United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

21 December 1990


                                                   71st plenary meeting
                                                   21 December 1990
             45/199.  International Development Strategy for the Fourth
                      United Nations Development Decade
     The General Assembly
     1.   Proclaims the Fourth United Nations Development Decade, starting on
1 January 1991;
     2.   Adopts the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United
Nations Development Decade, as set forth in the annex to the present
                  International Development Strategy for the
                   Fourth United Nations Development Decade
                                I.  PREAMBLE
1.   We, the States Members of the United Nations, adopt the following
International Development Strategy and designate 1 January 1991 to
31 December 2000 as the Fourth United Nations Development Decade.  The global
consensus reached in the Declaration on International Economic Co-operation,
in particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the
Developing Countries, contained in the annex to General Assembly resolution
S-18/3, provides the basis for this Strategy.  We pledge ourselves
individually and collectively to undertake the measures necessary to implement
the Strategy.
2.   The goals and objectives of the International Development Strategy for
the Third United Nations Development Decade were for the most part
unattained.  Adverse and unanticipated developments in the world economy wiped
out the premises on which growth had been expected.  The early years of the
1980s witnessed a recession in the developed, market economy countries.
Although growth in these countries resumed in 1983 and was sustained at a
moderate tempo virtually without inflation over the remainder of the decade,
the period was one of marked imbalances, external as well as fiscal, and of
relatively high unemployment.  Growth rates slowed down in the countries of
Eastern Europe, where the need for structural transformation became
increasingly manifest, resulting, by the end of the decade, in sweeping
economic and political changes.  World trade returned to a path of relatively
rapid growth in the second half of the 1980s.  But, for the developing
countries, the external economic environment over the decade was generally
characterized by shrinking resource flows, declining commodity prices, rising
interest rates and increasing barriers to market access.  During the 1980s,
overall growth in the developing countries averaged 3 per cent annually and
per capita growth 1 per cent.  Over the 1960s and 1970s, by comparison,
overall growth in these countries averaged 5.5 per cent and per capita growth
3 per cent.
3.   Despite this background, some developing countries, among them some of
the biggest and the poorest, succeeded in maintaining a relatively fast tempo
of growth and transformation.  For most others, however, the decade was one of
falling growth rates, declining living standards and deepening poverty.  The
debt crisis that erupted in 1982 led to the virtual cessation of net
commercial bank lending.  There was a negative transfer of net financial
resources to the indebted countries, whose debt-servicing capacity was further
weakened as interest rates grew and terms of trade deteriorated.  As a result,
the overall growth of developing countries with debt-servicing difficulties
was only 1.5 per cent during the period 1981-1990.  The decade of the 1980s
saw a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor countries.  It also
witnessed political tensions and conflicts, as well as natural and man-made
disasters that were costly and disruptive.
4.   If the 1990s are to be a decade of development, this record of
unsatisfactory progress and performance needs to be changed.  Projections by
the organizations of the United Nations system unanimously suggest, however,
that in the absence of major changes in policies, the coming decade will be
much like the previous one.  While relatively rapid growth is foreseen for
some countries of Asia, the prospect is one of continued stagnation for
others, particularly in Africa and Latin America.
5.   Such a prospect is fraught with danger.  Growing populations and young
and expanding work forces, as well as rising aspirations associated with the
spread of education and the impact of communications, are imposing intense
pressures on the political and social fabric of developing countries.  Unless
these pressures are relieved by decisive improvements in the pace and
character of development, economic distress and political and social
instability may spread, not only within national boundaries but beyond them as
well, and may affect the peace and stability of the world as a whole.  In the
many developing countries where economic conditions stagnated or declined in
the 1980s, absolute poverty became more widespread and conditions deteriorated
with regard to nutrition and food security, job creation and education, health
care and infant mortality, housing and sanitation.  The erosion of living
standards and social services brought mounting political unrest to many
6.   The interdependence of nations is rapidly becoming far more than a matter
of trade and finance links alone.  There are strong trends towards greater
openness in the movement of funds, people and ideas around the world.  Over
the past decade, violence, social disorder and terrorism have become more
common.  Conflicts and upheavals lead to the movement of refugees and
international migrants and give rise to problems of border control, admission
and assimilation in receiving countries.  The illicit traffic in narcotics
links the poverty and social problems of the rich countries to those of
producers whose traditional crops no longer ensure them a living.
Environmental threats and epidemics are often themselves of global scope.
These and other related problems can only be aggravated by economic stresses
and strains and by the failure of the development process in the developing
countries.  The entire international community, rich and poor countries alike,
has thus a vital stake in ensuring that the decade of the 1990s is truly one
of economic and social progress throughout the world.
7.   The prospects for the 1990s, assessed on the basis of the continuation of
present policies, can and must be changed.  The reactivation and acceleration
of the development process is in the interest of all countries.  The
developing countries can provide a strong stimulus to world trade and
investment and can contribute to the strength and stability of the world
economy.  They already account for a significant share of the markets of the
developed countries.  Far-reaching developments have taken place on the
international scene that provide new opportunities for reversing the trends of
the 1980s.  The relaxation of international tensions offers an opportunity for
reducing military spending worldwide, for a reduction of the strains on
national economies and for the application of larger resources to the fight
against world poverty.  The waning of ideological conflicts is improving the
climate of co-operation at all levels.  There is no universal prescription for
successful development, but a growing convergence of views is emerging with
respect to effective approaches to economic and social development and with
regard to the potential contributions to the development process of the
private and public sectors, of individuals and enterprises and of democratic
rights and freedoms.
8.   A strong stimulus to global co-operation is provided by the consciousness
of the global consequences of environmental problems and their interaction
with both development and the lack of development and by a growing awareness
of the threats to the security of nations that could arise from frustrations
and tensions in developing countries.  Closer integration, in both Europe and
North America, in prospect of the 1990s, has the potential to strengthen major
economies and their capacity to support global economic growth if accompanied
by openness to the outside world.  The reform and restructuring of the
economies of Eastern Europe and their integration into the world economy can
contribute to the strength and dynamism of world trade.  Closer co-operation
and integration among the developing countries themselves also offer an
opportunity to enhance the vigour of the development process.  No less
important, the rapid advances in science and technology and in global
communications are opening up new vistas for improvement of productivity,
structural change and accelerated development.
9.   These changes do not by themselves guarantee a reversal of the present
trends or ensure that the development experience in the new decade will differ
markedly from that of the 1980s.  There are dangers, if the opportunities are
not grasped, of increasing marginalization of many developing countries in the
world economy and of a weakening of the focus on development as an objective
of international economic co-operation.  But the changes offer a new context
for decision-making and policy formulation and for approaches that could
reverse the experience of the 1980s.  They provide an opportunity for the
formulation and implementation of an International Development Strategy that
is aimed at releasing the great potential for development that exists in the
developing countries and in the world economy.
10.  The Declaration on International Economic Co-operation, in particular the
Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries,
contained in the annex to General Assembly resolution S-18/3, contains a
pledge that Member States will endeavour to take all necessary steps to
reverse the adverse trends of the 1980s, address the challenges of the 1990s
and move into a more productive decade, recognizing that such actions should
take into account the responsibility of each country for its own development
and should be in accordance with its capacity and its impact on the
international economy.  As in the 1980s, events now unforeseen will
undoubtedly put their stamp on the coming decade.  This Strategy is flexible.
It seeks above all to spell out an agreed understanding on the issues and
challenges, the actions and the commitments, on the basis of principles for
national and international action that will remain valid.
11.  Countries have to adapt their national policies to facilitate open
exchange and flexible responses to the changing world economy.  Effective
national policies have a critical role to play in achieving sustained,
non-inflationary economic growth in all countries.  Such policies should be
supportive of investment, as well as of efficient mobilization and allocation
of resources in order to achieve durable growth.
12.  It is against this background that Member States agree on the goals and
objectives for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade as set out below.
