ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

273rd Session
Geneva, November 1998


Report of the Committee on Technical Cooperation


I. The ILO's technical cooperation programme, 1997-98
II. Report of the Working Party on the Evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy
III. Further developments concerning operational activities in the United Nations system


1. The Committee on Technical Cooperation met on 10 and 13 November 1998, chaired by Ms. Diallo (Government, Senegal). The Vice-Chairpersons were Mr. Hoff (Employer) and Mr. Sombes (Worker).

2. The Committee had the following agenda:

  1. The ILO's technical cooperation programme, 1997-98.
  2. Report of the Working Party on the Evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy.
  3. Further developments concerning operational activities in the United Nations system.
  4. Other questions.

3. The Chairperson referred to the commendable spirit of trust and cooperation in the Committee. Announcing the departure of Mr. Mayaki from his position as Worker Vice-Chairperson, she wished him success in his new position with the ILO, and welcomed Mr. Sombes, Secretary-General of the Trade Union Confederation of Cameroon, as the new Worker Vice-Chairperson.

4. As regards the first agenda item, she considered that the Office paper was instructive and contained a good analysis of issues centring around global debates on development assistance and priorities of countries. She urged the Committee to help the Office adapt to the new challenges, particularly issues concerning the Bretton Woods institutions and new partnerships, and to respond to the problems arising as a result of economic crises.

5. As regards developments in the UN system, she considered that the issue was extremely important, as future developments would have a major impact on the ILO's technical cooperation programmes. The ILO should not be an observer, but should participate actively in the shaping of those developments. She congratulated Mrs. Chinery-Hesse on her work as Chairperson of CCPOQ, an office only accorded to personalities with experience and knowledge in the field and the capacity to deal with extremely delicate and complex matter. The Secretary-General of the United Nations had shown great confidence in Mrs. Chinery-Hesse in according it to her.

I. The ILO's technical cooperation programme, 1997-98

6. Introducing the agenda item, the representative of the Director-General (Mrs. Chinery-Hesse, Deputy Director-General) reiterated the importance the Office attached to the Committee's guidance. The report was a reference document, focusing on objectives and forward looking. She recalled the Office's efforts to improve the format of the main report in response to the Committee's recommendations. She drew attention to a number of issues covered in the report, such as national ownership, the involvement of the social partners in all aspects of programme development, the linkages between international labour standards and technical cooperation, and the effective use of regular budget resources to complement extra-budgetary funds.

7. Other issues addressed in the report were the need to adapt internal procedures and practices to the demand-driven approach, the importance of the evaluation and impact assessment of operational activities, the quality of the ILO's response to constituents' needs, and the progress of collaboration at the field level with the UN system and other development partners. Extensive use had been made of graphics and illustrative examples to make the document more readable. The Office was however aware of the fact that further refinements were still needed to the format of the report, and she invited members to express their views on what these should be. As requested by members of the Committee in the past, regional trends and priorities had been highlighted in section III of the report under headings such as "employment and combating poverty", "improving working conditions", and "promoting social democracy and international labour standards". This more thematic approach meant that programmes being implemented had been grouped around the major priority objectives of the Organization as set out in the programme and budget. This in turn should clearly demonstrate the contribution of operational activities to the global priorities of the Organization.

8. One key issue discussed during the evaluation of the APP was the use of country objectives to assess the impact and quality of the services the Office had delivered to ILO constituents. The report demonstrated how the application of this approach had allowed greater selectivity on substantive issues, and how it had fundamentally changed the nature of the technical support and advisory services offered by the Office through the MDTs.

9. She drew attention to a number of substantive programmes mentioned in the document. These included the Jobs for Africa programme, employment- intensive infrastructure, development activities, new approaches in the area of urban and informal employment, and programmes to address the social impact of financial policies on employment and poverty reduction. Other areas to be highlighted were small enterprise development, training activities for the hotel and catering sector, measures to combat youth unemployment and assistance for post-conflict reconstruction. She referred to activities in support of workers' protection and the ratification of international labour standards on occupational safety and health, social security, programmes to support workers' and employers' organizations, tripartism and industrial relations. The mainstreaming of gender issues had also been addressed specifically.

10. With regard to resource mobilization, a detailed statement would be presented at the Governing Body session in March 1999. On the whole, progress so far in the implementation of the resource mobilization strategy had been promising.

11. Referring briefly to the report on the evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy, she drew attention to a paper on the mobility of staff between the field and headquarters assignments submitted to the Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee,(1)  which should be borne in mind during the discussion of the report.

12. In line with the decision taken at the 73rd Session of the International Labour Conference in 1987 to make technical cooperation a recurrent item on the Conference agenda, an item on the role of the ILO in technical cooperation had again been included on the 1999 Conference agenda. The Conference report was in preparation, and she invited members to provide guidance on its desirable content. The report would have, as an introduction, an examination of the process of implementing some of the measures and policies that constituted the ILO's response to global challenges. Issues to be covered would include the overall strategy for technical cooperation, the Active Partnership Policy, resource mobilization, collaboration with UN partners within the framework of UN reforms, and the design, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and activities. The report would then describe the quantitative trends in technical cooperation and provide a critical assessment of the ILO's operational programmes, covering --

  1. programmes on selected themes emanating from country objectives and ILO priority areas, such as employment and poverty alleviation, democracy and human rights, and workers' protection;
  2. the ILO's place and role in follow-up on global conferences: the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995), the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995), the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994), and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, 1994);
  3. global programmes developed by the ILO (IPEC, More and Better Jobs for Women, etc.);
  4. programmes aimed at assisting member States in applying standards and establishing appropriate social and economic foundations at local and national levels.

13. The report would be analytical, and would include concrete proposals for discussion so that the Conference could provide the Office with the best possible guidance for the new millennium. The themes covered would be the technical cooperation implications of follow-up on the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up, employment, consensus building, including the promotion of tripartism, and development of new models of partnerships.

14. Mr. Hoff (Employer Vice-Chairman) commended the Office for the informative and interesting report and the thematic presentation of major issues. He noted that the report was more forward-looking than in the past and thought it useful for future work to be carried out in a more evaluative framework. The exhaustive list of countries should in the future be completed by evaluations carried out on the basis of established qualitative criteria.

15. With regard to programme development and resource allocation, it was important to determine whether the Organization had managed to develop self-reliance at the country level and strengthened national capacities with transfer of experience and knowledge. He reaffirmed the need to fix clear criteria to determine whether projects were demand-driven and whether they were successfully tailored to the specific needs of the recipients. In this respect there was a particular need to determine the achievements and results of activities in the field of labour law and industrial relations. As regards the levels of resources available to the regions, he expressed the Employers' concern at declining resources and reallocations should be made if necessary.

16. Employers were not sufficiently involved in technical cooperation projects related to occupational safety and health in industry. It was of the utmost importance that employers were consulted in the preparation of such projects and were actually involved in their implementation if they were to succeed at national level. The consultation process with employers should be improved to secure practical results at the workplace and concrete follow-up.

17. The ILO's Bureau for Employers' Activities (ACT/EMP) was able to carry out programmes with a delivery rate of only 29.8 per cent, but improvements were needed: if ACT/EMP was unable to make full use of the resources allocated, the Office should provide ACT/EMP with the necessary human capacity to enable full implementation.

18. He referred to the proposed project to be based in New Delhi covering six countries, on promoting social industrial relations based on tripartism. He urged the Office and those who prepared the project to organize a meeting during the Governing Body session with representatives of the countries and groups involved, in order to lay the groundwork for cooperation in its implementation. He reaffirmed the Employers' support for any action taken by the Office in evaluating global programmes, and hoped easier methods would be developed to monitor these programmes.

19. He expressed further satisfaction that the Office had taken note of the Committee's advice of one year previously on resource mobilization, but emphasized the need to identify issues of major concern for the broad public and address them with the resources available. This would attract more resources, as in the case of the Oslo Conference on Child Labour.

20. Mr. Sombes (Worker Vice-Chairperson) thanked the Chairperson for her kind words and good wishes for Mr. Mayaki. He expressed satisfaction at an excellent report. It was an important document that covered the main issues for the future of technical cooperation. It contained extensive information, a thorough critical analysis, and pertinent suggestions for improvements. The most important question at this stage was to sort through the information available and use it for further improvement.

21. He asked the following:

22. Paragraph 2 stated that the paper contained "suggestions to improve the strategy agreed at the International Labour Conference in 1993", but did not say how these improvements would be brought about.

23. Section I gave cause for some optimism, as 1997 had seen an increase in expenditure after a five-year period of decline. More worrying was the fact that the UNDP contributions to ILO technical cooperation had been critically reduced over the last few years, and that only a negligible part of UNDP funds were for direct support activities to employers' and workers' organizations.

