ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
PROGRAMME PLANNING: PROPOSED PROGRAMME CHANGES, 2000-2001
(Item 8 (c) of the provisional agenda)
Note by the secretariat
1. The Commission at its fifty-fifth session, held in Bangkok in April 1999, endorsed the ESCAP programme of work for the biennium 2000-2001. (1) The programme of work aimed at assisting developing countries in the region to respond more effectively and efficiently to the impact of the global environment on the region, as well as to the rapidly changing environment within the region itself. It was the first programme formulated on the basis of the cumulative reform efforts of ESCAP, which included the conference structure as determined by the Commission at its fifty-third session, the programme structure as revised by the Commission at its fifty-fourth session and the subsequent organizational restructuring effected by the Executive Secretary in July 1998 and January 2000.
2. The General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session, held in 1999, approved the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001, including section 17 relating to ESCAP. (2) In doing so, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendation of the Committee for Programme and Coordination at its thirty-ninth session, held in June/July 1999, that under the aim of promoting integrated means to combat violence against women, subprogramme 3, Social development, should also address concerns pertaining to women migrant workers. (3)
3. In approving the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001, the General Assembly requested that all programmed activities should be carried out as mandated. It also requested that all offices of the United Nations, including ESCAP, maintain the anticipated vacancy rate of 6.5 per cent at the Professional and higher categories and 2.5 per cent at the General Service levels during the biennium 2000-2001.
4. The regular budget posts at Professional and higher categories for the programme of work as determined by the General Assembly, and the temporary extrabudgetary posts anticipated at the time of programme budget formulation to implement the programme of work for 2000-2001 are shown in table 1.
Table 1. Regular budget posts at Professional and higher categories determined by the General Assembly and temporary extrabudgetary posts anticipated at the time of programme budget formulation to implement the programme of work for 2000-2001
Note: RB = regular budget XB = extrabudgetary
5. Annex I (click to open) to the present document contains the proposals for programme changes, 2000-2001 and the reasons for the proposed changes, by programme activity. Many changes proposed under subprogramme 1, Regional economic cooperation, relate to the merger of the former International Trade and Economic Cooperation Division and the former Industry and Technology Division, effected on 1 January 2000. The programme of work was re-examined by the new International Trade and Industry Division with a view to further integrating the work under that subprogramme as well as responding to the emerging needs related to it. The Commission may note that the changes reflected in annex I will be implemented within the existing regular budget resources through redeployment in the respective subprogrammes.
6. Annex II (click to open) to the present document contains the secretariat proposals on activities in the programme of work for 1998-1999 that were not implemented by the end of that biennium. (4) The disposition of these activities is indicated and explanations provided. No additional resources will be requested for the implementation of postponed activities.
7. The Advisory Committee of Permanent Representatives and Other Representatives Designated by Members of the Commission (ACPR), at its two hundred and forty-fifth session held in April 2000, reviewed the proposed programme changes. It noted that over 50 technical publications in the programme of work for 1998-1999 remained uncompleted by the end of the biennium and advised the secretariat to undertake more prudent planning and monitoring of the publications programme with a view to further streamlining it. It was proposed that any resources released from that exercise could be reallocated to activities related to the development and improvement of Web sites. It was also reiterated that activities related to industrial development and transfer of technology should be sufficiently reflected in the programme of work pertaining to subprogramme 1, Regional economic cooperation. In general, ACPR supported the proposed programme changes for 2000-2001.
ACTION REQUIRED BY THE COMMISSION
8. The secretariat is required to comply with the request of the General Assembly that all programmed activities be implemented as mandated. However, some programme changes have been deemed necessary as the programme of work for the biennium 2000-2001 was formulated by the secretariat in the fourth quarter of 1998 and approved by the Commission in April 1999. The modifications, additions or deletions are proposed in the light of new developments and changing circumstances, including the confirmation of extrabudgetary funding by donors for implementing activities, especially technical cooperation activities that depend heavily on such funds, and in response to the emerging priority needs expressed by developing countries in the region.
9. The Commission is invited to examine the proposals and guide the secretariat in its efforts to further sharpen the focus of the programme of work for 2000-2001.
1. "Report of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on its fifty-fifth session" (Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1999, Supplement No. 19) (E/1999/39-E/ESCAP/1155), annex I.
2. "Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001", vol. III (Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-fourth session, Supplement No. 6) (A/54/6/Rev. 1).
3. Report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on the work of its thirty-ninth session (A/54/16), para. 302.
4. In the case of technical publications, those publications which have been printed by 20 March 2000 are reported as implemented in the present document.