« ÎnapoiContinuați »
tries with a view to definitive tariff negotiations enabling such other countries to join Gatt in 1949. United States participation in these negotiations is conducted under the reciprocal trade-agreements legislation.
A basic aim of the United Nations is to provide higher standards of living (article 55). Real progress in this direction calls for the further economic development of the Member nations—in a broad sense, for the fuller utilization of their economic resources.
The better utilization of national resources depends primarily on the efforts of the individual countries themselves. But much can be done in the way of international cooperation to accelerate the process. The United Nations, acting through the Economic and Social Council with its functional and regional commissions, assisted by the economic section of the United Nations Secretariat, and in collaboration with the specialized agencies concerned, provides machinery for international cooperation to promote economic development. During 1948 concrete action in this field began to get under way and as the year closed the General Assembly laid the foundation for an expansion of the United Nations activity in the field of technical assistance for economic development.
At the request of the Government of Haiti the United Nations sent a technical mission--consisting of some ten experts in various fields drawn from the secretariats of the United Nations and certain of the specialized agencies—to make a study of Haiti's economic development needs and plans. The work of the mission is still in process.
In March 1948 the United Nations forwarded to Member governments a provisional program for the United Nations Scientific Conference on the Conservation and Utilization of Resources to be held in mid-1949. This Conference, originally proposed by the Representative of the United States, is expected to provide an exchange of technical information on modern methods of bringing into sustained use resources as yet untapped, of building up more productive economies, and of promoting the scientific conservation of soil, water, forest, and mineral resources.
During the year the Secretariat of the United Nations completed or initiated a number of studies in the field of economic development. A detailed factual study was published of national plans and programs for economic development in selected countries and will be followed by an analysis of the economic content of the national plans and economic trends in less developed areas of the world. A study of international movements of capital during the interwar period is under way, as well as an investigation into conditions affecting foreign investment in a number of countries which have absorbed foreign capital in the past. The Secretariat has under discussion with the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank proposals for a series of studies of the banking and financial institutions available for the mobilization of financial resources in selected underdeveloped :: countries. The Secretariat will soon publish a pamphlet describing the technical services for economic development available in the United Nations and the specialized agencies.
The regional economic commissions of the United Nations, in particular the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE), have begun to study the specific economic development problems of their respective regions. The secretariat of ECAFE, assisted by a working par of experts on industrial development, has made and is continuing to make detailed studies of the major aspects of industrial development. The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA), which was established in 1948, is undertaking a survey of the economic conditions in the area through coordinated studies being made in each country with a view to an effective examination of the development problems of the region. All of the regional commissions are taking action to make available facilities for technical training for workers within their regions.
In addition to the work of the United Nations proper in the field of economic development, the specialized agencies concerned with health, labor, finance, agriculture, science, and education are beginning or are already carrying forward programs to promote the more effective utilization of resources within their individual spheres of operation.
The rising tide of interest in economic development was strikingly evidenced in the extensive discussion of the report of the Economic and Social Council at the Third Session of the General Assembly. By far the greater part of that discussion was directly or indirectly related to the role which the various organs and agencies of the United Nations can and should play in furthering economic development, particularly in the underdeveloped countries. While there was a wide area of agreement that the primary responsibility for measures of economic development must lie with the individual countries concerned, it was the general feeling that such measures could receive added impetus from foreign assistance and that not enough was being done by way of such assistance through the machinery of the United Nations.
It was particularly felt that the lack of expert personnel and of
technical "know-how” and organization was among the major factors impeding economic development of the underdeveloped areas and that this was a field in which the United Nations and the specialized agencies could extend efficacious help. Problems of finance and of capital equipment in short supply might be difficult for the United Nations, but a program enabling countries to reach a position in which they would be technically able to advance their own economic development was one in which much could be accomplished and which could begin on a more extensive scale than had been possible under earlier actions of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
As a result of the discussion, the General Assembly made available to the Secretary-General $288,000 for a program of technical assistance in 1949. This program contemplates three comprehensive advisory missions, in cooperation with the specialized agencies, to requesting countries. It also provides for the granting of 60 fellowships for the training abroad of experts of underdeveloped countries and for arrangements for the training of local technicians within the underdeveloped countries themselves by promoting visits to such countries of experts in various aspects of economic development.
The General Assembly also requested the International Labor Organization, in consultation with the United Nations and the regional economic commissions of the Economic and Social Council, to examine the most appropriate arrangements for facilitating the training of apprentices and technical workers in world centers for such training and to report as early as possible to the Economic and Social Council.