24. It was very difficult to assess workers' involvement in the development of activities directed towards the priority themes of support for democracy and fundamental workers' rights, employment promotion, and poverty alleviation.

25. Chart 10 showed a certain imbalance in the distribution of funds for different priorities: 64 per cent of expenditure went to activities on unemployment and poverty and only 15.8 per cent to activities promoting democracy and human rights. Although the activities to combat unemployment and poverty constituted the bulk of the technical cooperation programme, the activities within this overall objective were not aggregated. For example, what proportion of the management training activities, including the Start and Improve Your Business Programme (SIYB) was to be considered under this figure? Data on this major sector should be broken down into more recognizable elements. Referring to paragraphs 23 to 28 on various activities concerning enterprise development, he requested information on the effects of these activities with regard to employment promotion, but also to the promotion of democracy and workers' protection.

26. He emphasized the important role of the Turin Centre in technical cooperation. The Workers' group reconfirmed its support for the Centre and their willingness to cooperate to ensure the fullest possible participation of workers in its general programmes.

27. Referring to paragraphs 35 and 39 concerning occupational safety and health activities, he expressed concern at what appeared to be a focus on supporting mainly government ministries and their structures without reference to the results on the shopfloor. He sought reassurance that efforts in this field also covered the impact in terms of healthier workplaces. He also sought additional information, with paragraph 44 on social security and the reference to the strong involvement of workers and employers in these activities, on how this concept had been promoted. As regards the STEP programme, the ILO's Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) had already organized training activities at the Turin Centre with technical support from STEP, although no "cooperative agreement" had been negotiated yet. With regard to the joint activities in Thailand, India and Mongolia, they had not been developed or discussed so far with ACTRAV. He expressed some uncertainty as to the meaning of the last sentence of paragraph 48 referring to wage policies at the national, industrial and enterprise levels and requested clarification. As regards the projects promoting industrial relations, mentioned in paragraph 51, workers' organizations should be fully involved in decision-making on regional projects in Asia. With regard to the project covering selected countries in southern Africa, he requested information on the achievements of this project, and especially with regard to solving the problems of freedom of association encountered in some of the project countries. He noted that 39 per cent of the funds for technical cooperation had gone to Africa, but Africa needed still further technical cooperation and resources in order to meet the challenges of globalization. He also expressed concern about the situation in Asia: especially in view of the economic crisis, technical support to Asia should be increased.

28. With regard to the mention in paragraph 82 of an action programme for the "development" of export processing zones (EPZs) in China, he asked the Office to clarify whether it was proper for the ILO to support the development of EPZs or rather to deal with the problems generated in them. He noted that the programme for employers' activities referred to in paragraph 117 seemed to suggest that one of the main objectives of the employers' programme was to enhance enterprise performance. In that context, he noted that the entrepreneurship and management programme alone had technical cooperation expenditure in 1997 of US$11 million, while ACTRAV's expenditure figures showed a level of only US$7 million.

29. Regarding section V, he stressed the role of technical cooperation in follow-up on the Declaration. This should not be restricted to specific activities, but should be an integral part of all the ILO's technical cooperation activities. He noted the mention of Malaysia's ratification of Conventions Nos. 100 and 138, resulting from technical assistance from the Office. A major contributing factor to that ratification was also the Malaysian trade union movement's struggle over the years.

30. As regards the issue of integration of the gender dimension in technical cooperation, he expressed satisfaction with the efforts made by the Office, and underlined the importance of continuous cooperation between the technical departments and programmes and the ILO's gender specialists, both in the field and at headquarters. He congratulated the ILO on the continuous efforts made to improve its technical cooperation programme in order to make it more effective. However, the statement in paragraph 141 that the activities should be demand-driven should be seen as meaning not only responding to constituents' demands, but also in some areas promoting ILO values in technical cooperation. This had been the case with IPEC, which at the very beginning was received with scepticism by several governments that were reluctant to receive assistance from the ILO in combating child labour.

31. It was important for the ILO to continue its work on an Agreement of Cooperation with the European Union. As regards the global programmes, not all types of activities were suitable for global programmes, and it would be an error to think that the concept in itself would mobilize additional resources, as this would depend both on the subject and the involvement of the social partners. The ILO should seek to integrate, to the extent possible, the global programmes into the ILO's overall structure and programme.

32. The representative of the Government of Italy congratulated the Office on the increase in extra-budgetary resources, which was a true sign of confidence from donors. It also demonstrated the ILO's efficiency and the value of its results. The detailed description of the work carried out over the period covered by the report was useful to assess future programmes. As regards IPEC, the programme was concentrating its efforts to raise the awareness of constituents and the public about child labour. This was the best way to advance in the eradication of the worst forms of child labour. Within the APP, the objectives of constituents were the first factor to be taken into consideration; however, the technical cooperation programmes funded with extra-budgetary contributions should be used to bridge the gap between the demands from the field and the ILO's mandate and values. He expressed concern about the decrease in delivery and asked for more detailed information about this issue in the future. Evaluation was a critical issue for the ILO's programmes, in particular technical cooperation projects.

33. The representative of the Government of Canada underlined the importance that the discussion would have in providing input to the Conference discussion in 1999, which itself was likely to set the direction for technical cooperation in the future. She appreciated the increased focus on evaluation and reporting, which was evident in the Office's report. The section on critical issues was especially clear and helpful, and indeed raised some important concerns. It was important that with declining resources, particular care be taken to avoid implementing projects that did not concentrate on areas within the ILO's core mandate. It was important for the ILO to be involved in the design of projects in such areas as labour-intensive approaches to capital projects, but this must be differentiated from providing technical expertise in fields better left to other organizations. In order to respond to the need for a better definition of roles, she urged the establishment of a framework that would provide coherence for activities both at headquarters and in the field. Such a framework would be based on the priorities to be set for the Programme and Budget for 2000-01 and should guide the formulation of country objectives in responding to the needs of constituents. It would be useful for the programming of both regular and extra-budgetary funds. Evaluation was a key component and she called attention to comments in a recent External Auditor's report which called for the ILO to increase the effectiveness of evaluations, including clearer setting of performance objectives and targets, and ensuring appropriate feedback for future planning. She welcomed the halt in the downward trend of technical cooperation expenditure, but expressed concern at the drop in the delivery rate: donors would not continue to contribute if available funds were not being spent. The Internal Auditor might want to look into whether everything was being done, both within the ILO and with beneficiaries, to ensure that there was optimum efficiency in delivery. Global programmes were useful and provided clear programming frameworks. Future assessment of these global programmes should point out where the ILO had benefited from the lessons learned. She supported the resource mobilization strategy and reiterated that a clear programming framework would be a key to mobilizing further resources.

34. The representative of the Government of Germany praised the quality of the report, and in particular the excellent overview it provided. He supported in full the statement by the representative of the Government of Canada. As regards small enterprise development, he emphasized that the greatest potential for the creation of jobs worldwide lay with employers, and for this reason he welcomed the efforts described in paragraph 25. He encouraged the ILO to continue its work on gender issues, including the programme on More and Better Jobs for Women, from which both developing and industrialized countries could draw lessons. While agreeing with the comments on IPEC, in future reports this item might be presented within the context of human rights rather than workers' protection. Referring to the evaluation of projects, he questioned the relevance of the Makete integrated rural transport project for the ILO.

35. The representative of the Government of Poland deplored the lack of information on activities in Europe, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. He cited several examples of Poland's cooperation with the ILO in 1997-98, for example, the organization of conferences and seminars on employment, social security and social dialogue. He stressed, however, that there were still demands that could not be satisfied for lack of financial resources. He urged the Office to increase the allocations for the MDT in Budapest, and highlighted the different stages of development of the 26 countries in the subregion. He hoped that there would be an increased ILO presence and assistance in promoting employment, fighting poverty, and improving social security, as well as in other priority areas.

36. The representative of the Government of Egypt was pleased with the 10.4 per cent increase in expenditure and the increase in approvals by the UNDP. She welcomed the increase in approvals for Africa, while noting the decrease in IPEC approvals. She was concerned at the decline in the delivery rate, the drop in expenditure in LDCs and the declining levels of expenditure in Africa. In 1991 expenditure in Africa had been $86 million, compared to $42.1 million in 1997. She urged the Office to try to improve this situation through improved resource mobilization efforts. She supported the three major priority areas for the ILO's technical cooperation programme, and stressed the importance of the role of the ILO in poverty alleviation. She suggested that the Office should work with employers' and workers' organizations and ministries of labour in Africa; promote labour-intensive programmes; assist in revising labour legislation; promote social security and social protection and fight against social exclusion; and encourage job creation and strengthen institutional capacity with respect to occupational safety and health in the workplace. Concerning child labour, she emphasized that programmes should go beyond increasing awareness and should provide concrete assistance to help countries eliminate the worst forms of child labour. She requested information on the status of the Jobs for Africa programme. With respect to follow-up on the Declaration, she recommended that emphasis be placed on the fight against poverty and social exclusion, since these were often the root causes of failure to apply core labour standards. In this context she highlighted the importance of promoting employment for women and gender equality. On the subject of international labour standards and technical cooperation, she stressed that the measure of success should not be only the number of ratifications, but rather their acceptance and application in practice.

