Human BettermentAnother major function ot the United Nations is to promote economic and social development. Its basic instrument for this purpose -the U.N. Development Program- has achieved a good record in providing technical experts and technical training to the underdeveloped countries, and in helping them survey the investment potential of their natural resources.
However, the program has encountered two basic problems. First, its resources fall short of the job to be done. Second, even at its present level of operations its capacity to operate efficiently is strained to the utmost. It needs to adopt improved managerial practices.
During the past year two actions in the U.N. set the stage for remedying these inadequacies:
- In October the General Assembly adopted the strategy for the Second Development Decade, which began in January 1971. The strategy set goals, the basic one being an average growth rate of 6 percent in developing countries, and an action program covering the spectrum of economic and social development. An important element was the affirmation by developed countries, including the United States, of efforts to achieve an aid target of the transfer of resources, government and private, equal to l percent of gross national product.
- In December the General Assembly approved a series of steps to improve the capacity of the U.N. development system to handle larger resources effectively. These reforms should ensure much tighter coordination within each recipient country of the activities of the various U.N. agencies.
These recommended reforms are most encouraging. We look forward to their rapid and effective implementation, which we view as a concrete test of the ability of the U.N. family of organizations to mold itself into a more effective instrument. Precisely because we attach great importance to the U.N.'s role in development, we intend to apply high standards in judging its performance. The work of the United Nations and its specialized agencies is too vital to permit good intentions to substitute for accomplishment.