                          II.  GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
13.  The principal aim of the Strategy is to ensure that the 1990s are a
decade of accelerated development in the developing countries and strengthened
international co-operation.  The decade should witness a significant
improvement in the human condition in the developing countries and a reduction
in the gap between rich and poor countries.  It should be one in which ways
are found for the world community to meet its needs without degrading the
environment.  The Strategy also has important social and political
objectives.  Development over the decade should enhance the participation of
all men and women in economic and political life, protect cultural identities
and assure to all the necessary means of survival.  Each country is
responsible for its own economic policies for development, in accordance with
its specific situation and conditions, and for the life and well-being of all
its citizens.  The Strategy should help provide an environment that supports
the evolution everywhere of political systems based on consent and respect for
human rights, as well as social and economic rights, and of systems of justice
that protect all citizens.
14.  To achieve these fundamental aims six interrelated goals must be met.
They are:
     (a)  A surge in the pace of economic growth in the developing countries;
     (b)  A development process that is responsive to social needs, seeks a
significant reduction in extreme poverty, promotes the development and
utilization of human resources and skills and is environmentally sound and
     (c)  An improvement of the international systems of money, finance and
trade so as to support the development process;
     (d)  A setting of strength and stability in the world economy and sound
macro-economic management, nationally and internationally;
     (e)  A decisive strengthening of international development co-operation;
     (f)  A special effort to deal with the problems of the least developed
countries, the weakest among the developing countries.
15.  These goals and objectives pose a big challenge.  They call for serious
and committed efforts by all countries.  The developing countries themselves
have the responsibility for the great effort needed to mobilize the potential
of their people, to modernize and diversify their economies and to set
themselves ambitious targets to build the foundation on which development
rests:  technical and managerial skills, industrial and agricultural
capability and effective government services.  Human resources development,
entrepreneurship and innovation, and the energetic application of science and
technology, in a context of political freedom, respect for human rights,
justice and equity, are all essential and relevant to growth and development.
The Strategy has singled out a number of areas of special priority:  the
eradication of poverty and hunger, human resources and institutional
development, population, the environment and food and agriculture.  The
pursuit of goals in these areas calls for resolute and vigorous action and for
styles of development that establish a mutually reinforcing relationship
between rapid economic growth and social objectives.
16.  The efforts of the developing countries will, however, be easily thwarted
by an unsupportive external environment.  They will be thwarted if sudden
external shocks decimate their national product and external revenues, as
happened to many of them in the 1980s.  All countries live in the
international economic environment, but most developing countries remain
imperfectly integrated into it and excessively vulnerable to its instability.
Many are captives of external debt problems, of reduction in external resource
flows, of sharply declining terms of trade and of mounting barriers to market
access.  Great obligations fall on the industrialized countries, which
influence the international economic environment and the functioning of the
international economy and are partners in international co-operation for
development.  Great obligations fall also on the system of international
organizations to extend and fulfil their role in the promotion of
development.  Developing countries can prosper only in a stable and
progressive world economy and, conversely, the world community can have a safe
and prosperous future only if economic, social and political progress in the
developing countries is assured.
17.  The attainment of the aims of the Strategy calls for more than marginal
increases in growth rates.  The developing countries must be enabled to
generate progressively the resources needed to ensure productive employment
for a fast-growing labour force, to overcome hunger, disease and ignorance and
to raise living standards.  The negative trends of the 1980s need to be
reversed and conditions created for a kind of development that signifies a
genuine transformation and does more than keep a growing population from the
brink of famine.  The time has come to move beyond adjusting to the shocks of
the 1980s and to lay the foundations for a new wave of development.  For most
developing countries, growth rates must accelerate significantly during the
decade.  Growth objectives will vary from country to country.  For the
relatively few countries where growth in the 1980s was satisfactory, the aim
would be to consolidate progress and ensure that it is sustained.  In the many
countries where growth was interrupted, the first requirement is a return to a
path of expansion where economic growth does not merely keep pace with, but
well exceeds, the growth of population.  In the second half of the decade, the
foundations for higher rates of growth should have been established.  On the
basis of the experience of some countries, it is considered that sustained
growth at a rate of the order of 7 per cent would provide the necessary
conditions for a genuine transformation of the economy, with rapid increases
in productive employment and poverty eradication, and would generate the
resources needed for the protection of the environment.
18.  Higher rates of growth in developing countries will reflect progress in
several sectors of the economy and in the pursuit of social and other goals.
Although the Strategy does not seek to establish comprehensive and
interrelated sectoral targets to be attained by the developing countries as a
whole, many of its elements have been addressed in the various parts of the
United Nations system.  They cover such areas, among others, as employment and
health, women and children, industry and technology, agriculture and food,
population, education and culture, shelter and settlements,
telecommunications, transportation, including shipping, and the environment.
Sectoral strategies and plans for significant achievements have been agreed
upon by Governments.  Translated into goals and objectives for both national
and international efforts, ambitious and feasible targets of this kind have
proved valuable in focusing policies and in monitoring progress.  They also
serve as reminders of the progress that can be achieved within a decade, with
strong political commitment and dedicated efforts.
19.  The Strategy must look beyond the constraints of the moment.  A decade is
not enough to work miracles, but a true decade of development would make a
great difference to the world situation on the eve of the next century.
Serious development problems would still persist, but the debilitating
deadlock of the recent past would have been broken for many developing
countries.  Their living standards would be rising instead of falling, the
younger generation would find employment instead of being condemned to a
desperate scurry for survival, and poverty and hunger would be pushed back
instead of advancing.  Revived investment would lay the foundation for growth
in the next century and the energies and talents of the people in the
developing countries would be harnessed for building their own future.  The
world as a whole would be safer and more prosperous than it will if present
trends continue.  A continued development failure in the next decade would be
an invitation to world-wide disorder.
                         III.  POLICIES AND MEASURES
20.  The policies and measures needed to support and realize the Strategy must
reflect the urgency of its goals and objectives.  They must aim at the
acceleration of growth and give attention to issues of special priority in the
development process and must respond to special situations, including those of
the least developed countries.  In each area, there are important policies and
measures that need to be adopted in a national context by the developing
countries themselves.  There are equally important policies and measures that
have to be adopted by the developed countries in the context of international
co-operation for development.  The international community as a whole must
also strengthen the systems that support the sound workings of the world
economy and the development process.  The Strategy is thus of relevance to all
countries, which must commit their best efforts to pursuing its goals within
the limits of their abilities and responsibilities.  The Strategy does not
require unrequited sacrifices on the part of any countries.  To the extent
that public resources must be used in the pursuit of its goals, they represent
investments in a better future world, investments that are strikingly modest
by the standard of present defence budgets.
                     A.  The reactivation of development
             1.  Economic policy frameworks, external debt, development
                 finance, international trade, commodities
21.  The reactivation and acceleration of development requires both a dynamic
and supportive international economic environment and determined policies at
the national level.  It will be frustrated in the absence of either of these
requirements.  The policies and measures needed for the 1990s must therefore
cover both aspects.  A supportive external economic environment is crucial.
The development process will not gather momentum if the global economy lacks
dynamism and stability and is beset with uncertainties.  Neither will it
gather momentum if the developing countries are weighed down by external
indebtedness, if development finance is inadequate, if barriers restrict
access to markets and if commodity prices and the terms of trade of developing
countries remain depressed.  The record of the 1980s was essentially negative
on each of these counts and needs to be reversed.  The policies and measures
needed to create an international environment that is strongly supportive of
national development efforts in the 1990s are thus a vital part of the
Strategy.  So too are national policies for development.  Their main elements
are set out below.
The economic policy framework
22.  A surge in development during the decade of the 1990s can take place only
within supportive frameworks of overall economic policy, both national and
international.  The sound macro-economic management of the world economy is of
paramount importance.  The major industrialized countries, which broadly
determine the international economic environment by their policies, have a
special responsibility to bring about a stable and predictable international
economic environment in which development can succeed.  The adverse
development environment of the 1980s was in part a consequence of restrictive
policies of the earlier years of the decade aimed at combating inflation at
the expense of growth.  The major industrialized countries influence world
economic growth and the international economic environment profoundly.  They
should continue their efforts to promote sustained growth and to narrow
imbalances in a manner that can benefit other countries.  The co-ordination of
macro-economic policies should take full account of the interests and concerns
of all countries, particularly the developing countries.  Efforts should be
made to enhance the effectiveness of multilateral surveillance aimed at
correcting existing external and fiscal imbalances, promoting non-inflationary
sustainable growth, lowering real rates of interest and making exchange rates
more stable and markets more accessible.
