNDP has only recently begun to examine; and other s relate to avoidable deficiencies in UNDP's management and operations. Left unresolved, these problems ultimately could prevent UNDP programs from having any positive impact on the development process America's Best Fritxd" The United States must share th e blame for UNDP problems. Despite U.S. rhetorical support for UNDP, Washington has not articulated effectively its own vision for the organization. Though UNDP is widely perceived to be "America's best friend in the U.N. system" and is headed by an Americ a n, William Draper, the U.S. has been and continues to be ambivalent about -2 the effectiveness of multilateral technical assistance as practiced by UNDP. Some of these doubts stem from the demonstrable failure of those assistance programs that emphasize t h e transfer of skills and technology to significantly spur economic growth in developing countries; others relate to those UNDP activities--development efforts in communist countries, for example-that undeniably conflict with U.S. national interests So lon as the U.S. participates in UNDP, the U.S. should help this U.N agency avoi c! becoming an irrelevant participant in the development process.
Washington should propose that UNDP undertake a series of distinct'but related initiatives, including Developing a closer relationship with the private sector Reducing the number of UNDP projects Improving aid coordination and evaluation Playing a greater role in advising governments on economic policy Ending UNDP programs in communist countries.
UNDP Administrator Draper, who took office in May 1986, seem willing to rethink the role of the organization. He already has initiated changes in some of these areas. relate to any coherent conception of UNDP mission. Adoption of the initiatives which should be proposed by t he U.S., by contrast, would make UNDP a leaner more purposeful organization. While many U.N. agencies, in particular the larger specialized aBencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Org a nization (UNESCO have conspicuously failed to generate economic growth in the Third World, UNDP-if it adopted these reforms-could stand in contrast to these agencies and thus fulfill its lirmted but important mandate Yet these changes do not go nearly far - enough, nor do they seem to ORIGINS AND mUCI'CJRE UNDP was founded in 1965 by merging two existing U.N. organizatioxk, the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance (EPTA) and the U.N. Special Fund EPTA had been created in 1950 to consolidate U.N. efforts t o organize international teams of experts to advise governments on economic development; to assist in training experts and technicians both abroad and in the developing countries themselves; and to assist governments in obtaining technical ersonnel equipm e nt and supplies and in organizing their development efforts TP The EPTA program also provided educational and technical fellowships for nationals from developing countries to study in the West 1. "Generation New York 1985 United Nations Development Progra m me p. 12. -3 Ignoring the Key Principle The Special Fund, created in 1959 under pressure from developing countries for increased capital transfers from the industrialized world, served as a capital investment fund for lar e, longer-term projects that EPTA organizations were small but effective because they adhered closely to a key pmciple articulated unequivocally in a now widely ignored May 1949 U.N. report on techmcal assistance lacked the resources to undertake. The projects a nded and executed by these two me proposed technical assistance activities 'are intended to help the underdeveloped countries to help themselves This purpose cannot be achieved unless the countries concerned are willing themselves to take vigorous action to establish the internal c o nditions upon which sound development depends.2 UNDP gradually has abandoned emphasis on "the internal conditions upon which sound development depends This has done much to dilute the impact of its programs.3 Since the field activities of EPTA and the Spe c ial Fund often overlapped, the U.N. General Assembly agreed in 1965 to combine the two by creating UNDP. But it was not until 1969, with the release of a comprehensive and still controversial report on U.N. development activities, that the modern UNDP eme r ged. This report was written by Australian diplomat Sir Robert Jackson. Jackson's basic thesis was that, at a time when demand for U.N. development assistance was rising and increased funding from Western donors was making the expansion of such assistance possible, the U.N. lacked a mechanism to coordinate the development assistance being disbursed by the ~ystern U.N.'s specialized agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Orgamzation and the World Health Organization: these organizations had and still ha v e their own governing bodies and pool of assessed contributions and, while nominally a part of the integrated U.N. system, they were at that time free to develop and conduct their own programs in developing countries. This often led to chaotic situations w ith each agency bidding for funds for programs in its own area of expertise without any objective assessment of what an individual country's needs actually were Central coordinating Mechamsn Jackson's report focused in particular on the To remedy this, Ja c kson proposed that UNDP become the central. coordinating mechanism for all U.N. development efforts. As in the past, UNDP would receive voluntary pledges from donor countries, which in turn would be used to fund those projects that UNDP, in consultation w ith. the recipient government, judged to be worthwhile. The specialized agencies would execute projects in their own fields of 2. &id, p. 13 3. For an excellent overview of ideological transitions in developing assistance with reference to the U.S.
