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Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) (1955-present) Série organique
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Coordination, partnership: United Nations Programme on Public Administration and Finance

Records in S-1923 document the coordination of projects and partnerships between the Division of Public Administration and Finance (DPAF) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the United Nations specialized agencies, regional economic commissions, member states and external organizations. The records date from 1965 to 1978 and detail the planning and implementation of projects, training activities, and development of publications and training material in the field of public administration and finance.

In 1974, the Public Administration Division (PAD) of DESA was reorganized into DPAF. As a result of this reorganization, DPAF became responsible for public finance projects and carried out activities in the following fields: personnel administration and training; organization and management services; development programme management; government budget and financial management; and development of financial institutions.

DPAF collaborated with UN regional economic commissions and specialized agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and World Health Organization (WHO). The records include correspondence and memoranda concerning: the production of training materials and publications; attendance at conferences and expert meetings; and coordination and implementation of country technical assistance projects. A small amount of records pertain to correspondence exchanged between individuals and DPAF requesting assistance in the field of public administration.

The records also document the production of final reports of studies, as well as newsletters, manuals, and handbooks on topics in the field of public administration and finance. S-1923 includes revisions and correspondence about draft final reports of studies, including: the Study on Local Government Reform; the Study on Public Administration Component of Integrated Project on Environment of Human Settlements; and the Study on Public Administration of National Family Planning Programmes. Other records include country reports prepared for expert meetings; correspondence and revisions for the “Handbook of Public Enterprise;” and requests from individuals and organizations for the “Public Administration and Finance Newsletter.”

A small amount of records pertain to the Public Administration Division (PAD) and date from 1965 to 1972. These records document the planning and implementation of the following projects: Assistance in the Field of Public Administration, Dominican Republic; Escuela Superior de Administración Pública (ESAP), Peru; Public Service Training, Uruguay; and Central American Institute of Public Administration (ICAP), Costa Rica. The records include: job descriptions for expert posts, project documents, progress reports, cables, and correspondence and memoranda documenting planning and implementation.

Technical Assistance Projects Files - Infrastructure 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 - 89/0166; 90/0136; 92/0118; 92/0141

Technical Assistance Projects Files - Americas 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 - 74/66; 77/80; 78/17; 78/144; 79/108; 79/184; 82/139; 82/168; 83/147; 83/148; 84/13

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.

Technical Assistance Projects Files - Country Programme Evaluation 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 - 83/195; 87/95; 88/85; 88/199; 89/147; 90/81; 90/82; 90/83; 90/84; 90/85; 90/183; 90/184

Fiscal Division / Fiscal Commission

Series consists of administrative files of the Division and the files of the Fiscal Commission. The latter include interaction with non-governmental organizations and special economic missions. Arranged in the following order: administrative files of the Division, Fiscal Commission files, followed by the Director's correspondence and ephemera.

Capacity Development: Training and study activities and arrangements

The records in S-1907 document technical assistance projects administered to developing countries by the Technical Assistance Administration (TAA) for training and study activities. The records contain the administrative arrangements coordinated by the Programme Division of the TAA for projects, fellows and experts, and date primarily from 1956 through 1959. The function of S-1907 is derived from DESA.DEV.062 and DESA.DEV.063 of the retention schedule of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), dated 21 January 2013.

S-1907 records primarily consist of memoranda, correspondence, and reports by either experts or fellows documenting technical assistance projects administered by the TAA to developing countries for training and study activities through the provision of development and training institutions, conferences, seminars and training courses, which provided: expert advice, fellowships, scholarships, scientific and industrial research, pilot and demonstration projects, training of local technicians and officials through the establishment of regional or national training centres and the dissemination of technical information.

Development and Training Institutions and Training Courses

The records from the development and training institutions document the establishment of courses to support the activities of governments in research and applied research, planning, development, training and demonstration, or a combination of these disciplines. The records contain correspondence and memoranda on the planning of courses and development of training institutions such as the Instituto Cartografico, Montevideo, Uruguay; Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinamericanos (CEMLA), Mexico City, Mexico; Centro Regional de Educación Fundamental para la América Latina (CREFAL), Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico; and the Instituto Centroamericano de Investigación y Tecnología Industrial (ICAITI), Guatemala City, Guatemala.

There are also annual project requests, and memoranda and correspondence which cover funding, annual budgets and the assignments of fellows and experts. Correspondence is generally between country governments, resident representatives and the Programme Division of TAA. The experts were responsible for teaching, advising or directing development and training at the institutions, and records indicate that experts were also responsible for writing reports.

Conferences and Seminars

S-1907 contains records that document the planning and execution of conferences such as the Latin American Conference on Steel Making and Transforming Industries, Sao Paulo, Brazil 15-28 October 1956. These conferences were established by request from at least one government, offering to act as a host, and with evidence of interest provided by countries willing to participate.

In addition, seminars were a type of conference that provided an opportunity for participants responsible for making policy, planning programmes or directing operations in social welfare to discuss among themselves the newest technical developments under the leadership of technical assistance experts provided by the United Nations. S-1907 contains records of seminars including: Urbanization in Latin America, Santiago, Chile, 6-18 July 1959; Rehabilitation Seminar for Latin America, Copenhagen, Denmark, 21 June - 24 July 1959; Participation of Women in Public Life, Bogota, Colombia, 18-29 May 1959 and a number of seminars on housing for Central America and Panama from 1954 to 1957. The records consist of memoranda, correspondence and reports such as the "Desarrollo Economico y Social de las Comunidades Indigenas de Guatemala," issued by the Guatemalan Delegation to the Seminar on Teaching Social Service in Latin America. Correspondence and memoranda address planning seminars and nominating or recruiting participants.

