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demonstrate potential mechanisms for linking and integrating databases across various scientific disciplines and research interest areas.
U.S. MAB provided funds for the development of an international comparative research agenda on the role of biological diversity in the functioning of ecosystems in 1991. The resulting manuscript was vetted through several prestigious international scientific bodies, published in its entirety by the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), and adopted by UNESCO as the basis for the biological diversity program of the international Man and the Biosphere Program.
The U.S. MAB Program assists the U.S. Peace Corps to recruit environmental program and project planners and technical advisors who work to develop country programs for U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers in cooperation with the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other international organizations. In 1991 two such agreements were signed, and personnel recruited, to assist the U.S. Peace Corps in these matters.
UN Industrial Development
Created as an autonomous organization within the UN Secretariat in
in 1966, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) became an independent specialized agency
of the United Nations in 1986. Its mandate is to promote and accelerate industrial development in developing countries, and to promote industrial cooperation and development on global, regional, national and sectoral levels. The United States has participated in UNIDO since its inception. In 1991 Chad, Djibouti and Lithuania joined the organization, bringing its membership to 154.
UNIDO, headquartered in Vienna, has three principal organs: General Conference, Industrial Development Board (IDB) and Program and Budget Committee (PBC). The General Conference, which met in 1991, is convened biennially and provides broad policy guidance. The 53-member IDB meets once in Conference years and twice in non-Conference years, and the 27-member PBC meets annually. The United States is a member of both the IDB and the PBC.
Program and Budget Committee
The initial seventh session of the PBC met April 22–26, in Vienna. It resumed June 27, and again August 23, in order to conclude all substantive business. Sessions were dominated by the reluctance of some member states to accept portions of the proposed 1992–1993 regular budget. Financial uncertainties posed by the computerization program, Australia's anticipated return to the organization and a potential reorganization were thoroughly debated before PBC members approved a budget in August
The Committee reached 15 conclusions, including recommendations that the IDB: approve a 1992–1993 budget that represented negative 0.5 percent growth compared to the 19901991 biennium; include the Australian assessment in the budget draft estimates due to Australia's intention to rejoin in January 1992; endorse appointment of consultants for the computerization program as recommended by a working group of independent experts; and place a dollar limit on electronic data processing expenditures for 1992–1993 and 1994–1995.
The head of the U.S. Delegation addressed the budget issue at the August 23 plenary of the PBC. He noted U.S. support for the revised budget hinged on the fact that it represented zero real growth in accordance with an earlier IDB decision. He added that in supporting the overall budget, the United States also supported the revised computerization program. In closing, he stressed that U.S. support for the budget did not mean that serious errors accompanying the development of the program were ignored, but rather that the time had come to move forward on both the budget and electronic data processing program.
The U.S. Delegation disassociated itself from a draft conclusion on the financial situation of UNIDO. The conclusion recommended financial rules be suspended so that unutilized balances of appropriations from 1988–1989 could be used to fund projected shortfalls in 1990–1991. The United States noted that the resolution already contained a proposal to use unutilized balances from the 1986–1987 biennium to fund projected 1990–1991 shortfalls, and therefore, was not persuaded that similar action with 1988-1989 balances was warranted.
Industrial Development Board
The eighth session of the IDB met first on July 1-5 and resumed on August 23, immediately after the reconvened seventh session of the PBC. The Board, which held both meetings in Vienna, adopted 47 decisions. Its meetings were also characterized by extensive debate about computerization costs and their impact on UNIDO's regular budget. The Board accepted PBC recommendations for 1992–1993 electronic data processing expenditures, but amended language for the 1994–1995 portion to stipulate that appropriate sources of financing for this period would be considered by the General Conference, and to establish a maximum dollar amount for the entire computerization program.
UNIDO's proposed reorganization attracted a great deal of attention. Despite efforts of an intersessional open-ended working group, the Board was unable to reach consensus on possible changes to UNIDO's organizational and staff structure. Instead, the working group president encouraged consultations among member states prior to the November General Conference.
Ecologically Sustainable Industrial Development
As part of UNIDO's effort to encourage industrialization based on sustainable development in developing countries, Denmark hosted an international Conference on Ecologically Sustainable Industrial Development (ESID) on October 14-18 in Copenhagen. The Conference approved 30 general ministerial conclusions which were transmitted to the General Conference and formed the basis for UNIDO's contribution to the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. During the ministerial discussion at the plenary session, the U.S. Delegation head introduced the topic of “International Cooperation Between Government and Industry." His remarks stressed the importance of international cooperation between the public and private sectors, as well as between countries regardless of their particular level of economic development.