Agency for International Development and the World Bank, see Nicholas Eberstadt, "The Perversion of Foreign Aid Commentary, June 1985 4. Sir Robert Jackson, "A Study of the Capacity of the United Nations Development System New York United Nations, .1%9 4 experti s e, and UNDP would provide overall policy guidance and direction. The Jackson Report's main thrust was endorsed by the UNDP Governing Council in 1970, and its recommendations began taking effect in 1971 Funds bm the West Under the new structure, all UNDP a s sistance was disbursed in five-year planning cycles. Each recipient government had its own five year "country program which, it was thought, not only would allow coordination of U.N. assistance but would permit such assistance to be coordinated with a cou n try's own development plans and priorities. This system, moreover, would draw on one of UNDP's strengths, the extensive field network that UNDP had in lace. The Planning Figure (IPF), would be determined by needs as measured by such economc indicators as p er capita income. UNDP's administration also was reor add, and more authonty granted to UNDP "resident representatives the amount of funding each nation's country program received, the so-cal f ed Indicative hea Cf s of UNDP offices in the field Under the reforms, UNDP would continue to be responsible to a Governing Council of 48 developed and developing countries "in association with" the U.N.
Economic and Social Council. Since the vast majority of UNDP funds came--and still come--from the Western democra cies, these nations were given seventeen seats on the UNDP Council with twenty-seven reserved for developing countries. Only four seats were given to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, because they make only token Contributions to UNDP and do so in gene rally useless nonconvertible currencies. This has had the salutary effect of insuring that the Soviets and their bloc allies have very little influence on UNDP personnel, decisions, and operations.
This structure looks eminently sound on paper. In practice, though, it has had several serious shortcomings. These defects, which uneven UNDP management has exacerbated, have triggered UNDP's upheavals and have prevented Jackson's vision of the organizati o n from becoming reality. There is now nearly universal agreement that, in the words of Douglas Williams, a retired British diplomat, 'The picture which emerges more than fifteen years after Jackson is one in which the reforms he prescribed have in several important respects not been implemented."5 SI'RUCI'URAL AND MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS The first shortcoming stems from UNDP's reliance on voluntary contributions from the major Western donors which at best are unpredictable. In 1'972 the UNDP's Governing Counci l called for $55.8 million in development funds during the 1972-1976 cycle for the 25 nations deemed "least developed by the General Assembly As of 1973, six countries had pledged a total of only $6.3 million.
Nonetheless, UNDP management continued to over estimate the amount of resources that would be available for development programs under the IPFs 5. Douglas Williams, The Specialized Agencies and the United Nations New York St. Martin's Press, 1987 p. 179. -5 Indicative Planning Figures the projections o f funds available for UNDP country programs. This almost caused the collapse of the organization in 1976, when UNDP, with rising program costs and large unfulfilled pledges, faced an immediate deficit on its own accounts of $40 million. A similar crisis o ccurred during the third and most recent programming cycle: the 1980 UNDP Governing Council agreed to project a 14 percent increase in IPF resources for the 1982-1986 cycle.
