A New Dimension in International Cooperation for Development

On 12 September 1978 in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, delegations from 138 States adopted by consensus a Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC). They gave it the name of the city that had been host to their United Nations Conference on TCDC. The consensus adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action marked the full success of this Conference, tributes to which were still being paid in the United Nations General Assembly when, in December 1978, it resolved to endorse the Plan and urged all Governments and elements of the United Nations system to implement its recommendations.

 

The Conference Emblem

A symbolic new bridge joining the countries and people of the Southern hemisphere was adopted as the emblem of the United Nations Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries.

The centre of the Conference emblem – where the Southern, Northern, Eastern and Western parts of the world all join – symbolizes a further and ultimate objective of TCDC and the 1978 United Nations Conference: The enhancement of truly global partnership for development.

 

 

The Plan of Action may well be the most exhaustively, carefully debated document of its kind. Fully five years of detailed, progressively expanding analysis and discussion of the need for and potential of technical co-operation among developing countries — at national and regional levels, in expert groups and intergovernmental meetings, and at the headquarters of the United Nations Development Programme and the other agencies and organizations of the United Nations development system — went into the drafting of the Plan. At the Buenos Aires Plan Conference itself, hundreds of government specialists in development from all over the world, including 45 Cabinet Ministers, 41 Deputy Ministers, and 81 heads of departments of development planning and co-operation, studied and debated every line of the draft with special determination, often working late into the night.

The resultant Plan is a detailed blueprint for major changes in approaches to development assistance and for a dramatically heightened emphasis on national and collective self-reliance among developing countries as foundations for a new international economic order.

The Plan is not a “read once and put away” document. It needs reading again and again to identify, in the necessarily compressed language of each Objective and Recommendation, the concrete and urgent development problems which they seek to overcome. Every national and international institution involved in any degree in development will wish to use it continuously as a checklist of factors necessary to consider in programme and project design, resource selection, and evaluation.

The actions identified will offer guidance for such purposes for a decade or more ahead. They amount to prescriptions of new ways, newly perceived and strengthened capacities, which can give major additional impetus to the attack on world poverty and underdevelopment and the establishment of a new international economic order. To enable development workers everywhere to have constant access to this vital new blueprint, UNDP is pleased to be able to publish the full and exact text in this more durable form, together with the General Assembly Resolution endorsing it. Additional copies are readily available from the Special Unit for Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries, Room 1230, 304 East 45 Street, New York, New York 10017.

 

 

Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries

 

The United Nations Conference on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries

Having convened in Buenos Aires, from 30 August to 12 September 1978 pursuant to General Assembly resolutions 31/179 of 21 December 1976 and 32/183 of 19 December 1977 on technical co-operation among developing countries.

1. Adopts the following Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries;

2. Decides that it be known as the “Buenos Aires Plan of Action”;

3. Urges all Governments, the entire United Nations Development system and the international community as a whole, to take effective action for its implementation.

 

I. Introduction

1. The United Nations Conference on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries comes at a critical point in the evolution of relations among developing countries themselves and between them and developed countries.

2. Profound changes are taking place in international political and economic relationships. When the principal institutions of the present international system were first established, a group of industrialized countries were dominant in world affairs. However, the historic process of decolonization now makes it possible for a large number of States, representing an overwhelming proportion of the world’s population, to participate in international affairs. Moreover, substantial changes are taking place at the world level in the control and distribution of resources and in the capabilities and needs of nations. As a result of these changes and other international developments, the expansion of international relations and co-operation and the interdependence of nations are progressively increasing. Interdependence, however, demands sovereign and equal participation in the conduct of international relations and the equitable distribution of benefits.

3. The international system is in a state of ferment. Concepts, political and economic positions, institutions and relationships must be adjusted to the new realities and changing perceptions. It is in this perspective that the countries of the developing world have made their call for the new international economic order as an expression of their political will and their determination, based on the principles of national and collective self-reliance, to work towards a new pattern of international relations more appropriate to the real circumstances and reflecting fully the interests of the world community as a whole.

4. There is a growing recognition of the urgency and magnitude of the problems that are being faced and will increasingly be faced by the world community in the future. The problems of development—social and economic, national and international— demand greatly increased, concerted efforts by the developing and developed countries if the new international economic order is to be a reality. While the progress of the developing countries depends primarily on their own efforts, that progress is also affected by the policies and performance of the developed countries. At the same time, it is evident that, as a consequence of widening international relations, co-operation and interdependence in many fields, the progress of the developed countries is now, and will increasingly be, affected by the policies and performance of the developing countries.

5. In this historic new stage of progress towards the attainment of the new international economic order, technical co-operation among developing countries (TCDC) is becoming a critically important dimension. It is a means of building communication and of promoting wider and more effective co-operation among developing countries. It is a vital force for initiating, designing, organizing and promoting co-operation among developing countries so that they can create, acquire, adapt, transfer and pool knowledge and experience for their mutual benefit and for achieving national and collective self- reliance, which are essential for their social and economic development.

6. This form of co-operation is not new. A large number of co-operative activities have been carried out among developing countries over the years and many are now in progress. What is new, however, is that co-operation among developing countries is now perceived by those countries to be increasingly important in promoting sound development in the present world context. Furthermore, the difficulties currently encountered by the world economy make it even more necessary for the developing countries to evolve strategies based on greater national and collective self-reliance, for which TCDC is an important instrument. This in no way reduces the responsibility of developed countries to undertake the necessary policy measures, in particular, the increase of development assistance for accelerated development of developing countries.

