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II - UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM-WIDE WORK ON THE INTERRELATIONSHIPS

7. The group of experts recalled that General Assembly and Economic and Social Couricil decisions envisaged work on interrelationships as a system-wide effort. The Secretary-General was requested by General Assembly resolution 3345 (XXIX) to take measures to provide facilities for coordinated research on the interrelationships- The group strongly supported the conclusion reached during the interagency consultations on the interrelationships between population, resources, environment and development (Geneva, November 1979) that steps should be taken by the Secretary-General, inter alias through the establishment of a voluntary fund which should be drawn upon when necessary for the commissioning of specific activities to be undertaken by United Nations bodies or at regional and national levels, particularly in developing countries.

8. The work on the interrelationships should, in the view of the group, not be directly entrusted to any sectoral unit dealing with one of the areas involved. The only acceptable exception would have been UNEP, as environment is not a sector, and UNEP moreover is entrusted with the responsibility for system-wide co-ordination in the field of environment. The work should, however, according to the group, be performed under the direction of the Director-General for Development and International Economic Co-operation, given his over-all mandate in the economic and social field, and should be closely linked to system-wide interagency programming and to the planning of integrated development. The capacity to perform the work should thus be provided in the office of the Director-General. Pending its provision there, UNEP should assist by providing the relevant capacity.

9. Ad hoc interagency consultations on the interrelationships have been held on a number of occasions. The group considered that an arrangement for co-ordination should be established in support of the interagency co-operation required by the work on the interrelationships.

10. General Assembly resolution 3345 (XXIX) also foresaw coordinated multidisciplinary research at the regional level, the reason being a strongly perceived need to disaggregate the global models. This argument is still valid. The group considered the ongoing trend towards a certain regionalization in the field of development to be a further reason for assigning responsibility for coordinating the regional studies to the regional commissions, a step which would also promote an integrated approach to development in the regions.

11. One of the subjects dealt with at the Stockholm Symposium was "Development of human resources". It was stressed at the Symposium that while the demographic variable is an important dimension, the issue of making people increasingly effective participants in, and beneficiaries of, the development process is central to effective policies resulting from studies of the interrelationships. The studies thus need to be wider in scope, stressing people both as human resources and as the ultimate purpose of development. The group considered that this perspective rendered it necessary to change the name of this process in the work of the United Nations to read "Study on the interrelationships between people, resources, environment and development".

12. The group stressed that perspectives and policies emerging from work on interrelationships should be taken into account in the process of the implementation of the new international development strategy, and also in the context of its review and appraisal.