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UNDP Statements 1995

Statement of H.E. Mr. Karel Kovanda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, Organizational Session of the Executive Board of the UNDPNew York, January 11, 1995 Statement of H.E. Mr. Karel Kovanda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United

  • Statement of H.E. Mr. Karel Kovanda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, Organizational Session of the Executive Board of the UNDP
    New York, January 11, 1995

Statement of H.E. Mr. Karel Kovanda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, Organizational Session of the Executive Board of the UNDP

Mr. Chairman,

first of all, let me congratulate you and other newly elected members of the Bureau. I wish you and the whole bureau full success in your work and I would like to assure you of the full support of the delegation of the Czech Republic.

Mr. Chairman,

it is my pleasure and honour to be here today to present the first UNDP Country Programme of the Czech Republic. Right at the outset, I would like to underline that we are grateful to the UNDP for assistance it provided in a time when my country needed it most, i.e., when we were launching the process of restructuring our economy and transforming our social and political life. In this context the country programme is to reassure UNDP and its Executive Board about our willingness to continue our cooperation and to put it on firm and sound basis.

Let me make a few comments on the Country Programme on the table.

The document is being described as our "first Country Programme". However, this does not mean that we are starting from zero. The Czech Republic, one of the two successor countries of the former Czechoslovakia, came into existence about two years ago. The current country programme thus to a substantial extent continues previous cooperation and reflects the experience gained in the past. It also proposes to carry on with some of the existing projects and activities of UNDP in my country. The reference to development strategy, which dates back to the years of the former Czechoslovakia since 1990, also signals that the cooperation between UNDP and the rather new Czech Republic has gone smoothly in the last two years, with no need to redefine basic policy and cooperation priorities.

While maintaining the basic principles of our cooperation in the past, our first country programme is, nevertheless, more than just an extension of the previous one. During the first years of its existence, the Czech economy has undergone profound changes. It is now in its fifth year of transformation into a market economy and we have attained certain successes. The economy features macroeconomic stability, a balanced state budget, a moderate rate of inflation, a very low rate of unemployment, expanding foreign trade etc. Our unprecentended wholesale privatization programme is continuing smoothly: the bulk of state-owned properties has already been privatized. Macroeconomic stability provides a firm framework for further advances in microeconomic restructuring. And, in what is another rather exceptional political phenomenon - a social and political consensus about the global concept of economic transformation prevails. However, the transformation is not finished yet and much still remains to be tackled.

These positive political and economic trends naturally frame the proposed country programme. Emphasis is on conceptual, long-term aspects of cooperation rather than on short-term enabling activities. Priority issues include restructuring the economy, management development, capacity building and environmental-protection issues. These are in harmony with the overall goals and preferences of UNDP. Moreover, most of the programmes and activities envisaged in this document are designed to continue even after UNDP support ceases, once necessary national capacities are built.

The country programme's focus on intensive national capacity building is intentional. It is in full accordance with our intention to progress, in the next programming cycle, from our current recipient-country status and to find new, innovative forms of cooperation with UNDP. During the transformation period we will have gained a lot of experience which we are ready to share with all interested parties. In the upcoming period the Czech Republic thus intends to become once again a net contributor country and later a donor country. The recently coined concept of an "emerging donor country" fits this situation very well. In our understanding, this concept implies that while a country maintains a certain flow of inward assistance, it simultaneously and gradually increases the extent of assistance it itself provides to countries in need, thus becoming fully integrated into global development assistance structures. And let me say that the concept of foreign assistance, including the development assistance, is already being discussed by the Czech authorities.

The Czech Republic, as an emerging donor country, understands and appreciates the comparative advantages of UNDP. We feel that certain new arrangements can lead to new forms of cooperation between the Czech Republic and UNDP which might become a valuable asset for both partners or even for other parties. Under these arrangements, the Czech Republic would gradually increase its commitments to UNDP activities in the country by expanding government and third-party cost-sharing resources and also by strengthening the outward assistance it offers. We expect that in this way we can provide significant assistance to the expansion of UNDP's activities in the region.

I am pleased to inform you that the first steps in this direction have already been made. The Czech Government has offered to host the Regional Programme Operational Unit in Prague and, indeed, the office premises have been prepared already. The intention is to provide the essential background and assistance to relevant on-going or pipeline UNDP regional programmes and projects. We believe that setting up such an office will facilitate a good start for our enhanced and increased involvement in UNDP´s efforts.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me also to point to the fact that while editing the country programme document, a couple of minor errors arose and I would like to put on record the necessary corrections. Thus the correct version of the paragraph 13, and the text of erroneously omitted paragraph 20bis, are attached as an annex to my statement.

Mr. Chairman,

let me conclude by hoping that the country programme submitted will be considered in the light of my explanation. I am deeply convinced that the country programme proposal will help lay a foundation for formulating a new vision of enhanced cooperation between my country and UNDP which we are looking forward to.


para 13:

The main external resources of the technical cooperation are: the European Community through PHARE (the Poland-Hungary Aid to the Reconstruction of the Economy, which now covers Central and Eastern European countries and the Baltic states), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

para 20bis:

Missions of experts have become a more and more important part of the foreign policy as well as of external economic relations of the Czech Republic. Continuous work with experts is an enrichment for both sides and a source of valuable information and insight for economic cooperation. The Czech Republic is willing to offer experts to countries in transition and of the developing world. Experiences from economic transformation is one proposed area of their specialization.