In 1982, though, UNDP had to inform developing country governments that only 55 pe rcent of the projected funds would be available Defining Success by Volume. This uncertainty over UNDP funding levels, for which UNDP and donor governments share responsibility, greatly complicates the task of planning and implementing development project s uncertainty over funding levels exacerbates the tendency, present in all aid organizations, to define success or failure in terms of the volume of aid delivered or the number of projects executed, rather than the quality of the projects and their actual c ontribution to development. The opening paragraphs 0f.a recent UNDP publication perhaps unwittingly illustrate this tendency More important, the The 35th anniversary year of the United Nations Development Programme UNDP) was 1985, an apt time for evaluati n g the "first generation" of development assistance since 1950 In 1985 itself, there were increases both in dollar value of UNDP assistance delivered to developing countries, and in the voluntary contributions that governments pledged for UNDP's work in th e coming year.6 Political Failures The second major shortcoming of the UNDP structure after the Jackson Report was that it failed to take into account either the internal politics of the U.N. system or the larger politics of the global aid marketplace. The U.N.3 specialized agencies, many of which were founded before the U.N. itself, were and are generally reluctant to give priority to an integrated country program at the expense of their own field of expertise; likewise they are unwilling to rely on UNDP f o r funding and for policy direction The situation is well summarized in a 1985 Scandinavian report, on UWDP which notes that, in contrast to Jackson's expectations, the specialized agencies, since 1970, actually have, expanded the technical assistance prog r ams financed from their regular budgets and extra-budgetary contributions much more rapidly than UNDP. UNDP's share of the technical assistance expenditures in.the U.N. system was reduced from 65 percent in 1968 to 38 percent in 1980, or from approximatel y 80 percent to 50 percent if other funds administered by UNDP are incl~ded 6. "1985 and Towards the 199O's 1985 Annual Report (New York United Nations Development Programme, October 1986 p. 4 7. Hans Ahlberg and Asbjorn Lovbraeck UNDP in Action: A Study o n UNDP Field Offices in Selected Countries in Africa and Asia Stockholm: Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1985 pp. 13, 16. -6 Special Fund Ekpldon. Thus, the s ecialized agencies persistently have undercut UNDP's mandate to organize an B coordinate tec h nical assistance. kgely in response to this, UNDP has relied increasingly on other agencies and entities to execute the projects which it funds. UNDP's own Office for Pro'ects 'Execution World Bank is now the sixth largest executing agency (behind FAO, th e U.N UNIDO, UNDP itself, and the LO and UNDP long has been encouraging governments to help fund and execute more of their own projects founded in 1973, now executes only about 10 percent of UNDP L ded projects; the The past fifteen years have also seen an explosion of special funds, so-called funds in trust and special programs, purportedly designed to address specific development needs and administered by UNDP.
While some of these programs such as the United Nations Volunteers program, may serve a useful purpose, others such as the U.N. Revolving Fund for Natural Resources Exploration, owe their creation to the economic ideology in the developing countries and can be characterized fairly as devices to secure increased development assistance from Western d onors.
With its share of the technical assistance business in decline, UNDP has increased its involvement in other functional areas, such as coordinating and providing humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters. A recent study discovered that UNDP field officers spent only two-thirds of their time on UNDP related bushes8 While such non-UNDP activities may be commendable, they further confuse UNDP's mission by raising the question of whether UNDP is fostering self-sustained development or merel y providing- short-term humanitarian assistance.
Hydrological F The proliferation of UNDP-related organizations and the diversification ofmvities have had one unmistakable result: the design administration, and execution of UNDP projects has become an extr emely complex process, often involving many layers of the UNDP bureaucracy, numerous donor government bureaucracies, and even more numerous recipient country bureaucracies.
It is not uncommon, for example, to find projects such the intercountry African Hy drological Forecasting System For the Niger River participating in the project are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. The project is funded by UNDP, Italy, and OPEC and executed by the World Metereological Organization. Another example of the variety of participants involved in many UNDP projects is a "Geothermic Feasibility Study in the Laguna.
Colorado Area" in Bolivia. This multimillion dollar project is being executed by the U.N., administered by UNDP, and funded by the Bolivian government, Italy, and the Inter-American Development bank.
