Contents - Previous - Next

This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

Bodies Operating under UNDP Jurisdiction

As was noted earlier, there are at least eight semiautonomous bodies that operate to some extent under the jurisdiction of UNDP and are involved in activities affecting the Sahel. In view of the variety of their origins and the vast differences in the scale of their activities, it is not surprising that they vary widely in their degree of independence. Brief descriptions of each of these bodies follow.

Capital Development fund (CDF)

The UN Capital Development Fund was originally approved by the General Assembly in 1966 to provide financing to grassroots projects sponsored by low-income groups that could not meet normal credit standards. In 1975 it metamorphosed to its present form, in which it concentrates on a wide variety of community self-help projects that benefit the poorest segment of the population in the least-developed countries. CDF grew quite rapidly until 1980, but the weakening world economy and stronger US dollar then caused a substantial decline in resources (table 13). Contributions are voluntary, and in 1984 they were supplemented by an estimated $9 million in joint financing arrangements (trust funds and cost-sharing). In this way CDF has remained a significant channel for capital assistance on concessional terms.

Table 13 also indicates that, like many new agencies, CDF was not able to design and implement new projects at the same rate that contributions were increasing. An average of 12 to 18 months was required just to develop and finalize project plans, so CDF's expenditures often lagged more than two years behind income. As contributions levelled off and the project approval procedure was streamlined, disbursements were ahead of contributions for the first time in 1981. Since then disbursements have matched or exceeded contributions, and this has helped to reduce the accumulated capital. BY the end of 1984 over $184 million had been disbursed to more than 200 projects.

Funds are provided either as grants or as loan guarantees. CDF works only in the 31 countries designated by the General Assembly as least developed and eleven others that are sufficiently disadvantaged to warrant similar treatment. Often the projects also receive supporting technical assistance from UNDP, FAO, UNICEF, or bilateral agencies (UNDP 1979e).

In sectoral terms, from 1975 to 1984 22 per cent of CDF's resources were devoted to agriculture, 20 per cent to potable water and sanitation, 15 per cent to transport and communications, 10 per cent to water resources development, 9 per cent to industrial development, 8 per cent to primary health care facilities, 8 per cent to energy development (particularly rural electrification), 5 per cent to education and training, and 5 per cent to low-cost housing. A number of projects have been established in Chad, the Gambia, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. A review of sixteen of these projects in 1978 (UNDP 1978a) indicated that five projects had no major problems, two had severe problems, in one the government decided to seek bilateral rather than multilateral aid, and eight others were more or less satisfactory although often incomplete. In one of the two problem projects only 43 per cent of the anticipated credit had been extended during the first three years of a four-year project, with such difficulties in accounting and reporting that CDF could not reimburse the local executing organization. In the other problem project CDF was to extend credit to local entrepreneurs in Chad, but the continuing civil strife had limited the loan guarantees to only 5 per cent of the targeted amount.

As for the eight projects that were generally satisfactory, it is an open question whether the facilities will be used and maintained. For example, in a major school-construction project, the original target has already been cut from 36 schools to 15; the first three were constructed in a nontraditional style, and "this reduced the villagers' interest in constructing the schools." A project in Upper Volta to construct 40 small dams was delayed by administrative and transport problems. A project in Niger to provide credit for the reconstitution of sheep flocks was delayed because of the "underestimated organizational and logistical requirements, as well as the complexities of establishing a viable cooperative structure, particularly among nomads" (UNDP 1978a). In summary, it appears that the category "generally successful" includes, at I east in the Sahel, approximately equal numbers of projects that are reasonably successful in the short term and others that diverge considerably from their intended timetables and goals. Simple construction of the physical facilities is an important step, but this alone is not a sufficient criterion for success. These problems are quite typical, as will be seen in chapter 5.