23.  The macro-economic policies of the developed countries should take
account of the interests and concerns of the developing countries.  During the
1980s, the developing countries were seriously affected by increases in real
rates of interest and by frequent fluctuations in key exchange rates.
24.  The economic policy framework of developing countries helps to shape the
national environment for development and will need to take account of the
objectives, priorities and particular circumstances of each country.  But the
acceleration of development will require strenuous efforts on a number of
fronts.  There is a need for determined policies that aim at increasing
domestic savings and raising investments, as well as at improving the returns
to investment.  National policies must succeed in containing inflationary
pressures, which often have adverse economic and social consequences that
prove disruptive of development.  This calls for monetary and fiscal
discipline to promote price stability and external balance and the maintenance
of realistic exchange rates without the need for repeated currency
depreciations that have often had adverse consequences on social stability and
the terms of trade of developing countries.
25.  National policies must also be directed at mobilizing all the latent
energies and impulses for development within the developing countries, at
promoting efficiency in the allocation of resources and at taking advantage of
the opportunities for trade, investment and scientific and technological
progress provided by a changing global economic environment.  The role of the
public sector in the development process is essential.  Impediments to
progress caused by bureaucratic inefficiencies, strains on administration,
excessive controls and neglect of market conditions by public enterprises need
to be removed.  The policy environment should, within the context of national
goals, encourage a creative contribution by the private sector, stimulate
entrepreneurship and innovation and promote the participation of the people at
all levels in the development process. It should provide scope for the
operation of market forces and for realistic pricing as a means to greater
efficiency and soundness in the allocation of resources.  The national policy
framework should also enable developing countries to take full advantage of
the opportunities of international trade and foreign investment, as well as
promote co-operation among themselves.  The effectiveness and flexibility of
national policy frameworks would be enhanced in a setting of improving
political institutions and legal systems.  This would be reinforced by
conditions that would permit declining military expenditures and thus the
channelling of resources released to social and economic development.
External debt
26.  For many developing countries, the reactivation of development will not
take place without an early and durable solution to the problems of external
indebtedness, taking into account the fact that, for many developing
countries, external debt burdens are a significant problem.  The burden of
debt-service payments on those countries has imposed severe constraints on
their ability to accelerate growth and eradicate poverty and has led to a
contraction in imports, investment and consumption.  External indebtedness has
emerged as a main factor in the economic stalemate in the developing
countries; there has been a large net transfer of resources from the
developing to the developed countries, depriving the former of much-needed
resources for development.  Development during the decade of the 1990s should
not be hampered by prolonged failure to resolve the international debt
problems.  Accordingly, a durable and broad solution to these problems should
continue to be given urgent attention as we begin the decade of the 1990s.
Innovative solutions need to be found and relief obtained in the initial years
of the decade.
27.  Recent initiatives and measures to reduce the stock and service of debt
or to provide debt relief for developing countries should be broadly
implemented.  Relief measures should aim at the resumption of vigorous growth
and development in these countries and should address all types of bilateral
debt of debtor developing countries.  Serious consideration should be given to
continuing to work towards a growth-oriented solution of the problems of
developing countries with serious debt-servicing problems, including those
whose debt is mainly to official creditors or to multilateral institutions.
28.  Finding a solution to the debt problems is the joint responsibility of
debtor and creditor countries, commercial banks and multilateral financial
institutions.  Debtor countries should continue their efforts to attain
efficiency and return to a path of sustained growth by adopting appropriate
national economic policies.  The creditor countries are encouraged to continue
reviewing their tax policies and regulatory and accounting practices in order
to facilitate commercial debt and debt-service reduction operations.  The
multilateral financial institutions should continue to provide support for
debt and debt-service reduction packages, with the necessary flexibility,
under their established guidelines.  Creditor countries should support
growth-oriented policies of debtor countries in order to facilitate the
resumption of growth and development, as well as the prompt restoration of
credit-worthiness of the debtor countries.
29.  The measures agreed upon in the Paris Declaration and the Programme of
Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s adopted by the Second
United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, held in Paris from
3 to 14 September 1990, on the external debt problems of the least
developed countries should be urgently and vigorously implemented.
30.  The Paris Club is invited to consider increasing the flexibility of its
negotiating mechanism and examining the current criteria of eligibility for
debt relief, as well as the scope of the initiative taken at the Toronto
Economic Summit, held in June 1988, for dealing with the debt problem,
taking into account, inter alia, the Economic Declaration adopted at the
Houston Economic Summit, held in July 1990.  Measures must continue to be
taken to relieve the external debt burden of low-income and lower
middle-income countries whose debts are mainly to official creditors.
Measures to address the external official debt problems of middle-income
countries should also be seriously considered.
31.  The external debt of the developing countries includes debts to
multilateral financial institutions.  These institutions must continue to find
means to relieve the burdens that arise out of such debt in ways that
safeguard the high standing of the institutions in financial markets, such as
the World Bank Debt Reduction Facility of the International Development
Association established in 1989 to provide debt relief to severely indebted
low-income developing countries.
32.  There is a close interrelationship between the external debt problem of
the developing countries and the global economic environment.  The
debt-service burden is aggravated by rising interest rates, declining terms of
trade, shrinking flows of external resources, protectionist barriers to trade
and slow growth in the world economy, and would be lessened by an improvement
in these factors.  A marked improvement in the international economic
environment, combined with appropriate national policies that take advantage
of this improvement, is essential in order to solve these debt problems and
avoid their proliferation among countries that have hitherto avoided their
disruptive consequences.
External development finance
33.  Adequate resources, both domestic and external, are an essential
condition for the reactivation of development.  The developing countries need
to mobilize domestic resources to the greatest extent possible and implement
determined policies and measures to this end.  In the case of most developing
countries, domestic savings contribute by far the larger part of the resources
utilized for investment.
34.  However, the essence of the development problem is that countries that
are poor have limited scope for increasing savings by restraining levels of
consumption that are already low.  The savings efforts of the developing
countries need therefore to be supplemented by external resources so as to
raise investment to the levels needed for adequate economic growth.
35.  Furthermore, the development process is generally dependent on the flow
of imported goods and services that are needed for the growth of the economy.
Where export earnings fall short of import needs, the development process
would be frustrated in the absence of supplementary flows of external
36.  The external economic environment of the 1980s did not favour the flow of
external resources to developing countries.  Falling commodity prices and
protectionist trends weakened the export earnings of many countries, while the
flow of development finance was impeded by constraints on aid budgets in the
donor countries and, after the debt crisis of 1982, the end of net lending by
commercial banks to developing countries.  Because of this, developing
countries became less attractive for foreign investors.  By the middle of the
1980s, the net transfer of resources to developing countries on the aggregate
turned negative because of the burden of debt-service payments.  This trend
was further compounded by losses incurred by developing countries on account
of the deterioration in their terms of trade.
37.  These trends have to be reversed in the 1990s if development is to be
accelerated.  A surge in the tempo of development is virtually unimaginable if
the flow of external resources is from the poorer to the richer countries
rather than vice versa.  This would make meaningless the concept of a decade
of development endorsed by the international community.  The new consensus on
the need for a reactivation of development and on the priorities of
development policies calls for a new commitment on the part of the
international community to augment the flow of development finance to the
levels needed to attain these agreed goals.
38.  A reduction in the burden of debt-service payments, as discussed earlier,
is an essential requirement for reversing the negative trends relating to the
flow of external resources to developing countries.  But there must also be
significant improvements in the flow of finance for development from the major
sources of such finance, that is, official bilateral assistance, lending by
commercial banks, direct private investment and multilateral financial
institutions.  Such improvements, when taken as a whole, should be adequate
for the requirements of development finance in the 1990s.  In order merely to
restore a positive net transfer to the developing countries in a foreseeable
future, during which no substantial flows of commercial credits can be
expected, net official flows of loans and grants from all sources, which
remained virtually constant at $35 billion in the 1980s, would have to grow
substantially in the first half of the 1990s.
