HC Deb 06 April 1960 vol 621 cc372-4
18. Mr. C. Royle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what conditions are laid down before any territory can apply for assistance under the schemes of the United Nations Special Fund; and which territories have already applied.

Mr. R. Allan

As the reply to this Question is very long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Royle

Will the hon. Gentleman kindly consider the anomaly here, inasmuch as there is expense in making an application, and the poorer territories are unable to afford even to apply, while the richer territories will receive the grants because they can apply?

Mr. Allan

I will certainly look into the matter which the hon. Gentleman raises, but, so far as I am aware, any or virtually any under-developed territory can apply. If he has a particular country or territory in mind, perhaps he will be good enough to inform me. I will certainly look into it.

Following is the information:

The United Nations Special Fund was established by resolution (1240/XIII) of the General Assembly. The text of this Resolution is to be found on page 11 of United Nations document A/4090, a copy of which is available in the Library. Paragraph 7 of Part B of this resolution states that "Participation in the Special Fund shall be open to any States Members of the United Nations or members of the Specialised Agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency". Non-self-governing territories, which are not eligible to participate under this clause, can submit requests for aid through metropolitan powers which are eligible. With very few exceptions, therefore, any under-developed territory in the world can apply for assistance from the Special Fund.

Any territory which can thus submit projects must ensure that its requests conform to certain conditions. The most important of these conditions are laid down in the founding resolution and state that:

  1. (a) The Special Fund shall concentrate, as far as practicable, on relatively large projects and avoid allocation of its resources over a great number of small projects;
  2. (b) due consideration shall be given to the urgency of the needs of the requesting countries;
  3. (c) projects shall be undertaken which will lead to early results and have the widest possible impact on advancing the economic, social or technical development of the country or countries concerned, in particular by facilitating new capital investment;
  4. (d) due consideration shall be given to a wide geographical distribution in allocations over a period of years;
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  6. (e) due consideration shall be given to technical, organisational and financial problems likely to be encountered in executing a proposed project;
  7. (f) due consideration shall be given to the arrangements made for the integration of projects into national development programmes and for effective co-ordination of the project with other multilateral and bilateral programmes;
  8. (g) in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the assistance furnished by the Special Fund shall not be a means of foreign economic and political interference in the internal affairs of the country or countries concerned and shall not be accompanied by any conditions of a political nature;
  9. (h) projects shall be devised in such a way as to facilitate transfer, as soon as practicable, of the responsibilities of the Special Fund to assisted countries or to organisation designated by them.

Because of the overwhelming number of requests for Special Fund aid, Mr. Hoffman, the Managing Director of the Fund, who is responsible for evaluation of project requests, has been forced to impose, with the agreement of the Governing Council, further conditions on the type of project put forward. He has stated that the Special Fund should concentrate on projects which would demonstrate the wealth-producing potential of unsurveyed natural resources in the less developed countries, on training and research institutes and on surveys of limited cost, which would lead to early investment. He has also fixed the minimum limit for a Special Fund contribution to a project at $250,000.

The latest information available shows that up to July 31, 1959, the number of requests submitted to the Special Fund was 120. At that time preliminary informaton had also been given on 53 more projects. It is not the practice of the Special Fund to publish full details of requesting Governments (although Mr. Hoffman is prepared to indicate to Member States the reason for rejection of any particular requests). He has, however, revealed that the 120 projects submitted up to July 31, 1959, were distributed regionally as follows:

Africa 26
Asia and the Far East 24
Europe 4
Latin America 32
Middle East 34