Revolving Fund for Natural Resources Exploration

As approved by the General Assembly in 1973, the UN Revolving Fund for Natural Resources Exploration has a mandate to carry out all phases of exploration for mineral, water, and energy resources. However, when the fund began operating in 1975, the UNDP Governing Council decided that its initial activities should be concentrated on exploration for solid minerals (UNDP 1975a). The revolving character of the fund comes from the requirement that, if a project discovers reserves that are subsequently developed, 2 per cent of the gross value of production should be paid back for 15 years.

Contributions are voluntary and have been rather disappointing. Cumulative contributions through 1981 totalled just $37.5 million (UNDP 1982k), with contributions since then averaging around $2.5 million per year. Japan has been the major donor to date, although Belgium, Canada, Norway, and the Netherlands have also made significant contributions. The time lag between funding and expenditures as well as the uncertainties of project planning resulted in over $6 million being available for projects in 1982; this is well short of the target of $10 million per year for solid mineral exploration (UNDP 1982k).

In accordance with the original legislation, a full review of the fund was conducted after six years. Some changes were deemed necessary because of several incidents in which projects were cancelled very late in the formulation process because of resistance to the 2 per cent replenishment clause (UNDP 1979d). Hence the replenishment rule was modified to include a ceiling of ten times the original investment, and the 2 per cent replenishment rate was reduced to 1 per cent for projects in the least-developed countries. UNDP also recommended that the Revolving Fund's mandate be expanded to include geothermal energy, and in this area the fund is working closely with the Department of Technical Cooperation for Development. It was predicted that these changes would result in the fund's encountering less resistance on the part of governments and having more scope for possible activities, thereby increasing its viability (UNGA 1979).

The Revolving Fund's long-term success, however, depends on a sufficient number of projects reaching the stage of commercial exploitation, thereby causing the fund to "revolve". So far only a few projects have been completed and none of these are particularly promising. With regard to the Sahelian countries, general mineral surveys have been conducted in Mali and Burkina Faso, and another project evaluated nickel deposits in Niger, but these have generated no significant commercial interest. Since the Sahelian countries also appear to have little or no geothermal energy reserves, it is unlikely that the Revolving Fund will play a significant role in the development of the Sahel.

United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

The United Nations Volunteer Programme might be considered a type of UN Peace Corps, in which volunteers serve in developing countries, usually at a "middle level" of expertise. UNV began operations in 1971, and by mid-1981 the target of 1,000 volunteers in service had been reached. Volunteers are supposed to be drawn from both the developing and the industrialized countries, but the proportion of volunteers from the industrialized countries has declined to less than 25 per cent. The shortage of volunteers from the industrialized countries is probably due to the existence of national volunteer services and the fact that UNV must recruit through intermediary volunteer organizations. Thus most of the volunteers probably end up in the intermediary organization rather than in UNV. In addition, volunteers from the industrialized countries must be "co-sponsored". This means that the sponsoring country or organization must pay the external costs, and UNV is responsible only for placing the volunteer and providing local costs. UNV's apparent concern with maintaining a reasonable proportion of volunteers from the industrialized countries is noteworthy because of the marked contrast to the United Nations' usual emphasis on technicel cooperation among developing countries. In most cases the volunteer works in association with a larger UN project (including UNHCR, UNICEF, and WFP projects), and the project budget provides the necessary funding (UNDP 19821). In keeping with the United Nations' increasing emphasis on the least-developed countries, over 50 per cent of the volunteers are found in the 31 least-developed countries (UNDP 1984c).

UNV's operating costs are supposed to be met from contributions to its Special Voluntary Fund, but donations are averaging only $1.2 million per year. Since this and other income doesn't cover all of UNV's administrative costs, UNDP typically makes up the difference. In 1981 the estimated annual cost of a volunteer was only $14,000, which was one sixth of the estimated average cost of a UN expert. Thusassuming the volunteers have the necessary skills-UNV would seem to be a relatively cost effective means of providing development assistance.