39.  Economic reforms and the integration of Eastern Europe into the world
market will generate substantial new demands for resources.  This enlargement
of the international division of labour will be to the benefit of all, but
such needs should be met without diversion of the flows needed by developing
40.  Official development assistance must remain an essential source of
concessional aid to the developing countries, particularly to the poorest and
the least developed.  Aid programmes of donor countries have in many cases
remained at low levels and need to be substantially improved in the 1990s.
Official development assistance has, on average, remained at only half of the
internationally agreed target of 0.7 per cent of their gross national
product.  Donor countries should, in the 1990s, implement such undertakings as
they have made to reach or surpass this target, as well as the targets for the
least developed countries as adopted by the Second United Nations Conference
on the Least Developed Countries.  There should also be continued improvements
in the quality of aid as well as in its utilization.  The release of resources
from any reductions in military spending and the recovery in the industrial
countries should ease the budgetary constraints of donor countries, and rising
concern about the environment and world poverty should provide new
opportunities for development co-operation.
41.  New possibilities for increasing the flow of development finance in the
1990s should also be explored.  These include proposals for devoting part of
the resources that may be released by the disarmament process and reduced
military spending to development and for recycling to the developing
countries, through suitable mechanisms and modalities, a part of the payment
surpluses of major developed countries.
42.  Lending by commercial banks, in the aftermath of the debt crisis, has
ceased to be a major source of development finance.  However, a resumption of
such lending is relevant in the context both of solutions to the debt problem
and of the needs of the developing countries, particularly those which are not
recipients of significant concessional aid.  The reactivation and acceleration
of growth and an improvement in the global economic environment will help
restore confidence in the creditworthiness of borrowing countries and
facilitate the return of flight capital.  None the less, innovative changes
will also be needed to evolve instruments of lending that help cushion
borrowing countries against a recurrence of debt-service problems.
43.  Foreign direct investment, which is not generally debt creating, could
play an increasingly important role as a source of development finance,
particularly when international trade is growing, markets are expanding and
new opportunities are opening up through scientific and technological
developments.  Transnational corporations are already channels for technology
transfer, world trade and marketing.  Many developing countries are seeking,
to the extent compatible with national objectives, to establish a positive
investment climate and to adopt appropriate investment codes.
44.  The need for development finance is unlikely to be met exclusively
through channels of offical development assistance, lending by commercial
banks and direct private foreign investment.  The multilateral financial
institutions could and should play a major role in the 1990s in development
financing.  Despite the efforts that have been made to enlarge the resources
of the institutions in order to meet new needs, they will have to be
considerably expanded in the 1990s.  Their resources have been falling behind
the growth of the world economy and especially behind that of the world
capital markets.  The net lending of the World Bank and regional development
banks was, by the late 1980s, negligible or negative for a large number of
developing countries.  These institutions should be enabled to serve the role
of intermediation between developing countries and the international capital
market, for which they were designed.  The conditionality associated with the
use of resources should be realistic and in accordance with the need to ensure
effective utilization by recipient countries.
45.  The international monetary and financial system must evolve in the 1990s
and respond to the needs of a changing world, which now calls for universal
co-operation.  It should become an increasingly important source of both
development finance and international liquidity.  It should provide greater
stability and predictability in exchange rates.  Developing countries should
have greater influence in decisions that affect them vitally.
International trade
46.  The goal of reactivating development requires a strongly supportive
environment for international trade in general and for trade of the developing
countries in particular over the decade of the 1990s.  The international
trading system is the pillar of an interdependent world economy and should
establish conditions of openness and fairness in the interest of all
countries.  Growth and development and the solution of the pressing problems
facing the developing countries are dependent on an open and credible
multilateral trading system based on the principles of non-discrimination and
transparency.  Outward-looking development policies and export-based
industrialization will not succeed if export markets are limited by
restrictive barriers.  The international trading system will function best in
an environment of growth and dynamism in the world economy, an environment to
which the system itself will contribute, but it needs to be strengthened
further in the 1990s by specific actions and measures.
47.  Policies and measures in the area of international trade must be
directed, in the first place, at arresting and reversing trends, particularly
apparent during the 1980s, towards the erosion of the multilateral trading
system as a result of unilateralism, bilateralism and protectionism.  The
international organizations in the field of trade should be strengthened to
play their part in the achievement of this objective.  Many new issues that
reflect the changing nature of the world economy are pertinent to the
evolution of the international trading system.  But the strengthening of the
trading system also requires the resolution of a number of ongoing issues,
some of which are of special interest to developing countries and are crucial
to the development process.
48.  The acceleration of development in the decade of the 1990s should,
inter alia, be supported by the following actions and measures in the field of
international trade:
     (a)  Full and effective implementation of the commitment to halt and
reverse protectionism, as undertaken in the Ministerial Declaration on the
Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. Protectionist tre    nds of
the 1980s have an adverse impact on the world economy and on the development
process and performance of the developing countries and should not continue in
the 1990s.  Recourse to non-tariff barriers of various kinds, which has tended
to increase in recent years, has affected the exports of developing countries;
     (b)  Trade liberalization and a sustained improvement in the access of
developing country exports to the markets of both developing and developed
countries through the reduction and removal of tariff and non-tariff
barriers.  Rapid structural adjustment in the developed countries in line with
shifting comparative advantages will facilitate market access for the growing
export capabilities of developing countries that arise in the course of their
economic transformation.  The rules of the international trading system
recognize the need for differential and favourable treatment of developing
countries in the context of the other principles set out in the Ministerial
Declaration on the Uruguay Round.  This need should be reflected in the
functioning of the system;
     (c)  Liberalization of trade in tropical products and natural
resource-based products.  This should include ending the escalation in tariffs
on processed primary products;
     (d)  Bringing trade in textiles under the normal rules of the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade;
     (e)  Progressive and substantial reduction of support and protection in
the field of agriculture;
     (f)  Effective implementation and appropriate improvement of the
generalized system of preferences, expansion of product coverage, duty-free
treatment and adherence to the principles of non-reciprocity and
non-discrimination in its application;
     (g)  Measures to ensure that regional economic integration and the
formation of trade blocs will not impede the growth of world trade and are in
conformity with the rules of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.  In
particular, it is necessary to ensure that such developments do not result in
additional barriers to developing country exports;
     (h)  Strict adherence to the rules and principles of the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade by all contracting parties.
49.  Developing countries should endeavour to liberalize their trade regimes
in ways consistent with their development objectives so as to improve the
efficiency and flexibility of their economies and their participation in the
world economy.  They should create trade opportunities among themselves and
promote more rapid industrialization, in particular through the effective
implementation of the Global System of Trade Preferences.  There is great
potential for economic integration among developing countries, and new efforts
should be made during the 1990s to establish effective subregional and
regional market arrangements among them.
50.  The successful and balanced conclusion of the Uruguay Round of
multilateral trade negotiations, which aims at strengthening the international
trading system, is crucial for progress in the 1990s.  The treatment of new
issues, hitherto outside the scope of the rules of the system, should take
account of the development dimension and of the need for developing countries
to build up their own capabilities.  The dialogue and negotiations about
required improvements in the international trading system should be continued
and expanded in the 1990s.  The dialogue should focus, inter alia, on an
equitable balance of interest between developed and developing countries, the
adaptation and reform of the system to ensure its relevance to the changing
patterns of international trade, and the need to ensure greater co-ordination
between international trade and financial policies.
