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Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) (1955-present) Serie
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Coordination, partnership: Regional economic commissions, funds and programmes, and specialized agencies

The records in S-1915 contain agency files which document the coordination of projects and partnerships between the Office of Technical Co-operation (OTC) and the United Nations regional economic commissions, funds and programmes, and specialized agencies. The bulk of the records date from 1973 to 1978 and detail the planning and execution of technical assistance projects in developing countries. The records are arranged alphabetically and include draft project documents, correspondence, memoranda, progress reports, and mission reports.

Regional Economic Commissions

The records of the UN regional economic commissions contain requests for large-scale technical assistance projects in the regions of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe and include draft project documents, correspondence, memoranda, and reports prepared by regional advisors. Project documents were official proposals that outline project objectives, work plans, budgets, and other information relating to project implementation. The files contain records of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE), Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA), Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), and the Economic Commission for Western Asia (ECWA).

The regional economic commissions served as the executing agency for regional projects financed by the Regular Programme, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) or the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). Projects executed by regional economic commissions include a 1978 Workshop on Budget Reclassification and Budget-Plan Harmonization in Western Asia (ECWA) and the Regional Population Programme for Latin America (ECLA). While some projects were jointly executed, such as On-the-Job Training in Integrated Rural Development for Countries of the ESCAP Region (ESCAP/OTC) and a Training Workshop on Estimates of National Accounts at Constant Prices (ECWA and the Regional Institute for Training and Research in Statistics for the Near East, Baghdad), all regional projects executed independently by the OTC or the UN specialized agencies were also sent to the regional economic commissions for review.

S-1915 contains draft project documents, job descriptions for regional advisors, memoranda and correspondence between the geographic branches of the OTC and the Technical Assistance Units of the regional economic commissions on project funding, and comments on regional advisors’ reports. These records also include progress reports and mission reports prepared by regional advisors and submitted for review to the OTC and the regional economic commissions. The regional economic commissions were responsible for assigning regional advisors who participated in seminars, gave lectures at regional institutes and provided short-term advice to country governments on technical assistance projects in the field. Progress reports and mission reports identify project objectives and work plans, detail activities undertaken by regional advisors during each phase of the project, offer conclusions and make recommendations for the project’s future.

Funds, Programmes and Specialized Agencies

The records in S-1915 also provide information on the coordination between the OTC and the UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies to implement country and regional technical assistance projects. The files contain records of: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The OTC reviewed all project proposals for which a UN fund, programme or specialized agency served as an executing agency including: the Development of the Aguán Valley in Honduras (UNDP); an Agricultural Planning and Marketing project in Ecuador (FAO); the establishment of Technical Education, Vocational and Management Training in Indonesia (IBRD); a regional project on the Potential Contribution of Aviation to African Economies (ICAO); and a Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning project in Afghanistan (WHO). Projects were also executed in the fields of agricultural and rural development, population, transport, tourism, education, and health.

The records contain project documents, correspondence and memoranda exchanged between the OTC, UNDP Resident Representatives, the substantive offices of DESA, and the funds, programmes and specialized agencies. Memoranda and correspondence document the implementation of country and regional projects, project financing, and contain comments on project documents and reports. Other files contain progress reports and mission reports which were authored by technical experts and submitted to the OTC for review.

Coordination, partnership: Partnered project planning, Member States

Records in S-1906 document the coordination of projects and partnerships between the Office of Technical Co-operation (OTC) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and DESA substantive offices, United Nations Member States, and United Nations agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The substantive offices include: the Statistical Office, the Centre for Natural Resources, Energy and Transport (CNRET), the Division of Public Administration and Finance (DPAF), the Population Division, the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs (CSDHA), and the Centre for Development Planning, Projections and Policies (CDPPP). The bulk of the records date from 1973 to 1978 and detail planning and implementation of technical assistance projects in developing countries and regions. The function of S-1906 is derived from DESA.DEV.018 of the retention schedule of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), dated 21 January 2013.

