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E - Results of the external evaluation of the clearing-house

63. Introducing his report on the results of the external evaluation of the clearing-house (UNEPIGC.1515/Add.1 and Corr.1 and Supplement 1), the Executive Director said that his recommendations on the clearing-house mechanism, broadly speaking, endorsed those made by the three senior consultants who had carried out the external evaluation as requested in Governing Council decision 1416. The supplement to his report reported on two field missions that had been undertaken subsequent to the discussions at UNEP headquarters, since the evaluators had felt a lack of direct contact in the field. The final paragraph of that document confirmed their earlier recommendations.

64. One representative stated that there had been consensus in the general debate on the need for a massive transfer of technologies and resources to the developing countries; that was the essential purpose of the clearing-house function and it was of growing importance. Donors were responding better to requests for assistance in various forms and the clearing-house mechanism should reinforce that trend. Several other representatives agreed that the operation of the clearing-house should be further developed and considerably strengthened. Several representatives supported the recommendation of the external evaluation, which the Executive Director had endorsed, to re-examine the distribution of tasks between the Clearing-house Unit and other elements of the UNEP secretariat. One of them said that he would like to study the terms of reference of the Unit following the redistribution of tasks. As to finance, it would be best to seek bilateral aid to bring about the strengthening of the clearing-house.

65. Another representative stated that training was a crucial problem for developing countries, the lack of which impeded the creation of environmental institutions. The catalytic role of those institutions required knowledge of technologies, which the clearing-house enabled them to obtain. He was concerned about the effect of a proposal to redistribute functions away from the Clearing-house Unit and considered that further justification was needed for that recommendation.

66. Replying to some of the comments on the clearing-house mechanism, the Executive Director said it was evident that it was growing in importance and served to strengthen UNEP'9 role, but it was also important to make use of the technical capacity available throughout the United Nations system. With regard to the necessary financial resources, it had always been his policy to devote money to programmes rather than to people working in offices, so that he appealed to Governments to second senior, well qualified staff.