At the end of 1983 there were 57 volunteers serving in the seven Sahelian countries covered in this report, including 5 in Chad, 7 in Mali, 10 in Mauritania, 11 in Niger, 1 in Senegal, and 8 in Upper Volta. Surprisingly, 25 volunteers from these same countries were serving elsewhere, including 7 from Chad, 9 from Mali, 3 from Senegal, and 7 from Upper Volta (UNDP 1984c).

United Nations Sudano-Sahelian Office (UNSO)

As the magnitude of the 1968-1973 drought became apparent, the Secretary-General of the United Nations created a Special Sahelian Office to co-ordinate plans for the medium. and long term recovery of the Sahel. As a first step the Special Sahelian Office commissioned a set of over twenty studies on different aspects of the Sahel- forestry, transport, education, etc. In 1974 the UN SudanoSahelian Office was formally established, with three main functions: (1) to co ordinate UN activities related to the rehabilitation of the Sahel, (2) to assist in finding support for projects identified by CILSS, and (3) to manage the UN Trust Fund for SudanoSahelian Activities. In 1976 UNSO was transferred from the Secretary-General's office to UNDP. Two years later, following the UN Conference on Desertification, UNSO was given the additional responsibility of implementing-together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)-the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (pp. 4647). UNSO's original functions concerned only the 8 CILSS countries, but its anti desertification responsibilities now cover 21 subSaharan countries.

In response to its first broad task, the rehabilitation of the Sahel, UNSO began by assisting both CILSS and the respective governments in formulating 31 national and 21 regional projects with an estimated cost of $153 million. UNSO then helped convene a meeting in mid-1975 at which bilateral and other donors expressed interest in, or agreed to support, specific projects. UNSO thus began to play its role as a middleman between CILSS and the donor countries, helping in the formulation (or reformulation) of projects, drawing up project documents, and supplying needed information. UNSO also solicited contributions to its own trust fund, most of which came from donors who did not wish to set up their own bilateral aid programmes.

The success of this first donors' meeting encouraged UNSO to continue to help formulate and propose a variety of national and regional development projects. By January 1982 an additional 7 regional and 60 national projects had been formulated, with the total cost of all 119 projects estimated at just over $700 million. Some $450 million has been provided for these projects, but only about 13 per cent of this amount has come from the Trust Fund for Sudano-Saheiian Activities. In general, countries such as the United States and France that have the infrastructure and the resources to execute projects in the Sahelian countries tend to do so directly, while countries which don't have an elaborate aid mechanism must work through multilateral channels such as the United Nations. The desire for closer control results in new channels being created for funds from OPEC, the EEC, etc. This tendency, together with the receding urgency of the 19681973 drought, tends to diminish contributions to items such as UNSO's trust fund. Thus UNSO has had to set up a variety of arrangements to cover its basic administrative and programming costs.

The projects sponsored directly or indirectly by UNSO can generally be classified as either agricultural development (e.g. food storage, use of improved seeds) or strengthening of the national infrastructure in terms of feeder roads, telecommunications systems, and . and hydrological services. The feeder-road project has been one of the main focuses for UNSO, and a large portion of the early trust-fund contributions was devoted to this project. The basic goal is to construct some 39,900 kilometres of secondary or feeder roads as a stimulus to the whole development process and a means for providing food and sup plies to the outlying rural areas. By the end of 1981 some $105 million had been committed by multilateral, bilateral, and other agenciesenough for 2,100 kilometres (UNSO 1982).

UNSO has also conducted major well-drilling projects in the Gambia and Senegal. Other work has included improving the water supply to Dakar, building irrigation canals in Niger, and crop protection and/or animal health activities in the Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal. In addition to these types of technical assistance activities, UNSO also has projects that just provide the local or counterpart contribution necessary for a country to receive a particular loan or other credits.

