WITH 200 projects being implemented in China, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has decided that its activities in the country should be more specialised in the three areas of good governance, poverty alleviation and environmental protection. Plagued with a dwindling budget, the United Nations' central co-ordinating organisation for development activities could not afford to over-stretch itself, particularly in a country as huge and diverse as China. China has been receiving the largest amount of UNDP contribution because criteria for assistance are based upon income per person and population size. The UNDP is channelling into China about US$36 million a year, apart from other assistance in environmental projects. With recession prevalent in the West, the donor community in general is cutting assistance to developing countries and their contribution through the UNDP for development is no exception. ''We are quite well known in the Third World but we are not known among the donors who give the money. That is our problem,'' said Jan Mattsson, deputy resident representative in China. Contributions to core programmes are expected to drop in the next few years, but on the other hand there should be an increase in other sources of funding, particularly for environmental protection, which may come from the Global Environmental Facility, the Montreal Protocol or other programmes set up to help the global environment. ''Environmental protection is an area where donor countries are prepared to increase their contribution,'' said Mr Mattsson. UNDP officials say they have to be careful in spending money, considering the current budget allows them to bring only 1,000 experts into China and send 1,000 Chinese abroad for short-term training. Another area of attention is economic reform, which does not cost a lot but has a tremendous impact. ''That's the sort of thing we would like to support with scarce resources,'' said Mr Mattsson. UNDP resident representative Arthur Holcombe says such assistance could help speed up reform in China. ''We have a lot of confidence that there are many well qualified people in China who can carry out these reforms, but our assistance could help expose the Chinese to experience elsewhere in similar fields,'' he said. By exposing them to experience in other countries, the hope is that the Chinese will generate ideas to do things better in their country.