7. TCDC is a multidimensional process. It can be bilateral or multilateral in scope, and subregional, regional or interregional in character. It should be organized by and between Governments which can promote, for this purpose, the participation of public organizations and, within the framework of the policies laid down by Governments, that of private organizations and individuals. It may rely on innovative approaches, methods and techniques particularly adapted to local needs and, at the same time, use existing modalities of technical co-operation to the extent that these are useful. While the main flows of technical co-operation visualized would be between two or more developing countries, the support of developed countries and of regional and interregional institutions may be necessary.

8. TCDC is neither an end in itself nor a substitute for technical co-operation with developed countries. Increased technical co-operation of the developed countries is required for the transfer of appropriate technologies and also for the transfer of advanced technologies and other expertise in which they have manifest advantages. Further contributions from the developed countries are required for the enhancement of technological capabilities of developing countries through support to relevant institutions in those countries. TCDC can serve the purpose of increasing the capacity of developing countries to adapt and absorb appropriate inputs from developed countries.

9. The importance of co-operation among developing countries in general, and of technical co-operation in particular, has been recognized in a series of declarations, resolutions and decisions of the United Nations General Assembly and other bodies. In its most recent resolution on the Conference (resolution 32/183 of 19 December 1977), the General Assembly, recalling its earlier resolutions 3201 (S-VI) and 3202 (S-VI) of 1 May 1974 containing the Declaration and the Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order, 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974 containing the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States and 3362 (S-VII) of 16 September 1975 on development and international economic co-operation, recognized that the basic objectives of technical co-operation among developing countries were the furthering of the national and collective self-reliance of developing countries and the enhancement of their creative capacity to solve their development problems. The same objectives, within a broader context, had been strongly supported at the Fifth Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, held at Colombo from 16 to 19 August 1976 [1], at the Conference on Economic Co-operation among Developing Countries, held at Mexico City from 13 to 22 September 1976 [2], by the Cairo Declaration of March 1977 on Afro-Arab Cooperation [3], at the First Conference of Ministers of Labour of the non-aligned and other developing countries, held at Tunis from 24 to 26 April 1978, which adopted a programme of action and co-operation in the spheres of employment and the development of human resources [4], and most recently by the Declaration and Action Programme for Economic Co-operation adopted by the Conference of Foreign Ministers of Non-Aligned Countries held at Belgrade in July 1978 [5].

10. The General Assembly, by it s resolution 32/182 of 19 December 1977 endorsed the recommendations of the Working Group on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries [6] as modified by the relevant decisions on technical co-operation among developing countries adopted at the eighteenth, twenty-third and twenty-fourth sessions of the Governing Council of the United Nations Development. Programme, thus recognizing that those recommendations represented a substitute contribution to the development of TCDC, especially within and by the United Nations development system.

11. The Kuwait Declaration on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries of 5 June 1977, following four regional inter-governmental meetings on the subject, states that “TCDC is a historical imperative brought about by the need for a new international order. It is a conscious, systematic and politically motivated process developed to create a framework of multiple links between developing countries [7]. The Kuwait Declaration was recognized in resolution CM/Res.560 (XXIX), adopted by the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity at its twenty- ninth ordinary session held at Libreville from 23 June to 5 July 1977 [8]. It was further endorsed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity at its thirty-first ordinary session, held at Khartoum from 7 to 18 July 1978.

12. Technical co-operation among developing countries has emerged as a new dimension of international co-operation for development, which gives expression to the developing world’s determination to achieve national and collective self-reliance and to the need to bring about the new international economic order. Its emergence and rationale should therefore be viewed in this global perspective, in the light of experience gained from international technical assistance and in the light of the conclusions reached by previous United Nations world conferences that had a bearing on development and co- operation.

13. TCDC as well as other forms of co-operation among all countries must be based on strict observance of national sovereignty, economic independence, equal rights and non-interference in domestic affairs of nations, irrespective of their size, level of development and social and economic systems.

14. The strengthening of TCDC must constitute an important component of any future strategy which seeks to accelerate development, to enhance human dignity and progress, and to improve the performance of the world economy as a whole.

 

[1] See A/31/197.
[2] See A/C.2/31/7 and Add.1
[3] See A/32/32/61
[4] See A/CONF.79/12
[5] See A/33/206, annexes I and II
[6] DP/69
[7] See A/CONF.79/OC/18
[8] See A/342/310, annex I

 

II. Objectives

15. The basic objectives of TCDC, which are interdependent and mutually supportive contribute to the wider objectives of the development of the developing countries and international development co-operation. They reinforce those of closely related forms of co-operation, including economic co-operation among developing countries, for which TCDC is a key instrument. The objectives are:

a. To foster the self-reliance of developing countries through the enhancement of their creative capacity to find solutions to other development problems in keeping with their own aspirations, values and special needs;

b. To promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among developing countries through exchanges of experience, the pooling, sharing and utilization of their technical resources, and the development of their complementary capacities;

c. To strengthen the capacity of developing countries to identify and analyse together the main issues of their development and to formulate the requisite strategies in the conduct of their international economic relations, through pooling of knowledge available in those countries through joint studies by their existing institutions, with a view to establishing the new international economic order;

d. To increase the quantum and enhance the quality of international co-operation as well as to improve the effectiveness of the resources devoted to over-all technical co- operation through the pooling of capacities;

e. To strengthen existing technological capacities in the developing countries, including the traditional sector, to improve the effectiveness with which such capacities are used and to create new capacities and capabilities and in this context to promote the transfer of technology and skills appropriate to their resource endowments and the development potential of the developing countries so as to strengthen their individual and collective self-reliance;

f. To increase and improve communications among developing countries, leading to a greater awareness of common problems and wider access to available knowledge and experience as well as the creation of new knowledge in tackling problems of development;

g. To improve the capacity of developing countries for the absorption and adaptation of technology and skill to meeting their specific developmental needs;

h. To recognize and respond to the problems and requirements of the least developed, land-locked, island developing and most seriously affected countries;

i. To enable developing countries to attain a greater degree of participation in international economic activities and to expand international co-operation.