As a result of its mandate and the limited amount of unrestricted funds available to it, UNSO generally tries to supply only seed money. In other words, it concentrates on feasibility studies, planning and programming missions, and pilot projects, ail the while looking for other donors to take over the financing of the main project. Thus UNSO has generally avoided setting up the extensive administrative structure necessary to carry out technical assistance activities. When a contract is drawn with an agency to execute an UNSO project, UNSO negotiates the overhead with the agency rather than paying a flat rate of 14 per cent as UNDP used to do. UNSO also has the option of letting the UNDP Office for Projects Execution (OPE) execute a given project; in 1979 it channelled $8.9 million through OPE (UNDP 1980). UNSO also has tried to set a precedent by having the local government act as the executing agency whenever possible.

UNSO's other major responsibility is to help implement the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification in most of arid Africa south of the Sahara. Originally this mandate covered Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda as well as the CILSS countries; in the past few years Benin, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Togo have been added, making a total of 21 countries. This second mandate is to be carried out in close conjunction with UNEP, which has the overall responsibility for implementing the Plan of Action. For this reason UNEP has joined with UNDP in providing nearly $2 million per year for institutional and programme support; this has been used primarily for staff at UNSO's field headquarters in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

UNSO's mode of operation in trying to meet this second mandate is not significantly different from that which it uses in the Sahel. Generally UNSO concentrates on assisting national governments in formulating and presenting a wide variety of projects and then tries to facilitate their funding, sometimes by making counterpart or other contributions. UNSO attempts also to play a co-ordinating role and relies on UNDP and the other specialized agencies for technical advice and detailed project execution in cases where either UNSO funds the project or the donor wishes UNSO to be responsible for the overall execution of a particular project.

Since the Plan of Action was extremely comprehensive, UNSO's activities are equally broad. By the end of 1981 planning and programming missions had identified some 229 projects consistent with the Plan of Action, with a total estimated cost of $689 million. Approximately $372 million has been made available for these projects from different sources, with less than 4 per cent of this coming from the UNSO trust fund. In general, afforestation has been heavily emphasized, with water resource management and rangellivestock management also constituting more than 10 per cent of the projects (UNSO 1982). UNSO has also been active in implementing soil conservation techniques and developing national plans of action to combat desertification (UNSO 1985b).

It should be recognized, however, that the labelling of projects as "anti-desertification" can be misleading. The Plan of Action to Combat Desertification is so encyclopedie in its coverage that virtually any development activity in an arid or semi-arid environment could be considered to be responding to the needs identified in the Plan of Action. Thus, existing activities can often be termed anti-desertification projects, and this has probably already happened (e.g., a project in the Casamance woodland in Senegal-see UNDP 1978b and UNDP 1979b). If just the desertification control measures are considered, UNSO has mobilized $78 million over the period 1979-1984, with 71 per cent of this being funnelled through its trust fund (UNEP 1985b).

The critical question, however, is whether donors increase the total amount of aid funds available in response to a new concern such as the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification or whether they simply reallocate existing development funds. To date the response of the donor countries does not suggest that there has been a significant increase in development aid as a result of the Plan of Action. In all likelihood there has been a minor shift in funds to support some of UNSO's additional anti-desertification projects, but these are not "new" funds but funds that probably would have been used for other types of development projects. As noted earlier, the advantage for donors in funding UNSO's projects is that they save the time and trouble of formulating and implementing their own projects. But, as the political will generated by the Conference on Desertification and the most recent drought recedes into the past, even the present modest level of funding is likely to be reduced in favour of more immediate concerns. This is not to say that antidesertification projects will be completely eliminated but rather that they will be funded because they fit into the overall development strategy and priorities developed by donor and recipient countries. Subsequent droughts are likely to cause a renewed surge of interest, which will again taper off. The fact that contributions to UNSO's trust fund for anti-desertification measures jumped to $19 million in 1984 (UNEP 1985b) tends to support this viewpoint.