The Economic and Social Council is to review at each session the action taken under this resolution and to formulate any necessary recommendations to the General Assembly.
In the course of the same discussion there was also general agreement with the observation of the United States Representative that, although economic development had figured as an aspect of many of the Economic and Social Council's discussions, there had not been a well-rounded consideration of economic development in all its manifold aspects and problems. Accordingly, the General Assembly requested that the Economic and Social Council and the specialized agencies give further and urgent consideration to the whole problem of economic development in all its aspects and that the Economic and Social Council include in its next report to the General Assembly a statement on measures already devised and proposals for other measures designed to promote economic development and raise the standards of living of underdeveloped countries. The hope was also expressed by the General Assembly that the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development would take immediate steps to adopt all reasonable measures to facilitate the early realization of development loans, particularly those in areas economically underdeveloped.
With this background, it may be expected that international cooperation for advancing the technical bases of economic development of underdeveloped countries will occupy a place of major importance in the Economic and Social Council and the specialized agencies in 1949.
When Secretary Marshall spoke at Harvard in June 1947 on the need for European economic recovery, his proposals were addressed to Europe as a whole. The Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe under its domination, however, rejected the suggestion of the British and French that they cooperate in the elaboration of a recovery program and refused to participate with the other European countries in carrying forward plans for a vigorous economic program of self-help and reconstruction, which was the necessary counterpart of American assistance. That was in the summer of 1947. Since then the Soviet Union and other countries of Eastern Europe generally have followed a settled policy of attacking the European Recovery Program and of impugning the motives of the United States, whenever the opportunity to do so has presented itself.
Although the European Recovery Program is not within the organizational framework of the United Nations, the whole program, in execution as well as conception, is designed to strengthen and support the United Nations in attaining the political, economic, and social objectives declared by its Charter. The participating countries have established a separate and independent organization—the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC)—for the purpose of drawing up and implementing the detailed measures necessary to the success of the program.
The United Nations machinery has made a substantial contribution to the economic reconstruction of Europe-and thus to the work of the OEEC—through the activities of its Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), one of the three regional commissions of the Economic and Social Council. The Ece is composed of all the European Members of the United Nations. From its establishment in the spring of 1947 it has followed the practice of inviting to the meetings of its technical committees other European countries, with the exception of Spain, which are interested in the problems under consideration. It is in these technical committees, where the discussion has been largely nonpolitical and at the expert level, that the real work of the Commission is done. Since the Commission includes as full members six Eastern European countries who have expressed their open opposition to the European Recovery Program, it is obvious that the Commission cannot play as important a role in assisting the ERP as might otherwise be the case. However, by solving a number of concrete technical problems of common interest to both East and West the Commission has succeeded in making a significant contribution to European reconstruction, thus supplementing the intensive effort now being undertaken through the OEEC by the countries participating in the European Recovery Program.
During the past year the Ece continued its valuable work on coal, transport, electric power, steel, timber, housing, and other problems directly related to the economic reconstruction of Europe. In addition, it has undertaken the study of a number of new matters, notably the question of developing intra-European trade. Provisional agreement has recently been reached on the establishment of a trade committee to consider measures which might be taken to facilitate and expand intra-European trade to the mutual benefit of East and West.
During 1948 the general coal situation in Europe improved to such an extent that it was possible for the ECE to abandon its previous method of over-all allocation of coal and to concentrate instead on insuring that quality coals, in particular coking coal, were used to the best advantage. Analysis of the European economic situation indicated that the shortage of steel rather than of coal would become the key commodity situation limiting European recovery. Although idle capacity for steel production existed in a number of countries, increased amounts of coke were required in order to bring this capacity into production. As a result of a joint study of this situation by the Coal and Steel Committees of the EcE, readjustments were made in the distribution of European supplies of coking coal and coke, which facilitated a substantial and immediate increase in European steel production.
Another significant achievement of the Ece during the past year has been the bringing together of the timber-producing countries and the timber-importing countries in Europe and the formulation with the cooperation of the International Bank of a series of loan proposals intended to facilitate the procurement by timber-producing countries of equipment required to increase their production of timber and export of this much-needed commodity.
The Inland Transport Committee of the ECE has continued to work both for greater standardization in transport equipment and for progressive reduction of obstacles to the movement of road and rail traffic.