16. TCDC clearly serves many other purposes, such as overcoming attitudinal barriers, increasing developing countries’ confidence in each other’s technical capabilities and enhancing the process of harmonization of their interests so as to take fully into account, within the context of the fundamental concept of solidarity, their specific subregional, regional and interregional characteristics, particularly by identifying priorities in such fields as transport and communications, employment, development and exchange of human resources, as well as agriculture and industry.

 

III. Action to be taken

17. The recommendations formulated below should strengthen and support co-operation among developing countries, for example, and without implying an indication of priority, through the implementation of current activities and programmes of action decided upon by the developing countries, in such fields as employment and development of human resources, fisheries, food and agriculture, health, industrialization, information, integration of women in development, monetary and financial co-operation, raw materials, science and technology, technical co-operation and consultancy service, telecommunications, tourism, trade, and transport and communications. These recommendations should also facilitate the formulation of programmes of co-operation in other sectors.

 

A. Action at the national level

18. The primary objectives of the following recommendations for action at the national level are: to increase the awareness in each developing country of its own capabilities, skills and experience, and of those available in other developing countries, to establish and strengthen the necessary supportive arrangements – institutions, information, human and other resources—on which TCDC must be firmly based; to identify specific opportunities for TCDC, and to enhance the capacities of developing countries to organize and implement expeditiously and effectively projects with a TCDC dimension. While such actions would clearly be the responsibility of each developing country, the support of other developing countries, developed countries and international organizations where requested, could make important contributions. In the implementation of the recommendations set out below, the United Nations development system would be expected to extend its fullest support when requested to do so by Governments.

19. Bilateral co-operation among developing countries represents an important form of TCDC and an instrument for forging links between national and collective self-reliance. Therefore, the main aim of recommendations concerning bilateral co-operation is to stimulate, intensify and improve it in substance, forms and mechanisms.

Recommendations I. National programming for technical co- operation among developing countries

20. In formulating its national development plan or programme, each developing country should endeavour to identify its potential for TCDC. Such a process should include evaluation of its experience in relevant sectors of economic and social development that may have a bearing on the needs of other developing countries. On this basis, the Government may consider national requirements in research, technology, skills, consultancy services and training facilities and employment strategies that can be met most effectively through co-operation with other developing countries, as well as the contributions in respect of these which it can make for the benefit of other developing countries.

Recommendations 2. Adoption of policies and regulations favourable to technical co-operation among developing countries

21. Each developing country should consider adopting policies favourable to TCDC, and working out the legal and administrative framework for effective and equitable co-operation, taking into account practices already established on the basis of formal conventions, thus ensuring their widest possible applicability and acceptance. The framework should cover the administrative and legal arrangements concerning the entry, employment, obligations, privileges and immunities of experts and consultants, arrangements concerning fellowships, the use of contractors and other specialist services, entry of equipment and supplies, fiscal and currency regimes favourable to TCDC and also financial arrangements aimed at an equitable sharing of costs. It should also cover appropriate administrative and legal arrangements embracing, inter alia, arrangements to facilitate the sending of technical and professional personnel abroad without jeopardizing the terms and prospects of their regular employment on their return, as well as the provision of consultancy services, the supply of equipment and the granting of fellowships and apprenticeships.

Recommendations 3. National mechanisms for promoting technical co-operation among developing countries

22. Each developing country should, as appropriate, organize flexible mechanisms or strengthen them where they already exist in order to promote TCDC, to facilitate the co- ordination of TCDC activities at the national level and their incorporation into the national development programmes. Such mechanisms may involve the participation of public and private sector representatives to enable close interaction with government bodies and other sectoral organizations.

Recommendations 4. The strengthening of national information systems for technical co-operation among developing countries

23. Each developing country should take adequate steps to strengthen the gathering, processing and dissemination of information covering the availability of national capacities, knowledge and experience for application and use in TCDC, if necessary with the support of the information systems of the United Nations development system, and particularly of the Information Referral System (INRES) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as well as official, professional and other sources.

Governments of developing countries should further intensify their co-operation with the appropriate bodies at the regional, interregional and global levels for the pooling of such information so as to facilitate the communication to other developing countries of the availability of such resources and opportunities for TCDC. These bodies should secure the information for TCDC through Governments and entities officially designated by them and disseminate it through the channels established for this purpose by Governments.

Recommendations 5. The improvement of existing institutions

24. Since a strong institutional base is essential for viable TCDC, developing countries should individually identify and assess the effectiveness and potential of national institutions for the purpose, and adopt measures, wherever necessary, to improve their effectiveness and enhance their potential. National organizations of developing countries working on common problems can make valuable contribution to the expansion of TCDC. Such organizations could organize operational collaboration so as to achieve a mutuality of relationships. Such collaboration would strengthen their own capabilities by sharing work and experience with others working on the same problems at various levels of complexity and in diverse environments, and also, where feasible, by sharing responsibilities for common training activities.

Recommendations 6. Promotion of national research and training centres with multinational scope

25. Developing countries should encourage existing national research and training centres to broaden their scope of activities to include programmes and projects which are of interest to several countries at a subregional, regional and interregional level. While existing national centres should be utilized for this purpose to the maximum extent possible, where necessary, new centres may be created for the same purpose.