Given this uncertainty in donor motivation and project content, it is very difficult to evaluate UNSO's effectiveness in carrying out its tvvo mandates. Would donor countries have supported CILSS projects if UNSO hadn't been playing the role of marriage broker? Has the effectiveness of UNSO resulted in a net increase in aid to the Sahel or in anti-desertification measures in sub-Saharan Africa? While these questions may be impossible to answer, it seems at least that UNSO has not satisfied its own ambitious goals. Co-operation between UNSO and the other UN agencies has been improving but still seems rather limited given the emphasis initially placed on its co-ordinating role.

Special Fund for Landlocked Developing Countries

The Special Fund for Landlocked Developing Countries was created in late 1976 under the supervision of UNDP, although the responsibility of defining and executing projects is to be shared with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Contributions are voluntary and pledged in conjunction with the UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities. By the end of 1981 cumulative contributions were approximately one million dollars, with over half of this from a single donor (UNDP 1982k). From 1982 to 1984 contributions averaged $70,000 per year, making the special Fund insignificant in development terms. Altogether 21 projects have been approved, with 13 of these already completed.

In view of the very limited resources available, the main function of the fund has been to conduct studies and provide small scale assistance-primarily in the fields of transportation and trade-relevant to the 19 landlocked developing countries. Although four of these-Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger-are in the Sahel, the only project in this region has been the provision of a special advisor in trade planning to Mali. Since the projects are all so small in scale, no approval is needed from UNDP's Governing Council.

The repeated refusal of the major donors to contribute to the Special Fund for Landlocked Developing Countries reflects their belief that groups of developing countries should not be singled out for special treatment. Since this attitude has not changed in the eight years of the fund's existence, and most of the current contributions are coming from the landlocked developing countries themselves, UNDP is willing to dissolve the fund. This pragmatic attitude is not shared by UNCTAD and is not likely to be welcomed by the majority of members in UNDP. Hence the fund is likely to continue at its current level, with its administrative and bookkeeping costs (which are absorbed by UNDP) just about balancing its annual income (UNDP 1985).

United Nations Fund for population Activities (UNFPA)

In response to the growing concern of some countries that rapid population growth can negatively affect social and economic development, a trust fund was created in mid-1967 to finance activities in the field of population. From 1967 to 1969 $5 million was raised, but only 19 per cent of this was used, primarily for improving the statistical and demographic work of the United Nations itself. In early 1969 responsibility for the trust fund was transferred from the Secretary General's office to UNDP, and it was renamed the UN Fund for Population Activities. Its mandate was broadened to include the support of work on population related activities by all UN and non governmental organizations. It was also given greater freedom to cover costs that would normally be considered appropriate for a counterpart contribution from the recipient government. With the United States initially providing matching funds, voluntary pledges rose steadily to $125 million in 1980 (UNFPA 1982). From 1980 to 1984 contributions have risen only to an expected $134 million in 1984. In contrast to some other UN agencies, problems with non-payment of pledges or payment in non-convertible currencies have been minimal. Since 1973 up to 9 per cent of the pledges to UNFPA have been expressly designated for other agencies, primarily the International Planned Parenthood Foundation.

Until 1976 funds were provided in response to requests received, but it was recognized that this system did not necessarily provide funds to the countries with the greatest need. To rectify this, UNFPA, following in the footsteps of UNDP, established a system of priority countries based on indicators such as the infant mortality rate, population growth rate, and density of agricultural population on arable land. Certain thresholds were established, resulting in the identification of 40 priority countries and 14 borderline countries. The goal is for two-thirds of UNFPA's resources to be spent in priority and borderline countries, and the proportion so used has increased from 39 per cent in 19691976 to 69 per cent in 1982 (UNDP 1982m; UNFPA 1983).

