NEW YORK – For the first time in history, Israel became a member of the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Program on Thursday.

As part of the organization, Israel will be a full partner in formulating the organization's strategy and determining how resources are allocated to developing countries.

Haim Waxman, the deputy head of Israel's delegation to the UN, said on Thursday in a speech to the UNDP board that Israel's membership in the group represented an "important landmark."

"We are proud to be members of the UNDP's Executive Board and to take an active role in the international effort to provide aid to developing countries," he said. "This is an expression of Israel's journey from being a developing to a developed country."

The move, he added, signaled Israel's increased involvement in the global agenda on issues that extend beyond the Israel-Arab conflict.

The UNDP is active in 177 countries, and commands a budget of over $1 billion. The organization runs projects in the fields of health, welfare and poverty alleviation and is headed by Helen Clark, the former prime minister of New Zealand.

The UNDP Executive Board is made up of 36 countries.