The OTC, established in 1964, was headquartered in New York and had three regional branches: the Africa branch; the Asia and Middle East branch; and the Europe, Latin America and Interregional Projects branch. Each branch was headed by a deputy director and two section chiefs who oversaw projects focused on human resources, development planning, physical resources, transportation, and housing.

The records largely consist of country files with draft project documents and related correspondence, Country Programmes jointly prepared by the OTC and the UNDP, regional and interregional technical assistance programme materials, and UN technical expert and Operational, Executive and Administrative Services (OPAS) expert files.

Country Files
Arranged alphabetically, the country files contain information about requests for technical assistance received from developing countries in the regions of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. In addition, there are project proposals, draft project documents, proposals and budgets prepared by country governments, and correspondence and memoranda exchanged between the OTC and the substantive offices of DESA. Project documents were official proposals that included project objectives, work plans, budgets, and other information relating to the implementation of project. UN representatives in developing countries submitted all requests and project documents, prepared in consultation with government ministries, to the OTC for review. The files also contain job descriptions for technical experts that detail project goals, details of travel logistics, and project reports compiled by experts. The OTC also acted as an executing agency for short-term projects, recruiting technical experts from the substantive offices of DESA to undertake advisory missions.

The OTC carried out a variety of projects in the fields of public administration and economic and social development. Technical experts were tasked with carrying out studies and surveys and compiling recommendations in reports distributed to the OTC, the substantive offices, and the country governments. Projects carried out by experts included the development of an unemployment insurance programme in Iran, studying the tourism industry in the Maldives, and surveys of mineral resources in Somalia. Projects were also executed in the fields of natural resources, low-income housing, family planning and population, and railroad and transportation infrastructures.

UNDP Country Programmes
S-1906 includes draft and final versions of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Programmes. The records consist of final UNDP Country Programmes as well as revisions and comments from OTC personnel, Country Background Papers and country programme management plans. The Country Programmes provide background on the economic and social priorities for the particular developing country, as well as a list of proposed and in-progress projects. The UNDP served as the funding source for a majority of the technical assistance projects executed by the OTC. The OTC did not have its own representatives in the field and relied on correspondence with the UNDP Resident Representatives for updates on project execution.

The UNDP Country Programmes were distributed for review to all UN agencies serving as an Executing Agency on a technical project in the country and then revised or amended by the UNDP Resident Representative based on feedback before final approval by the UNDP Governing Council. The UNDP Resident Representatives also produced annual reports with project updates, and annual and biannual Country Management Plans that included financial allocations and timelines for projects listed in the Country Programme.

Regional and Interregional Technical Assistance Programmes
Utilizing funds from the United Nations Regular Programme for technical assistance, the OTC coordinated with country governments and regional organizations to execute projects, regional and interregional seminars and training programmes in the fields of population and family planning, natural resources, public administration, housing, and social development. The files document the collaboration with the substantive offices of DESA as well as the regional economic commissions of the UN Economic and Social Council, including the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), to develop projects and seminars. The records include correspondence and memoranda, project documents, seminar proposals and requests, budgets, and reports. The development of a Trans-Asian railway, a study of geothermal resources in Central America, and the creation of a transnational regional aquifer in North Africa are examples of some of the documented regional projects.

Operational, Executive and Administrative Services (OPAS) Expert Files
This series also documents the activities of OPAS experts. OPAS experts were recruited by the Technical Assistance Services (TARS) of the Office of Personnel Services (OPS) but were not considered UN employees. Fully accountable to the government of the developing country to which they were assigned, OPAS experts temporarily held existing civil service positions while their local counterparts received the appropriate education and training in order to assume the post. OPAS experts’ contracts were renewed annually, and, at the request of the government, they could be promoted to UN technical advisers. OPAS experts were assigned to posts in the fields of: public administration and finance, natural resources, social welfare, statistics, and public works.

The files also include records of Associate Experts, characterized as recent graduates and new professionals; and UN Volunteers (UNV), who were assigned to technical assistance projects. The records include reports, correspondence and memoranda, project revision forms, and job descriptions.