37. The representative of the Government of Panama observed that the results of the Office's work in his region to promote international labour standards were being reflected in a positive trend in the ratification of Conventions in the region, and especially in Latin America in relation to the ratification of the Merchant Shipping (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1976 [and Protocol, 1996] (No. 147). He also referred to the successful cooperation between the ILO and regional and interregional organizations on maritime and port development issues. He drew attention to the benefits his region had derived from participation in the PROMICRO project, and stressed the positive actions of the COCEMI (Committee of Central American Micro-Entrepreneurs) set up by the project for the countries of the subregion. He highlighted the plight of the Central American countries devastated by the recent hurricane Mitch, and urged the Office to provide assistance to those countries. He also referred to the violence prevailing in Colombia and called for support to be given to that country.

38. The Chairperson joined the previous speaker in expressing sympathy for the victims of hurricane Mitch in Central America.

39. The representative of the Government of China considered that the ILO's technical programme had achieved good results in responding to needs and in helping to reach the ILO's objectives, particularly with respect to unemployment and poverty alleviation. Therefore, he hoped that the programmes would be maintained. He was pleased to note that the decline in technical cooperation expenditure had been arrested in 1997, but the level of expenditure was still considerably lower when compared with 1991-92, and was inadequate to meet the needs of a large number of constituents. There should be a better balance and fairness in the geographical distribution of ILO technical cooperation. Asia and the Pacific was the only region where expenditure had declined: in that region most countries had very low levels of development and large populations, and were experiencing the effects of the financial crisis. They required strong international support for social development. The project on EPZs in China mentioned in paragraph 82 of the report had promoted sound industrial relations in EPZs.

40. The representative of the Government of Spain drew attention to the location of the Port Institute referred to in paragraph 156 and asked the Office for clarification. He supported the representative of the Government of Panama's call for support for the countries devastated by hurricane Mitch.

41. The representative of the Government of the United States expressed satisfaction with the quality of the report and welcomed the inclusion of quantitative information on the types and numbers of beneficiaries in the ILO's technical cooperation programme. She urged the Office to include more information of this nature in future reports. She underlined the importance of showing concrete results in order to stress further the ILO's unique qualifications regarding the provision of technical cooperation. She looked forward to seeing how the evaluation results would be used in future ILO technical cooperation activities. She was concerned at the drop in the delivery rate, and in particular the adverse impact that it could have on the Office's resource mobilization efforts. Another concern was whether the ILO was engaging in technical cooperation activities that were outside its mandate. She emphasized that the ILO should focus on high-priority areas within its core mandate. Like other speakers, she too would welcome a framework to guide technical cooperation activities. She expressed support for the technical cooperation activities of the ILO as a means of achieving its objectives.

42. Mr. Anand (Employer member) affirmed that much was expected of technical cooperation. It was a very important means of action for the ILO and a useful tool for the implementation of the APP. However, he wondered to what extent technical cooperation:

43. These were in reality the yardsticks against which the Office should be judging the effectiveness of technical cooperation. The quality of experts involved in technical cooperation activities and human resource development in general was a crucial issue for the effectiveness of technical cooperation. He requested further remedial action on the fall in delivery rates in Asia: was this due to the skill level of the experts or to bureaucratic procedures, in which case the content and quality of the organizational machinery needed to be examined. Human resource training had become a key factor in today's world, and more needed to be done, in conjunction with the Turin Centre, but without turning over full responsibility to the Staff College. The Turin Centre needed greater resources and facilities. In this respect, a human development resource strategy, as well as the selection of high-level personnel, should be dealt with in a different and more comprehensive way.

44. The representative of the Government of Croatia congratulated the Office on its report and agreed with the remarks by the Government of Poland that there was a need for a full picture of the services requested by constituents but not implemented because of the absence of funding. She requested the Office to provide further information on the ILO's technical cooperation expenditure for her country, as stated in the report (page 67). She also asked for detailed information concerning the advisory services provided to Croatia in the field of finance and micro-credit.

45. The representative of the Government of the United Kingdom thanked the Office for the comprehensive report and felt that some of the comments made during the debate would be useful in the discussion on technical cooperation at the International Labour Conference in 1999. She hoped that, among other issues, a discussion could take place on a feasibility study of a single ILO field structure. She welcomed the role of evaluation in the report and stressed that monitoring and evaluation should not be seen as separate from the design and management of projects. The Office should further aim at increasing the impact of its technical cooperation activities by strengthening collaboration with others, as envisaged in the UNDAF exercise, following the example of Viet Nam. She stressed the importance of involving all the local stakeholders in the programming process, which meant strengthening multidisciplinarity. However, technical cooperation could not be totally demand-driven: she underlined the point made by the Worker Vice-Chairperson that follow-up on the Declaration could not be guided exclusively by such an approach. She requested the Office to examine the possibility of an overall programming framework for technical cooperation. A draft programme of work could, for instance, be presented as an addendum to the next set of programme and budget proposals. Such an approach would ensure greater coherence in the overall programme of work of the Office. As regards the statement by the representative of the Government of Canada, which she supported, field and headquarters units should share the same ILO objectives. She also expressed concern at the drop in the delivery rate and suggested that this be examined by internal auditors.

46. The representative of the Government of France considered the report to be descriptive rather than evaluative. He stressed the need for indicators of impact and performance, such as the results of activities undertaken in the field of employment and safety and health at work. He indicated, as major achievements mentioned in the report: the decentralization process, which included a closer relation with constituents; and the search for efficiency and efficacy in the daily work of the Organization. Although much had been done, the Organization could go further, for example, by selecting appropriate qualitative indicators and ensuring greater coherence between the various programmes, particularly with respect to the source of funding (extra-budgetary and regular budget). To this end, he called for a sound strategy on resource mobilization to be effectively implemented. Finally, he expressed his appreciation to the Director-General for having done much towards the establishment of MDTs in the field.

47. The representative of the Government of the Central African Republic welcomed the information provided in the report and trusted that technical cooperation assistance for Central Africa would increase in the future, particularly in the field of social dialogue and the promotion of international labour standards.

48. The representative of the Government of Brazil asked the Office to provide more information on a regional ongoing project in MERCOSUR and Chile financed by the Ford Foundation.

49. The representative of the Government of Senegal listed various problems that the Office's technical cooperation programme faced in the field, in particular the lack of financial and human resources. He welcomed the spirit of the discussions in the Committee and the new directions taken by the Office: the APP and follow-up on the Declaration augured well for the future. However, he urged the Office to address the consequences of the world financial crisis, in particular by placing emphasis on training, youth employment and the development of sound social security systems. He also referred to the external evaluation commissioned by the Office on the employment-intensive programmes (EIP), pointing to the difficulties encountered in attaining the objectives of the various programmes in the field of employment. He hoped for better results from technical cooperation in the future.

50. The representative of the Government of Colombia drew attention to the issue of employment generation. Technical cooperation programmes should also be used to raise the awareness of constituents about the measures to be taken towards the further development of employment programmes, and that of the donors about the positive effects of international cooperation. He further stressed the need for the ILO to be aware of funding opportunities and to work together with governments and social partners in the countries concerned. He urged the Governing Body to instruct the Office to contribute to the reconstruction phase after the hurricane which had stricken Central American countries. He also requested the Office to increase its support for the whole Latin American region.

51. The representative of the Government of the Russian Federation placed technical cooperation activities at the core of the Organization's work. He reported on the growing impact of the ILO's work since the establishment of the new MDT in Moscow, and noted that there were still a number of positive results to add to those cited in section III as far as this subregion was concerned. The Russian Federation, like other CIS countries, was considering ratifying more ILO Conventions, and attached major importance in this regard to technical assistance. Seeing an increase in work for the new MDT, he urged the ILO to fill the vacancies within the multidisciplinary team.

