Setting new statistical standards for implementation

From 22 to 25 February, Chief Statisticians from member states around the world gather in New York during the forty-second session of the Statistical Commission

The United Nations Statistical Commission, overseeing the work of DESA’s Statistics Division, is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities, in particular for the setting of statistical standards, the development of concepts and methods and their implementation at the national and international level.

The Commission promotes the development of national statistics and the improvement of their comparability, coordinates the statistical work of specialized agencies, develops the central statistical services of the Secretariat and advises the organs of the United Nations on general questions relating to the collection, analysis and dissemination of statistical information.

The Statistical Commission considers special issues of concern in international statistical development, methodological issues, coordination and integration of international statistical programmes, support of technical cooperation activities in statistics and organizational matters.

This year, the commission will have before it a report of the Secretary-General describing the activities undertaken by the statistical community to mark the first World Statistics Day which celebrated the many achievements of official statistics and the core values of service, integrity and professionalism. The Commission is invited to comment on the relevance and effectiveness of the activities and the proposed options for future celebrations of World Statistics Day.

The General Assembly designated 20 October as World Statistics Day to recognize the vital role that the production of reliable and timely statistics and indicators plays in society. These facts and figures provide an important tool for assessing different situations and needs. Statistics data allow issues to become visible, thus making the identification of needs and the implementation of solutions possible.

In addition, the Commission will consider, among others, gender statistics, including violence against women, energy statistics, economic and MDG monitoring indicators as well as statistics of human development.

The four day meeting will also discuss statistical capacity-building, statistics for development, the population and housing censuses, health, education, agriculture and tourism statistics as well as the coordination of statistical activities. It will also bring up standards on data and metadata exchange as well as global geospatial information management.

DESA’s Statistics Division will also organize again an informal briefing session for those delegates who participate in the Statistical Commission for the first time. This session will take place on 21 February, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm in UN DC-2 Building Room 2330. The purpose of this informal briefing is not only to inform new members about the functioning of the Commission procedures, but also to offer a first opportunity for networking with other Commission participants.

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Calendar of side events:

How can we count on the philanthropic community to support education

ECOSOC will convene a special event on “Partnering with the philanthropic community to promote education for all” on 28 February in New York

The special meeting, which will count on the participation from Member States, the United Nations, Non-governmental organizations and the corporate, philanthropic and academic communities, will aim to gain the support of philanthropic institutions to achieve Education For All, review progress, identify gaps and explore collaborative opportunities in advancing progress in education around the world.

The event is also expected to make substantive contributions to the 2011 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) on “implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education.”

The meeting will include an opening plenary session followed by two panel discussions on: Staying the course: Enabling access for both girls and boys to complete primary education and promoting education and training for tomorrow’s economy. As the titles clearly state, the key objective of the special event is to increase focus on issues central to the achievement of education for all.

Expecting definite results

The expected outcome of the discussion is three-fold. First, it is hoped to broaden the range of stakeholders involved in the work of ECOSOC, and to increase the awareness among the philanthropic community on the progress made and the challenges faced in achieving the internationally agreed goals and commitments on education.

Participants will explore ways to promote concrete initiatives by the philanthropic community and initiate new partnerships that would accelerate progress in reaching the international goals and targets related to education.

Finally, the meeting will serve as the setting to expand multi-stakeholder engagement in the international community’s efforts to help advance the progress in the area of education.

Receiving support

Announcements of contributions by the private sector/philanthropic community to educational programs around the world will be made on the day of the event. A social media campaign has been launched to gather questions from the public-at-large, to be posed at the event.

All are invited to watch a public service announcement produced by the United Nations Department of Public Information, and to submit questions online.

The event will be broadcast live via the United Nations Webcast and on the main page of the special event.

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Advancing on sustainable development

Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting for the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-19), to be held in New York from 28 February – 4 March, will negotiate policy options related to the thematic cluster for the CSD 18-19 cycle

The themes for the CSD 18-19 cycle are transport, chemicals, waste management, mining and the Ten-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns. During the preparatory meeting, each of the different themes will be further discussed in order to prepare solid recommendation for the next meeting of the commission, which will take place from 2 to 13 May in New York.

The meeting will include different thematic segments that are aimed at discussing policy options to address barriers and constraints taking into account lessons learned and best practices. Each of the segments will include panel and interactive discussions. On the last day of the meeting, two multi-stakeholder dialogues will be held. The first will focus on an open dialogue on “advancing the implementation of sustainable development”, and the second will open the floor to explore the “Expectations of CSD-19 within the context of Rio+20.”

Pre-registration for CSD-19 is now open

Pre-registration of accredited Major Groups’ to the 19th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-19) is now open. This meeting will take place from 2-13 May 2011 at UN Headquarters in New York.

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To pre-register:

Discussing sustainable patterns of consumption and production

Member States, Major Groups, and UN Agencies met in Panama from 13-14 January to discuss potential programs to be included in the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP (10YFP) to support regional and national initiatives, the structure the 10YFP could take, and the possible visions and objectives it could serve

The meeting was chaired by the Chief Administrator of the Environment Agency of Panama, and was attended by over 110 participants, mainly governments. The Chair of the 19th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Minister of Environment of Romania also presided. It also served to provide an informal setting prior to the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting beginning on 28 February for Member States and Major Groups to consider the shape of the 10YFP, which they might be willing to endorse at CSD-19.

Among the aspects that were considered during the meeting were the vision and goals of the framework, the functions to be performed, the elements of the framework to deliver those functions, the criteria for programmes to add in the 10YFP and its overall structure.

The discussions on the 10YFP must now move to the formal CSD process, where governments will begin to define their negotiating positions. The Panama Intersessional was particularly useful in bringing many developing country representatives up to speed on the issues for deliberation and decision at CSD-19 if a 10YFP is to be endorsed and launched.

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UNCSD Bureau Meetings

9th and 10th Bureau Meetings of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) were held in New York last month

The 9th Bureau Meeting of UNCSD was held on 7 January and Mr. Georgios Kostakos, Officer-in-Charge of the Secretariat of the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, briefed on the background, composition and proposed plan of work of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability.

At the meeting, Conference Secretary-General Sha Zukang introduced the two Executive Coordinators, Ms. Elizabeth Thompson of Barbados and Mr. Brice Lalonde of France. Both Executive Coordinators expressed their enthusiasm at being part of the process and indicated their readiness to support the intergovernmental preparations.

Although several countries have made pledges, the Secretariat shared its concerns on the lack of financial contributions to the Trust Fund. The amount received so far was only US $45,000. In fact, it was noted that lack of funds has already started to affect the planned preparatory activities.

During the Bureau’s tenth meeting, held on 11 January, participants discussed the organization and results of the first Intersessional Meeting, including feedback it had received from its constituencies. A proposal was also made to have an action-oriented roadmap for one green economy.

On the institutional framework for sustainable development, proposals ranged from strengthening the CSD and UNEP, to establishing a Sustainable Development Council, and to creating a UN umbrella body on sustainable development.

The tentative date for the next bureau meeting is scheduled for 16 February 2011.

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Securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development

At the First Intersessional Meeting of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), which took place in New York from 10 -11 January, key participants met to discuss the overarching themes of Rio+20

The purpose of this meeting was to advance the understanding of the subject matter of the conference. The panelists, Member States, UN system and Major groups engaged in lively and interactive discussions expressing their views on benefits, challenges and concerns regarding the objective and the themes of UNCSD 2012.

The intersessional meeting also served as a space to assess the progress to date and discuss the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging issues. The meeting also discussed the two themes of the Conference – a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and institutional framework for sustainable development.

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