The 47th General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to consult with member states and prepare an "agenda for development." After obtaining submissions from member states, agencies of the UN system and public and private sources worldwide, he presented his report to the 49th General Assembly in 1994. Entitled Development and International Economic Cooperation: An Agenda for Development , this wide-ranging document summarized the basic tenets of the experience gained during the UN's 50 years of development work. The agenda was intended to offer guidelines for thought and action by member states.
One reason put forward for creating such a document was that with the end of the cold war, funding development projects as a mechanism for establishing spheres of influence also had ended. The fundamental social, political, and economic changes that had altered the map of Europe and provided a new atmosphere of consensus at the United Nations, also threatened to bewilder and exhaust the potential donors to UN programs for development. Some quarters had even suggested that the UN was expending more for its many new peacekeeping operations than for development. The Secretary-General produced statistics in an annex to the agenda that demonstrated that this was not the case, even exempting the funds expended by the specialized agencies.
Several major themes of the agenda set forth a new underlying philosophy regarding international development programs.
In his conclusions, the Secretary-General admitted that, over the years, absence of clear policy guidance from the General Assembly and the lack of effective policy coordination by ECOSOC had resulted in an overall lack of focus in the UN development system. The fundamental changes under way included the restructuring of development efforts to be channeled through UNDP resident coordinators, by means of the development of one comprehensive "country strategy note." This alone would bring about better (if not perfect) coordination and more rational use of available funds.
However, the Secretary-General also noted the growth of other obstructions to the urgent need for social and economic development in the developing countries: "At present the UN mechanism is caught in a confining cycle. There is a resistance to multilateralism from those who fear a loss of national control. There is a reluctance to provide financial means to achieve agreed ends from those who lack conviction that assessments will benefit their own interests. And there is an unwillingness to engage in difficult operations by those who seek guarantees of perfect clarity and limited duration. Without a new and compelling collective vision, the international community will be unable to break out of this cycle."