Dr. Eduardo Praselj
Chairman of the Committee of Experts
of the PGTF


Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund earmarks $148,910 for four projects

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 25 (G-77) - The Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund (PGTF) has allocated $148,910 for four projects aimed at enhancing South-South cooperation.
A Committee of Experts of the PGTF, chaired by Eduardo Praselj of Venezuela, recommended four of the 16 project proposals received by the March 31 deadline. Fourteen of the projects were rejected mostly because they did not conform to PGTF guidelines that they be more regional-oriented than country-oriented.

Other members of the Committee included William Ehlers of Uruguay, Ghazi Jomaa of Tunisia, Ambassador Ahmad Kamal of Pakistan, Edward Obeng Kufuor of Ghana and Ambassador Felipe Mabilangan of the Philippines.

The four proposals recommended for funding to the 21st Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 to be held on 26 September 1997 are:

-- A study on the impact of enhancing environmental standards on international trade of South Asian countries ($24,850)
-- Biological control of pests and weeds for sustainable agriculture and biodiversity ($25,000)
-- Integrated planning and new technologies for sustainable development ($37,560)
-- Settlement of gender programme in cooperatives in the Andean region ($61,500)

The Committee noted that in spite of all efforts made to disseminate the guidelines for utilization of PGTF, still a substantial number of proposals presented do not comply with the criteria for eligibility. Three main reasons for noncompliance have been identified:

(a) Projects are essential national in nature;
(b) Cooperative element cannot be ascertained; and
(c) Matching funds are not indicated.

Almost one-half of all proposals presented for consideration by the Committee of Experts since the beginning of operations of PGTF (151 out of 315 up to 1996 and 7 out of 16 in 1997) corresponded to national projects that are not eligible for funding as stated in guideline A(f). This is clear indication that the project sponsors are not aware of this condition for eligibility.

The Committee also expressed its concern-- that despite the action taken by the Office of the Chairman to improve the dissemination of guidelines for PGTF funding-- only moderate results have been achieved. With a view to addressing these shortcomings, the Committee recommended the following actions:

• Direct communications to those institutions or countries that continue presenting large numbers of national projects;

• Utilization of the e-mail and other suitable communication channels to disseminate information on the guidelines to developing country governments as well as institutions and organizations;

• Posting and dissemination of relevant information on the PGTF, the guidelines for its utilization and the model format for submitting proposals in the homepage of the Group of 77 on the World Wide Web;

• Request the Office of the Chairman to advance the initiation of each project cycle by sending invitations for submission of project proposals with indication of the ceiling per project in late November instead of mid-January.

With a view to delivering a clearer message regarding various elements of the guidelines, the Committee recommended that communications issued by the Office of the Chairman regarding the PGTF contain the following concepts:

• The Fund has been established for the financing of cooperative projects and not other type of development projects;

• In the case of nationally executed projects, i.e., cooperative projects carried out entirely in a given country, the cooperative elements of the project should be established by means of written evidence of the interest of or participation by other developing countries as potential beneficiaries;

• In the case of large projects that go beyond the capacity of the PGTF, the Fund may be in a position to finance only a component of these projects.

In addition, the Committee recommended that as part of the operating procedures a summary report on the benefits resulting from the implementation of the project should be prepared by the sponsors and co-signed by the beneficiaries listed in the original project proposal upon completion of each project.

On the financial status of the PGTF, the Committee said that according to the information submitted by UNDP, total available funds for supporting project proposals in 1997 were approximately $843,000, including interest projected to be earned until 31 December 1997. Therefore, in line with guideline A(p) for utilization of PGTF the maximum support that could be given to any individual project would be $168,600.

According to the information submitted by UNDP, the average current yield of all PGTF interest-bearing resources, that include the core capital plus unexpended resources, was in the order of 8.4 percent per annum. Over 60 per cent of these resources has been invested by UNDP in high-yield medium-term instruments maturing at the end of 1998, while almost the totality of the remaining funds has been invested in high-yield instruments maturing in mid-1999. Therefore, no investment decision will be needed in 1998.

The combined effect of this investment strategy ensures that the additional resources available to PGTF in 1998 would be around $525,000 but a lower figure should be expected for 1999 since the best forecasts available indicate that interest rates are declining in the short-term and will stabilize thereafter at a lower level. This figure would be added to the unallocated resources available for new projects as of 31 December 1997.

The Committee also agreed that the deadline for the submission of project proposals by Member States for consideration at its next regular session will be 31 March 1998.