Volume 15, No.6 - June 2011

Capacity development

Platform for exchange of census data experience

Regional Seminar on Census Data Dissemination and Spatial Analysis for Latin American Countries, will be arranged in Santiago, Chile, on 31 May – 3 June

The Regional Seminar, which is being organized by DESA’s Statistics Division in collaboration with ECLAC and UNFPA, will provide a forum for sharing national practices and experiences in the dissemination and use of census data.

It will aid in taking stock of national capacities and challenges for meeting the increasing requirements of census data users as well as review emerging trends, innovative approaches and technological tools employed in the dissemination of census data. Furthermore, the seminar is expected to help in identifying good practices and lessons learned in the dissemination and analysis of census data.

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Institutionalizing water accounts and statistics

Workshop will be held in Pretoria, South Africa on 6-8 June

The objective of the workshop is to provide focalized technical assistance to some countries in southern Africa for the institutionalization of water accounts and statistics. The workshop will be based on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water (SEEA-Water) and the International Recommendations for Water Statistics (IRWS), adopted by the UN Statistics Commission (UNSC).

The workshop will be jointly organized by DESA’s Statistics Division and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The participants include experts from the National Statistics Offices and Water Agencies from Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa and Zimb abwe.

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Analyzing mortality, housing and the situation of the elderly in Ethiopia

Dissemination of the Analytical Reports of the 2007 Ethiopian Population and Housing Census, June 2011

As a part of the Regional Project to Strengthen National Capacity to Analyse, Present and Disseminate Census Data, and within the framework of the 2010 World Population and Housing Census Programme, DESA’s Statistics Division is supporting the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) of Ethiopia in conducting in-depth analyses of its 2007 Population and Housing Census.

Four teams comprising the staff of the CSA, national and international experts worked from 11 April to 6 May on four topics selected by CSA: fertility, mortality, housing and the situation of the elderly in Ethiopia.

The final drafts of the analytical reports are ready for professional editing of the language. A dissemination seminar will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the 3rd week of June, where about 300 persons from line ministries, government agencies, national and international non-governmental organizations, UN and other international agencies, the media, academic and research institutes and users in general are expected to attend.

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Using macro-micro modeling framework in decision-making

DPAD’s capacity development project on “Strengthening Macroeconomic and Social Policy Coherence through Integrated Macro-Micro Modelling” was launched through training workshops in Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador with the most recent one taking place in Quito on 10-12 May

Recent UN-DESA studies have revealed that progress toward the MDGs is expected to slow down as a consequence of the global economic downturn as well as high energy and food prices. Lower government revenue and income per capita will lead to reduced public and private spending on social services. It is estimated that the cost of achieving the MDGs will rise by 1.5-2 per cent of GDP, which will require that countries mobilize additional resources in order to prevent social and economic setbacks.

Given the effects of the global economic crisis, the Development Policy and Analysis Division (DPAD) has been receiving requests from Governments of several developing countries for capacity development support, as they see it necessary to strengthen their analytical capacity to assess the impacts of the crisis and other external shocks. This would further enable them to design policies and/or request financial support from the international community to help revert the situation and to ensure the timely achievement of the MDGs and its continued sustainability beyond 2015.

Capacities had already been built in almost thirty countries from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa through projects that UN-DESA/DPAD has completed, covering a wide range of issues from financing strategies to achieve the MDGs, to social protection policies that may help countries alleviate the impact of unfavourable external shocks. These completed studies have helped set up the foundations for pursuing more capacity development efforts.

In response to Governments’ requests, DPAD initiated in 2011 the capacity development project “Strengthening Macroeconomic and Social Policy Coherence through Integrated Macro-Micro Modelling”, funded by the Development Account, and which will be implemented in close collaboration with other partners including UNDP and the World Bank. It builds on the accumulated work of previous capacity development projects and aims at providing support in strengthening the ability of policy makers to understand and use an integrated macro-micro modelling framework in decision-making.

Integrated macro-micro modelling framework

The integrated macro-micro modelling framework combines an economy-wide model and methodologies at the micro and sectoral levels. At the core is a special module which specifies the main determinants of MDG achievement and the direct impact of enhanced public expenditures on MDG-related infrastructure and services. It also shows how the financing of these may affect the economy at large and the feasibility to achieve targets on poverty reduction, primary education, maternal mortality and access to safe water and basic sanitation. As part of one of the project’s pilot studies, the framework will be extended to incorporate targets for MDG 6 on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases in countries where this is relevant.

Inception workshops for institutional capacity building

The project was launched through inception training workshops in Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador. The most recent workshop took place in Quito, on 10-12 May. The main objective of these workshops has been to present the macro-micro modelling framework and to brainstorm on the key policy questions to be addressed, data challenges and design a work plan. In addition, the institutional arrangements for project implementation have been discussed with the Governments, with a view to form an inter-institutional technical team to be trained in the application of the modelling tool.

Upcoming activities

Inception workshops are scheduled to be conducted in the second half of 2011 in Costa Rica, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan and Uganda. At the same time, follow-up training workshop will be organized for the other four countries.

By the end of the project in 2013, it is envisaged that three intensive training workshops and technical backstopping from DPAD for each of the participating countries would have been completed. In addition, a methodological toolkit will be transferred to the Governments with a view to initiate a policy dialogue in support of policy making.

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