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Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) (1955-present) Serie
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Office of the Assistant Secretary-General

Series is a continuation of S-0543, here the records created by the Regional Commissions Section within the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General. Included is the continuation from S-0543 of the European Unit (which includes country files and conference files), as well as the Far Eastern Unit (files relating to the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, ECAFE), and files relating to the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA). Arranged in the order cited above.

Related records: Series S-0543 is part of the same series.

Division of Economic Stability and Development

Series consists of records of the Division of Economic Stability and Development. Included are the Economic and Employment Commission records, records of divisional sections (the Economic Development Section and the Technical Assistance Section), and a substantial volume of the official documents of the United Nations Scientific Conference on the Conservation and Utilization of Resources (UNSCCUR), as well as research papers submitted to UNSCCUR. The functions documented here were subsequently absorbed by the Regional Commissions Section situated within the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General (see series S-0543 and S-0932). Arranged in the order cited above.

Related records: S-0543 and S-0932.

Bureau of Social Affairs - project files

Records in S-1928 document the coordination of projects between the Bureau of Social Affairs of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), UN agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The records date from 1948 to 1959 and include minutes and reports of conferences, meetings, and working groups on the subject of migration.

A small amount of records dates prior to the 1955 merger of the Department of Social Affairs and Department of Economic Affairs into DESA. Prior to the existence of DESA, the topic of migration was handled by the Division of Social Welfare, headed by Julia Henderson. In 1955, Henderson became the director of the Bureau of Social Affairs within DESA.

The bulk of the records in S-1928 document the International Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Interested in Migration from 1952 to 1959. First conceived in 1948, the goal of the conference was to coordinate efforts between NGOs and the UN to meet the needs of migrants. The Liaison Committee, made up of fifteen members, was responsible for planning future conferences and securing financing. Additionally, working parties were established to discuss and develop reports and resolutions for specific issues in the field of migration. Examples of working parties include: the Working Party on Migrants in Professional Categories; the Working Party on Non-European Migrants; and the Working Party on Simplification and Admissibility. The records include: minutes from conference sessions and planning meetings; minutes and reports of working parties; and correspondence and memoranda exchanged between NGOs, the Liaison Committee, UN agencies, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Bureau of Social Affairs.

S-1928 also includes minutes, reports, correspondence and memoranda of the Technical Working Group on Migration of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC); the Inter-Agency Regional Coordination Committee on Migration in Latin America; and the International Economic Association Round Table on International Migration.

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs - Philippe de Seynes

The records in S-1931 contain chronological files of the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Philippe de Seynes, dating from 1954 through 1971. De Seynes held the title of Under-Secretary for DESA until January 1968 when his title was changed to Under-Secretary-General to reflect the reorganization of the top echelon of the Secretariat as defined by General Assembly Resolution 2369 (XXII), 19 December 1967.

Under de Seynes, the following organizations were established: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Conference on Science and Technology (UNCSAT), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the regional economic commissions. Under his stewardship, the United Nations initiated a series of Development Decades and a unified approach with the merger of the Technical Assistance Administration (TAA) and DESA. De Seynes left DESA in 1974 and became the Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Project on the Future.

De Seynes’ chronological files reflect the organizational changes and administrative arrangements within DESA including coordination between DESA and the regional economic commissions and his responsibilities to the Secretary-General. During his tenure, de Seynes was responsible for overseeing the Bureau of Technical Assistance Operations (BTAO) and the Office of Technical Co-operation (OTC), as well as the substantive offices of DESA including: the Centre for Development Planning, Projections and Policies (CDPPP); Social Development Division; Statistical Office; Population Division; and the Centre for Housing, Building and Planning. S-1931 records contain correspondence; memoranda; cables; and agendas of meetings. A limited number of records also document de Seynes’ 1956 appointment as Under-Secretary in charge of Relief to the Hungarian People with responsibility for coordinating aid and relief efforts for refugees of the Hungarian Revolution.

S-1931 records include memoranda, correspondence and cables that document administrative arrangements, such as appointments, promotions and congratulatory letters for DESA posts; requests to the UN Controller for additional funding and budget planning; coordination with the Executive Secretaries of the regional economic commissions; travel arrangements and summaries of travel activities for DESA personnel; and organizational changes within DESA and the UN Secretariat. The files also document the decentralization of social defence activities, when some staff from DESA’s Bureau of Social Affairs were transferred to the UN Geneva Office to form the Social Defence Unit within the Office of Social Affairs. S-1931 also contains agendas of meetings with the Executive Secretaries of the regional economic commissions; and form letters with attachments including agendas and/or directives. For example, one form letter regarding the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities was sent to member states with attached directives relating to the preparations of and recommendations for producing reports. The chronological files also contain correspondence and cables exchanged between de Seynes and the Officer-in-Charge of DESA at Headquarters in New York while de Seynes attended the annual summer session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva.

