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decide what action, if any, the UPU should take in response to the imminent establishment of a joint venture between the Australian firm TNT, one of the world's largest private courier firms, and the postal administrations of France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Canada. When this venture becomes operational, it will "offer high quality international time-certain delivery services” in 182 countries and territories, according to a press release issued by the parties to the agreement creating the joint venture. At the extraordinary session, creation of "a commercial and operational structure within” the UPU to provide an alternative to the new venture was considered. Instead of this proposal, however, the Council adopted by consensus a U.S.-drafted resolution calling for establishment of a working group of experts to examine "a full range of options" for responding to the joint venture. This working group, to be chaired by Argentina and include experts on postal matters from Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Sierra Leone, Jordan and Sweden, is requested to report and submit proposals to the 1992 Executive Council.
Consultative Council for Postal Studies
The Consultative Council for Postal Studies (CCPS), composed of 35 member countries elected by the UPU Congress, organizes the study of postal operations, technical questions and economic and technical cooperation issues. The United States has been a member of the CCPS since its establishment in 1957, and was elected to a further 5-year term at the 20th Congress in 1989. The 1991 CCPS session met from October 14–24. The Council continued its work on the program of activities set by the 20th Congress in the seven committees which deal with posts and marketing, rapid services, operations and quality of service, modernization, management, human resources and postal development. The United States is working on studies for the CCPS on containers for mail, automation of certain airmail forms, letter sorting by optical character readers and postal financial services.
The Council also focused attention on ways to adopt more efficient, rational work methods for the conduct of certain CCPS studies. As a result, new guidelines were established for use by both postal administrations and the UPU Secretariat for studies carried out using the questionnaire method.
World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund
The World Bank Group is composed of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, established in 1945), the International Development Association (IDA, established in 1960), the International Finance Corporation (IFC, established in 1956) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA, established in 1988). During the Bank Group's Fiscal Year 1991 (ending June 30, 1991), 155 nations were members of the IBRD, 139 belonged to IDA, and 141 were members of the IFC. Sixteen more countries signed the MIGA convention in FY 1991, bringing total membership to 101.
The United States is the largest contributor to the World Bank Group. As of June 30, the United States held 17.9 percent of shares in the IBRD, 26.3 percent of subscriptions and contributions to the IDA, 24.6 percent of IFC's capital stock and 28.1 percent of shares in the MIGA.
The World Bank works with specialized UN agencies in a wide variety of activities. It fosters economic growth in member countries by providing loans, either at near-commercial terms (IBRD) or at concessional terms (IDA), for sound development projects. It also provides a wide range of technical assistance and training services.
The Bank traditionally has financed capital infrastructure. In 1980 the Bank inaugurated a program of adjustment lending to support specific policy changes and institutional reforms. Adjustment lending accounted for 25 percent of total lending in FY 1991.
The Bank's overall first priority was poverty reduction, addressed both by economic development projects which promote productive use of labor and by improving basic social services. It was also increasing its focus on human resources. Education project approvals increased from $1.49 billion in FY 1990 to $2.25 billion in FY 1991. Population, health, and nutrition projects increased from $933 million to $1.57 billion.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF), established in 1990 as a pilot 3-year program to help finance projects benefiting the global environment that would not normally be funded, became operational in 1991 with contributions from many participant countries, including the United States. Three agencies implement projects under the GEF framework: the World Bank, which also provides staff and coordination, the UN Development Program (UNDP), and the UN Environment Program (UNEP).
The IBRD approved $16.4 billion in loans for FY 1991 (up 8 percent from FY 1990) to support 126 projects in 42 countries. IDA credits amounted to $6.3 billion (up 14 percent from FY 1990) or 103 projects in 44 countries.
Total IBRD and IDA commitments in FY 1991 had the following sectoral composition:
Percent of Total
16.3 8.2 9.9 7.6
Agriculture and Rural Development
8.7 12.4 6.9 2.8 0.9 1.6 1.5 6.1 5.5
Projects approved by the IBRD and IDA during FY 1991 had the following regional distribution:
International Finance Corporation
The IFC assists the economic development of its borrowing member countries by making loans to and equity investments in productive enterprises in the private sector; matching investment opportunities with domestic and foreign private capital and experienced management; helping to develop local and regional capital markets; and promoting privately owned development finance corporations. The IFC also provides clients with financial services and provides advice and technical assistance to governments on capital market development and attracting foreign investment.
The IFC approved $1.54 billion for 152 projects in 46 countries during FY 1991, a 2.6 percent increase from the $1.5 billion and 122 projects of the previous year. The number of companies in which IFC held investments rose from 495 to 547 by the end of FY 1991. The IFC also approved $1.3 billion in syndicated loans and underwrote debt and securities of $33 million.
Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) encourages equity investment and other direct investment flows to developing countries through the mitigation of noncommercial investment barriers. To carry out this mandate, MIGA offers investors guarantees against noncommercial risks; advises developing member governments on the design and implemen
tation of policies, programs and procedures related to foreign investments; and sponsors a dialogue between the international business community and host governments on investment issues. MIGA commenced operations in the latter half of 1989. Countries must be members of the World Bank to qualify for membership (Switzerland is the only exception to this requirement).
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), a UN specialized agency, provides a permanent forum for its members to cooperate on international monetary policies in order to promote sustainable growth in the world economy. IMF membership is a prerequisite to membership in the World Bank. In 1991 Mongolia and Albania joined the IMF, and Switzerland's application was approved (pending domestic ratification).
The United States strongly supports the IMF and its central role in the international financial system. IMF activities complement a key U.S. foreign policy objective: maintaining a stable, open world trade and payments system. The IMF is also expected to play a leading role in promoting market-oriented reforms in the new states of the former Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe, in addition to assisting less developed debtor countries in other regions of the globe.
Under a strengthened international debt strategy endorsed in 1989, the IMF renewed its efforts to help debtor nations pursue market-oriented policies by supporting debt and debt service reduction operations negotiated between commercial bank creditors and reforming debtor countries. Particular emphasis has been given to measures to encourage new foreign investment and repatriation of flight capital. To date, nine countries (Mexico, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Chile, Venezuela, Uruguay, Morocco, Nigeria and Argentina) have negotiated IMF arrangements with special Fund resources to support debt and debt service reduction operations.
Fund disbursements and commitments increased significantly in 1991 in response to rising demands on IMF resources to support economic adjustment efforts and the economic effects of the Gulf War-related jump in oil prices. New loan commitments rose from $3.1 billion in 1990 to $11.2 billion in 1991. Drawings on IMF resources totaled $10.1 billion in 1991, compared to $5.8 billion in 1990. The IMF's net outstanding credit also increased over this period (from $28.2 billion to $32.1 billion). Continuing adjustment efforts among IMF members, as