51.  The terms of trade of the developing countries are an important aspect of
the international economic environment for development.  The depressed levels
of commodity prices and earnings of developing countries from commodity
exports were an important element in the slowing down of the development
process in many developing countries in the 1980s.  Technological change
played some part in depressing the long-term trend of demand for certain
commodities.  But slow growth and instability in the world economy and
persistently high supplies were factors of critical importance.  Commodity
exports will continue to play a key role during the 1990s in the economies of
most developing countries and will remain crucial to their export earnings and
livelihood.  For these countries, the reactivation of development during the
decade will prove difficult in the face of continued weakness in their
commodity sectors and terms of trade and will require a flexible response on
the supply side to changing market conditions.  The Strategy must aim at
better functioning of commodity markets with greater transparency and more
stable and predictable conditions.  There is scope for improving international
commodity policies in a number of ways.
52.  The Integrated Programme for Commodities sought to improve the
functioning of commodity markets through commodity agreements between
producers and consumers, with support from the Common Fund for Commodities.
The negotiation and renegotiation of such agreements proved difficult in the
rapidly changing world economy of the 1980s, and a number of existing
agreements broke down.  There has been hardly any lasting improvement in most
commodity markets since then, and the need for remedial action remains
urgent.  Commodity agreements between producers and consumers that improve the
stability, transparency and functioning of markets and reflect long-term
market trends benefit both producers and consumers, and efforts should be made
to negotiate or renegotiate agreements of this type in the 1990s.  The first
window of the Common Fund was established for the specific purpose of
supporting such international commodity agreements.
53.  The diversification of the economies of developing countries and their
increased participation in the processing, marketing and distribution of their
commodities is of the utmost importance.  The second window of the Common Fund
for Commodities should be effectively used in this regard, particularly for
technical assistance and for commodity-specific programmes for horizontal and
vertical diversification, especially for the least developed countries.  The
diversification process should also be supported through the provision of
improved market access for primary and processed commodities.  Co-operation
among developing countries could also play a significant role in the
processing, transportation and marketing of commodities.
54.  Compensatory financing is an important means of cushioning developing
countries, in particular the least developed countries, against
commodity-related shortfalls in export earnings.  Existing compensatory
financing schemes, particularly the Compensatory and Contingency Financing
Facility of the International Monetary Fund, should be strengthened as
                2.  Science and technology, industrial policies and
                    measures, agriculture
55.  A solution to the debt problem, adequate resource flows and a supportive
environment in the areas of international trade and commodity markets are
among the prerequisites for the reactivation of development during the 1990s.
But a sustained acceleration of the development process will not take place
unless developing countries modernize and transform their industrial and
agricultural sectors and participate in the progress made possible by advances
in science and technology.  National policies in these areas must reflect the
particular situations.  But many issues have strategic aspects that are widely
relevant.  These are set out in the paragraphs that follow, as a guide both to
national efforts and to the support that is possible and needed through
international development co-operation.  In virtually all areas of effort,
there is scope and need for supportive financial and technical assistance from
donor Governments, multilateral lending institutions and international
agencies.  There are also possibilities and requirements for co-operation
among developing countries.
Science and technology
56.  The reactivation of development in the decade of the 1990s on a sustained
basis will be linked to the ability of the developing countries to participate
in the rapid advances in science and technology that have characterized the
global economy in recent years and will continue in the future.  Knowledge is
today a crucial determinant of economic progress.  The knowledge gap between
the developed and the developing countries has been widening, and policies and
measures are needed to help narrow it over the coming decade.  High priority
must therefore be given by the developing countries to raising their
endogenous capacities and capabilities in this area.
57.  Development and modernization in a setting of rapid advances in science
and technology call for the establishment and strengthening of scientific
cadres and for upgrading the skills of the work force.  Developing countries,
in their plans and policies, should emphasize policies and measures that
enhance their scientific and technological capability and should devote
adequate resources to that end.  Such policies must range from the expansion
and adaptation of their educational systems, including vocational education,
to the building up of scientific and technological research and development
58.  Policies and measures in this field should seek to enhance the capacity
of developing countries to utilize scientific and technological developments
from abroad, as well as to modify and adapt them to suit local conditions.
Such policies should also aim at traditional technologies that are capable of
being developed as a means of raising productivity.
59.  Building the scientific and technological capability of developing
countries calls for external assistance in research and development, in the
establishment and strengthening of institutions in the area of science and
technology, in the diffusion of new technologies and in the training of
scientific cadres.  Developing countries should not be discriminated against
with regard to commercial access to science and technology for development
purposes.  Commercial channels for the import of technology, including direct
foreign investment, are especially relevant and should be utilized on suitable
terms and conditions.  In addition, with respect to access to and transfer of
technology on concessional and preferential terms, in particular to developing
countries, effective modalities should be examined with a view to implementing
and enhancing such access and transfer as much as possible.
60.  The international community should also review ways in which the
intellectual property system can promote more effectively the economic and
technological development of all countries, particularly the developing
countries, and in which intellectual property can be effectively protected.
Work on the international code of conduct on the transfer of technology should
also be completed.
61.  There is considerable scope for co-operation among developing countries
in the development of science and technology.  The developing countries could
help each other through the establishment of common institutions and centres
for research and training, the pursuit of joint projects for technological
research and development, the offer of facilities for education in science and
technology among themselves and the exchange of information.  Science and
technology must be given a prominent place in schemes for co-operation among
developing countries at the global as well as at the regional and subregional
Industrial policies and measures
62.  An acceleration in the process of industrialization must be a central
element in the economic transformation of most developing countries and in the
reactivation of development in the 1990s.  Given the limits to agriculture as
a means of providing increased employment and additional external earnings,
industrialization becomes indispensable for sustained economic growth and
social development.  It is also through industrialization that developing
countries could make use of many of the opportunities provided by advances in
science and technology and by international markets.  Policies and measures to
promote industrialization must thus be a major plank in the Strategy.
63.  Some notable exceptions apart, manufacturing industry stagnated in many
developing countries during the 1980s.  These countries experienced a chronic
underutilization of existing industrial capacity, a lack of maintenance,
import constraints and technological obsolescence.  These problems were at
times compounded by mismanagement.  For these countries, the rehabilitation of
their industrial sectors and an end to the underutilization of capacities must
be objectives of priority.  The rate of industrialization will obviously vary
among countries, but for many countries, especially for those where
manufacturing industry was set back in the 1980s, historical experience
suggests that the objective should be to raise it significantly, say, to 8 to
10 per cent.
64.  Industrial progress requires investments directly related to increasing
manufacturing capacity.  It is also dependent on an improved and modernized
infrastructure in such areas as communications and transport, power and
banking and finance.  It is dependent, too, on a supportive policy framework
in the fiscal and monetary fields.  Not least, it is crucially dependent on
managerial and technical skills and on a trained and efficient work-force.
Industrial development must also make use of linkages with other sectors of
the economy, particularly the rural sector, which could supply both materials
and markets for industrial growth.  These subjects must form an integral part
of the policies and measures that developing countries need to take for
industrial progress during the decade.  But there are also certain other major
issues of policy that are central to faster progress in industrialization and
that may call for new orientations.  These are outlined below.
65.  One such issue concerns the relative roles of the public and private
sectors.  In the past, many developing countries, anxious to speed up
industrialization and faced with a weak and inexperienced private sector,
sought to establish manufacturing enterprises owned and run by governmental
entities and enjoying a high degree of protection.  Experience has shown that
there can be limitations to such an approach, particularly when administrative
capacities are strained.  State-run enterprises can be hampered by
bureaucratic rigidity and inefficiency, and lack flexibility, competitiveness
and innovative power.  The capabilities of the private sector have grown in
many countries and there is considerable scope for enhancing the contribution
that private enterprise can make to a dynamic process of industrialization.
Entrepreneurship should be encouraged at all levels for the setting up of
industries.  There is usually a strong potential for the development of
medium- and small-scale industries that could also contribute to enlarging
both urban and rural employment opportunities.  Where industries are under
public ownership, efficiency should be improved through measures that increase
their flexibility and their ability to respond to changing conditions.