Fellowships and Scholarships

The TAA awarded fellowships to assist governments in sending qualified senior personnel to countries where appropriate facilities existed for higher training or advanced study. Fellowships were normally granted for a period of three to six months, and in-training fellowships were awarded for a period of three to twelve months and would advance the governments’ programme for economic development, public administration and social development on the return of the fellowship holder.

Scholarships were awarded to enable governments to send technical personnel or civil service members to study abroad in training schools, universities or other institutes of higher education and to provide appropriate training in fields needing development in the scholar’s country. Scholarships were usually granted for one academic year.

Host governments which offered facilities for training fellows and scholars arranged a suitable programme of observation and study in consultation with the UN. Reports from fellows and scholars were used to determine whether the programme developed satisfactorily, whether it concluded successfully, and whether good use was made of the training and experience gained abroad.

A large portion of S-1907 records document the TAA’s fellowship programme. The governments of Latin American countries made requests in consultation with their government ministries to the TAA for fellowships which became an integral part of the country’s programme for technical assistance. A request was required for a fellowship related to the government’s economic, social or public administration development programme. In addition, the Director-General had the authority to invite countries which were not included in the Technical Assistance Board (TAB) country programming procedure to submit applications for fellowships under Resolution 418(V). After a detailed process to gain approval, the fellow would be assigned a post in their field and deployed to the host country.

Fellowship posts were offered in fields such as industrial development, transport and communications, telecommunications, meteorology, public administration and social welfare. Fellowships were offered by development and training institutions such as CREFAL, CEMLA, ICAITI and the Instituto Cartografico, Montevideo, Uruguay. S-1907 records include requests for fellowships and scholarships, memoranda and correspondence addressing administrative arrangements for fellows, drafts of policies and procedures and reports written by fellows.

Human Rights Division

The Human Rights Division of the Department of Social Affairs consisted of an office of the Director, five Sections, and a secretariat. The five Sections were concerned with: (I) the work of the Commission on Human Rights; (II) freedom of information, forced labour, freedom of association, and the plight of survivors of concentration camps; (III) the work of the Commission on the Status of Women; (IV) prevention of discrimination, protection of minorities, abolition of slavery, and problems of statelessness; and (V) the work of the Ad Hoc Commission on Prisoners of War. The Human Rights Division gathered material relevant to these subjects and issues, undertook research, and supported the work of associated Commissions. Records of the Human Rights Division originate from Sections I, II, III, and V and span from 1932 to 1960. There are no records for Section IV.

Records for Section I pertain to the International Bill of Rights Project of the American Law Institute and the “Universal Declarations of Human Rights,” a group of unpublished studies by Dr. Luis Recasens-Siches.

Section II records relate to the Ad Hoc Committee on Forced Labour. They include memoranda between members of the Committee and the Division about hearings held by the Committee from 1951 to 1953. The files also contain reports and testimony about the existence of forced labour camps from non-profit organizations and individuals such as the American human rights activist Stetson Kennedy. The reports and testimony were submitted to the Committee by the United States Mission, the Chinese Delegation, and the International Commission Against Concentration Camp Practices.

Records from Section III detail the Section’s work for the Commission on the Status of Women. The records include: reports, working papers, and meeting agenda generated by the Commission; International Labour Organization (ILO) reports on the post-World War II employment of women; and correspondence between Section staff and representatives of Member States, the ILO, and NGOs. The correspondence largely pertains to the General Assembly resolution of 11 December 1946 [A/RES/56(I)] on the political rights of women, the inclusion of gender in the non-discrimination clause of an ILO draft convention, and a questionnaire sent to Member States on the legal status and treatment of women within the respective states.

There are also chronological files, which include: weekly reports prepared by the Chief of the Section and sent to the Director of the Division; Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolutions; and correspondence between the Chief of the Section, the Director of the Division, and other Division staff. The correspondence relates to: radio broadcasts produced by the Section featuring remarks by notable women such as Eleanor Roosevelt; a married woman’s right to a nationality; aid for survivors of Holocaust “experiments”; the right to equal pay for equal work; prostitution; and other subjects.

Section V records consist of bound and unbound lists of prisoners of war which were submitted by Member States to the Ad Hoc Commission on Prisoners of War. The lists identify foreign prisoners detained within the borders of Member States, as well as nationals detained in other countries. Some of the lists group the names into categories such as war criminals, deceased, escaped, and repatriated. The lists often contain personal information, for example, cause of death, next of kin, birth date, and army rank. Some of the lists include accompanying documentation, such as: officially certified declarations of absence for German prisoners; postcards sent by German prisoners later declared missing; petitions from an organization of relatives of Japanese prisoners; letters to family members from Japanese detainees in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR); maps depicting locations of Japanese repatriates in China; and photographs, testimony, and correspondence relating to Italian soldiers held in the USSR.

S-0918 also includes records of Ezekiel Gordon, a senior officer in the Human Rights Division of the Department of Social Affairs (DSA) and the Division of Human Rights of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) from 1947 to 1962. Prior to joining the United Nations, Gordon served in the French Army in World War I and was a member of the Palestine bar. The bulk of Gordon’s records date from 1945 to 1949 and include reports on the protection of minorities, statelessness, and human rights. The records also contain Gordon’s subject files, which include reports on genocide and Gordon’s research material on the topic of slavery.

Office of the Assistant Secretary-General

Series consists of the records of the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General, including those of ASG David Owen (1946-1950), and his assistants. Also included are the records of the Regional Commissions Section (see S-0932 for the remaining records of this Section). Arranged in the order cited above.

Related records: Series S-0932 is part of the same series.

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