DESA News

Volume 15, No.5 - May 2011

Global dialogue on development


High-level Symposium on effectiveness and results in development cooperation

The event “Gearing development cooperation towards the MDGs: Effectiveness and Results” is the first milestone in preparing for the 2012 Development Cooperation Forum and will take place on 5–6 May in Bamako, Mali

The symposium is arranged during a time when prospects for global economic recovery remain uncertain, and the world’s poorest citizens continue to suffer from delays in reaching the MDGs. The crisis is dramatically reducing commitments by OECD donors and leading them to stress the need for greater results from aid. However, sustainable results can be achieved only through developing country leadership and mutual accountability between donors and developing countries.

The Mali Symposium will allow high-level participants and practitioners from all stakeholder groups to debate how to scale up tested solutions to improve development results by improving the quality of aid, through interactive dialogue among and within different groups.

The results are expected to be agreement on: how best aid can achieve development results and how this should be measured; how broad-based country ownership can best ensure that these results are sustainable in different country contexts; proposals for a development cooperation accountability framework on aid between LDCs and their donors, in light of planned monitoring and follow-up to LDC-IV; proposals for improving country-level mutual accountability between developing countries, donors and other stakeholders; and measures to enhance accountability for development results produced by aid to education.

The recommendations will help prepare for the 2012 UN Development Cooperation Forum in late June/early July 2012, as well as provide inputs into the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul on 9-13 May and contributing to the Fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness organized by the OECD-DAC in Busan, the Republic of Korea in November/December 2011.

For more information: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/newfunct/dcfmali.shtml

Transport, chemicals and waste among topics for CSD-19

The 19th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-19) will take place in New York on 2-13 May

As a Policy Year for the Commission, Member States will discuss the following issues: Transport, Chemicals, Waste Management (Hazardous and Solid Waste), Mining and a 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption & Production Patterns (SCP).

Current transportation development trends are not sustainable and the need to reduce pollution levels has been widely recognized. Urgent action is needed to promote integrated transport plans and to accelerate the phase-out of leaded gasoline. There is also much that remains to be done when it comes to the safe use and handling of chemicals. Two of the major problems are the lack of sufficient scientific information for risk assessment and a shortage of resources for evaluation of chemicals for which data are available.

CSD-19 will also discuss the importance of preventing the creation of hazardous wastes and rehabilitating contaminated sites, as well as solid waste management. It will moreover address priority areas for sustainable mining and transitioning to more sustainable patterns of consumption and production within a 10-year framework of programmes, also referred to as the Marrakesh Process.

CSD was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1998. Some policy documents from CSD-19 will feed into the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) processes.

More information: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/csd/csd_csd19.shtml

LDC-IV Conference to assess results and adopt new strategies

The UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC) will hold its fourth session in Istanbul, Turkey on 9-13 May

The purpose of the conference is to assess the results of the 10-year action plan for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which was approved in 2001 and to adopt new measures and strategies for the sustainable development of the LDCs into the next decade. The outcome of the regional and national level preparations will be included in global preparations and generate consensus ahead of the conference.

Thematic reviews at the global level will allow UN agencies and other international organizations to contribute with expert knowledge. While providing for interaction at all levels, the conference will have the following main components: Inter-governmental track involving LDC governments and their development partners; Parliamentary track concerning members of the legislature from LDCs and their development partners; Civil society track with activities by civil society organizations; Private sector track relating to private sector activities organized in cooperation with the UN.

LDC-IV high-level side events

 

“Macroeconomic Policies for LDCs: From Economic Recovery to Sustainable Development”

This high-level event will take place at the Tophane Hall, Istanbul Congress Centre on 10 May, 6-8 pm

Organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the panel discussion will deliberate the role of macroeconomic policies in promoting and fostering economic growth and sustainable development. The high-level panel will identify a set of macroeconomic policies that are particularly relevant for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and present alternative perspectives on how sound macroeconomic policies can promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The event will also help inform LDC leaders about the efforts of the UN system to assist LDCs in the design and implementation of alternative and development-oriented macroeconomic policies.

“Optimizing Support Measures for LDCs: Access, Utilization and Effectiveness – Launch of the LDC Information Portal & the publication of ‘Out of the Trap’”

The event will be held on 11 May at 1-3 pm at Topkapi B, the Lutfi Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Centre

The event will feature the launch of the Least Developed Countries Information Portal – www.un.org/ldcportal – which was created to enhance LDCs’ access to information and utilization of the existing international support measures provided by development and trading partners.

The publication “Out of the Trap” will also be presented. It contains analysis of the development impact of existing international support measures and lessons for the future to assess the impact of membership in the LDC category on the development of LDCs. The Conference hopes to offer multi-stakeholders the opportunity to get a comprehensive overview of available international support measures.