52. Mr. Owuor (Employer member) congratulated the Office on its successful resource mobilization efforts. He questioned the reasons for the sharp fall in the delivery rate, and assumed that managerial as well as technical difficulties might be a cause for the decline. He noted that Africa still had the highest share, but also the largest drop in terms of expenditure. The biggest share of expenditure was geared to poverty alleviation and job creation, which he also considered the biggest challenge for the Organization in the future. Small and medium enterprise development should be further expanded, in cooperation with employers' organizations, in order to create job opportunities and employment, particularly for young people. The strengthening of employers' and national capacities at the local level was a key issue for the successful implementation of technical cooperation in the field. He noted with satisfaction the assistance provided to the Pan-African Employers' Confederation and the OAU Labour and Social Commission. IPEC, Jobs for Africa, and the programme for the development of the informal sector were major challenges for the ILO. He emphasized the need to strengthen human resources development and strategic management inside the Organization as major priorities that would increase the delivery rate and improve the provision of effective services to the constituents.

53. The representative of the Government of Hungary was pleased with the report and considered that ILO technical cooperation, which he strongly supported, was one of the most important issues of today. He emphasized the importance of activities in the field of employment promotion and small and medium enterprise development, including the extension of credit schemes. Efforts in these areas were crucial for combating unemployment in Hungary. As regards evaluation, he wondered whether an overview of the status of evaluation reports could be made available to the Committee, together with the conclusions the ILO had drawn from these evaluations for future projects and programmes.

54. Mr. Trotman (Worker member) stated that the paper was excellent, but several topics needed further discussion. One problem was the resistance of staff to field postings, and this should be approached in an open discussion with the Staff Union. Another issue was the poor delivery rate, which should be monitored for greater efficiency, since the donor community could draw incorrect conclusions from it. The new ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up should prompt a reorientation of the entire technical cooperation programme and become the future reference for policy as a whole.

55. The representative of the Government of Sweden identified a general and recurrent problem regarding the issue of evaluation. Referring to paragraph 146, he stressed the great value of external evaluations. Although they were more expensive, they were profitable in the long run. Nothing could be more convincing to a donor than a positive report from a completely external evaluation. External evaluations would also supply objective arguments to improve quality and to help market technical activities outside the ILO. The very good results from the implementation of ILO technical cooperation projects would be even more satisfactory if the point he had made on evaluation was taken up by the Office.

56. Mr. El Telawi (Worker member) expressed satisfaction with the number of projects under way in the Arab States and the Middle East, as presented in paragraphs 94-102. However, he expressed concern that the level of expenditure on technical cooperation had not reached that of 1990. He urged the Office to strengthen its efforts in this subregion, which was so vulnerable to social and economic upheavals. He expressed satisfaction with the activities in Palestine, and referred in particular to those described in paragraphs 25, 34, 36, 41 and 94, which had had a concrete and tangible impact for Palestinians. He encouraged the Office to stimulate other donors to join in its efforts in this respect. There was a need for the ILO and the Arab Labour Organization (ALO) to work together to use available resources in the most effective way and avoid duplication. He also stressed the importance of coordination and consultation between the ILO offices dealing with the Arab States. This would enhance cohesion in the field of labour and human resource development. He noted that RAPLA, the first joint ILO-ALO project, had not been mentioned in the report. He reiterated the commitment of the ALO to promoting the ILO's principles in Arab countries, and looked forward to strengthening and broadening their collaboration with the MDT in Beirut.

57. The representative of the Director-General (Ms. Chinery-Hesse, Deputy Director-General) shared the deep concern expressed by the Chairperson for the victims of the Central American disaster. She assured the members who had drawn attention to the plight of the countries affected that the ILO could be counted among those organizations that would work within the framework instituted by the United Nations system to address the problems unleashed by such disasters.

58. The Employer and Worker Vice-Chairpersons and the representatives of the Governments of Germany, Canada and the United States had all stressed the need for the ILO to adhere to its mandate, doing only what it could do best. She reminded members that the Director-General had keenly promoted the same principle since taking office. In one of his first papers submitted to the Governing Body, he had advocated an essential link between the ILO's technical cooperation programme and its standard-setting role, and called for technical cooperation programmes to be tightly clustered around the ILO's core mandate areas. The Makete rural project had been cited by many members as an example of a programme that had no place as an ILO activity since it involved the provision of infrastructure. The intention of the ILO's involvement with the project had not been to build roads, but to strengthen national capacity, to enable the Government and those who were participating at a decentralized level to have a model for job creation, and to upgrade the skills of national contractors and of small local enterprises, sensitizing them to greater use of labour-intensive methods for infrastructure development.

59. Several speakers had addressed the issue of whether all technical cooperation activities should be demand-driven. In this connection, the Worker Vice-Chairperson had stressed that, in addition to responding to constituents, successful programmes could equally be launched that did not necessarily stem from government requests, especially in the field of standard-setting and promotion of human rights, the IPEC programme being a case in point. This touched on the need to create a synergy between the value-based activities of the ILO and its technical cooperation means of action. At the same time, however a programme was initiated, at some critical point there should be national ownership in the interest of sustainability.

60. Several speakers had referred to the need for greater consultation of ILO constituents at all stages of programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. She endorsed the importance of such a process, since without it the sustainability of programmes could not be guaranteed and the technical cooperation programmes would register failures. Although significant efforts had been made for increased consultation since the APP had been instituted, she agreed that there was a need to constantly remind those involved in programme delivery to fully involve the social partners in particular in their activities. The Office would ensure this was done on a regular basis.

61. The Employers had queried whether in the formulation of programmes the Office always took into account the specificities of country situations or whether there was a homogenous package that was marketed in response to requests. She reassured the group that programme development always respected the imperatives of particular situations, but drew attention to generic programme packages such as the IYB, which nevertheless were always adapted and made country-specific.

62. Several speakers had referred to the decline in delivery. The Office appreciated the spirit of constructive criticism which the issue had generated. The members of the Committee had made a number of good suggestions that would be taken into consideration in streamlining the Office's processes and mechanisms for improved delivery. It should be borne in mind that some of the impediments to timely delivery might be a result of difficulties generated at the national level beyond the control of the ILO. The Office appreciated the need for urgent improvements in this area, and steps would be taken accordingly, if necessary with the assistance of the internal auditors, as suggested by some Government members.

63. As regards evaluation, in the ILO two main types of evaluation were in use: self-evaluations and independent evaluations. All programmes and projects were subject to annual self-evaluations, which were carried out by the project and programme managers concerned. Independent evaluations were complementary to self-evaluations and were carried out by individuals not associated with the specific programme or project implementation. If the evaluation team was only composed of ILO staff, the independent evaluation was defined as internal. When at least one member of the team was an outside consultant, the independent evaluation was defined as external. In addition, there were thematic evaluations which focused on specific themes cutting across several ILO projects or programmes. As the Committee was aware, the Office also selected a theme for evaluation for presentation to the Committee each March after consultations with the Officers of the Committee. The Office normally used the lessons learned from evaluations as feedback for the formulation of new technical cooperation programmes. The information given to the Committee on evaluation may need to be augmented in future in view of the great interest expressed by members. An appropriate mechanism would have to be developed for this purpose.

64. Several speakers had referred to the role of technical cooperation in the context of the machinery for follow-up on the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up. The Office had taken note of the interest and concerns expressed by the members of the Committee. The suggestions made on this subject by the Committee would of course be taken into account for the preparation of the report to the 1999 Conference on technical cooperation. This issue was the subject of an item on the Governing Body's agenda at its present session.

65. In response to the statements on resource mobilization, she repeated the promise that the Office would present a more detailed paper on this issue to the Committee in March. The Office had noted the need to demonstrate and give greater publicity to success stories of technical cooperation projects already implemented, as part of a strategy to win more donor support. Action would also be taken when necessary to integrate ILO activities in those of other development partners to increase impact, as recommended by some Government members. There was no question that in view of the great demand for ILO services in comparison with the resources available, there should be better prioritization and more selectivity on the part of the Office.

66. Proposals had been made by several speakers in respect of a programming framework approach for the technical cooperation activities of the ILO. This would be further discussed as part of the consultation process for the preparation of the Conference paper in 1999, the preliminary outline of which she had provided.

* * *

II. Report of the Working Party on the Evaluation of the
Active Partnership Policy

67. In her capacity as Chairperson of the Working Party on the Evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy, Ms. Diallo briefed the Committee on the process that had led to the preparation and finalization of the report and highlighted some of the major issues addressed in the report. The Committee on Technical Cooperation had recommended to the Governing Body in March 1997 that an independent evaluation of the APP be undertaken. A Working Party, comprising three Government, three Employer and three Worker members had been constituted, with the Chairperson of the Committee on Technical Cooperation as the tenth member to chair proceedings.

68. In order to carry out the evaluation, the Working Party had examined a large number of documents and reports relating to the APP, had held meetings with ILO officials in Geneva and, most importantly, had undertaken field missions to several ILO member States in four regions: Ethiopia and Côte d'Ivoire in Africa; Brazil and Peru in the Americas; Pakistan and Thailand in Asia; and Hungary and Ukraine in Europe. Each mission was comprised of three members of the Working Party.

