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Message to the Senate Transmitting the Constitution of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization

October 05, 1981

To the Senate of the United States:

With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith a copy of the Constitution of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). This Constitution was adopted by the United Nations Conference on the Establishment of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization as a Specialized Agency on April 8, 1979, and signed on behalf of the United States of America on January 17, 1980. The report of the Department of State with respect to the Constitution is also transmitted for the information of the Senate.

The Constitution would establish UNIDO as an independent specialized agency of the United Nations system. It does not create a new entity, but rather revises UNIDO's existing legal framework in a way that significantly improves the position of the United States and other major donors in budget, program and assessment determinations.

UNIDO's principal purpose is to foster the industrialization of developing countries. It is currently the third largest executing agency for the United Nations Development Program. UNIDO's wide-ranging activities are geared to aid developing countries in establishing the technical and institutional skills necessary for industrialization. Many of these activities are consonant with United States development priorities, including development of indigenous entrepreneurial and productive capabilities in the private sector. United States commercial and academic interests also benefit from UNIDO activity.

In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the need to formulate more effective institutions within the United Nations. system to deal with the problems of development in an increasingly interdependent world. Such institutions need to serve the interests of all member nations and to be governed in a manner that realistically reflects the political and economic situation in the world today.

The Constitution would give UNIDO a new governing machinery that will make it more responsive to its member governments and that will give greater recognition to the special role of major donors, including the United States, other industrial democracies, and the Soviet bloc. If they act together, the major donors will be able to block decisions on UNIDO's program and budgets. In this respect, the Constitution is a precedent-setting document.

The Constitution would also provide a specific right of withdrawal from UNIDO if the United States should ever determine that its interests are not served by continued membership. This could not be accomplished under UNIDO's current statute without withdrawal from the United Nations.

While the Constitution refers to the objective of helping establish a new international economic order, the United States has made clear its view that this does not refer to any preconceived notion of such an order as outlined in some UN resolutions to which the United States has taken exception.

The Constitution offers the United States important advantages over UNIDO's current status. It provides an opportunity to increase UNIDO's effectiveness in promoting economic development in the developing countries and, thus, its contribution to a more equitable and peaceful international environment. In addition to helping create a better institutional framework, ratification of the Constitution by the United States will be a strong reaffirmation of our commitment to the industrial development of the less developed countries and demonstrate our political will to pursue beneficial relations with these countries.

I recommend that the Senate give prompt consideration to the Constitution and advise and consent to its ratification.


The White House,

October 5, 1981.

Ronald Reagan, Message to the Senate Transmitting the Constitution of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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