The event is organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Committee for Development Policy (CDP) Secretariat and Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International (FERDI). It will also feature a panel discussion on the main findings of the two initiatives related to optimizing international support measures for LDCs chaired by Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and moderated by Mr. Richard Jolly, Member of the Eminent Persons Group for LDC IV and Honorary Professor of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

“Illicit Financial Flows: Perspectives on issues and options for LDCs”

This special event will be arranged on 11 May at 6:15 pm – 8:00 pm in Istanbul, Turkey

The event, which will be hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, aims to sensitize participants to the issue of illicit capital flows as a development issue and the potential scale of the problem and its impact on LDC development. It will also highlight component aspects of the problem, including flows relating to tax avoidance and evasion and issues in the repatriation of assets, practical ways of addressing illicit flows and selecting and implementing appropriate responses.

A UNDP commissioned analytical study which attempts to quantify the magnitude and nature of illicit financial flows from LDC economies using one methodological approach will be presented along with some best practices to ensure that tax revenues are collected and wisely budgeted for development purposes from the “South-South Sharing of Successful Tax Practices (S4TP)” project. The UN’s Economic Commission for Africa will also present recent efforts to promote more coordinated international, regional and national efforts to address the negative effects of illicit financial outflows on the African continent.

The event is co-organized by UNDP and the Republic of Benin with support from UNDP-Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, UNDESA and UN ECA. It will be chaired by Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram of UNDESA and feature opening remarks by Mr. Shahid Najam, RC/RR UN/UNDP Turkey; Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for HHRLLS; Ms. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group (UNDG) and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey.

“Mutual Accountability for LDC: A framework for aid quality and beyond”

The special event will take place in Camlica Hall at the LDC-IV conference venue on 12 May at 6:15 pm – 8 pm

The Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination (OESC) is organizing this special event with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – Development Assistant Committee (OECD-DAC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

LDC-IV provides a unique opportunity to review how the development concerns of LDCs and MDG challenges can be better met by increasing aid, improving its quality and strengthening mutual accountability frameworks between donors and programme countries for development results. This event aims to reflect on how mutual liability between LDCs and their donors can contribute to the realization of international commitments, including those contained in the draft Istanbul Programme of Action.

The event will address aid quality and effectiveness from the perspective of LDCs and explore whether the frameworks aimed at ensuring mutual accountability between LDCs and their donors on aid commitments fully reflect the concerns and needs of LDCs. It will also build on findings of the High-level Symposium in Mali the week before on “Gearing development cooperation towards the MDGs: effectiveness and results”. The outcome will highlight issues of critical concern and ways to review and promote progress. It will also inform the next UN Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) in June/July 2012 and contribute to preparations for the fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in November 2011.

For more information: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/

For more information on the LDC IV Conference: http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/ldc/home

Regional ministerial conference to tackle questions facing education

The meeting will convene under the theme “Key Education Challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean: Teachers, Quality, and Equity” on 12-13 May in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The event is arranged in preparation for the 2011 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) to be held at UN Headquarters in Geneva in July 2011 on the theme “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education”.

Themes to be discussed include: educational agenda of the LAC region; teachers, teaching and its dimensions; ICTs in Education; assessment of education quality, and equity in education. The conference will assess regional progress towards the EFA goals, highlight major obstacles impeding continued progress and explore various strategies to overcome them.

The conference is hosted by the Government of Argentina, in cooperation with the UNDESA, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Economic Commission for Latina America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). A diverse group of stakeholders consisting of governments, civil society, UN system institutions and the private sector will be brought together.

For more information: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/

Advancing the rights of indigenous people

The 10th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) will take place in New York on 16-27 May

This session will be especially significant since this is the review year and since special emphasis will be placed on the implementation of UNPFII recommendations on economic and social development; the environment; and free, prior and informed consent.

Human rights issues will be addressed and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been invited along with the members of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A plenary panel will also focus on the right to water and indigenous peoples. Other events arranged include a discussion on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples; discussion on Rio+20; and a follow up on recommendations and actions on the various studies that will be presented during the Forum.

The special regional focus will be on indigenous peoples of the Central and South America and the Caribbean region. Other special features of the session will include a discussion on the Permanent Forum’s mission to Colombia; a half-day discussion on the right to water and indigenous peoples; discussions on a number of studies completed this year by the UNPFII.

The event is expected to attract a large number of participants representing governments, the UN, other inter-governmental organizations and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs), NGOs and academia. So far, 1,300 participants representing organizations and academia have pre-registered.