69. In line with the terms of reference established by the Governing Body, the Working Party had focused on the following assessment issues:

  1. Had the Active Partnership Policy brought the ILO closer to its tripartite constituency in member States?
  2. Had the constituents been increasingly involved in joint action with the ILO?
  3. Had the coherence and quality of technical services provided to the constituents been enhanced?

70. After the missions, the members of the Working Party had met in Geneva during the 270th Session (November 1997) of the Governing Body, and again in January 1998. Based on all of the documentation that had been prepared for and by the Working Party, and discussions at meetings held in connection with the evaluation, the Office prepared an interim report(2)  which had been presented to the Committee in March 1998. Members of the Committee had provided very useful comments during that session.

71. The full Working Party had subsequently met in Geneva for a week in August 1998, undertaken a fact-finding exercise at ILO headquarters, and finalized their report. The fact-finding exercise had included meetings with the Director- General, members of the Directorate, and Chiefs of Departments and Bureaux, and had provided the Working Party with a more complete picture of the APP in operation, an opportunity to verify their findings in the field, and to formulate recommendations.

72. The report of the Working Party covered several aspects of the implementation of the Active Partnership Policy: country objectives, ILO structure, capacity, roles and responsibilities, multidisciplinarity and working together in the MDTs, financial resources, visibility and relations with other international agencies, and machinery for evaluation and impact assessment. The report also contained conclusions and recommendations for consideration.

73. The Chairperson hoped that there would be a constructive debate on the important issues relating to the APP, and that the Committee would be able to guide the Office with recommendations on corrective or new measures that need to be adopted to ensure that this important ILO policy functioned smoothly, efficiently, and effectively, providing the best possible framework for developing, implementing and monitoring operational activities. She drew attention to a paper entitled "Mobility of staff between field and headquarters assignments"(3)  which had been prepared by the Personnel Department, as the policy had financial and administrative implications. She urged the Committee to bear in mind the elements contained in that paper and to focus statements on staff mobility in relation to its impact on the successful implementation of APP.

74. Mr. Hoff (Employer Vice-Chairperson) reiterated the usefulness of the evaluation exercise: it had provided a good picture of the process and functioning of the APP at headquarters and in the field. In countries where there was an ILO presence, the policy had made the assistance of the ILO more demand-driven, enhanced the involvement of the social partners in the activities of the ILO, brought technical expertise closer to constituents, and given more visibility to the Organization. However, as the situation in countries far away from ILO offices was unclear, this question needed further attention. He advised caution to avoid spreading resources too thinly without established methods or criteria. He had noted the willingness of headquarters to cooperate in the implementation of the APP, but felt that coordination and communication problems constituted a management challenge for the APP to run satisfactorily. Referring to the need for more resources for the effective implementation of the APP, he called for resource mobilization and for the reallocation of resources, an exercise which his group would be willing to support. He also stressed the need to concentrate on priorities. Five years of experience with the APP had shown clearly that it needed strong direction from top management. The Department for the Promotion of Active Partnership and Technical Cooperation (PROPAR/TEC) and the Personnel Department needed strengthening, and should have the necessary authority to fulfil their tasks. The personnel policy needed to become a more sophisticated strategy attuned to the needs of today's world. Mobility was necessary, and officials needed to be encouraged to move. PROPAR/TEC's responsibilities needed to include the collection, analysis and dissemination of experience with the APP, an exercise that would form part of the institutional memory of the ILO. Their research should focus on how the APP had worked, strategic planning and the definition of benchmarks.

75. Referring to paragraph 52 on the establishment of an evaluation machinery for the APP, he proposed light involvement by the Governing Body: for each of the four regions concerned, a three-member team should be nominated by the Committee. Every year, each team would visit one MDT and a technical cooperation project in their respective region. The report of each team would be added to a report prepared by the Office. Every year the Office would present such a report on the functioning of the APP to the Committee on Technical Cooperation. Only through their involvement in this sort of evaluation exercise would members of the Governing Body be able to fully understand the process and provide the necessary policy guidance to the Office in the field of technical cooperation.

76. Mr. Sombes (Worker Vice-Chairperson) expressed agreement with the observations of the Working Party on the Evaluation of the APP, as presented in paragraphs 19-23 of the report. Referring to the organizational structure in the field, he stressed the need to review roles and responsibilities, in particular that of the regional offices. The MDTs could be strengthened. He stressed the need for the presence of employers' and workers' specialists in all the teams, as their involvement was very important in the analysis of and responses to the problems faced by countries. Referring to paragraph 68, he stated that mobility played an important role in achieving better integration and coordination between the field and headquarters. Consultation and career development were essential elements of the mobility policy, and officials needed to be aware that rotation between the field and Geneva was no longer negotiable. Training was also a very important element of the policy, and every official in the field needed to have the necessary expertise, in particular in the field of labour standards. Similarly, externally recruited experts needed to be trained at headquarters prior to their posting in the field. In certain countries workers' organizations had not been fully involved in the preparation of the country objectives, and this needed to be corrected. While agreeing with the view that the APP had made ILO assistance more demand-driven, he considered it equally important to promote activities such as the promotion of fundamental standards and to ensure the presence of standards experts in all the MDTs. Continuous evaluation of the APP in the field was essential, as this would help the Office introduce the required modifications as necessary.

77. Referring to paragraphs 29-42 of the report, he stated that the proper functioning of the APP required a change in the culture and working methods of the Office. There was a need to rationalize the structure of, and to strengthen the MDTs. The problems faced in offices with only one representative needed to be followed closely. While agreeing with paragraphs 46-49, he stressed the need for transparency in the allocation of resources, particularly those affecting the field. In many instances MDTs did not have the necessary resources to carry out their work, particularly those concerning workers' activities. The Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) was one of the few departments that allocated resources equally between headquarters and the field. Allocation of RBTC resources needed to follow a different pattern and should not be used only for technical support. MDTs required resources to meet employers' and workers' needs. Endorsing the comments made by the Employers' Vice-Chairperson on the reallocation of resources to the field, he recalled the importance of the services provided by headquarters. His group remained committed to the Active Partnership Policy.

78. Mr. Rampak (Worker member), who had been a member of the Working Party, fully endorsed the statement by the Workers' Vice-Chairperson and hoped that the report, particularly its conclusions, would be endorsed by the Committee. On the evaluation exercise itself, he pointed out that it had been an enormous task which had had to be undertaken within a limited time period and with limited resources. He emphasized that the chapter on overall recommendations was the most important and was a good starting point for improving the Active Partnership Policy to take the ILO into the twenty-first century.

79. Mr. Anand (Employer member) reiterated the importance of the mobility policy and a policy on human resources development in order to ensure quality services to ILO constituents. Quoting paragraph 69 of the report, he maintained that mobility was not only a question of moving personnel between headquarters and the field, but also involved horizontal and vertical movement. The question of the career prospects of young officials suffered from a lack of clarity and was seriously jeopardizing the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff. It was worrying to see an organization that preached human resources development to its constituents was unable to evolve and live up to its own human resources development policies. He stressed the importance of paragraph 69 of the report and urged the Office to take it seriously. While his view might seem provocative, it was through provocation that debates were started, and in the case of the ILO's personnel policy in general, and its mobility policy in particular, a serious and continuous debate was needed in order to refine the system and make it more sophisticated.

80. The representative of the Government of Canada, speaking on behalf of the Government members of the Working Party, expressed appreciation to colleagues from the Employers' and Workers' groups for the fact that they had, through lively discussions and sometimes different points of view on issues, managed to produce a consensus report. The members of the Working Party, she underlined, recognized the fact that this effort was not a rigorous, scientific evaluation, and that the sample studied was small. However, the report had identified a number of key issues which needed further follow-up through evaluations, assessments and reviews. In that respect, the Government members of the Working Party saw the report as an important contribution to preparations for the document on technical cooperation to be discussed at the International Labour Conference in June 1999. The Government members drew attention to three main issues arising from the report: (a) the need for a review of field structures to ensure that they represent optimum efficiency and effectiveness in achieving APP objectives, in particular the timely delivery of quality services to constituents, including maximizing geographic coverage through lighter field structures and streamlined administrative systems; (b) the need to clarify the roles and responsibilities of headquarters, field structures and various field units, in particular regional offices, area offices and the MDTs; (c) the critical need to revise, update and complete the country objectives, as they provided the basis for tripartite dialogue, responding to constituents' needs, setting clear priorities, and allocating technical resources to the field structures.

