Research and advisory services


DESA is a world leading knowledge institution, conducting research and analysis of key socio-economic problems, and proposing alternative policy options to ensure development for all. The department seeks to serve all Member States as a global think tank on social matters related to the crisis.

The Division for Social Policy and Development within DESA monitors national and global socio-economic trends, helps identify emerging issues, and assesses their implications for social policy at the national and international levels by producing relevant reports and publications with a focus on the current financial and economic crisis.

Advisory services are provided to Governments and regional organizations to support them in dealing with the social impacts of the crisis with special emphasis on the needs of the least developed countries, Africa and Small Island Developing States.

Activities comprise the formulation, execution, monitoring and evaluation of specific technical projects. DESA organizes training workshops and seminars and conducts applied research and field studies, disseminated in both hard copy and electronic formats.

The Report on the World Social Situation has served since 1952 as a foundation for intergovernmental discussion and decision-making on socio-economic issues. And for the international community as a whole, it has identified social trends of international concern and provided in-depth analysis of major development issues. The Report gets to the core of DESA’s mission, to serve and support Member States and the United Nations in the great cause of development for all.

The World Youth Report examines the challenges and opportunities existing for the roughly 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the world. It provides a regional overview summarizing the major youth development trends in the fifteen priority areas of the World Programme of Action for Youth. The report explores major issues of concern to youth development, including employment, education, health, poverty and violence. At the same time, it highlights youth as a positive force for development and provides recommendations for supporting their essential contributions. The statistical annex is one of the most comprehensive sources of data on youth.