About 50 side events will take place during the session, organized by Member States, UN entities, other intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, the Secretariat and others. There will also be a photographic exhibition on the theme indigenous peoples and water.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/session_tenth.html

Commission agrees on resolution on “Fertility, reproductive health and development”

The 44th session of the Commission on Population and Development was held in New York on 11-15 April

The work of the Commission, under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Brian Bowler, Permanent Representative of Malawi, was completed successfully with two decisions and a resolution on the session’s theme of “Fertility, reproductive health and development” being passed by consensus.

The resolution on “Fertility, reproductive health and development” provides a strong endorsement of the recommendations contained in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Key Actions for its further implementation adopted at the 21st Special Session of the General Assembly. The resolution reaffirmed that gender equality cannot be achieved without promoting and protecting the right of women to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health.

The resolution urges Governments to protect and promote the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms regardless of age and marital status, including by eliminating all forms of discrimination against girls and women, and stressed the need to strengthen health systems and ensure that they prioritize universal access to sexual and reproductive information and health-care services, including family planning, prenatal care, safe delivery and post-natal care to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

The need was stressed for Governments to ensure that all women, men and young people have access to information as well as to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning and to give full attention to meeting the reproductive health-care service and education needs of adolescents to enable them to deal in a positive and responsible way with their sexuality.

The Commission emphasized the need to strengthen policy and programme linkages and coordination between HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health and their inclusion in national development plans as well as to scale up significantly efforts to meet the goal of ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. It also called upon the international community to help Governments meet the family planning needs by increasing the financial resources needed to implement the Programme of Action.

Welcoming the General Assembly’s decision last December to extend the Programme of Action adopted in Cairo at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development beyond 2014, the Commission called on all Governments to make every effort to mobilize the required resources to ensure that its objectives were met. At the same time, the Commission reaffirmed the sovereign right of States to implement the Cairo Programme’s recommendations, in accordance with national laws and development priorities, and with full respect for religious, ethical and cultural values.

Two decisions were also adopted by the Commission. The first was the Provisional Agenda for 2012 and the second decision was that the special theme for the forty-sixth session in 2013 would be New Trends in Migration: Demographic Aspects and that the forty-seventh session in 2014 would be devoted to an Assessment of the status of implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/population/cpd/aboutcom.htm

Several countries on track to achieve education goals

The ECOSOC 2011 Annual Ministerial Review Africa Regional Meeting was held on 12 April in Lomé, Togo on the theme “The right to Education for All in Africa: Reinforcing quality and equity”

The programme was set around four main sessions on: education and the MDGs; a rights-based approach to inclusive, quality education; country experiences and best practices; and key policy messages for the 2011 ECOSOC AMR. Ministers of Education and a broad cross section of regional stakeholders discussed trends, challenges, and policies and programmes on education in Africa and their impact on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Among the key messages emanating from the discussion were that the situation of education in Africa is hopeful with several countries being on track to achieve universal primary education and gender equality in education by 2015. Another note was that progress in Africa remains threatened by slower economic growth, reduced public and international expenditure on education, and by the complex demands placed on systems struggling to cope with increased enrollment. Moreover, the most significant underlying causes for the current shortcomings and challenges to education in Africa are the lack of equity in the delivery of education services and the low quality of education.

Recommendations need to approach education from the perspective of a fundamental human right and focus on “including the excluded”; eliminate school fees for primary education, with additional support for the marginalized; introduce early-childhood programmes wherever possible, to give children a fair and early chance to learn; expand school feeding programmes to promote retention; and strengthen capacity to recruit and retain good teachers.

The meeting was co-organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in cooperation with UNESCO, UNICEF, UNECA and in collaboration with the Government of Togo. It is part of the preparatory process for the 2011 Annual Ministerial Review on “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education”.

A summary report of the meeting is being prepared and will be presented by the Education Minister of Togo at the high-level segment of ECOSOC.

For more information: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/

Call for quality improvements and skill training

The 13th session of the Committee for Development Policy took place on 21-25 March in New York

This year, the meeting focused on the review of the 2011 Annual Ministerial Review on the Internationally Agreed Goals and Commitments in regards to Education, the UN development agenda beyond 2015, the status of Least Development countries (LDCs) and issues on international migration.

While progress has been made, the Committee concluded that more implementation needs to occur. Discussions stressed the need for quality improvements in education, attention to post-primary education and skill-training by effectively placing education policies in the broader context of microeconomic and development strategies. Regarding migration, it was urged that negative consequences be addressed and regulatory measures be improved to ensure adequate working and living conditions of migrants.

The outcome of the session is part of a larger research programme whose main conclusions and recommendations are expected to be forwarded to ECOSOC in 2012. In addition, further refinements to the indicators of LDCs will be made to better reflect the structural vulnerability of countries to climate change.

For more information:
http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/cdp/index.shtml