United Nations:

U.S. Participation in the U.N. Development Program

NSIAD-90-64: Published: Feb 22, 1990. Publicly Released: Feb 22, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), focusing on: (1) its efficiency and effectiveness; (2) other major donors' views of UNDP; (3) the level of U.S. influence; and (4) UNDP accounting practices and financial status.

GAO found that: (1) UNDP funded and coordinated only about 30 percent of United Nations (UN) technical assistance activities; (2) UNDP projects encompassed a broad range of activities, but U.S. and other donor officials believed that the projects had limited impact; (3) UNDP budgets placed an administrative burden on its implementing agencies and recipients; (4) most UN member nations believed that increased UNDP coordination would improve the effectiveness of UN technical assistance activities; (5) U.S. contributions decreased from 24 percent to 12 percent of total contributions, but UNDP made extensive use of U.S. expertise, training facilities, and equipment; (6) the UN Board of Auditors expressed qualified opinions on UNDP 1986 and 1987 financial statements; and (7) UNDP fund account balances totalled about $1 billion, but were expected to decline because of increased program expenditures.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State efforts resulted in U.N. Resolution 44/211 calling for improvements in coordinating technical assistance activities and strengthening the capacity of the Resident Coordinator.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should seek the support of other major donor nations to strengthen the UNDP resident representative/UN resident coordinator role in coordinating all UN technical assistance activities at the country level.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: U.S. efforts resulted in two governing council decisions dealing with strengthening the evaluation of project results and assessment of project impact.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should seek the support of other major donor nations to increase the evaluation of project results to determine their impact on the priority needs of the recipient countries.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: U.S. efforts resulted in adopting a decision which calls for allocating UNDP resources to least-developed countries.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should seek the support of other major donor nations to ensure that UNDP concentrates on the priority needs of the least developed countries and on activities where UNDP offers advantages compared to other funding sources.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

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