A call for a New International Economic Order to allow structural change in the world economy was adopted at the sixth special session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1974. The Declaration of the New International Economic Order enunciates principles covering a wide range of issues including commodities, natural resources, tariffs and monetary reform. The general lack of progress in this respect is due both to the limited economic and political leverage of developing countries, and to the perception among developed countries that the structural changes proposed in the creation of the New International Economic Order are at best irrelevant or, at worst, a constraint upon their ability to cope with economic problems.
In the world situation that is evolving, the real gainers would be those countries that are able to participate in the new technological race and reorient their production structures as rapidly as possible, whenever necessary, in response to changing situation in world markets. On present reckoning, only a tiny fraction of developing countries can be numbered among such countries. The rest of the developing world would have great difficulty in acquiring such status without a more substantial and sustained effort to mobilize their collective strength through regional and interregional cooperation. It is obvious that the present pace of progress with such cooperation falls far short of what is required to accommodate current and projected changes in the international economy. Policy options for the future should stress in particular the following: (a) more emphasis on regional arrangements for sectoral cooperation and coordination of development plans; (b) special interregional programmes of technical assistance for specific regional programmes; (c) promotion of tripartite cooperation programmes involving North-South economic relations; and (d) greater support for the programme of economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.