66.  Another issue is that of industrial production for exports as against
production for the domestic market and import substitution.  The establishment
of industries supplying domestic markets is desirable because of market
proximity, linkages with other sectors and reduced dependence.  But there are
often limits to the scope for import-substituting industries, particularly
where markets are small.  In these cases, policies based excessively on import
substitution supported by highly protective barriers result in high cost and
inefficiency.  Production for export is a means of overcoming these
limitations.  It becomes a virtual imperative where the scope for additional
agricultural exports is limited.  It is also a means of keeping step with
technological progress and of closer integration with global markets, since
exports call for efficiency and competitiveness.
67.  The goal of industrialization calls for the building up of domestic
ownership and national managerial and technological capabilities.  But direct
foreign investment can make an important contribution to industrialization.
Such investment not only provides additional resources, but is also a means of
having access to modern technologies, skills and markets.  The rules and
regulations of developing countries should encourage direct foreign investment
in ways in which mutual interests are furthered.  The constraints to the flow
of external resources from other sources give added importance to direct
foreign investment as a means of augmenting this flow.
68.  The progress of industrialization in developing countries, and of
outward-looking development in general, is closely related to openness and
non-discrimination in international markets.  The implementation of the
measures needed in this area, as set out in the section on international
trade, such as the lowering of tariff and non-tariff barriers and measures to
further structural adjustment in the developed countries, form an important
part of the strategy for industrialization.
69.  Industrial progress in developing countries can also be significantly
enhanced through co-operation among such countries at the global, regional and
subregional levels.  The integration of markets of developing countries, the
setting up of joint ventures and programmes for training and upgrading skills
must be among the objectives of policies and measures to promote
industrialization during the 1990s.
70.  For many countries, agriculture, with its large contribution to the
national economy, will remain the principal means for the revitalization of
economic growth during the 1990s.  To the extent that countries depend on the
export of agricultural commodities to world markets, progress will be closely
related to the implementation of the measures outlined earlier for
strengthening international trade in commodities.  But agricultural production
in the developing countries also meets the production requirements for the
domestic market for food and other products of both the farming and the
non-farming population.  The acceleration of development calls, therefore, for
a special focus on policies and measures aimed at raising agricultural output
and at strengthening food security and self-reliance in food.
71.  The transition from a traditional system of cultivation, sometimes at a
subsistence level, to modernized agriculture should be the underlying aim of
agricultural policy.  In many developing countries, the pressures on available
land are already high and there are limits to what can be achieved through an
extension of the area under cultivation.  Where such possibilities remain,
measures could be taken to bring new land under cultivation through programmes
of irrigation and land settlement, provided that adverse environmental
consequences, such as could arise from excessive forest clearing, are
avoided.  In great part, however, progress in agriculture is heavily dependent
on raising productivity on lands already under cultivation.  The scope for
this could be large given the gap, often wide, between current productivity
and technical potential.
72.  There are several important components of the policies and measures
needed for raising agricultural production and productivity.  An annual rate
of growth of the order of 4 per cent on average in food production would make
a major contribution to food security and support agro-industrial
development.  But the great diversity of country situations means that there
is no single set of policies of general applicability.  Success will often
depend on the removal of key constraints, which vary greatly from country to
country.  However, policies and measures based on the considerations set out
below will be of broad applicability.
73.  Success in reaching the potential for raising agricultural productivity
requires a farming population possessed of the knowledge, the incentives and
the means required for this purpose.  Improving the knowledge and skills of
farmers calls for the diffusion of technology relating to agricultural
practices and the use of improved varieties, as well as for the continued
development and adaptation of technology through research.  This underlines
the importance both of effective extension efforts and services and of
measures to enhance the capabilities of research institutions.  The successful
adoption of better methods and technologies is crucially dependent on
incentives that link the use of superior methods to prospects for farmers to
improve their standard of living.  The price incentive is especially
important, particularly in the context of the transition from subsistence
farming to modernized agriculture.  Policies that depress the prices of farm
output in order to protect or subsidize living costs for the population at
large are often counter-productive.  A policy framework that permits more
realistic prices that better reflect market situations often yields better
results.  Such a framework must also remove the shortcomings in marketing,
distribution and storage that lead to an excessive gap between retail and farm
74.  Farmers must also have access to the means of raising agricultural
productivity.  Economic units of land and secure systems of tenure are often
prerequisites for agricultural progress.  Facilities for irrigation and a
strong infrastructure of transport, communications and power, as well as other
services that overcome the remoteness of rural areas, are among the others.  A
strong network of rural banking and credit is also vital to help farmers
procure inputs and make the investments needed for raising production.
75.  Policies and measures aimed at raising agricultural production need to
take account of the linkages between agriculture and other sectors of the
economy.  The link with the industrial sector is especially important, since
industry is a source of farm inputs and of consumer goods for the rural
population, as well as a source of demand for agricultural products.
Agro-industries located in rural areas can provide both a stimulus to
agriculture and a source of employment for underutilized labour.  In a more
general sense, there is also a close link between the productivity of farmers
and the extent and quality of educational and health services and of housing
available to the rural population.
76.  There is often considerable potential for improving the contribution of
women to agricultural progress.  In most developing countries, women form an
important part of the active farming population and of the agricultural labour
force.  Policies and measures to increase their productivity and involve them
more in key decisions should raise their contribution to output and their
incomes.  Schemes for rural self-help and for the mobilization of labour for
community development and for the upgrading and maintenance of the rural
infrastructure can also play an important part in the drive for agricultural
77.  A number of steps are also needed at the international level.  Finance
for investments in the agricultural sector and technical assistance should
form part of programmes for development co-operation, both bilateral and
multilateral.  Developing countries should have assured access to advances in
such fields as biotechnology and genetic engineering, at appropriate costs.
The removal of existing distortions in international trade in agriculture is
also essential.  In particular, the achievement of this objective requires
that there be substantial and progressive reduction in support and protection
of agriculture - covering internal regimes, market access and export subsidies
- in order to avoid inflicting large losses on the more efficient producers,
especially in developing countries.  Special importance is attached to the
successful outcome and effective follow-up of the Uruguay Round in the areas
of agriculture, tropical products and natural resource-based products, taking
account of the needs of the net food-importing developing countries.
                     B.  Priority aspects of development
78.  An acceleration in the rate of economic growth is an essential objective
for the 1990s.  It is a condition for expanding the resource base of the
developing countries and hence for economic, technological and social
transformation.  But economic growth by itself does not ensure that its
benefits will be equitably distributed or that the physical environment will
be protected and improved.  Yet, if poverty persists or increases and there is
neglect of the human condition, political and social strains will grow and
endanger stability in the 1990s and beyond.  Similarly, if environmental
damage and degradation increases, the natural resource base of the developing
countries and the welfare of populations will be harmed and progress in
development itself will become unsustainable.  The Strategy must therefore
give special attention to the policies and measures needed in the areas of
poverty alleviation, human resource development and the environment.  It must
also pay special attention to the related areas of population growth and the
elimination of hunger.  The decade of the 1990s must witness a significant
improvement in the human condition everywhere and establish a mutually
reinforcing relationship between economic growth and human welfare.  The need
to strengthen this relationship is, in fact, a principal theme of the present
Strategy.  It has not only to be reflected in national efforts but must also
be promoted by the international community through financial and technical
                    1.  Eradication of poverty and hunger
79.  The international community, noting the severity of problems related to
poverty in developing countries, agrees that the objective of eradicating
poverty is of the highest priority.  It is encouraging that a broad consensus
is emerging on strategies to be pursued towards the achievement of this goal.
80.  The goal of eradicating poverty calls for policies and measures on two
broad fronts.  It calls, in the first place, for a style of development in
which economic progress is distributed as widely as possible and not
concentrated excessively on a few localities and sectors or limited groups of
the population.  It also requires, to the extent that poor and vulnerable
sections of the population are not reached by this process, special and
supplementary programmes and actions that are directly targeted to bring
benefits to these groups.
81.  The generation of employment and income through productive occupation is
a major means of eradicating poverty since the absence of adequate income
owing to landlessness or the lack of opportunities for work is a prime cause
of poverty.  Development programmes and processes that provide employment on a
large scale are thus an essential need.  The sectors and regions in which
development takes place and the technologies adopted must be such as to have a
significant impact on employment.  This must be an important consideration in
establishing the balance between growth in the agricultural, industrial,
construction and service sectors.  The creation of employment and income
through the activation of the informal sector of the economy and through the
expansion of self-employment activities should also be an important part of
policies to improve income and eradicate poverty.
