More than 250 people joined UN DESA’s Facebook chat on 12 February to ask their questions on the world economy. Oil prices and their impact on consumption, GDP growth and fiscal balances, wages and income inequalities were some of the topics addressed by the online community as they tuned in from all corners of the world.
“It was an interesting experience”, said Dawn Holland of the Global Economic Monitoring Unit (GEMU) in UN DESA’s Development Policy and Analysis Division, who participated for the first time, responding to a variety of questions from the online community. “It was surprising to see so many different people from all over the world writing in at the same time.”
Questions were shared on a number of topics including on the impact of specific conflicts in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Western Asia on GDP growth, on policy options to stimulate economic growth and deflation challenges in Europe, as well as many other regional issues.
“Some are more general and broad, which are more challenging sometimes, but also interesting because it reminds you that you have to put things in context,” said Sergio Vieira of the GEMU team, as he described some of the queries posted by online participants joining the event from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the USA.
“A specific question was, for example, what will be the impact of current oil prices on the fiscal budget in Iraq,” he said, also giving examples of more general ones on declining wages and the options for governments to act on this.
“There seem to be quite a lot of concern about the levels of inequality, both at the global level and increasing inequality within economies,” added Ms. Holland.
The chat was an opportunity for the GEMU team to promote the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2015 and their economic insights on the global economy, as well as to make the United Nations more accessible to everyone.
“I think it is quite effective because you can log in from anywhere in the world and people did,” explained Dawn Holland, describing how people joined the Facebook chat from as far away as Nepal and Indonesia. “Normally it would be difficult for them to communicate with us here in New York, so it was an efficient way to make contact.”
Sergio Vieira also described the event as a chance for the online community to further explore the information that is available. “We can help them to somehow clarify some of the issues,” he reiterated.
To stay updated on global economic trends, the online community is encouraged to check out the WESP Monthly Briefings, released by the GEMU team and accessible online via their website (please see the link below). Later on this year, a mid-year update of the WESP 2015 will also become available.