UNFPA works essentially like a small UNDP concentrating on population-related activities. Projects are formulated and often farmed out to other UN agencies for execution. In 1981 the UN Secretariat was the executing body for 25 per cent of the projects, followed by WHO (15 per cent), ILO (5 per cent), regional commissions such as the Economic Commission for Africa (5 per cent), Unesco (5 per cent), UNICEF (3 per cent), etc. UNFPA, either for practical reasons or to avoid paying the usual 13 per cent overhead costs, implemented 21 per cent of its own projects.

In addition to the country allocations, 30 per cent of the project funds has been devoted to regional, interregional, and global projects. There is a general feeling in UNFPA's governing body that this percentage is much too high, as the benefits to the priority countries are less direct. As with UNDP, a reduction in this figure has proved difficult because the activities undertaken (seminars, studies, training courses, etc.) are not as subject to delays and disruptions as the country programmes, and a reduction in these activities is more difficult when there is no real growth in the overall budget. To a large extent the increase in intercountry activities was one way to cope with the rapidly growing budgets of the 1970s when the country programmes could not be expanded fast enough.

Consistent with UNFPA's emphasis on the priority countries, the proportion of project resources devoted to sub-Saharan Africa increased to 17 per cent in 1982. Basic data collection still accounted for nearly one-third of all expenditures in this region, while family planning and regional activities each took over 20 per cent of expenditures. In future years UNFPA expects to emphasize maternal and child health and to reduce its role in collecting and analysing census data.

Each of the Sahelian countries has UNFPA-funded projects except Chad, where the combination of political unrest and the government's satisfaction with present trends has resulted in no projects being submitted to UNFPA for funding. In the Gambia the government adopted an explicit family planning policy in 1979; the major projects are concerned with improving family planning and maternal and child health services in rural areas. In Mali the emphasis is on the development of a maternal and child health/ family planning programme and a variety of educational activities. Mauritania has placed priority on collecting and analysing census data as well as providing family services. Niger concluded its census in 1981 and was planning for new assistance in fields such as demography, health, and population policy. In contrast, Senegal had ten projects operating in 1981, with the two main activities being, first, the support of a UNFPA co-ordinator in Senegal and, second, data collection and analysis as the basis for establishing a population distribution policy. Senegal is also in the early stages of initiating a major family health project. Finally, in Upper Volta development of a data bank, support for a UNFPA representative, development planning, and a project to integrate traditional beliefs into population policy made up the bulk of the expenditures (UNDP 1982n; UNFPA 1983).

Regional activities include projects to develop selected research and training centres, support for regional offices and population experts (e.g., at ECA), and sponsoring fellowships, publications, conferences, etc. (UNFPA 1982). Thus, most of the regional activities are devoted to the development of an infrastructure outside the Sahel, with some of the funds trickling back through participation in seminars, regional studies, and "sectoral programmes". One notable exception was the provision of over $400,000 in 1981 to the Institut du Sahel for its socio-economic and demographic unit.

It can be seen that basic data collection and analysis made up the bulk of initial activities in the Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Upper Volta. UNFPA resources have now shifted from this first step to a variety of family health and family planning projects, as well as an effort to build up the national infrastructure with regard to population. As is indicated in table 14, there has been wide variation in UNFPA expenditures among the seven Sahelian countries. Senegal can be considered to have received more than its share of UNFPA funds, but over time the priority-country system should help even these figures out (though there will always be some annual variation). The other key factor in determining activities in a given country is the political will at the national level. As evidenced by Chad, UNFPA can be involved only if the government believes that population is an important issue. UNFPA's project-identification missions can be help generate the necessary awareness, but the recipient government must ultimately make a formal request before any assistance can be provided.

UNFPA has been relatively forthright in evaluating it own activities. For example, a review of UNFPA's census programme in eight African countries noted a number of problems, including a high turnover of expatriate expert staff, delays in providing equipment, and dissatisfaction with some of the experts provided and the executing agency in general. Training possibilities were not fully utilized, so it was felt that only three of the eight countries could conduct their next census without substantial technical assistance (UNDP 1982).