82.  Progress in development, even when occurring on a broad front, might
still bypass significantly large sections of the population, particularly the
poorest and most vulnerable.  Special programmes and measures that are aimed
directly at increasing their real income are thus likely to prove necessary.
These could include the provision of cheap and subsidized food and other
essentials, as well as income support for the poorest and the destitute.  They
could also include programmes of training and of mobilization of labour for
local self-help and community development as well as for production.  Such
programmes establish a link between activities aimed at the eradication of
poverty and productive activities.  The provision of facilities at low cost in
such areas as health, education and transport is also a means of raising the
real income of the poor.  Measures to relieve homelessness or poor housing
should be another major aspect of poverty eradication programmes.  The
increase in the number of homeless people in many developing countries has
been one of the serious manifestations of the deteriorating human condition,
and the improvement of human settlements as agreed in the Global Strategy for
Shelter to the Year 2000 should be part of the crucial effort in this field.
83.  Women and children are a particularly vulnerable group in situations of
poverty.  Policies and measures for poverty eradication should have a
particular focus on their needs and give special attention to maternal and
child health care and to nutrition.  Food security is also a major aspect of
the fight against hunger and poverty and calls for an integrated approach to
food production and consumption.
84.  Policies and measures that are specifically directed at poverty
eradication must carefully target that part of the population which is in
need.  Subsidized facilities and services that are general in scope and bring
benefits to groups that are not in need are normally costly and impose
excessive strains on the limited resources available to developing countries.
Subsidies of a general nature could also contribute towards distorting prices
and may, as in the case of food, have adverse effects on incentives for
domestic production.
85.  Developing countries need not await the transformation in per capita
income to do away with the extremes of poverty, particularly hunger and
destitution.  Some developing countries with low per capita incomes have
succeeded in obtaining relatively good results in the social field.  In the
long run, however, economic growth is needed to raise living standards and
eliminate poverty.  Long periods of stagnation or low growth might make
unsustainable the initial gains in the social area.
86.  The struggle against poverty is the shared responsibility of all
countries.  The eradication of poverty, as well as broad humanitarian and
social goals, such as advancement in the quality of development, broad
participation, larger choice and better opportunities for all men and women,
need and should have the full support of the international community.  A
substantial reduction in hunger and malnutrition is within reach.  There is
considerable scope for international food aid going beyond emergency
situations.  Member States must give effect to agreements already reached to
make all efforts to meet four goals during the decade:
     (a)  The elimination of starvation and death caused by famine;
     (b)  A substantial reduction in malnutrition and mortality among
     (c)  A tangible reduction of chronic hunger;
     (d)  The elimination of major nutritional diseases.
               2.  Human resource and institutional development
87.  Human resource development has the closest of interactions with the
process of economic and technological transformation.  In a broad sense, it
covers a wide range of activities that release the creative potential of the
individual and determine the style of development.  Each country has to choose
its approach to human resource and institutional development in accordance
with its national priorities, values, traditions and cultures and stage of
development.  Education and health are, however, essential aspects of human
resource development and must receive special attention.
88.  Education is both a basic human need and a prerequisite for the
achievement of the other objectives of development.  The educational skills of
the labour force determine to a large extent a country's competitive strength
and its capacity to adjust to new and sophisticated technologies.  In a number
of developing countries, expenditure on education declined in absolute or
relative terms during the 1980s against the background of a worsening economic
situation, and there was a resulting deterioration in the quality of
education.  Attention needs to be given, in the light of country situations,
to each of the aspects of the educational system.  The eradication of
illiteracy needs special emphasis, including its eradication among women.  A
target of reducing adult illiteracy by at least one half during the decade has
already been set by the international community.  But a sound base of primary
and secondary education is a basic requirement.  Policies and measures in this
area must provide for the relatively rapid increase in the school-age
population that accompanies the growth of population common to most developing
countries.  In fact, the goals for the decade of providing universal access to
basic education and of the completion of primary education by at least
80 per cent of the school-age group have been internationally accepted.  This
calls for adequate resources, both financial and administrative, capital and
current, for the provision of facilities and materials and for the recruitment
of teachers.  At the same time there is a need to ensure that the expansion of
the educational base does not result in a deterioration of quality and is
supported by policies to train and retain teachers.  The content of education
at the primary and secondary level must also be relevant to a country's need
for economic, social and political progress.  In the framework of action to
meet basic learning needs, it is important to ensure the speedy implementation
of the World Declaration on Education for All, adopted by the World Conference
on Education for All.
89.  The increasingly important role that knowledge plays in determining
economic progress in a rapidly changing global environment of science and
technology gives a new urgency to upgrading and transforming the scientific,
technological, entrepreneurial and managerial aptitudes of the population.
This calls for an emphasis on higher education and on the development of the
institutional base for the training of skilled cadres as well as for
vocational training.  It also calls for policies and incentives that are
conducive to retaining skilled personnel in their countries on a voluntary
basis.  The skills of the work force at all levels may well be the key to
progress in the 1990s and beyond.
90.  In the field of health services, special attention needs to be given to
primary health care and the prevention of chronic diseases, as well as to
general development objectives such as sanitation, safe drinking-water and
nutrition.  This will help relieve the strains on the curative medical system
to which increasing numbers tend to have recourse as a result of population
growth, education and social change.  Policies and measures in the field of
health need to give special attention to women and children.  Several targets
for the decade have already been agreed upon by the international community.
These include the reduction of under-five mortality rates by one third or 70
per 1,000 live births (whichever saves more lives); the reduction of
malnutrition among children under five by one half; and the halving of
maternal mortality rates.  The participatory and environmental aspects of
health care should be emphasized in the design of programmes.  There should
also be a special focus on preventing the spread of epidemics and other
diseases that are endemic in many developing countries.  Urgent steps also
need to be taken for the control and prevention of acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome (AIDS).
91.  As in the field of education, policies and measures for health must give
increased attention to institution-building and the training of skilled health
personnel at all levels.  Here again, conditions have to be created that
encourage the retention of skilled cadres.
92.  Human resource development could also be promoted by co-operation among
developing countries.  Developing countries could benefit by opening to each
other their centres of quality for higher education and training.  They could
benefit by the exchange of teachers and of personnel in the field of health
and by the sharing of experiences.  They could also profit from the joint
operation and management of institutions for human resource development,
particularly at the regional and subregional levels.
93.  The developed countries have an important role to play in promoting human
resource and institutional development.  Apart from investment support and
technical assistance for the supply and use of equipment and for curriculum
development, a major contribution can be made by the developed countries
through the provision of facilities for the training of skilled cadres.
Education abroad has always played an important part in training in developing
countries.  But in the 1990s and thereafter, its role can be vastly enhanced
because of rapid developments in the field of knowledge and the urgent need of
the developing countries for larger cadres of skilled personnel.  At the same
time, the developing countries should be assisted in building up their own
institutions for training and higher education.  As development progresses,
there is need for them to enhance their self-reliance in this field.
94.  Human rights and human development are ends in themselves.  All human
resource activities are mutually reinforcing.  Careful analysis, policy design
and effective management in education and health programmes will be required,
and the support of agencies of the United Nations system should play a vital
role.  Given the interrelated nature of human resource development activities,
inter-agency co-ordination in education, health, nutrition, housing,
employment, child welfare and the advancement of women requires close
attention.  There should be programmes to integrate the elderly in
                                3.  Population
95.  Population programmes should be integrated with economic goals and
strategies.  The 1990s will see the largest increase in the population of
developing countries of any decade in history, an increase of well over
20 per cent.  The decade will also witness the aging of the world population.