Recommendations 7. The promotion of greater technological self-reliance

26. Developing countries should make every effort to strengthen their scientific and technological capabilities to suit their special needs, values and resource endowments by formulating, where necessary, technology plans as an integral part of their national development plans; establishing scientific and technological data banks; encouraging indigenous research and development activities for the attainment of their development objectives; combining research efforts and sharing their results with one another by means of agreements on scientific and technical co-operation, strengthening national design, national laboratories, research centres and scientific and other institutions; and linking their national research and development institutions, where appropriate, to those in other developing countries, including linkage through the regional centres on transfer and development of technology, developing countries should undertake special efforts to strengthen their national potentials in engineering and consultancy services by improving the professional standards, organizing training and research. Broad exchange of experiences in this field among developing countries is an indispensable component of national and collective self-reliance.

Recommendations 8. The formulation, orientation and sharing of policy experiences with respect to science and technology

27. In view of the important role of science and technology in the development of developing countries, and bearing in mind the successful experience of several developing countries in applying science and technology in their development process, developing countries should, wherever possible, exchange among themselves their experiences in the formulation and implementation of their plans and policies for the orientation of science and the transfer and development of technology to their own development objectives, needs and capabilities.

Recommendations 9. The promotion of greater self-reliance in the economic and social spheres

28. The Governments of developing countries should intensify their efforts to promote national and collective self-reliance by strengthening their mutual contacts and communications by exchanging experience, and by undertaking programmes and projects, including joint ones, in areas of mutual interest in the economic and social sectors.

Recommendations 10. Technical co-operation among developing countries in the cultural spheres

29. The Governments of developing countries should, in order to affirm the cultural identity of their peoples and to enrich and strengthen their collective capacity with a greater awareness of the culture and heritage of other developing countries, increasingly employ TCDC mechanisms to foster cultural and educational links and to strengthen mutual knowledge by promoting exchanges and co-operation in the social sciences, education and culture.

Recommendations 11. The encouragement of technical co-operation among developing countries through professional and technical organizations

30. The Governments of developing countries should encourage and facilitate co-operation among professional, and technical organizations in their TCDC activities in their own countries and in other developing countries.

Recommendations 12. The expansion of TCDC through national public and private enterprises and institutions

31. Having regard to the important and growing contribution that enterprises and institutions in the public sector are making to national development in the developing countries and the rich fund of experience acquired by them over the years, the Governments of developing countries should endeavour to establish or strengthen suitable arrangements to encourage and maintain co-operation and communication between public enterprises and institutions in their own countries and those in other developing countries, especially with a view to promoting closer technical collaboration. Similarly, Governments of developing countries should aim at encouraging comparable arrangements with regard to national private enterprises and institutions, where applicable.

Recommendations 13. Information and education programmes in support of technical co-operation among developing countries

32. Governments and non-governmental organizations of developing countries should undertake long-term information and education programmes to strengthen their own cultural identities, to encourage greater awareness of their common development problems and opportunities, to mobilize public support for self-reliance, and to break down attitudinal barriers to the expansion of TCDC. The United Nations system should lend intensive support to such programmes, seeking special additional resources for that purpose.

Recommendations 14. The expansion of bilateral technical links

33. In order to facilitate sustained and widening technical co-operation among developing countries, and since bilateral arrangements constitute one of the fundamental aspects of this co-operation, the Governments of developing countries should endeavour to expand bilateral arrangements for promoting TCDC through such mechanisms as co- operative agreements and programmes, joint commissions, the regular exchange of information and experience, and the support of initiatives in the public and private sectors. In this respect developing countries should undertake special efforts to intensify TCDC through long-term programmes and projects by enhancing the programming and undertaking special measures for the successful implementation of those programmes and also by establishing direct linkages among similar institutions.

 

B. Action at the subregional and regional levels

34. TCDC should be conducted by each State, and at the subregional and regional levels jointly by all concerned. The following recommendations for action at the subregional and regional levels should take into account inter alia the need to:

a. Strengthen existing subregional and regional institutions and organizations and thus their capacity to serve better the needs of each Government concerned in its efforts to co-operate with others;

b. Develop and strengthen inter-institutional links in important, high-priority substantive areas, such as those identified at the regional preparatory intergovernmental meetings for the Conference, designed to draw on the capabilities and experiences available in the region;

c. Reinforce the capacities available for data collection and analysis in order to provide systematic and updated information for decision-makers at the national, subregional and regional levels; and

d. Improve regional information systems for TCDC, particularly those related to technical co-operation needs which cannot always be expressed simply in the traditional terms of skills, equipment and training requirements.

Recommendations 15. The strengthening of subregional and regional institutions and organizations

35. All Governments should endeavour to strengthen the capacities of subregional and regional organizations to implement TCDC activities and projects. In this connexion the United Nations development system should support these endeavours, particularly through the regional commissions, in close collaboration with the regional bureaux of UNDP and with other bodies of the United Nations development system which have regional structures or divisions.

Recommendations 16. The identification, development and implementation of initiatives for technical co-operation among developing countries

36. The appropriate subregional and regional intergovernmental organizations, at the request of and in close collaboration with the countries concerned and with the support of the United Nations regional commissions and other United Nations organizations, should undertake analyses of technical co-operation needs and capacities within the respective subregion or region to assist Governments of developing countries in the identification, development and implementation of TCDC initiatives in agreed priority areas.

Recommendations 17. The enhancement of contributions by professional and technical organizations

37. The appropriate subregional and regional intergovernmental organizations, at the request of and with the support of the United Nations regional commissions and other United Nations organizations, should conduct appropriate studies at the request of the Governments concerned and recommend to Governments action programmes to enhance the contributions of the professional and technical organizations concerned in support of TCDC.