The records in S-1931 contain correspondence between de Seynes, during his tenure as the Under-Secretary-General for DESA, and Secretary-Generals Dag Hammarskjöld (1954-1961) and U Thant (1961-1971). Many of these records contain correspondence between Secretary-General Hammarskjöld concerning the integration of the TAA and DESA in 1958. There are also invitations to member states requesting their attendance at meetings and congratulatory letters regarding appointments and promotions of UN personnel from de Seynes on behalf of the Secretary-General.

Other files document the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology (UNCSAT) held in Geneva from 4-20 February 1963. This conference was the first of its kind, an international meeting of scientists, economists, statesmen and administrators from 87 countries to discuss how scientific and technological advances could be used and applied in developing countries. UNCSAT records include correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, information bulletins and reports.

There are also a small number of chronological files of Ralph Townley from his tenure as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General for the Department of Economic Affairs (under David Owens) and as Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Social and Economic Affairs (under Philippe de Seynes). These records include correspondence and memoranda on a personal and professional nature.

Office for Inter-Agency Affairs and Coordination (IAAC)

The Office of Inter-Agency Affairs and Coordination was established in 1967 as a division of the Department of Social and Economic Affairs and became a separate department in 1970. It was dissolved at the end of 1978. The primary functions of the Office were: to represent the Secretary-General in communication with specialized agencies and intergovernmental organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); to assist departments and related bodies in matters of coordination with these inter-organizational bodies; to assist with coordination and resolving of differences between these inter-organizational bodies; to assist the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, their subsidiary organs and intergovernmental organizations in the formulation of decisions involving system-wide activities; and to serve as the secretariat for the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC).

S-1003 includes records of the Under-Secretary-General of the Office, the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), the Division of Narcotic Drugs, the Office of the Disaster Relief Coordinator, and the Chief of the Representation and Liaison Unit.

Under-Secretary-General

The files include an assortment of administrative and substantive records of Under-Secretary-General for Inter-Agency Affairs and Coordination C. V. Narasimhan. Records relate to decision-making assistance for the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, to communication between Secretariat Headquarters and the specialized agencies, inter-governmental organizations, international conferences, as well as organization of special events and support to yearbook information requirements.

In addition, Mr. Narasimhan’s files contain information about resource development in the lower Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia. There is correspondence with members of the Mekong Committee and its Advisory Board; a report dated 8 April 1975 by the Review Mission of the Mekong program; and several issues of “Mekong Secretariat Notes,” a newsletter with information about flood forecasting, aid to the Mekong area, and fishery studies.

Other records document the work of Ismat T. Kittani, Mr. Narasimhan’s predecessor. Mr. Kittani’s files contain press releases and correspondence about foreign aid for Pakistani refugees in India following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. There are also reports from missions to India prepared by the High Commissioner for Refugees, and a draft resolution on human rights and national development education for youth.

Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC)

The Administrative Committee on Coordination was established per the Economic and Social Council’s resolution 13 (III) of 21 September 1946 “for the purpose of taking all appropriate steps, under the leadership of the Secretary-General, to ensure the fullest and most effective implementation of the agreements entered into between the United Nations and the specialized agencies.” The Secretary-General acted as Chairman of the ACC. Other members were the executive heads of the specialized agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Included is correspondence between the Chief of Specialized Agencies and ACC Affairs, the Secretary of the ACC, and the Special Representative in Europe for Coordination and ACC Affairs. These were secondary positions held by UN Secretariat staff. The correspondence covers common interests of the specialized agencies, such as family planning, oceanography, atomic energy, and the peaceful uses of outer space. It also discusses relationships with non-UN intergovernmental agencies (IGOs), the role of the ACC, whether the specialized agencies should use individual flags or the UN flag, and the biological aspects of race.

The summaries for ACC meetings detail a variety of issues such as the Vietnam War, negotiations for peace in the Middle East, and methods of birth control in developing countries. They also contain information about activities of specialized agencies, reviews of UN personnel policy, and the proposal for the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The records of the Preparatory Committee primarily consist of conference speeches, descriptions of UN programs, and draft reports about the administration of the ACC, computer usage, rural development, aid for the handicapped, and other subjects.

The records of the Consultative Committee on Administrative Questions (CCAQ) contain information about personnel policies, reforms to the ECOSOC and ACC, the relationship between the ACC and the CCAQ, and the establishment of the CCAQ. They are comprised of working papers, correspondence, agenda, and reports.