The demographic situation varies among countries, but in most developing
countries a lowering of the rate of population growth will relieve the strains
on the social situation, economic growth, the environment and natural
resources.  Population growth rates are in fact beginning to decline in a
number of developing countries.  Over half of the developing countries are
pursuing active policies to reduce the rate of population growth, and
important lessons have been learned from this experience.  The education of
women, improved maternity and child care and family planning services suited
to the socio-cultural environment of individual countries have proved to be
effective and successful instruments of population programmes and should be
further pursued and strengthened.  Assistance to developing countries in the
area of population should be substantially increased during the 1990s.
Developing countries should also intensify their efforts to allocate adequate
resources to population programmes.
                               4.  Environment
96.  The current threat to the environment is the common concern of all.  All
countries should take effective action for the protection and enhancement of
the environment in accordance with their respective capacities and
responsibilities and taking into account the specific needs of developing
countries.  As the major sources of pollution, the developed countries have
the main responsibility for taking appropriate measures urgently.  The
economic growth and development of developing countries are essential in order
to address problems of the degradation and protection of the environment.  New
and additional financial resources will have to be channelled to developing
countries.  Effective modalities for favourable access to, and transfer of,
environmentally sound technologies, in particular to developing countries,
including on concessional and preferential terms, should be examined.
97.  The General Assembly, in its resolution 44/228 of 22 December 1989, has
set important goals for the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development in 1992.  These goals need to be realized.
                    DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
98.  Over two decades ago, the United Nations adopted criteria to identify the
countries that were economically the weakest among the developing countries
and that faced the most recalcitrant structural problems.  It was recognized
that those countries, designated the least developed countries, needed special
support measures from the international community in their efforts to
transform their economies and to improve their prospects for sustained
development.  In 1981, the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed
Countries adopted the Substantial New Programme of Action for the 1980s for
the Least Developed Countries, in which a number of measures to support the
development process in those countries were agreed upon.  The measures
included the setting of a target of 0.15 per cent of the gross national
product of the developed countries for concessional aid to the least developed
99.  However, those very countries, and others that were among the poorest and
the weakest, were the hardest hit by the difficulties that arose in the 1980s
on the world economic scene.  In terms of the criteria initially adopted, the
number of countries falling into the category of least developed countries -
instead of declining as a result of successful development - actually
increased from 24 in 1972 to 41 in 1990.  The measures taken by the
international community to support the least developed countries did not
suffice to offset the adverse factors that affected their development
experience in the 1980s.  In the light of developments in the world economy
there is a risk that those countries will become increasingly marginalized;
this risk needs urgently to be avoided.
100. The Second United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries was
held in Paris in September 1990.  It underscored the principle of shared
responsibility and strengthened partnership for the growth and development of
the least developed countries and called for mutual commitments and
strengthened joint efforts on the part of both the least developed countries
and their development partners.  The programme of action adopted at the
Conference needs to be fully implemented.  Broad requirements have been set
out.  The present official development assistance targets, as agreed on at the
Conference, should, in the first instance, be met.  Special attention is
needed to facilitate increased access of exports of the least developed
countries to major markets.  Enhanced compensatory financing for export
earnings shortfalls should be considered.  Donors should take the necessary
steps to provide further bilateral concessional debt forgiveness to the least
developed countries.  All donors are urged to implement Trade and Development
Board resolution 165 (S-IX) of 11 March 1978 as a matter of priority in
such a way that the net flows of official development assistance should be
improved for the recipient.  The Paris Club should consider the application of
the terms agreed upon at the Toronto Economic Summit to all the least
developed countries in accordance with established procedures and criteria;
the Toronto options should be reviewed, taking into account the communique of
the Houston Economic Summit; and proposals for further debt relief should be
examined urgently.  Financial institutions, particularly those providing
non-concessional credits, are invited to give serious attention to measures to
alleviate the burden of the debt that least developed countries owe to them.
101. The special development problems of the land-locked developing countries
and of the island developing countries also call for special attention.
Measures are needed to lift the constraints on their development arising from
the special transportation and communications problems they face, from their
limited internal markets and from their high degree of vulnerability to
environmental damage and natural disasters.
102. These measures should aim at reducing the cost to those countries of
access to and from the sea and world markets, improving the quality,
efficiency and reliability of transit-transport facilities and diversifying
their economies.
103. The organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system have a
special responsibility for the pursuit of the goals and objectives of the
present Strategy.  The system has played a unique role in bringing the
development issue to the attention of the international community.  Through
its studies on the several aspects of the development problem, both national
and international, through the international conferences it has convened on
major issues, through the understandings, conventions and agreements it has
helped to negotiate - some of them of a legal or quasi-legal character - and
not least through the technical assistance it has provided to developing
countries, it has made an invaluable contribution to ideas, policies and
actions in the realm of development.  This role must not only continue but
must be strengthened and expanded in the 1990s with the support and
encouragement of Member States.
104. Virtually every aspect of the Strategy falls within the areas of concern
of the various parts of the United Nations system.  In many such areas and
sectors, goals and targets for the coming decade and the actions needed for
realizing them have already been agreed upon by Member States and are crucial
to the implementation of the Strategy.  The Strategy also provides guidelines
for further work on the evolution of policies and programmes and on seeking
agreements for new actions.  Major conferences of the United Nations system
are already scheduled for the initial years and there will be others in the
period beyond.  These will be important occasions for reaching agreements that
give more specific content to the actions and commitments needed to realize
the goals of the Strategy.
105. The organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system thus
have a vital role to play in furthering the analytical work of relevance to
the elaboration and implementation of the Strategy, in promoting and securing
the international co-operation needed and in providing technical assistance.
The work of the international system should be given greater coherence by
closer inter-agency co-operation and co-ordination and by organizational
measures that strengthen the contribution of the system to development.  The
Strategy provides an initial framework for these objectives.  The review of
the functioning of the United Nations system should continue to be pursued
with this aim in view; all of its Member States have a responsibility for
making it more effective and efficient.
106. The Secretary-General is encouraged to continue, by such means as he
deems appropriate, his efforts to facilitate the solution to the debt problems
of developing countries, taking into account all relevant proposals.  In
addition, the relevant organs and bodies of the United Nations system should
undertake follow-up measures pertaining to the Uruguay Round of multilateral
trade negotiations.
107. The growing interdependence in the world economy and the increasing
linkages between various issues, such as money and finance, trade and
development, give a new urgency to the co-ordination of macro-economic
policies and management at the international level.  The United Nations should
play its role in this area as envisaged in the provisions of the Charter
relating to the functions of the Economic and Social Council.
                          VI.  REVIEW AND APPRAISAL
108. A process of review and appraisal should be an integral part of the
Strategy so as to ensure its effective implementation.  This process should be
undertaken at the national level by the respective Member States.  But it
needs also to be undertaken within the United Nations system at the global,
sectoral and regional levels.  It should provide an opportunity to give the
necessary political stimulus, in the light of evolving needs and
developments.  It must be expected that conditions in the course of the decade
will change in ways that cannot now be foreseen, and there is thus a case for
permanent monitoring and periodic review, allowing, when necessary, for
amendments and revisions to the Strategy.
109. The recent events in the Gulf region are having repercussions on the
immediate economic outlook of many countries, particularly in energy and trade
balances.  While it is not possible, in view of the uncertainties, to take
account of them at present, it is important to keep the situation under review
to determine whether in the context of the Strategy additional measures are
110. The organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system will
play an important catalytic role in the implementation of the goals and
objectives of the present Strategy in their respective areas of competence.
111. The machinery for continued monitoring exists:  the various agencies of
the United Nations system and the regional commissions issue annual reports,
which, in effect, monitor the state of progress in virtually every area of
international development.  Governments participate in numerous debates in the
specialized agencies, the Economic and Social Council and the General
Assembly, in which the state of progress in international development is a
major theme.  In this sense, review and appraisal is already built into the
procedures of the United Nations system.
112. Nevertheless, review and appraisal relating directly to the progress of
the Strategy as a whole is also needed on a periodic basis.  This should be
carried out biennially by the General Assembly through the Economic and Social
Council, with an item on the implementation of the Strategy included in their
agendas.  The Secretary-General should submit appropriate recommendations in
order to assist in this process of review and appraisal.