A review of four country and five inter-country projects indicated that the results were generally good, but both project design and the management of some projects was weak. Often there were delays in obtaining equipment and recruiting experts, and the results were not adequately disseminated and applied. Such problems are hardly unique to UNFPA, and at times they almost seem to inevitably accompany technical assistance efforts (chap. 5).

TABLE 14. UNFPA expenditures in the Sahel ($)

  1969-1980 1981 1982 allocation
Chad 480,517 0 0
Gambia 197,512 219,079 264,540
Mali 2,611,556 260,321 349,929
Mauritania 1,755,395 819,039 632,746
Niger 1,626,856 70,496 100,000
Senegal 3,607,718 601,816 610,330
Upper Volta 1,385,195 612,421 635,713
Total 11,664,389 2,583,172 2,593,258

United Nations Financing System for Science and Technotogy for Development (UNFSSTD)

In August 1979 a UN conference was convened on the topic of science and technology for development. The recommendations of the conference basically called for greater efforts to strengthen the scientific and technological capability of developing countries, and a fund-raising target of $200 million was set. Contributions were voluntary, and after much wrangling between donor and developing countries, an Interim Fund for Science and Technology for Development was established under UNDP's management. However, pledges totalled only about $35 million, while over 900 project proposals were received, Only 65 projects were approved for funding (UNDP 1982k).

In the meantime the General Assembly, recognizing that contributions would likely fall far short of the initial target, decided that the Interim Fund would be supplanted on a longer-term basis by a UN Financing System for Science and Technology for Development, which would also fall under UNDP's direction and rely heavily on UNDP's existing infrastructure for planning and administration.

By the end of 1982, 84 projects had been approved at a total estimated cost of $38 million. Another 78 projects valued at $83 million were rated as ready for implementation when funds permitted. Contributions, however, have declined from $23 million in 1980-1981 to $8 million in 1982, and $0.5 million in 1983. Another $2.7 million has been pledged but not yet paid (UNDP 1984a). Given current fiscal conditions and political attitudes among donor countries, it would be unrealistic to expect a resurgence in funding. UNFSSTD seems destined, therefore, to slowly disappear as the initial set of activities winds down.

Current UNFSSTD projects span a wide range of technological levels and goals, and a variety of financing arrangements. Efforts in the Sahel have concentrated on building up scientific or administrative capability in a given field (e.g., technology planning in Niger, energy technology in Mauritania, rural energy technologies in Niger). Other activities include the establishment of a national centre for agricultural machinery in Niger and the development of optimal technological packages for farming in the different ecological regions of Niger. Small energy devices are being donor countries, it would be unrealistic to expect a resurgence in funding. UNFSSTD seems destined, therefore, to slowly disappear as the initial set of activities winds down.

Energy Account

In 1980 UNDP set up a special Energy Account to provide assistance to developing countries in the energy sector. This was basically in response to the rapidly increasing prices for petroleum and the growing shortage of fuelwood in many rural areas.

Contributions through mid-1984 totalled $18 million, with onethird coming from the OPEC Fund for International Development, one-third from the Netherlands and Sweden, and the balance from a variety of other sources (UNDP 1984).

Two major, world-wide projects have been undertaken to date. The first was a joint World Bank/UNDP assessment of the energy situation in 70 developing countries, with the twin goals of aiding decision-makers and stimulating future activities. The second was to follow up on the assessment, and activities have included a variety of seminars, demonstration facilities, etc. A number of in-country activities have been supported by the Energy Account, including the preparation of an energy master plan for Niger.

The future of the Energy Account remains somewhat uncertain at this point. UNDP is trying to emphasize the role of Energy Account projects to provide "seed money" and stimulate additional, more substantial contributions. It is still too early to determine what the average level of contributions to the account will be, or the extent to which the projects can attract supplemental funding. Even if there is not a substantial increase in petroleum prices, the ongoing rural energy crisis in developing countries should continue to stimulate interest on the part of donors.

Contents - Previous - Next