Through the ESID Conference, UNIDO was able to meet a number of objectives: identification of how environmental concerns could be integrated into industrialization; clarification of ESID related issues in all countries, but especially in developing countries; suggestions of important roles for governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations and industry; and finally, in cooperation with other UN organizations, an indication of the role UNIDO can play at the policy and operational levels.
The General Conference
The fourth UNIDO General Conference was held November 18-22 in Vienna. With the exception of the reorganization issue, the Conference completed all substantive business, adopting 25 decisions and 30 resolutions. Concerted efforts by two working groups in conjunction with 2 years of informal consultations among member states failed to bring about a plan for restructuring the organization. The Conference referred the issue back to the IDB for reexamination and possible consideration at the fifth General Conference.
The 1992–1993 budget received considerable attention before it was accepted by the General Conference (adopted 88 (U.S.) to 1, with 2 abstentions). The U.S. Delegation called for a vote on a resolution to provide technical assistance for the Palestinian people, which was adopted 79 to 2 (U.S.), with 3 abstentions. The U.S. Delegate noted that the United States continues to be the largest single donor to UNRWA—the major conduit for health, education and social assistance to the Palestinians. He added that the resolution introduced political elements inappropriate in UNIDO's technical action forum on development.
The United States made statements, but did not block consensus, on three other items during plenary: the financial situation of UNIDO, the practice of zero real growth budgets, and external debt and industrial development. In addressing the financial situation of UNIDO, the U.S. Delegation expressed strong reservations about temporarily suspending financial regulations for a second time to enable UNIDO to use money from the 1988–1989 budget to meet 1990–1991 funding shortages. Reiterating its position at the seventh PBC, the United States characterized the decision as a dangerous precedent. With regard to zero real growth budgets, the U.S. Delegation pointed out that between the seventh and eighth sessions of the IDB, an intersessional working group had spent considerable time and effort exploring the subject, but that their results were inconclusive. The U.S. Delegation appealed to member states to turn their attention to the goal of delivering technical assistance to developing countries. As to the agenda item on external debt and industrial development, the U.S. Delegation registered strong reservations about addressing debt issues outside the competent international fora, such as the IMF, World Bank and Paris Club.
The General Conference took note of an International Center for Science and Technology to be established by the Italian Gov
ernment in Trieste, to promote research and development activities of scientists from developing countries. The Conference rejected a draft resolution which placed the center "within the legal framework of UNIDO," because some member states feared this language implied additional financial responsibility for the organization. Conference participants expressed continuing support for UNIDO's environment program, and passed a resolution approving the ESID Conference report to be transmitted as UNIDO's contribution to the UNCED. Member states also turned their attention to development projects financed by extrabudgetary means and passed a resolution approving guidelines, developed by the Secretariat, for special trust fund projects.
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has 168 members. The United States has been a member of the UPU since its founding (as the General Postal Union) in 1874. The UPU Executive Council directs the work of the Union between quinquennial Congresses. It meets once a year at UPU headquarters in Bern, and U.S. Assistant Postmaster General Thomas Leavey chairs the Executive Council through 1994, when the next Congress takes place.
The Executive Council held its regular session April 22-May 8, when it adopted a budget at a zero real growth level. The U.S. share, based on its voluntarily pledged level, was set at $1,131,000, or 5.36 percent of the net budget. The Council also agreed that the voluntary contributions portion of the special activities fund be apportioned over the next 4 years and that $382,293 be used in 1992 to fund projects to safeguard and enhance the quality of international postal service and for the engagement of specialists for special tasks. Moreover, the Executive Council instructed the Secretariat to amend the UPU financial regulations covering accounting for these funds.
In addition, the Executive Council set the dates for the next plenipotentiary Congress to be held in Seoul on August 22-September 14, 1994. The Seoul Congress will last for 18 working days compared to 22 for the Washington Congress (1989), 29 for the Hamburg Congress (1984) and 45 for the Rio de Janeiro Congress (1979).
On October 25-26, the Executive Council held its first extraordinary session. The purpose of this meeting was to