Recommendations 18. The creation of new links for technical co-operation among developing countries in important substantive areas

38. The appropriate subregional and regional intergovernmental organizations, including or with the support of the regional commissions, at the request of and in close consultation with the countries involved, should formulate and support TCDC activities and projects at the subregional and regional levels in such areas of particular concern as may be identified by Governments individually or jointly. These TCDC activities and projects should facilitate and strengthen linkages among the national organizations working to resolve developmental problems, and those concerned with research and development and the adaptation of technology.

Recommendations 19. Promotion of complementary industrial and agricultural projects at the subregional and regional levels

39. The appropriate subregional and regional intergovernmental organizations, in view of the potential for complementarities, should promote joint projects in industry and agriculture where the parties concerned specialize in their respective areas of complementarity, the products of which would have preferential access to the market of the parties concerned in the subregion or region.

Recommendations 20. The improvement of regional information for technical co-operation among developing countries

40. The appropriate subregional and regional intergovernmental organizations, including, or with the support of, the United Nations regional commissions, at the request of and in close collaboration with the countries concerned and with the support of other United Nations organizations should:

a. Contribute towards improving both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the Information Referral System (INRES) and similar systems being developed by other components of the United Nations Development system in specialized technical fields in widening their coverage and utilization of information on technical co-operation among developing countries;

b. Ensure the effective, speedy and economical pooling and dissemination of information on the technical co- operation requirements and capacities of the developing countries within each region drawing on, inter alia, various potential mechanisms such as institutional networks and professional journals, which should also aim at overcoming language barriers;

c. Prepare or harmonize, where necessary, sub-regional and regional standards in TCDC information flow.

Recommendations 21. Support to national research and training centres with multinational scope

41. The appropriate subregional and regional intergovernmental organizations, with the support of the United Nations development system, should provide, at the request of interested developing countries, the necessary support to enable national research and training centres with multinational scope to operate effectively in order to promote TCDC.

 

C. Action at the interregional level

42. A prime objective of TCDC is to enable the developing countries to benefit from the widest access to accumulated experience in efforts to deal with comparable development problems. It is now recognized that, for a variety of reasons, the experience and knowledge needed by a developing country in a given region may well be found, if not within the region, then in another region.

Moreover, as countries in a given region may have adopted similar approaches to problems, new approaches may be found by drawing upon and distilling experience from outside the region. Interregional co-operation offers considerable potential advantages and constitutes a substantial and important opportunity for TCDC.

43. A wide variety of interregional intergovernmental organizations of developing countries exists. Some such organizations are of a political character, others pursue common social and economic goals, and yet others function in specific technical or economic fields. These organizations, institutions or arrangements should be fully mobilized to promote, support or conduct TCDC projects and programmes, within their respective terms of reference.

Recommendation 22. The development and strengthening of interregional co-operation

44. Governments of developing countries that are members of interregional organizations, institutions or arrangements should, as appropriate, through such interregional organizations, institutions or arrangements, and in collaboration with their subregional and regional intergovernmental organizations and, as appropriate, with the assistance of organizations of the United Nations development system, in particular the regional commissions, considering initiating inter alia:

a. An evaluation of the function of TCDC in their common organizations, institutions or arrangements, and their capacity to promote TCDC further;

b. The necessary measures to strengthen the interregional linkages between subregional and regional organizations with similar interests and complementary capacities;

c. The joint identification of development problems that are interregional in scope and have a TCDC dimension; and

d. Joint programmes to be undertaken by appropriate interregional organizations or at an interregional level by any two or more entities belonging to different regions, and the identification of additional needs or organizational gaps where new arrangements may be called for.

 

D. Action at the global level

45. The entire United Nations development system must be permeated by the spirit of TCDC and all its organizations should play a prominent role as promoters and catalysts of TCDC. The United Nations Development Programme, the specialized agencies and other bodies of the United Nations family, including the regional commissions, have already directed a number of their activities towards TCDC. The decisions and recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries should lead to the strengthening and expansion of these efforts in order to complement further those made at the national, subregional, regional and interregional levels.

Recommendation 23. The enhancement of national and collective self-reliance

46. In view of the fact that the achievement of national and collective self-reliance through the release and development of indigenous capacities necessitates an important change in emphasis, the thrust of international technical co-operation should be increasingly directed towards enhancing the capacities of developing countries to help themselves and each other. The use of the resources of the United Nations development Programme and other multilateral and bilateral agencies should reflect this change in emphasis.

Recommendation 24. The exchange of development experience

47. Since a great deal of benefit is to be derived by developing countries from sharing each other’s experiences, the organizations of the United Nations development system should, at the request of interested developing countries, provide assistance in their respective sectors in preparing programmes and projects through which the rich experience accumulated in these countries in dealing with the problems connected with improving the living conditions of their populations could be shared and extensively applied.

Recommendation 25. The fostering of global technical collaboration

48. Governments and international development assistance organizations, in seeking to expand the potential and outreach of TCDC, should foster collaborative associations among national and international technical organizations that are working in the same development problem areas so as to give support to TCDC projects agreed upon by developing countries, at the request of countries concerned. Expansion of such problem solving networks should be in accordance with the objectives identified by the developing countries concerned in their TCDC projects.

Recommendation 26. The improvement of information flows

49. To encourage and intensify the collection, processing, analysis and dissemination at the global level of information on the capacities and needs of developing countries, the Information Referral System (INRES) and other related information systems should be further improved, developed and expanded. They should comprehensively cover the needs that might be met through TCDC in dealing with specific, detailed development problems. The Inquiry Service of INRES should be expanded at an early date in order to be able to match speedily the specific needs of developing countries with available capacities in order to improve channels for the wider use of experts, consultants, training facilities, equipment and other capacities of developing countries through bilateral or multilateral TCDC arrangements. For improved efficiency and better service to developing countries, appropriate linkages should be established between INRES and the information systems of other organizations of the United Nations development system and of the subregional and regional intergovernmental organizations.

