DESA News

Volume 16, No.10 - October 2012

Capacity development


Using data for transparency, accountability and collaboration

Workshop on Next Stage in Open Government Data: Using Data for Transparency, Accountability and Collaboration will be organized in Cape Town, South Africa on 10-12 October

The workshop is arranged by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) and co-organized with the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) of the South African Ministry of Public Administration in conjunction with the annual United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN)-Southern African Development Community (SADC) Partners Meeting of CPSI. Taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, the workshop will focus on “Next Stage in Open Government Data: Using Data for Transparency, Accountability and Collaboration”. 

Open government data (OGD) is strongly linked with DPADM’s work areas as it is an online service by governments (electronic and mobile government) and an important initiative to strengthen participatory governance, which allows citizens to monitor data streams and thereby monitor the government (transparency, corruption). It also allows citizens to be aware of important issues and to be part of the decision-making process to address policy issues (citizen engagement, e-participation).

Aware of the emerging trends in the area of open data and challenges in legal, institutional and technical frameworks, DPADM is in the process of developing a toolkit on OGD which serves as an entry point for those UN Member States who plan to share data with their constituents. The toolkit includes strategies for opening government data, templates that governments can customize for their own needs, technologies for opening data, recommendations about the data hosting applications and platforms. In summary, step by step instructions for public officials interested in sharing government data online. 

During the workshop, participants, mostly from developing countries and particularly from Africa, will be trained not only on how to utilize technologies to publish their datasets, but also on the next steps after publishing government data to ensure that the effort in publishing data leads to its effective usage. Most inspiring examples from leading countries will be shared with the participants. Since the majority of the countries have inadequate resources to implement systems for publishing data, emphasis will be given to free or low-cost technology solutions for publishing government data.  

Approximately 60 participants are expected. Participants include Government and public administration officials, including a knowledge management coordinator from each of the SADC countries, key citizens’ e/m-government experts from academia and research institution, civil society and private sector representatives, officials from DPADM Partner Organizations, as well as staff from the United Nations system. 

For more information: 
United Nations Public Administration Network

Developing comparable economic statistics

Workshop on the Implementation of the System of National Accounts 2008 for member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organisation, will be held in Tehran, Iran, on 14-17 October

DESA’s Statistics Division is organizing a workshop on the Implementation of the System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA) for member countries of the ECO in collaboration with the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) and hosted by the Statistical Centre of Iran.

The purpose of the workshop is to initiate the formulation of an implementation plan for the 2008 SNA and supporting economic statistics in the ECO member countries with the objective of developing comparable economic statistics for monitoring the integration of their economies.

It is expected that this initiative would allow countries to set up priorities for the implementation of the 2008 SNA and improve the quality and the scope of existing economic statistics. It should also help international organizations and other donors supporting capacity building activities in the region to get information on the most urgent needs of countries and better coordinate their efforts.

For more information:

DESA’s Statistics Division

Launch of the Support Measures Portal for LDCs

A redesigned version of the Support Measures Portal for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) will become available on 17 October

The Portal compiles and catalogues in one single place, information about LDC-specific international support measures. As the single source of information, the Portal can assist the LDCs to improve their understanding of what LDC-specific support measures are, who their main “suppliers” are, and what is needed to access these resources.

Users will have access to information about international support measures from the donor community (including bilateral donors and multilateral organizations) as well as from the special treatment accorded to LDCs by certain multilateral and regional trade agreements. The major support measures extended to countries with LDC status vary among development partners and relate primarily to trade preferences and the volume of official development assistance.

The measures fall into three main areas: international trade; official development assistance, and other forms of assistance. By facilitating the utilization of the support measures, the Portal’s aim is to assist LDCs to meet the targets established in Istanbul and contribute to enable half of the LDCs to meet the criteria for graduation by 2020.

The Support Measures Portal for LDCs will be avialable at: www.un.org/ldcportal

For more information:
DESA’s Development Policy and Analysis Division (DPAD)

E-mail address to the DPAD/CDP Secretariat – ldcportal@un.org

Training national statistical authorities in Africa

DESA’s Statistics Division will conduct a Regional Workshop on Population Projections for English Speaking African Countries in Pretoria, South Africa, on 29 October-2 November

The purpose of the workshop, held within the framework of the 2010 World Programme on Population and Housing Censuses, is to provide training to statisticians from national statistical authorities in Africa in producing projections of population based on census results.

The 2010 World Programme on Population and Housing Censuses was approved by the Statistical Commission at its 36th session and adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The programme recognizes population and housing censuses as one of the main sources of data for effective development planning and objective decision- making. In addition, the data are useful for monitoring population trends and programmes, as well as for evaluating policies. The 2010 World Programme is primarily aimed at ensuring that each Member State conducts a population and housing census at least once in the period from 2005 to 2014 and disseminates the results.

For more information:

Calendar of Events of DESA’s Statistics Division

The 2010 World Programme on Population and Housing Censuses

Teaching policy tools to achieve MDGs

Since the beginning of 2012, DPAD has held workshops for government officials in a number of developing countries, offering practical training on the use of advanced tools for policymaking

DESA’s Development Policy and Analysis Division (DPAD) continues its series of capacity development activities, as part of the project “Strengthening Macroeconomic and Social Policy Coherence through Integrated Macro-Micro Modelling”. The objective of the project is to institutionalise the use of an integrated macro-micro modelling framework to help policymakers formulate strategies to mitigate external shocks and put their countries on track to achieve the MDGs by 2015.  

To achieve this, DPAD is conducting workshops in a number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The workshops provide extensive training in economy-wide modelling and microsimulation tools that support policy analysis and scenario analysis. The activities are divided into: i) inception workshops, where the modelling tools are described, real-time simulations are conducted to demonstrate how these tools produce results and their analysis, and the schedule of activities is agreed on; ii) intensive training workshops, where participants get hands-on experience to simulate scenarios using their country’s dataset and policy proposals; and iii) concluding workshops, where the trainees present policy notes.

DPAD provides the software tools (including user friendly interface solutions), background materials, training, and continuous guidance throughout the rigorous training process. The workshops culminate in the presentation of detailed policy notes to high level government officials, presenting policy alternatives and expected outcomes in relation to the MDGs and other national objectives.

Each of the workshops is jointly organized with local UNDP offices and the respective government counterparts. DPAD training activities are “demand-driven”, in that the project responds to requests by governments for this support. This helps ensure stakeholder commitment.

For more information:

Read more about the project “Strengthening Macroeconomic and Social Policy Coherence through Integrated Macro-Micro Modelling”

Read more about the workshops (agenda, presentations, and participants) by clicking on the Activities tab of the previous link.

Read more about DESA/DPAD Capacity Development and Advisory Services