A small group of records pertaining to Technical Co-operation Among Developing Countries (TCDC) are also included in S-1906. The files contain correspondence and memoranda related to the development of the TCDC process of technical assistance. TCDC promoted cooperation between developing countries to increase self-reliance and improve the effectiveness of development projects. The records contain correspondence and memoranda and planning documents for the UN Conference on TCDC held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1978.

Technical Assistance Projects Files - Mineral Branch

The series consists of records which deal with the origination, formulation, execution and evaluation of the relevant projects. The types of records include any of the following: proposals, preparatory documentation, agreements, plans of operation and various reports such as progress, technical, mission, evaluation, etc. There are also departmental supporting documents which comprise background data, guidelines, studies, terms of reference and other relevant papers that bear elements further elucidating project activities. The department which is responsible for providing the necessary advisory services and assistance to the governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to strengthen their national capacities has been re-organized several times under the following names:
Dept. of Economic Affairs, ca 1946-1954
Dept. of Economic and Social Council, ca 1955
Technical Assistance Administration, ca 1955-1958
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1955-1978
Office of Technical Co-operation, ca 1967-1977
Dept. of International Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1979-1993
Dept. of Technical Co-operation for Development, ca 1979-1993
United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, ca 1985-1993
Dept. for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development, ca1994-1997
Dept. for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, ca 1994-1997
Dept. for Development Support and Management Services, ca 1994-1997
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1998 up to present.
To preserve their identity, the records of the various technical assistance projects are maintained according to their provenance, i.e. the actual name of the organizational element which originated the records forms a part of the series title.

United Nations Development Programme/Special Fund Records

Records contained in S-0553 document the establishment, expansion and activities of the United Nations Special Fund from 1959 through 1972 and highlight Ralph Townley’s involvement with the Fund.

The Special Fund commenced operations in 1959 as a vehicle for providing technical assistance to under-developed United Nations member states by conducting surveys on the utilization of geographical, material, and human resources and supporting the development of training institutes and research centres. On 22 November 1965 the General Assembly approved the merger of the Special Fund and the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance (part of the Technical Assistance Administration which later became DESA) to create the United Nations Development Programme on 1 January 1966.

Ralph Townley joined the United Nations Secretariat in 1951 as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. Mr. Townley was selected as a Project Officer for the Special Fund in 1959. By January 1963, he served as Chief of the Special Projects section and in December 1965, earned a promotion to Deputy Chief of the Special Fund, a position he retained until January 1967 when he became Deputy Chief of the United Nations Development Programme’s Research Division. By February 1968, Mr. Townley’s title had changed to Chief of the Agricultural Research Division. He held this position until early 1971 when he transferred to the UNDP’s Animal and Fish Programme as Chief of the department. Later that same year, Mr. Townley served as a consultant for the Technical Advisory Services division of the Continuous Cash Benefit Programme (BPC).

The records of S-0553 are comprised of Mr. Townley’s chronological and subject files. The chronological files are further divided into administrative files and personal files. Mr. Townley’s administrative files focus on Fund initiatives and contain funding allocations; project timelines, guidelines, and regulations; and governmental agreements. Interoffice memoranda, external correspondence, trip itineraries and reports, policy briefs, meeting materials and program reviews also found within the files hold additional information about the Fund. The administrative files also contain proposals submitted by the governments of under-developed nations which concern the development of fisheries; desert locust campaigns; food crop improvement centres; land use and agricultural diversification; wildlife management; water resources; animal husbandry; dairy production and training, milk processing and distribution; and the prevention and eradication of animal and insect-born and bred diseases.

There are also four folders of chronological project files, the contents of which match those of the administrative files. An additional folder pertains to the Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Science (IAIAS), while another contains personnel records.

Like the administrative files, Mr. Townley’s personal files document his work with the Special Fund through correspondence, interoffice memoranda and reports. Trip planning correspondence found within the personal files frequently takes on a private tone as Mr. Townley often coupled his trips with visits to colleagues and friends. There are also condolence letters written following the deaths of Mr. Townley’s father and brother, and letters written to him by his children.