50. In order to improve further the efficiency of INRES and to develop it appropriately, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme should initiate an evaluation and assessment of the functioning of the System.

Recommendation 27. Control of the “brain drain” from developing countries

51. In view of the global nature of the problem of the migration of professional and skilled manpower from developing countries and of such manpower’s potential as an asset for TCDC, the organizations of the United Nations development system and the specialized international agencies which deal with migration should assist the developing countries, at their request, to formulate measures for strengthening their capacities to encourage patterns of voluntary migration in the interests of their development, including not only selective migration of skilled people between developing countries, but also the return of scientific, professional and technical personnel living outside their countries of origin, taking into account work already initiated on a bilateral and multilateral basis as well as relevant resolutions adopted in various United Nations forums.

Recommendation 28. Measures in favour of economically or geographically disadvantaged developing countries

52. Effective practical measures should be taken by Governments and multilateral technical co-operation agencies for dealing with the special problems and requirements of the least developed, land-locked, island and most seriously affected countries in order to increase their capacities to contribute to and benefit from TCDC activities. In accordance with the decisions embodied in the resolutions of the General Assembly and other bodies concerned, a special effort should be made by developing countries as a whole, with the support of developed countries and of the United Nations development system, to channel through TCDC the technical and financial resources to assist them.

Recommendation 29. Measures in favour of newly independent countries

53. Special efforts should be made by all countries as well as the United Nations development system to support TCDC activities and projects in the newly independent countries.

Recommendation 30. The strengthening of transport and communications among developing countries

54. Bearing in mind the fact that the strengthening of transport and communications among developing countries is a necessary condition if TCDC is to become a major element in the development process, the Governments of developing countries should, on the basis of studies carried out by themselves, and by the organizations of the United Nations system when so requested, make specific and sustained efforts to strengthen, improve and maintain all means of transport and communications between their countries. In this context, all countries, the United Nations System and other international organizations should effectively support the implementation of programmes of the Transport and Communications Decade in Africa.

Recommendation 31. Maximization of the use of developing countries’ capacities

55. In designing, formulating and executing technical co-operation projects, Governments, and, at the request of developing countries, intergovernmental and other organizations concerned with supporting international development efforts should make the greatest possible use of local capabilities, including local expertise and consultancy firms. Where institutions and expertise of the requisite level, quality and relevance are not available locally, developing countries should have the option of obtaining such technical resources from other developing countries, taking due account of factors of quality, cost, delivery schedules and other related conditions. Similarly, the placement of fellowships and the procurement of equipment should also be directed towards other developing countries, wherever their facilities and experience are suitable.

Recommendation 32. Activities for technical co-operation among developing countries by the organizations of the United Nations development system in their respective fields

56. The governing bodies of the organizations of the United Nations development system should make every effort to mobilize their organizations in order to contribute to implementing this Plan of Action on a continuing and intensive basis, both in their respective fields of competence and in multidisciplinary joint action. Such efforts should focus on promotional, co-ordinating, operational and financial issues and should, inter alia, be aimed at:

a. Identifying TCDC solutions, or TCDC contributions to solutions, for specific development problems, inter alia, by incorporating TCDC aspects into international meetings and/or organizing when necessary international meetings on specific fields of interest to developing countries with relevance to TCDC;

b. Applying TCDC approaches and techniques in their programmes;

c. Supporting on request the preparation and execution of TCDC projects;

d. Developing new ideas and approaches for realizing the full potential of TCDC and, for this purpose, undertake the necessary studies and analyses;

e. Developing, strengthening or reorienting specific sectoral or subregional and regional information systems, and establishing functional linkages between such systems and INRES with a view to their effective utilization;

f. Organizing and assisting public information support for TCDC in their respective areas of competence;

g. Monitoring and reviewing the implementation of their TCDC activities;

h. Utilizing to the maximum extent possible the inputs available locally and those from other developing countries in keeping with paragraph 55.

Recommendation 33. Internal arrangements for technical co-operation among developing countries in the organizations of the United Nations development system

57. In order to pursue vigorously TCDC policies and measures at all levels in different sectors of development, all organizations and bodies of the United Nations development system should, if they have not already done so, reorient their internal policies and procedures in order to respond adequately to the principles and objectives of TCDC.

These organizations should also make the necessary internal adjustments and arrangements in their secretariats in order to integrate TCDC in their programmes of work. These arrangements should be result-oriented and should promote TCDC in the operational activities of these organizations.

Recommendation 34. Strengthening the capacity of the UNDP for the promotion and support of TCDC

58. In view of the wide implications and the importance of TCDC and the number of tasks which need to be carried out at the global level, and bearing in mind the importance that TCDC must assume in UNDP as an integral part of its activities, the Administrator of UNDP should take further steps to give the necessary orientation to the activities, programmes, and projects of UNDP in order to support the objectives of TCDC. These steps should include the strengthening of the capacity of the UNDP administration to work in close collaboration with the regional commissions and with regional offices of other organs and agencies of the United Nations development system through their respective headquarters, and also to respond more effectively to initiatives from subregional, regional and interregional intergovernmental organizations and groupings.

