The Development Account was established in 1997 by virtue of General Assembly resolution 52/12 B, as a mechanism to channel regular budget resources to funding capacity-building projects implemented by 10 entities working on the United Nations Secretariat development pillar. These are the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the five regional commissions (including ECLAC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Human Settlement programme (UN-Habitat) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Since then, the Development Account has become a vehicle for advancing the implementation of internationally agreed development goals and the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields, including the Millennium Development Goals. Projects financed from the Account aim to achieve development impacts by building the socioeconomic capacity of developing countries through collaboration at the national, subregional, regional and interregional levels.
All projects should follow criteria established by the General Assembly. Accordingly, projects should: (i) result in durable, self-sustained initiatives to develop national capacities, with measurable impact at field level, ideally having multiplier effects; (ii) be innovative and take advantage of information and communication technology, knowledge management and networking of expertise at the subregional, regional and global levels; (iii) utilize the technical, human and other resources available in developing countries and effectively draw on the existing knowledge, skills and capacities within the United Nations Secretariat; and (iv) create synergies with other development interventions and benefit from partnerships with non-United Nations stakeholders.
The Account’s operational profile is further reinforced by the adoption of pilot approaches that test new ideas and eventually scale them up through supplementary funding, and the emphasis on integration of national expertise in the projects to ensure national ownership and sustainability of project outcomes.
ECLAC has been a key Development Account partner since the second tranche (2000-2001), with a total of 47 projects under the Commission’s leadership.