The international community was not slow to recognize the political and economic dangers inherent in such an imbalance of national wealth. As early as 1946, when "recovery" rather than "development" dominated UN thinking on economic matters, the General Assembly requested the Economic and Social Council to study ways and means of furnishing advice to nations desiring help in developing their resources. As a result, the UN, in cooperation with the specialized agencies of the UN system, began its first programs of technical assistance.
This chapter describes the principles and goals of the UN development effort. It also discusses some of the factors influencing development, such as science and technology, the role of transnational corporations, and the use of natural resources, and it summarizes the work of the regional commissions. Programs of technical cooperation undertaken by the UN and its related organizations are described in the chapter on Technical Cooperation Programs, and social and humanitarian programs in the chapter on Social and Humanitarian Assistance. The work of the specialized agencies in supporting economic and social development is described in the separate chapters on those agencies.