Other ACC consultative committees, sub-committees, and ad hoc working groups represented are the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, the Committee on Programme Appraisals, the Enlarged Committee for Program Coordination, the International Civil Service Advisory Board, the Committee for Industrial Development, the Green Revolution Working Group (concerned with agricultural advances such as high-yielding crops), the Meeting on Social and Related Economic Questions, the Consultative Committee for Public Information, and the Sub-Committee on Science and Technology. Their records include: correspondence; meeting minutes; working papers on issues such as housing, juvenile delinquency, and urbanization; reports on topics including technical assistance and inter-agency cooperation on outer space matters; and reviews of UN programs.

Additionally, there is one file documenting the UN’s participation in world’s fairs. It contains: blueprints of the UN pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair and maps of the Fair grounds; an architectural drawing for the 1964 New York World’s Fair; correspondence and reports detailing ACC coordination of UN participation in these fairs; and information about the League of Nations’ participation in the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Division of Narcotic Drugs

The Division of Narcotic Drugs served as the secretariat for the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Additionally, it assisted governments with the implementation of drug treaties and provided training in drug control. The Division also assisted the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council in drug matters, collaborated with UN organs and agencies, and executed projects of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control.

A set of chronological files primarily contains the correspondence of Frederick K. Lister, Jr., a member of the IAAC and the Liaison Officer for the Division of Narcotic Drugs. Correspondence of Mr. Lister and that of the Director concerns elections for the International Narcotics Control Board, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, a UN-commissioned television special “The Poppy is Also a Flower,” the Gracie Mansion Narcotics Conference held on 3-5 February 1965, and other subjects. The correspondence also includes requests for copies of UN publications on drug abuse.

In addition, records of the Division of Narcotic Drugs contain periodic bulletins on international drug control activities and drug-related research, and a “Report of the UN Survey Team on the Economic and Social Needs of the Opium-Producing Areas in Thailand” dated 1967.

Office of the Disaster Relief Coordinator

Martin Hill served as the Disaster Relief Coordinator. The records document the work of voluntary agencies, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations in disaster relief. Records include correspondence, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Sessions documents, administrative bulletins, reports, and memoranda. The correspondence is between Hill, the Committee for Program Coordination, the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East's (ECAFE) Typhoon Committee, and various voluntary and non-governmental agencies. It concerns aid in response to natural disasters. The reports concern meetings of voluntary and non-governmental agencies and the role of science and technology in disaster relief.

There are also records originating with the United Nations Development Program, including the UNDP Field Directory for June 1971, a paper about the Yemen Arab Republic, and summary records of four meetings of the UNDP's Inter-Agency Consultative Board.

Representation and Liaison Unit, Chief

The Representation and Liaison Unit of the Office for Inter-Agency Affairs and Coordination organized United Nations participation at international meetings and was responsible for liaison at Headquarters with the Division of Narcotic Drugs (located in Geneva), the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (located in Geneva), and the International Narcotics Control Board. It also liaised with: other UN programs; specialized agencies; and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Alexander Messing-Mierzejewski served as Chief of the Representation Unit.

Records for the International Narcotics Control Board include correspondence exchanged between Messing-Mierzejewski, the Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs, and representatives of the Member States. The correspondence pertains to Board elections, fundraising, drug-control treaties, representation at conferences, proposals for regional narcotics centers, and the organization of UN narcotics control structures and activities. There are also annual reports of the International Narcotics Control Board.

United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control records include: correspondence about the operation of the fund and coordination with UNDP; reports on projects; briefing packets; and requests for funding. There are also reports, plans, discussion papers, and correspondence about missions to various countries to investigate or implement projects such as reducing cultivation of the poppy by replacing it with other crops.

A wide variety of records document the Unit’s work on the control of narcotic drugs. These include protocols from conventions on narcotics; reports from sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Inter-Agency Advisory Committee on Drug Abuse Control; Division of Narcotic Drugs strategic plans; correspondence about UN participation in conferences on drug abuse control; General Assembly and Economic and Social Council documents pertaining to narcotics; a presentation titled “The UN Fights Drug Abuse” in 35 millimetre slide format with an accompanying audio tape reel; and master copies of the Division’s “Information Letter”.

Messing-Mierzejewski’s records from his position as the Outposted Officer in South East Asia from 1963 to 1965 include reports addressed to the Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs. There is also correspondence exchanged between Messing-Mierzejewski, the Director of the Division of Narcotic Drugs, Thai officials, and representatives of organizations and Member States working in South East Asia on narcotics control. The records contain surveys with information about the opium-growing hill tribes of Thailand, visits to South East Asian countries and diplomats, and rehabilitation options for individuals afflicted with narcotics addiction in South East Asian countries.

There are also records pertaining to Messing-Mierzejewski’s speaking engagements.

Technical Assistance Projects Files - Asia and the Middle East 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 - 74/17; 75/14

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

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

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