The dynamics of the global aid marketplace also have undercut UNDP's authority significantly, particularly in field operations. UNDP was created at a time when it was as sumed that the U.N. would be the primary conduit for development assistance, for which UNDP's resident representatives in developing countries were given major responsibility. Yet precisely the opposite has occurred: the World 8. As quoted in "Development in' Action No. 2 (New York United Nations Development Programme, 1986 p. 1 -7 Bank now provides more technical assistance than UNDP, bilateral aid agencies have greatly expanded their operations, and the U.N.3 own specialized agencies have maintained a hi g h degree of autonomy. As a result, UNDP resident representatives have relatively modest amounts of resources to administer and thus have had great difficulty in fulfilling their mandate to coordinate multilateral assistance programs A third weakness of UN D P's operations is that its programs inevitably strengthen the role of governments in recipient developing countries. As Lord Peter Bauer a British economist and development expert, notes Official wealth transfers increase the resources and power of recipi e nt government compared with the rest of society. Official transfers enhance the hold of governments over their Osubjeck;.and promote the politicization of life.'g UNDP programs do this in two ways. First, all recipient governments have veto power over dev e lopment projects funded by UNDP. If the government does not support an individual project, it can refuse to allow it to take place. Since most UNDP country programs require the active support of the reci ient government--support in terms of counterpart fu n ding, procurement o P equipment, and rovision of personnel to participate in projects--governments also pressure UNDP to Lnd projects that are unwise, counterproductive,. or politically mobvated. One senior UNDP official told The Heritage Foundation: "Our people in the field have to maintain certain relationships, so we sometimes see them endorsing some very questionable projects, as well as projects which may even. impede national development .I Flawed Premise. The second way UNDP's operations strengthen . less developed country governments is by their reflexive reliance on the state sector as the ke to development. Most UNDP rojects, whether in health, agriculture or based ultimately on the premise that the state is responsible for virtually all 'areas of e conomic and social activity. Example: in Bangladesh, UNDP funds projects in the following areas: "Strengthening the 'Energy Study and Planning Cell' in the Planning Commission Mango Improvement and Development Master Plan for Tourism Development Textile I ndustry Development Program Railway Management Assistance Training of Senior Nurses Assistance. to Broadcasting:.
Development Women's Training Centres."lo UNDP also is funding a Bangladesh project, entitled "Study of Utilization of Project Aid proving that simply administering aid programs in itself creates new layers of government bureaucracy. other B 'elds, are either overseen or fun B ed by government bureaucracies: all are UNDP officials deny that their organization's projects strengthen the state sect o r at the expense of the private economy. They claim, for example, that economic development cannot occur in the absence of an economic and human 9. P.T. Bauer, ReaIity and Rhetoric: Studies in the Economics of Development (Cambridge Massachusetts: Hanmrd U niversity Press, 1984 p. 46 10. All project citations .from "Compendium of Approved Projects New York United Nations Development Programme September 1986. -8 infrastructure, particularly in the poorest countries, which receive 80 percent of UNDP's funds. H owever, many UNDP projects contribute tangentially to the development of such an infrastructure, while many others, by reinforcing unwise government policies, may actually inhibit such development. Does funding the Development of Rural Cooperatives" in Ch a d, for instance, or supporting the Implementation and Monitoring of Employment and Income Distribution Strategy in Indonesia actually contribute to economic growth in these nations Inhiiting lhal Enterprises Moreover, even those UNDP activities that do ge n erate follow-up investment, such as re-investment studies, draw only 15 percent of their funds from the private sector.lP In 1986, for example, a total of $10.5 billion in investment commitments related to UNDP projects was made, but only 820 million of t h is came from the "domestic" private sector and $724' million 'from foreign private sources UNDP projects may also inhibit the development of indigenous enterprises by establishing a large government role in the formation of small and medium enterprises. I n Pakistan, for example, UNDP is supporting the Federal Chemical and Ceramics Corporation, the Leather Products Development Centre, and a "Long term development programme for the Synthetic Fibre Industry There are also examples of UNDP projects that may su p port highly controversial social policies. In Ethiopia, to take only one instance, UNDP is funding a project in the "Human Settlements" field, thereby roviding at least indirect support for potentially coercive these UNDP pro'ects depend manly on investme n ts from governments and other government policies. Far P rom spurring private investment and entrepreneurship multilateral deve opment organizations THE DRAPER ADMINI~TION In May 1986, William H. Draper III succeeded Bradford Morse' to become the fourth a dministrator of the. UNDP. Draper, Chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank from 1981 to 1986, has a backgr0und.h high technology and venture capital.