81. The representative of the Government of Colombia stated that the report of the Working Party contained a number of positive elements, including increased participation of the social partners in the development of ILO activities. It was important, however, to increase constituents' knowledge of the APP. An important task for the field offices and MDTs was to provide, in cooperation with governments and social partners, follow-up on technical cooperation activities, thus ensuring the sustainability of the programmes after the termination of projects. Referring to ILO field structures, he stressed that it was important to ensure that they were flexible so as to respond adequately to the calls for assistance. Should the capacity in the field need strengthening through the filling of posts, the ILO should do so; instead of leaving vacancies open for long periods, the possibility of recruiting experts locally should be considered.

82. The representative of the Government of Mexico endorsed the statements by the representative of the Government of Canada. In addition, referring to paragraph 18, she emphasized that the report was not a final product; the evaluation should be an ongoing process under the guidance of the Governing Body. The sample in paragraph 20 should be expanded. Moreover, progress towards a demand-driven programme should be absolute and not relative. The fact that the APP had led to programmes that were "more" demand-driven and relevant for constituents and that they involved "greater" involvement of constituents should not be taken as adequate. Until programmes were completely demand-driven with total involvement of the constituents, it would be evident that resources were being inappropriately used. Similarly, with respect to paragraph 25, she emphasized that participation of constituents in the country objective exercises was essential and not optional. It was critical to deal with the issue of the capacity of the MDTs in relation to the coverage expected and the filling of vacant posts. She disagreed with the proposal in paragraph 54 concerning the need to expand the ILO's country-level contacts: this would impinge on the competence of the national public authorities. The Office should be subject to the official channels which, in the case of Mexico, were the Ministry of External Relations and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

83. The representative of the Government of Senegal, speaking on behalf of the African Government members, noted that an evaluation of the APP after five years of implementation had been a necessity. The adoption and publication of the report would advance three fundamental objectives: improved coordination between structures; the provision of correct information to constituents; and improved responsibility of the social partners, which would help to improve the implementation rate of projects. The adoption of the Declaration would result in increased demand for assistance from the ILO. Constituents would turn to the ILO to seek additional advisory services. Therefore, his group advocated an anticipatory approach that would involve identifying in advance the obstacles that governments in certain countries might encounter with respect to the objectives of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up. The group welcomed the fact that it was foreseen that the Office would analyse and provide the assistance required with respect to the promotion of Conventions and the measures relating to follow-up on the recommendations adopted by the supervisory machinery within the framework of the APP. They also endorsed the proposal to organize the work related to the Declaration in three phases: evaluation of needs, follow-up on the annual reports on unratified Conventions, and the elaboration of a four-year action plan. Nonetheless, his group urged that the Declaration should not overshadow the APP, which should continue to be developed and expanded with a view to remaining efficient and keeping the Office close to constituents. It was difficult to ask for greater use of local personnel if one of the problems was the inadequacy or absence of competent specialists in certain fields. They looked forward to a greater use of the mobility policy to provide specialists in those particular fields. Endorsing the recommendation to strengthen human resource development, it was suggested that priority should be given to field personnel in order to give them greater motivation. The Office units responsible should, in addition to having authority and greater decision-making power, have permanent evaluation capability. However, this mechanism should focus on what was essential. Additional resources would be required to implement the desired reforms, and the Governing Body was expected to take the necessary steps to provide the Office with the means required to support sustainable development. In this regard, they found it encouraging to note the proposed 10 per cent increase in resources for technical cooperation in the programme and budget for the biennium 2000-01; however, additional funds would be required to finance national activities under the major technical cooperation programmes such as IPEC, ISEP and STEP. He supported the various recommendations in the report to improve the delivery rate of projects. Such measures would reassure both donors and beneficiaries.

84. The representative of the Government of South Africa felt that the APP would go a long way towards enhancing the quality and relevance of ILO services. Its operation on a decentralized and demand-driven basis presented a unique opportunity to determine needs and to enhance the pace of delivery. He suggested that the approach should be maintained. However, he felt that the report was superficial to the extent that it did not provide a regional analysis focused on the particular conditions of each country: there seemed to be discrepancies and inconsistencies in the application of the APP, with good experiences being recorded in some places, and confusion in others. With hindsight, it seemed that there should have been some adjustment in structures to avoid confusion about roles and responsibilities. He was particularly concerned that country objectives had not been completed in certain countries covered by the mission. Country objectives were important indices of the operation of tripartism, and he urged the Office to complete outstanding exercises and to revise completed objectives as necessary. There should be greater clarity regarding capacity, roles and responsibilities, and internal and external evaluations were needed to supervise the process. He drew attention to the report's emphasis on the importance of equipping specialists to discharge their roles effectively. The ILO should appropriate additional extra-budgetary and regular budget resources for technical cooperation in order to meet the heightened expectations of constituents. He endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of the Working Party. A more detailed report was needed that would take the exercise forward and form a basis for an outcome-based evaluation of the APP.

85. The representative of the Government of Guinea noted that the country objective exercise had been successful in some countries, but regretted that this was not the case in others. He felt that this was sometimes linked to a lack of understanding of the APP and the benefits that could result. One reason for this was that many countries lacked services that could provide reliable statistics, inter alia, on unemployment and job creation, and which could serve as an important aid in decision-making on measures to reduce poverty and promote employment. It was therefore important to introduce new elements in the strategy for technical cooperation and to mobilize additional resources for technical cooperation to strengthen the existing situation and to correct the imperfections. In this regard, he felt that the report did not provide any dynamic perspective on the APP. He requested the Committee's support for a proposal on national employment policy formulation developed by his Government linked to the promotion of Convention No. 122, which was part of the Jobs for Africa programme.

86. The representative of the Government of China observed that the formulation of country objectives enabled the ILO to implement technical cooperation activities and to provide advisory services in relation to countries' needs and priorities. Tripartite consultation was promoted in the process of formulating the country objectives and implementing activities. The presence of the MDTs brought ILO specialists closer to member States and improved the quality of services. The APP should continue to be implemented with improvements in certain areas: strengthening the capacity of MDTs to meet the needs of constituents; improving resource mobilization to ensure that there were adequate financial resources to implement programmes; and improving coordination between the MDTs and the field offices.

87. The representative of the Government of Austria was convinced of the need for permanent monitoring of the APP. He agreed with the conclusions of the report and the recommendations in paragraphs 53-72.

88. The representative of the Government of Sweden observed that it would be difficult to achieve a multidisciplinary approach in the field without a similar approach at headquarters. The task outlined in paragraph 45 was tremendous, and required strong support. Concerning the composition of the teams, he queried the need for a standards specialist in each team when it was likely that needs were more pressing in fields such as employment promotion. As regards resource mobilization for technical cooperation, he cited an extract from a paper submitted to the Committee on Employment and Social Policy which indicated that good results would attract funds and suggested that one way of achieving good results was through an effective evaluation process.

89. The representative of the Government of Germany expressed his thanks to the three governments whose members had participated in the evaluation exercise. The mandate of the Office, the needs of recipient countries as identified in the country objectives and the resources of donor countries should be harmonized. This also meant that countries that had not formulated their needs in the form of country objectives would not fulfil the requirements for receiving help. He called on the Office to streamline its internal structures in order to be more transparent for those seeking assistance. Decisions on the allocation of resources for technical cooperation should be decentralized by allocating the funds to the regions, instead of taking the decisions at headquarters. This would also support the Office's personnel policy by giving a greater incentive for mobility.

90. The representative of the Government of Poland congratulated the Working Party and the secretariat for their excellent work and fully supported the report. Further documentation would be welcome on the role of the MDTs in developing technical cooperation and the Office should establish closer links between area offices and MDTs in order to increase its organizational and technical integration. The staff resources of the teams should be strengthened, and timely support from technical units at headquarters needed to be ensured. He supported the recommendations of the evaluation mission and stressed the importance of sharing competence between the field structure and headquarters.

91. The representative of the Government of France stated that the evaluation of the APP was a difficult exercise and had resulted in a very honest and lucid report. He drew attention to paragraph 61 and emphasized the importance of high quality field staff.

92. The representative of the Government of Egypt supported the conclusions and recommendations in the report. She emphasized that the formulation of country objectives also depended on the availability of resources, and expressed her hope that this would be addressed in the next budget. She called for greater utilization of local resources and for increased resources for technical cooperation.

93. The representative of the Government of Japan stated that the effective implementation of the APP was a key to the success of the Office's technical cooperation programme. The APP had made the Office more responsive to the increasing needs of constituents and had increased the transparency of the Office's technical cooperation activities. However, some improvements could still be made. The efficiency and professionalism of the MDTs could be improved by filling vacancies swiftly and using outside experts. The management capacity of the area offices should be strengthened and the problem of the division of labour between headquarters, area offices and MDTs should be addressed. The Office's personnel policy should focus less on filling posts than on skill development and the long-term career prospects of individual staff members.

94. The representative of the Government of the Republic of Korea emphasized the importance of reinforcing communications between headquarters and the field structure. He pointed to the need for increasing human and financial resources in that area.