Mr. Townley’s subject files are comprised of mission reports, meeting minutes and materials, and memoranda. The meeting materials consist of Consultative Board reports, United Nations Agency reviews, country briefs for the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 1967 review, and proposals discussed at the United Nations Development Programme’s January 1968 meeting. Additional files document the March 1968 mission to evaluate rice production in West Africa conducted by Vu Van Thai, special consultant to the United Nations Development Programme, and discussions regarding the establishment of a Swine Science Institute in Taiwan.

Series was created for ARMS relocation from Park Avenue to LIC/FF.

Department of Technical Cooperation for Development - Transportation

The series consists of records which deal with the origination, formulation, execution and evaluation of the relevant projects. The types of records include any of the following: proposals, preparatory documentation, agreements, plans of operation and various reports such as progress, technical, mission, evaluation, etc. There are also departmental supporting documents which comprise background data, guidelines, studies, terms of reference and other relevant papers that bear elements further elucidating project activities. The department which is responsible for providing the necessary advisory services and assistance to the governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to strengthen their national capacities has been re-organized several times under the following names:
Dept. of Economic Affairs, ca 1946-1954
Dept. of Economic and Social Council, ca 1955
Technical Assistance Administration, ca 1955-1958
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1955-1978
Office of Technical Co-operation, ca 1967-1977
Dept. of International Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1979-1993
Dept. of Technical Co-operation for Development, ca 1979-1993
United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, ca 1985-1993
Dept. for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development, ca1994-1997
Dept. for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, ca 1994-1997
Dept. for Development Support and Management Services, ca 1994-1997
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1998 up to present.
To preserve their identity, the records of the various technical assistance projects are maintained according to their provenance, i.e. the actual name of the organizational element which originated the records forms a part of the series title.Accession numbers - 78/22; 79/32

Department of Technical Cooperation for Development - Public Finance and Enterprise Management Branch

The series consists of records which deal with the origination, formulation, execution and evaluation of the relevant projects. The types of records include any of the following: proposals, preparatory documentation, agreements, plans of operation and various reports such as progress, technical, mission, evaluation, etc. There are also departmental supporting documents which comprise background data, guidelines, studies, terms of reference and other relevant papers that bear elements further elucidating project activities. The department which is responsible for providing the necessary advisory services and assistance to the governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to strengthen their national capacities has been re-organized several times under the following names:
Dept. of Economic Affairs, ca 1946-1954
Dept. of Economic and Social Council, ca 1955
Technical Assistance Administration, ca 1955-1958
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1955-1978
Office of Technical Co-operation, ca 1967-1977
Dept. of International Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1979-1993
Dept. of Technical Co-operation for Development, ca 1979-1993
United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, ca 1985-1993
Dept. for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development, ca1994-1997
Dept. for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, ca 1994-1997
Dept. for Development Support and Management Services, ca 1994-1997
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1998 up to present.
To preserve their identity, the records of the various technical assistance projects are maintained according to their provenance, i.e. the actual name of the organizational element which originated the records forms a part of the series title.Accession numbers - 85/0212; 85/0213; 85/0214

Department of Technical Cooperation for Development - Development Administration Division

The series consists of records which deal with the origination, formulation, execution and evaluation of the relevant projects. The types of records include any of the following: proposals, preparatory documentation, agreements, plans of operation and various reports such as progress, technical, mission, evaluation, etc. There are also departmental supporting documents which comprise background data, guidelines, studies, terms of reference and other relevant papers that bear elements further elucidating project activities. The department which is responsible for providing the necessary advisory services and assistance to the governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to strengthen their national capacities has been re-organized several times under the following names:
Dept. of Economic Affairs, ca 1946-1954
Dept. of Economic and Social Council, ca 1955
Technical Assistance Administration, ca 1955-1958
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1955-1978
Office of Technical Co-operation, ca 1967-1977
Dept. of International Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1979-1993
Dept. of Technical Co-operation for Development, ca 1979-1993
United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, ca 1985-1993
Dept. for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development, ca1994-1997
Dept. for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, ca 1994-1997
Dept. for Development Support and Management Services, ca 1994-1997
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1998 up to present.
To preserve their identity, the records of the various technical assistance projects are maintained according to their provenance, i.e. the actual name of the organizational element which originated the records forms a part of the series title.Accession numbers - 77/128; 79/185; 80/117; 81/96; 83/195; 84/206