It was hoped that he would address the structural and managerial problems that many admitted were restricting UNDP's ability to accomplish its goals.
Draper at UNDP so far has set four programmatic priorities. for the organization 1) Working more closely with the private sector 2 Developing closer links with nongovernmental oqpizations (NGOs 3) Focusing more on the environment 4) Enhancing women's role in development 11. Figures from "Report of the Administrator, 1986 New York United Nations Development Programme 1987 p. 14. -9 To achieve these, Draper has created new divisions for women in development and NG Os, and has tried to focus UNDP on projects like pre-investment studies which are most likely to generate follow-up pnvate investment.
Draper also has taken steps to speed the delivery of UNDP services. He has emphasized UNDP's role in coordinating technic al assistance, pointing out that "With competition for scarce development funds on the increase, such coordination is cruaal to cut down on duplication and to promote multiplier effects."12 Draper has tried to strengthen the evaluation and oversight funct ions at UNDP headquarters.
He has upgraded the Bureau of Policy, Program, and Evaluation, the closest thing to an in-house watchdog, and has created a number of new committees of senior management to review programs Problems coordinating Aid These initiatives have met with a generally positive reaction from the major Western donors, a reaction that has been expressed in modest increases in UNDP voluntary contributions--from $674.1 million in 1985 to 774.4 million in 1986, with total inco me exceeding $1 billion in 1986 for the first time. As one Western diplomat told The Heritage Foundation: 'There has been some improvement in project quality under Draper."
Nonetheless, there is an obvious gap between the rhetoric of Draper's initiatives a nd the reality of UNDP operations. Almost all government and nongovernment sources agree that UNDP coordination of aid efforts in the field has seen little improvement. The new project review and appraisal committees have et internal UNDP documents reveal s that the worst fate to be expected in the high level "Action Committee" is a request that an ongoing project be referred back to the regional bureau to be reformulated--before being approved. This is troubling since Draper candidly admitted to The Herita ge Foundation that "We've got some good projects and we've got some bad projects."
Some of Draper's initiatives also have had unexpected results, particularly in the field. Example: UNDP efforts to include women in the development process have led to the f ormation of such projects as those in Senegal aimed at establishing rural cooperatives for women. According to the project description, the project was initiated to better integrate their economic actmities in the development process.
Target groups have b een provided with specific equipment to suit selected programmes and given training in management techniques to strengthen self-reliant capacities."d The only problem with the project is that, as the program officer noted, it has caused ill will in the pa r ticipating communities since the men want to be included in the project, but are not allowed to be untoward social consequences can distort the orgamzation's perspective on economic development. During a discussion of a project in Indonesia, senior UNDP o f ficials acknowledged that nation's high economc growth rate--but chiefly because they to shed their reluctance to terminate projects that have not worked. A review o r Unclaridied hpose. But even those UNDP projects that do not risk 12. "Development in Ac t ion op. cit p. 1 13. Internal UNDP document on project Sen/82/004 "Developpement des Pre-Cooperatifs Ferninins 10 consider it an impediment to finding qualified Indonesian nationals to participate in UNDP programs contribute to economic development. While Drapers initiatives are for the most part commendable, they have yet to clarify UNDPs purpose or to be satisfactorily implemented Needed are coherent, mutually reinforcing steps toward programmatic change, steps that are connected to an overarching vision of UNDPs organizational mission This, surely, is the kind of approach that must change if, UNDP is to Effecting such a vision will not be easy, since UNDP has never been forced to articulate a philosophy of development; donors, recipients, and previous UN D P administrations have prefered to approach UNDP problems in a technocratic mana erial fashion. Characteristics of UNDP operations, such as the large number some projects, such as the Senegalese project for women, have had unintended consequences, and man y others have not been adequately and thoroughly evaluated.14 In short, UNDP will have to be far more assertive, in particular toward its clients, the developing countries, and it will have to elaborate a theoretical basis for its programs, if it is to reg a in its stature in the development and f iversity of its programs, have only contributed to this tendency. As a result community Tougher Management Needed. Such action, however, must not be allowed to obscure the need for tougher, more efficient management . A recent U.N. audit of UNDP, for example, disclosed serious irregularities in accounting procedures inventory control procedures, and expense controls. Richard Nygard, U.S.