59. In this context and bearing in mind its existing functions [9] , the Special Unit, which should continue to be financed from the administrative budget of UNDP, should be strengthened in order to assist the Administrator of UNDP to carry out the functions described below:

a. Assisting Governments at their request and, where appropriate, in full collaboration with the relevant organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations development system, to undertake TCDP programmes and activities in order to achieve the objectives of TCDP;

b. Developing in full collaboration with the participating and executing agencies and regional commissions, new ideas, concepts and approaches for promoting technical co-operation among developing countries, and for this purpose, arranging for the necessary studies and analyses to be undertaken and submitted to the Governments for consideration and approval in the intergovernmental body mentioned in paragraph 62;

c. Co-ordinating the activities of the UNDP in the field of TCDC with those of the participating and executing agencies as well as the regional commissions in the field of TCDC;

d. Expanding, strengthening and promoting the efficient use of INRES and establishing appropriate linkages with national and regional information systems and/or focal points;

e. Promoting channels of communication with appropriate intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations so as to widen the awareness of TCDC and thereby generating financial and other support for TCDC activities;

f. Servicing the intergovernmental arrangement referred to in paragraph 62;

g. Preparing modifications in the policies, rules and procedures of UNDP, in accordance with relevant decisions of the General Assembly and the UNDP Governing Council, with a view to improving the Programme’s capacity to implement TCDC and assisting, at their request, other organs and organizations of the United Nations system in this regard;

h. In full collaboration with the organs, organizations and bodies concerned of the United Nations system, preparing progress reports on the implementation of the Plan of Action and making suggestions to expedite progress through new actions and initiatives for the consideration of the intergovernmental body referred to in paragraph 62.

Recommendation 35. Support by developed countries for technical co-operation among developing countries

60. Developed countries and their institutions should give their full support to TCDC initiatives by inter alia:

a. Increasing their voluntary contributions to the operational programmes of the United Nations development system in order to permit a greater quantum of multilateral technical co-operation funds to be devoted to supporting TCDC;

b. Providing financial support on a voluntary basis to technical co-operation between two or more developing countries and to institutions in developing countries that have a TCDC outreach potential;

c. Accelerating the process of untying their aid resources, so as to make possible more rapid progress in the promotion and strengthening of TCDC;

d. Giving, in their economic and technical co-operation activities, due priority to intercountry projects and programmes at the bilateral, subregional, regional and interregional levels which promote TCDC;

e. Making qualitative improvements, if they have not yet done so, in their policies and procedures related to technical co-operation, in order to be able to support TCDC activities and projects at the request of participating developing countries so as to contribute to the greater reliance by those countries on resources available locally or in other developing countries.

Recommendation 36. The harmonization of development assistance with technical co-operation among developing countries

61. TCDC activities and traditional technical co- operation and development assistance to which the developed countries contribute should be productively linked. Developed countries should take fully into account, on a continuing basis, the goals established for TCDC activities when formulating their development assistance and technical co-operation policies. Developed countries, if they have not yet done so, should also institute changes in their procedures for furnishing technical and capital assistance to foster TCDC and a greater measure of national and collective self-reliance among developing countries.

Recommendation 37. Intergovernmental arrangements

62. Recognizing that the UNDP, as the principal funding source of technical co-operation with the United Nations development system, has particular responsibility for the promotion and support of TCDC, in close collaboration with the specialized agencies, programmes and organizations of the United Nations development system, the over-all intergovernmental review of TCDC within the United Nations system should be entrusted by the General Assembly to a high level meeting of representatives of all States participating in the United Nations Development Programme. This meeting should be convened by the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and should, after annual meetings in 1980 and 1981, be held biennially. These meetings should be held in the same places as, and prior to, sessions of the UNDP Governing Council and should carry out the following functions:

a. Reviewing the progress made in implementing the tasks entrusted to the United Nations development system by the Buenos Aires Plan of Action;

b. Ensuring that efforts to strengthen TCDC are sustained within the United Nations development system;

c. Supporting new policies and innovative approaches to further the development of TCDC;

d. Considering the availability of financial resources and their effective use by the United Nations development system, without prejudice to existing programmes;

e. Ensuring co-ordination of the promotional and operational TCDC activities of the United Nations development system.

63. United Nations organs, organizations and bodies, including the regional commissions, and other subregional, regional and interregional intergovernmental organizations, should participate actively in the work of these meetings.

64. These meetings shall report to the General Assembly through the UNDP Governing Council and the Economic and Social Council.

Recommendation 38. Financial arrangements for technical co-operation among developing countries

65. In view of the fact that the financing of TCDC activities is primarily the responsibility of developing countries themselves, it will nevertheless be necessary for the developed countries and the United Nations development system to support these activities financially without prejudice to the decision-making control by the developing countries of these TCDC activities. Financial participation in and support for TCDC projects and activities should include, inter alia, the following:

a. Developing countries should determine norms and mechanisms appropriate to them in the context of their participation in the financing of TCDC activities at the national, bilateral, subregional, regional and interregional levels, with due consideration for the constraints faced by the least developed, land-locked, island developing and most seriously affected developing countries and newly independent countries;

b. Regional and international funds, development banks and other intergovernmental financial institutions and aid agencies should, within their respective terms of reference, make special efforts to finance TCDC projects and activities, and, as appropriate, make adjustments in their policies and procedures, to promote TCDC;

c. Developing countries which may wish to do so should consider earmarking a percentage of their Indicative Planning Figure of UNDP at the national level, for financing TCDC projects at the bilateral and subregional levels;

d. Regional Indicative Planning Figures of UNDP should be used to the maximum possible extent on the basis of regional priorities, for financing TCDC projects and activities. The responsibility for identifying and initiating such projects and activities should like with the developing countries of the region concerned;

