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Statements in International Organisations


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

Statement by the Republic of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union

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Thank you, Mr. President,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  and Turkey, the Countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, associate themselves with this statement.

Mr. President,

2. The EU would like to thank the secretariat for the information contained in documents IDB.33/11 and IDB.32/9 on the number and duration of sessions. We note that until 1997 there was only one annual session of the Industrial Development Board. The practice of holding two IDBs in non-General Conference years was adopted at a time when the organization was in crisis. The decision is contained in IDB.18/Dec17. We understand that there is no constitutional mandate or anything in the rules of procedure which says that this practice should continue; and that it is fully within the competence of the IDB to review this decision and, if we think necessary, change it.

3. With this in mind the EU would briefly like to run through some of the main points for consideration when looking at the decision to retain or discontinue the additional IDB in non-General Conference years. We will distribute EU background paper on this agenda item as well.

4. As a general rule the EU is interested in increasing the organizational efficiency and effectiveness of the UN system as a whole. As regards UNIDO we believe that it is important for the well-being of the organization that Member States are fully engaged in and informed of UNIDO activities.

5. The EU is generally speaking happy with the way in which UNIDO is being run and the organization's focus on the three priority areas set out in the Long Term Vision Statement. As noted in earlier statements given at this Board meeting the EU has been pleased to observe the effects of the careful management of the organization under the current Director General. We welcome the consolidation of the positive achievements of previous years. We watch with pleasure the steady growth in the organization's technical co-operation delivery and funding. It is clear to us that the situation in which UNIDO finds itself today is very different from the position in 1997 when decision IDB.18/Dec.17 was adopted.

6. The EU notes that holding a Board meeting in May/June places certain constraints on the Secretariat, who are being asked to report progress on programmes and activities, so shortly after the December meeting of the General Conference. Translation and other document processing activities create further difficulties, as papers for Board meetings need to be prepared by March/April. It is clear to us that reporting later in the year would allow more time for fuller reports to be prepared and real progress to be achieved.

7. The EU notes that a relatively small number of UNIDO's permanent staff is currently actively engaged in technical co-operation delivery and front-line activities. We welcome the move under the current management to increase field mobility in the organization. It would be helpful to know if a decision to reduce the number of IDBs in non-General Conference years would enable the organization to free up more human resources for front line technical co-operation activities, which the EU believes is at the core of what UNIDO is here to do.

8. Thinking along similar lines the EU notes that the IDB costs around US$ 93 000 a day for interpretation, documentation, translation, printing and extra staff. We have no problem with this money being spent if it is achieving real returns for the organization. But we were concerned that the Secretariat's review of substantial items considered during the first IDB session in non-General Conference years, revealed that no obvious advantage or disadvantage would have occurred if consideration of the various items had been delayed until the Board session later in the year (para 3 of IDB.33/11 refers). This review was based on sessions taking place over a number of years.

9. On the duration of individual sessions the EU notes that IDB.18/Dec.17 stipulates that regular sessions of the IDB should be for three working days a year. But practice has shown that two day sessions in non-General Conference years has been sufficient (Para 3 of IDB.32/9 refers).

10. The EU is cognizant of the fact that attendance at UNIDO Board meetings in Vienna is not unduly burdensome or expensive for EU member states and that a greater cost is being borne by delegations from Member States in farther flung parts of the globe. We are also aware that money spent on IDB sessions is not available for technical co-operation programmes which would otherwise be of benefit to the developing world.

11. The EU feels that there might be good reason for revisiting the need for two IDB sessions in non-General Conference years and looking again at the duration of individual sessions. We are looking forward to hearing the views of other Member States on this slightly technical, but nonetheless important issue for UNIDO.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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Date: 26.05.2008