Representative to the Fifth (budget) Committee, commented on the report Stronger budgetary control mechanisms are essential if UNDP is to reverse the trend toward higher administrative costs. Since the 1980-1981 biennium administrative costs have absorbed an increasing share of total UNDP spending. Administrative costs continued to in c rease despite the 20 percent decrease in the level of spending for project activities through the period 1984-1985.15 Clearly, both the conceptual and managerial aspects of UNDPs worth will have to be more vigorously addressed by Draper in the future A U. S . POLICY IDWARD UNDP If UNDP is to become a more effective development organization, the United States, as the largest donor to the organization, will have to play a leading role 14. See Robert Cassen and Associates, Does Aid Work (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1986) for an excellent analysis of technical assistance evaluation 15. Statement by Richard C. Ny Nations (44-87 p. 3 d, U.S. Representative to the 5th Committee, on Item l3, Report of the United Nations Board of Au r itors, October 5 1987: Press Release, U.S. Mission to the United 11 Although more attention has recently been focused on UNDP by the U.S. Agency for International Development and State Department, neither has yet confronted the basic issue of whether UNDP deserves the roughly $100 million a y e ar provided by U.S. taxpayers. In a narrow sense, this investment in UNDP might be justified by the fact that U.S firms may receive amounts equal to or greater than $100 milhon in UNDP orders for equipment and services. Yet such justification misses the p oint: the U.S. contribution to UNDP is to spur development in less developed parts of the world if the Draper administration takes serious steps to address UNDP shortcomings.
Draper must go well beyond his initiatives to date, or it would seeml that the roughly 100 million annual U.S. contribution could be better spent by U.S.'l development agencies or even returned to the taxpayers.
The first priority must be the significant reduction of, and ultimate elimination of, UNDP programs in communist countries. There is no excuse for spending U.S money on such programs as "Civil Aviation Fellowships" in Afghanistan Introduction of Nuclear Techniques to the National Economy" in Cuba, or "Development and Implementation of New Methods in Bio-Engineerin UNDP program in Afganistan is projected to cost if 28,406,152, and it includes such projects as "Assistance to the National Literacy Campaign which directly support the puppet regime's goals benefit entities that are not U.N. members, such as the terrorist African Nat i onal Congress and the South West African People's Organization. UNDP programs involving SWAPO cost 3,369,710 as of 1986, and they included such projects as a SWAPO Agricultural Project Formulation Mission whose actual operations are murky. UNDP programs b e nefiting the ANC are mainly in the field of education but once again, unplicitly recognize only the ANC as the legitimate voice of black South Africans. Although UNDP officials have given assurances that funds donated by the U.S. will not be devoted to su c h programs--it is illegal under U.S. law--in practice it is all but impossible to adequately verify their disposition 100 Million from US. The U.S. should continue contributing to UNDP only in Bulgaria. In fact, the Help% Terrorists Just as questionable a r e UNDP programs' that directly UNDP officials also argue that the termination of these UNDP programs would politicize UNDP and would violate UNDP's principle. of nonpolitical development assistance. In fact, these are the very programs that have politiciz ed-.
UNDP: in the case of Afghanistan, for example, UNDP is assisting a government that has been nearly universally recognized as massive1 violating the human rights of its citizens and does not even control large parts o i! its sovereign territory As ,a s econd priority, the U.S. should push harder for better UNDP evaluation and oversight of UNDP programs, to make sure that all U.S. monies are being used efficiently. Evaluation of programs has been a perpetual problem, since UNDP management and host countr y governments have been reluctant to admit that some projects have been less than successful. Previous project evaluations have if anything, shown that regular and candid evaluations are necessary 12 Typical is a 1982 evaluation of UNDP projects in the Sud a n: it is filled with such statements as the follo~g about a project entitled "Maintenance of Essential Roads, Juba Effectiveness of UNDP assistance in the resent circumstances is doubtful and the pro'ect should be terminated without her extensions or phas e sJi6 Despite e 1 orts by Draper to strengthen evaluation, much remains to be done in this area Policy hlvement. A third priority for the U.S. is to encourage UNDP to be involved more actively in economic policy matters. UNDP's original mandate clearly imp l ies that UNDP should be involved in policy. Furthermore, even if WP's technical assistance programs are well managed and coordinated in a recipient country, poor macroeconomic policy by that country can render the transfer of skills and technology all but useless. As a World Bank official told The Heritage"
Foundation, 'Technical assistance programs aren't too effective if the government is pursuing strange policies UNDP should, without compromising its functional mandate, push developing countries to adhe re to policies which will allow UNDP's investment to bear fruit. In fact, some governments, for instance, Guyana's, are already requesting such assistance, which should give UNDP an excellent opportunity to recommend to governments those market-oriented r eforms that are most likely to create economic growth.