e. A sizable proportion of interregional and global Indicative Planning Figures of UNDP should be devoted to the financing of TCDC projects and activities requested by two or more developing countries of different regions. The management of these resources should be conducted in close consultation with the developing countries concerned;

f. The United Nations development system should explore additional sources of finance for TCDC projects and activities including those of an interregional and global nature;

g. Flows of development assistance should be increased on a predictable, assured and continuous basis;

h. Developed countries should provide, on a voluntary basis and without prejudice to existing programmes, additional financial support for TCDC projects and activities, for example through third-country financing arrangements, through increased contributions to different national, subregional, regional, interregional or international organizations, including UNDP;

i. All organizations of the United Nations development system should allocate an increasing proportion of their resources for TCDC activities and projects;

j. In this context, special efforts should be made by the United Nations development system, other aid-giving agencies, developed and developing countries, to strengthen the capacity of the least-developed, land-locked island developing, most seriously affected and newly independent countries, to participate effectively in TCDC activities and projects.

 

[9] Annex to DP/69

 

 

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ENDORSES PLAN OF ACTION

United Nations Conference on Technical Co-operation Among Developing Countries*

 

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 3201 (S-VI) and 3202 (S- VI) of 1 May 1974 containing the Declaration and Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order, 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974 containing the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States and 3362 (S-VII) of 16 September 1975 on development and international economic cooperation,

Recalling further its resolution 31/179 of 21 December 1976 and 32/183 of 19 December 1977 on the United Nations Conference on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries as well as resolution 32/182 of 19 December 1977 on technical co-operation among developing countries,

Taking note of the Economic Declaration and the Action Programme for Economic Co-operation adopted by the Fifth Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non- Aligned Countries [1] held at Colombo from 16 to 19 August 1976, and of the Declaration and the Action Programme for Economic Co-operation adopted by the Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries, held at Belgrade from 25 to 30 July 1978 [2],

Taking note also of resolution CMRes/560 (XXIX) adopted by the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity at its twenty-ninth ordinary session, held at Libreville from 23 June to 3 July 1977 [3] and endorsed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity at its fourteenth ordinary session, held at Libreville from 2 to 5 July 1977, and of resolution CM/659 (XXXI) adopted by the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity at its thirty- first ordinary session, held at Khartoum from 7 to 18 July 1978 [4],

Bearing in mind the recommendations made at the Conference on Economic Co-operation among Developing Countries, held at Mexico City from 13 to 22 September 1976 [5] and the decisions of the First Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity and the League of Arab States, held at Cairo from 7 to 9 March 1976 [6],

Bearing in mind also the Kuwait Declaration on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries of 5 June 1977 [7],

Recognizing the role of technical co-operation among developing countries for initiating, designing, organizing and promoting co-operation so that developing countries can create, acquire, adapt, transfer and pool knowledge and experience for their mutual benefit and for achieving national and collective self-reliance,

Declaring that the United Nations Conference on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries, held at Buenos Aires from 30 August to 12 September 1978, is a major step in the strengthening of co-operation among developing countries and that the implementation of its decisions would constitute a major contribution in the evolution of international co-operation for development and in the establishment of the new international economic order,

Considering that the agreements reached at the Conference call for urgent action,

1. Expresses its appreciation and thanks to the Government and the people of Argentina for the excellent facilities and generous hospitality provided for the United Nations Conference on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries;

2. Commends the Secretary-General of the Conference on the successful preparation and organization of the Conference [8];

3. Takes note with satisfaction of the report of Conference;

4. Endorses the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries [9] as an important instrument of the international community to intensify and strengthen co- operation among developing countries, thus making international co-operation for development more effective;

5. Endorses the resolutions adopted by the Conference on assistance to Namibia, national research and training centres of multinational scope, and technical co- operation among developing countries in the spheres of employment and human resources [10];

6. Urges all Governments to take intensified and sustained action for the implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries and the resolutions adopted by the Conference;

7. Requests the organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations development system, including the regional commissions, to take expeditious action, within their respective fields of competence, for the implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries and the resolutions adopted by the Conference;

8. Calls upon other subregional, regional and interregional intergovernmental organizations to take all necessary measures, as appropriate, for the implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries and the resolutions adopted by the Conference;

9. Requests the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme to give the necessary orientation to the activities, programmes and projects of the United Nations Development Programme in order to support the objectives of technical co-operation among developing countries, including the strengthening of the Special Unit for Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries so as to assist the Administrator in carrying out the functions described in recommendation 34 of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Co- operation among Development Countries [11];

10. Commends the organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations development system, including the regional commissions, for their effective contribution to the Conference and to its preparation, through the Interagency Task Force, and recommends the continuation of consultation and co-ordination on technical co-operation among developing countries by appropriate means;

11. Decides to entrust the over-all intergovernmental review of technical co-operation among developing countries within the United Nations system to a high-level meeting of representatives of all States participating in the United Nations Development Programme, to be convened by the Administrator of the Programme in accordance with the provisions of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Co- operation among Developing Countries, requests him to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-fourth session on the organizational and substantive arrangements for the first meeting, to be held in 1980, and also decides that Arabic will be an official language at these meetings.

 

[1] A/31/197, annexes II and III
[2] See A/33/206, annexes I and II
[3] See A/32/310, annex I
[4] See A/33/235 and Corr.1, annex I
[5] See A/C.2/31/7, part one
[6] See A/32/61, annexes
[7] See A/CONF.79/PC/18
[8] United Nations Publication, Sales No.E78.11.A.11
[9] Ibid., chap. I
[10] Ibid., Chap. II, resolutions 1, 2 and 3
[11] Ibid., chap. I