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Statements in International Organisations


UNIDO - 34th Session of Industrial Development Board: EU BACKGROUND PAPER, Agenda Item 9 (14 – 16 May 2008, Vienna)

EU Background Paper






  • Until 1997 there was only one annual IDB.
  • UNIDO was going through a period of crisis at that time. 1994-96 Canada, US and Australia withdrew from UNIDO.
  • November 1997 the Board adopted IDB.18/Dec.17 introducing the requirement to hold two IDBs in non-General Conference years. This was an emergency measure not intended as a  permanent arrangement
  • The situation in 2008 is quite different from 1997. UNIDO is generally perceived by Member States to be a well-functioning organization. This has been the case for some time now. Objectively there is no longer a requirement to hold two IDBs in non-General Conference years.
  • The Constitution and rules of procedure only call for one IDB annually.
  • The IDB has the authority to review IDB.18/Dec.17 and revert to one IDB per year.


Advantages of returning to pre-1997 situation of one IDB per year

  • A vote of confidence for UNIDO and an acknowledgement that it is running well.
  • The burden on the secretariat to produce reports on performance so shortly after the December General Conference will be removed.
  • Staff will be freed up to do more front-line work, boosting technical co-operation delivery for the organization.
  • More funding from the regular budget (c $ 200.000 – 300.000) may be available for other purposes, e.g. technical co-operation activities.
  • Reduction of travel costs for delegations coming from capitals. This will be particularly the case for delegations coming from outside Europe.


Factors to take into account

  • The secretariat will need to ensure that decisions currently taken at the first IDB in non-General Conference years are re-scheduled for another Governing Board meeting e.g. the December IDB. A review of decisions taken over a number of years has shown that this is unlikely to have much impact on the running of the organization.
  • There might be a requirement for inter-sessional meetings on an exceptional basis to deal with particular issues facing the organization. These could be covered by Permanent Mission in Vienna, as was the case with the drafting of the Long Term Vision statement in 2005.
  • The PBC also provides an important opportunity for Member States to retain financial and political oversight of UNIDO activities.
  • Delegations from capitals would still have the opportunity to meet with the secretariat in Vienna at other times of the year. These meetings could be better focused and the secretariat would have more time to devote to them than is currently the case during IDB sessions.

If a majority of Member States were in favour of dropping one IDB in non-General Conference years it would be good if the decision could be taken at the next session in December 2008. This would enable funds and human resources to be reallocated in the Programme and Budget for 2010-11.


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Date: 26.05.2008