The fourth priority is for U.S. representatives to UNDP to emphasize that the private sector should play a central role in the development process. The Reagan Administration wisely has been articulatin g this important theme. And Draper seems to be emphasizing those UNDP activities that will lead to a greater role for the private sector in less developed countries programs is strong. As such, the U.S. should sugest the creation at UNDP of a Bureau for P r ivate Enterprise, aimed at maximizlng private sector participation in development. Considerabon should be given to allowing both the indigenous and the international private sector to assist in the design of UNDP projects. UNDP might also consider allowin g indigenous enterprises to execute UNDP projects reduction in the number of UNDP projects. It is simply impossible for an organization of UNDP's limited resources to manage effectively 4,930 projects. in more than 150 countries and territories. These proj e cts, moreover, deal with everything from debt management in Argentina to development of coastal aquaculture in Kenya. UNDP could achieve this goal--and also reinforce its greater involvement in economic policy questions--by limiting assistance to nations that are pursuing manifestly unwise macroeconomic policies.
UNDP also should be urged to eliminate country programs for relatively wealthy countries, even if such countries defray the cost of the projects. There is no reason that Brunei, Kuwait, Greece, So uth Korea, or Venezuela cannot procure all the development services they need in the international marketplace without Nonetheless, UNDP's institutional bias toward government-centered projects and genYa Aquacultum. As a fifth priority, the U.S. should st r ess the need for a 16. Dr. N. Patthabi Raman A Joint Review of the UNDP Country Program in the Democratic [sic Republic of the Sudan Khartoum: United Nations Development Programme, March 1982 13 making demands on UNDP resources. There is no reason that UN D P should be funding "Consultancies in Balance of Payments in Brunei or an "Industrial Design Center" in South Korea. A reduction in the number of projects would simplify the task of evaluating UNDP's work and would allow UNDP staff in the field to oversee UNDP projects more effectively and coordinate all U.N. aid programs more closely. It would also counteract the tendency to measure UNDP performance in terms of quantity rather than quality.
UNDP to place greater emphasis on relatively simple techmcal assi stance programs As demand for UNDP services has expanded over the last decade, the scope of UNDP programs has inevitably widened as well, to the detriment of such classical technical assistance as providing educational and technical fellowships- and impro v ing public administration capabilities in less developed countries. UNDP should recognize that providing funding for less glamorous but more basic programs is an important part of its mandate, which in the long run may'make a greater contribution to devel o pment Sile Technical Aid The sixth priority for the U.S.! should be to urge UNDP is a public international organization that is a part of the United Nations system As such, and as a result of its unique position within that system the contnbution that UND P can make to global development is inherently limited.
While recognizing these limits the Reagan Administration can do more to make UNDP a more productive organization and to ensure that U.S. funds donated to the program are used effectively. Both externa l trends and developments within UNDP have created a receptive environment for Reagan Administration initiatives largely as a result of the Administration's persistence in advocating a free market approach to economic development, the governments of many less developed countries are willing to'countenance a greater role for the private sector in their economic futures, while UNDP administrator Draper clearly has indicated his own receptivity to new directions for UNDP.
The U.S. can take the lead in providing the necessary rethinking on UNDP goals--with the result of really helping the less developed countries to help themselves.
Thomas E.L. Dewey Policy Analyst