95. The representative of the Government of the United States, referring to the section of the report of the Working Party calling for greater coordination between headquarters and the field structure and for a clearer division of responsibilities and work, questioned whether the existing field structure, i.e. regional offices, area offices and MDTs in its current form, was really necessary or whether there was a better way to structure the ILO's presence in the field. She welcomed the conclusions in paragraph 63, calling for a better flow of information within the ILO and from the ILO to constituents, and indicated that the recommendation of the Working Party to deepen contacts with the UN system was relevant. She inquired about the role actually played by the country objectives in guiding the work of the MDTs. She strongly endorsed the Working Party's recommendations that the Office should prepare a comprehensive programme of work for continued assessment, and agreed on the need for continued involvement of the Governing Body in the evaluation process, professional external evaluations and self-evaluations on the basis of established methodology and machinery.

96. The representative of the Government of Hungary considered that the report of the Working Party would provide valuable input for the discussion at the International Labour Conference in 1999. The APP was a highly useful tool in making technical cooperation more effective. He supported continued evaluation of the implementation of the APP and the recommendations of the report regarding the ILO's structure, multidisciplinarity, information flows, and financial resources. Noting increasing demand for technical cooperation in Central and Eastern European countries, he felt that the strengthening of the field offices in the subregion and more extra-budgetary resources were called for in order to safeguard the demand-driven nature of the APP.

97. The representative of the Government of Namibia associated himself with the statement made on behalf of the African Government members. The report of the Working Party was highly relevant, and could lead to improvements in several aspects of the Active Partnership Policy: planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. He emphasized the recommendation in paragraph 60 and called for more local experts in the MDTs, as that would also improve national capacity. Similarly, more emphasis should be placed on the development capacities among constituents, who were partners in the APP. While welcoming the recommendation in paragraph 67, he felt that improvements in the performance of existing MDTs should have priority over the creation of new ones.

98. The representative of the Government of Algeria also associated himself with the statement on behalf of the African Government members. The report provided a useful overview of the current status of country objectives. The formulation of country objectives should in all cases be done in conjunction with all constituents so as to ensure that the ILO's principles and values were appropriately reflected in the country objectives. He expressed concern that there were still 13 countries in Africa that had not benefited from this valuable exercise. In view of the reduction in the delivery rate, more extra-budgetary resources should be channelled to Africa.

99. The representative of the Government of Japan, speaking on behalf of the Asian and Pacific Government members, welcomed the proposals contained in the report of the Working Group. The purpose of the APP and the involvement of workers, employers and governments in the process was strongly supported. He advocated strengthening the APP, and particularly the MDTs, and expressed concern about the gap between what had been envisaged and what was actually happening. Further discussion of the report was needed, and the report would provide useful input for the International Labour Conference in 1999.

100. At the request of the Chairperson of the Committee on Technical Cooperation, a representative of the Director-General (Ms. Cornwell, Director of the ILO Personnel Department) replied to some of the questions concerning personnel issues raised in relation to the Active Partnership Policy. She pointed out that the paper submitted to the Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee(4)  was intended to focus strictly on the personnel aspects of mobility in order to avoid any overlap of discussion on the merits or evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy itself, which was the object of the document before the Committee on Technical Cooperation. The PFAC document, entitled "Mobility of staff between field and headquarters assignments", attempted to illustrate comprehensively the background, policy underpinnings and experience of the mobility policy, including the difficulties faced, and was not intended to curtail or preempt any discussion on these questions. Regarding the major personnel themes cited in the discussion by the Committee on Technical Cooperation, she noted that they had been broad in nature, covering wide areas of personnel policy, and had gone beyond the mobility issue. As personnel policies should enable the Organization to achieve its goals and as these goals changed in the light of developments, it was only natural that personnel policies would have to adapt and be constantly reviewed. The most appropriate place for these discussions was the Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee. As already reported to that Committee, discussions between the Personnel Department and the staff representatives were in hand concerning overall human resource development issues in the Office, and a report on these discussions would be submitted in due course.

101. In response to the specific issues raised concerning the planning of staff movements for the implementation of the Active Partnership Policy, staff training, use of outside expertise, use of incentives for mobility and the application of the mobility policy, she noted that improvements were needed in planning and that the recommendations of the Working Party were especially welcome, as the Department would need to be better equipped to meet the demands of mobility as well as the need for continual training of staff. Staff training should always be provided for in an organization dealing with changing circumstances and developments which was expected to be at the forefront of developments regarding issues within its competence. On the question of outside expertise, she pointed out that at present some 60 per cent of the specialists in multidisciplinary teams had been recruited externally. While views differed as to whether this was a positive or negative development, the Office had been obliged to proceed to fill vacancies from outside. As regards short-term outside expertise, current policies and practices allowed for allocations to be used in this manner, in full consultation between the regional directors and headquarters departments. On the questions of incentives for mobility and the application of the mobility policy, she stated that the Office was sensitive to these issues and attempted to match the concerns of staff with the interests of the Office, but that the existence of Staff Regulations and questions of equity, accepted procedures and common system provisions had to be taken into account. Finally, the specific references to paragraphs 69 and 71 of the report of the Working Party were highly appreciated and the Office would make concerted efforts to effect the necessary improvements.

102. Mr. Brett (Worker member), in reply to the statement by the Director of Personnel, expressed concern over the issue. The question had already been raised and discussed in three different Governing Body committees. Perhaps there was nothing wrong with the personnel policy itself: the problem perhaps lay in the machinery used to make it work.

103. The representative of the Director-General (Mrs. Chinery-Hesse, Deputy Director-General) thanked the members of the Working Party for the considerable time and efforts they had devoted to the exercise. Arriving at a consensus report was truly an achievement, and the Office had learned many lessons during the exercise. Much was expected of the ILO by its many constituents. Much remained to be done to ensure that the resources made available to the Active Partnership Policy were well spent. The success of the policy depended on guidance from the Governing Body as to what improvements could still need to be made.

104. The exercise carried out by the Working Party had not been intended to be scientific, and as a result of resource constraints, the sample of countries selected had been too small and far from adequately representative. The current challenge would be to devise machinery to provide Governing Body members with a sense of involvement in the constant adjustments that would need to be made to the APP, and members would have to assist with guidance in this regard.

105. During the discussions, areas of weakness had been noted in the APP related to the need to clarify roles and responsibilities, improve relations and communications at all levels, both at headquarters and in the field, to finalize all country objectives exercises as soon as possible, and to finish the country objectives exercises that were incomplete. She noted with satisfaction the Working Party's recommendation to strengthen the resources available to PROPAR/TEC and to the Personnel Department in the interest of better management of the APP.

106. Mr. Hoff (Employer Vice-Chairperson) proposed that paragraph 52 be made into a point for decision, as follows: "The Committee requested its Officers, together with the Deputy Director-General, to develop proposals for the 274th Session (March 1999) of the Governing Body for follow-up on the report and to propose the establishment of an evaluation methodology for the APP and a system for ongoing monitoring of the APP by the Governing Body". The Officers of the Committee would be free to consult with their groups and other members of the Working Party. Work could proceed even during the current Governing Body to prepare a concrete proposal for decision. A paper could then be prepared for discussion in the Committee at the 274th Session (March 1999) of the Governing Body.

107. Mr. Sombes (Worker Vice-Chairperson) supported the Employers' proposal. He reiterated his congratulations to the Office on the intelligent way in which the meetings of the Committee had been conducted, and also for the openness and transparency which had made it possible to have such a fruitful debate.

108. The Committee requested its Officers, together with the Deputy Director-General, to develop proposals for the 274th Session (March 1999) of the Governing Body concerning follow-up on the report, the establishment of an evaluation methodology for the APP, and a system for ongoing monitoring of the APP by the Governing Body.

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III. Further developments concerning operational activities in
the United Nations system

109. The representative of the Director-General (Mrs. Chinery-Hesse, Deputy Director-General) introduced the Office paper, which focused on the latest developments in the UN reforms undertaken by the UN Secretary-General in implementing the Track 1 proposals and major elements that held implications for the ILO and its field structure. She stressed the importance of monitoring the reforms and collaboration with the UN, especially the UNDP, which had been the ILO's traditional partner in technical cooperation. The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) was of particular importance as an instrument for the programming and coordination of UN activities at the country level, initially for the funds and programmes (United Nations Development Group) but with potential for greater participation of the specialized agencies, including the ILO, which had also participated in the pilot phase. She emphasized the importance of UNDAF in the future and of the ILO's participation in its work. The Office had already issued specific guidelines to the field structure on the ILO's involvement in this process.

