The “Third Development Decade” of the United Nations, which runs to the end of the present decade, opened with a promising outlook for the developing countries. The economic situation of the OECD countries had improved during 1979 and the North-South dialogue seemed to be making progress. But the further course of 1980 revealed that the extent and long-term effects of the second oil price explosion had been seriously underestimated. As a rule these affected the developing countries more seriously than the industrialized countries. The recessive trend in the industrialized countries moreover contributed to budgetary bottlenecks which were not without consequence for development policy.