Department of Technical Cooperation for Development - Reports Section

The series consists of records which deal with the origination, formulation, execution and evaluation of the relevant projects. The types of records include any of the following: proposals, preparatory documentation, agreements, plans of operation and various reports such as progress, technical, mission, evaluation, etc. There are also departmental supporting documents which comprise background data, guidelines, studies, terms of reference and other relevant papers that bear elements further elucidating project activities. The department which is responsible for providing the necessary advisory services and assistance to the governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to strengthen their national capacities has been re-organized several times under the following names:
Dept. of Economic Affairs, ca 1946-1954
Dept. of Economic and Social Council, ca 1955
Technical Assistance Administration, ca 1955-1958
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1955-1978
Office of Technical Co-operation, ca 1967-1977
Dept. of International Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1979-1993
Dept. of Technical Co-operation for Development, ca 1979-1993
United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, ca 1985-1993
Dept. for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development, ca1994-1997
Dept. for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, ca 1994-1997
Dept. for Development Support and Management Services, ca 1994-1997
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1998 up to present.
To preserve their identity, the records of the various technical assistance projects are maintained according to their provenance, i.e. the actual name of the organizational element which originated the records forms a part of the series title.Accession numbers - 77/0072; 83/0149; 84/0273; 85/0271

Technical Assistance Projects Files - Cartography Branch

The series consists of records which deal with the origination, formulation, execution and evaluation of the relevant projects. The types of records include any of the following: proposals, preparatory documentation, agreements, plans of operation and various reports such as progress, technical, mission, evaluation, etc. There are also departmental supporting documents which comprise background data, guidelines, studies, terms of reference and other relevant papers that bear elements further elucidating project activities. The department which is responsible for providing the necessary advisory services and assistance to the governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to strengthen their national capacities has been re-organized several times under the following names:
Dept. of Economic Affairs, ca 1946-1954
Dept. of Economic and Social Council, ca 1955
Technical Assistance Administration, ca 1955-1958
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1955-1978
Office of Technical Co-operation, ca 1967-1977
Dept. of International Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1979-1993
Dept. of Technical Co-operation for Development, ca 1979-1993
United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, ca 1985-1993
Dept. for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development, ca1994-1997
Dept. for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, ca 1994-1997
Dept. for Development Support and Management Services, ca 1994-1997
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1998 up to present.
To preserve their identity, the records of the various technical assistance projects are maintained according to their provenance, i.e. the actual name of the organizational element which originated the records forms a part of the series title.Accession numbers - 76/0149; 83/0021

Technical Assistance Projects Files - Europe, Latin America and Interregional Projects Branch

The series consists of records which deal with the origination, formulation, execution and evaluation of the relevant projects. The types of records include any of the following: proposals, preparatory documentation, agreements, plans of operation and various reports such as progress, technical, mission, evaluation, etc. There are also departmental supporting documents which comprise background data, guidelines, studies, terms of reference and other relevant papers that bear elements further elucidating project activities. The department which is responsible for providing the necessary advisory services and assistance to the governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to strengthen their national capacities has been re-organized several times under the following names:
Dept. of Economic Affairs, ca 1946-1954
Dept. of Economic and Social Council, ca 1955
Technical Assistance Administration, ca 1955-1958
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1955-1978
Office of Technical Co-operation, ca 1967-1977
Dept. of International Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1979-1993
Dept. of Technical Co-operation for Development, ca 1979-1993
United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, ca 1985-1993
Dept. for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development, ca1994-1997
Dept. for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, ca 1994-1997
Dept. for Development Support and Management Services, ca 1994-1997
Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, ca 1998 up to present.
To preserve their identity, the records of the various technical assistance projects are maintained according to their provenance, i.e. the actual name of the organizational element which originated the records forms a part of the series title.Accession number - 76/2

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