110. However, she emphasized that ILO participation should not detract from the ILO's tripartite structure or respect for its mandate, but rather, UNDAF should provide new avenues for the Organization to promote its values and concerns, the social agenda and workers' rights. The ILO intended to play a major role in the preparations leading to the Millennium Assembly and follow-up on global conferences, especially the meeting concerning follow-up on the World Summit for Social Development, which would discuss poverty eradication, employment and sustainable livelihoods. She also stressed the importance of the Millennium Assembly and other events to mark the year 2000 as a platform for promoting the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up.

111. Commenting on the Office paper and on UN reforms in general, Mr. Sombes (Worker Vice-Chairperson) felt that the paper gave a good overview of the subject, which was a difficult task in view of the continuous process of change in the UN system. He noted the ambiguity in the role of the specialized agencies in UNDAF, as mentioned in the paper, but the agencies would be called upon to play a major role in the future. The Workers' group would be in a better position to guide the Office on this instrument after discussions at the Governing Body's 274th Session (March 1999), when the assessment of the UNDAF pilot phase in the 18 countries would be available.

112. However, his group supported UN system efforts to reconcile research and normative and operational activities with the new approaches to technical cooperation focusing on capacity building. He urged that these efforts should continue, and the UN system should strive to be more efficient and effective. In the reform process, the ILO's specific mandate should be maintained and in no way diluted or made subject to ambiguities. The rationale for the UN reforms often focused on coordination and harmonization, and the reforms were generally more acceptable to and supported by the industrialized countries. However, developing countries tended to focus on more specific technical issues, such as the cost or the role of the Resident Coordinator. He cautioned that some countries feared that the Resident Coordinators would become too preoccupied with coordinating rather than implementing programmes. It was therefore essential to evaluate the system to ensure that it was effective.

113. He expressed concern that greater harmonization could be damaging to the ILO, and wondered how the work of the ILO, with its tripartite structure, could be harmonized with that of other agencies. The reforms had never addressed the issue of tripartite machinery, which was unique to the ILO. Concerning the issue of the UN common house principle, he concurred with the concerns expressed in the Office paper on the need to monitor developments closely taking into account the need to accommodate freely the social partners and to guarantee free and open access to ILO visitors. With regard to resource mobilization, the Workers would follow closely the results of the ad hoc group set up to establish a resource mobilization strategy for the UNDP. Since the reformed UN agenda had identified issues that were also fundamental for the ILO, the Workers maintained support for the programmes.

114. The Workers' group welcomed the increase in ILO activities funded by the UNDP and felt that the funds could be most effectively used for activities that would complement other ILO programmes. He hoped that workers would be more closely involved in developing and implementing activities in the future. He endorsed the ILO's participation in UNDAF, but urged that the process and its implications should be closely monitored from the constituents' point of view. The group also endorsed the point in the paper (paragraph 34) that the Office should identify areas for collaboration with the UNDP as part of follow-up on the Declaration. Efforts should be made to involve the ILO's key players in country-level activities, where the Bretton Woods institutions would be involved.

115. Mr. Anand (Employer member) raised concern at the increasing involvement of non-governmental international organizations in UN work and the fact that this development seemed to be being encouraged by the UN system. The unchecked growth and ad hoc recognition of NGOs was having an impact at both international and national levels. At the national level it had created difficulties for those handling field projects, and if the ILO did not take appropriate action, this development would have an impact on the Organization's greatest asset, its tripartite structure. He urged the Office to take note of this phenomenon and to adopt a policy, including accreditation policy, to address the situation.

116. Mr. Bonev (representative of the United Nations Development Programme) commended the ILO for an excellent paper which provided important information on issues of particular interest to the whole UN system. He underlined the importance of ILO support in the present period of transition and reforms, not least Mrs. Chinery-Hesse's chairing the Consultative Committee on Programme and Operational Questions (CCPOQ). The UNDP was fully committed to the Secretary-General's initiative, and valued the work of other partners in the UN system, including the ILO, which had made a significant contribution. Such support was of crucial importance in attaining the goal of a more coordinated and coherent United Nations, which could serve as a focal point for a more coordinated and coherent donor community.

117. Concerning the UNDAF, Mr. Bonev concurred with the statements in the Office paper, and particularly those in paragraphs 12, 13, 14 and 31, and confirmed that the UNDAF was piloted in 18 countries and the exercise was being evaluated by the United Nations Development Group Office (UNDGO) with input from the specialized agencies. Although the results of the pilot exercise were still awaited, there were indications that there had been a successful but uneven beginning. The lessons from the pilot exercise would be used to make UNDAF a more powerful instrument at the country level which would draw on the combined strength of the UN system agencies, and at the same time ensure that the specialized agencies retained their specific roles. The UNDP Executive Board had decided on the annual funding arrangements, with an annual target of US$1.1 million: under the new arrangement, UNDP member States would make firm commitments for the current year's contributions at each Second Regular Session of the Executive Board, and would indicate their contributions for the following two years, thus making UNDP financing more predictable. Referring to the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October 1998), he informed the Committee that the UNDP Administrator had on that occasion presented his report entitled Overcoming human poverty. The report, based on a global survey conducted by UNDP Country Offices and coordinated by the Social Development and Poverty Elimination Division, provided an update on the status of different countries with respect to the commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development at Copenhagen in 1995. He reaffirmed UNDP's desire to continue collaborating with the ILO, and echoed the sentiments expressed in paragraph 25 of the Office paper.

118. The representative of the Government of Poland commented on the changing role of the UNDP and its declining resources. He emphasized the importance of national execution for technical cooperation projects where national capacity existed, to which the technical agencies should provide technical support and expertise. It was important to use UNDP resources as seed money to develop projects and start their implementation, thus providing the basis for the development of further phases that could be funded by other sources, such as multi-bilateral donors. He expressed his Government's support for the statement in paragraph 37 of the report, and urged the Office to continue exploring new areas of collaboration with the UNDP by being more proactive in resource mobilization, the provision of technical assistance and appropriate guidance.

119. The representative of the Government of Germany, referring to various aspects of the current reform process, urged the ILO to take a more active stand in it. Coordination should be a two-way process, in which the ILO also made a contribution based on its tripartite structure, mandate and competence. However, the ILO should market its comparative advantage and insist on its exclusive competence in certain areas. He underlined the importance of the new Declaration, which was a new yardstick for the work of the ILO, and other UN system organizations should understand it fully and take full account of it in their activities. Referring to paragraph 35 of the paper, activities in post-conflict situations were very important areas of work for the Organization. He was disappointed, however, to hear the Employers advocating non-cooperation with NGOs: the ILO should not close its doors to cooperation with them.

120. Mr. Anand (Employer member) stated in reply that he had been misunderstood. He had not called for the door on cooperation with NGOs to be closed, but had urged the Office to be more cautious in its dealings with them, as a number of possibly less professional NGOs were active in various fields of technical cooperation that fell within the mandate of the ILO.

121. The representative of the Government of Canada welcomed the active cooperation between the ILO and other UN system organizations, in particular through its participation in and leadership of the CCPOQ. The promotion of ILO values and principles could be achieved by cooperating with other agencies and by working with them to influence their own programmes, as well as mobilizing resources for ILO technical cooperation programmes. She particularly welcomed the reference to the new ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up, and endorsed the statement in paragraph 34 on the need to work closely with UNDP to mobilize support and resources for follow-up on the Declaration. She reaffirmed her Government's support for the UNDAF pilot exercise and thought the framework useful for harmonizing country strategies. However, she concurred with the Office's cautious policy of continuing to monitor the process in order to assess the best forms of ILO participation. She requested a report on field experience with UNDAF at some stage.

122. Mr. Hoff (Employer Vice-Chairperson) emphasized the importance of the UN reforms, and stated that although the ILO has participated in and supported the process, the Organization should take further steps in that direction by being more active, while at the same time upholding its unique tripartite structure. He appealed to the Office to do its best to support efforts towards a better and reformed United Nation system.

123. The representative of the Director-General (Mrs. Chinery-Hesse, Deputy Director-General) in reply reassured the Committee that the Office would take note of the suggestion that the Organization be a more active partner in the UN reforms while upholding its mandate. She also concurred with the observation that the ILO should not allow any aspects of collaboration with other UN system initiatives to weaken the bonds with its constituents. In adopting a proactive stance on collaboration with UNDP, the Organization would also ensure that its tripartite structure was well respected. Further reassurance could be found in the Office guidance note sent to the field structure on ILO involvement in the UNDAF, which stated --

* * *

124. In accordance with the usual practice, it was decided that the agenda for the Committee's next meeting would be drawn up by its Officers in consultation with the Office.

Geneva, 17 November 1998.

1. GB.273/PFA/14/1.

2. GB.271/TC/1.

3. GB.273/PFA/14/1.

4. GB.273/PFA/14/1.

Updated by VC. Approved by RH. Last update: 26 January 2000.