Volume 15, No.8 - August 2011

Global dialogue on development

Call to inspire youth initiatives

Change Your World 2011 Campaign in support of the International Youth Day 2011 will take place on 12 August

Each year, International Youth Day (IYD) is assigned a theme; a conceptual slogan that communicates the scope, direction, and objectives of the year’s youth initiatives and also provides a unifying banner under which individuals can draw inspiration to take action. This year’s International Youth Day will represent the culmination of the International Year of Youth (IYY) – designated by the UN to comprise the 12-month period between IYD 2010 and IYD 2011 – and the 25th Anniversary of the first International Year of Youth.

“Change Our World” has been chosen as the theme for IYD 2011 as it not only expresses the level of impact that young people strive to achieve, but also reflects the notion of a global community that is a core principle of the United Nations. It is meant to be a call to inspire youth initiatives at all levels with the idea that efforts at the local level can have a global impact.

Youth are well attuned to modern forms of communication that have the capacity to connect people from all over the world with ease, and at an unprecedented speed. UNPY encourages the use of social media and networking tools as platforms for raising awareness and promoting activities, empowering youth, and enabling them to quite literally change our world.

It should be stressed that “Change Your World” is a call for continual, long lasting progress in areas of societal development that concern youth. Therefore, while the support of the private sector, governments, and civil society organizations is important, what’s most necessary is that young people be actively involved and that they claim ownership of this positive effort.

On 11 August, the UN Programme on Youth is holding the International Year of Youth (IYY) Culmination Celebration, which will take the form of a panel discussion focusing on amazing girls and women who are changing the world. It will be hosted by UNPY, Monique Coleman, Youth Champion and Allykatzz.

Celebrate International Youth Day by participating in the Change Your World 2011 contest on Facebook:

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Dialogue defines key drivers in reforming sustainable development institutions

Delegates from more than 90 member States, 30 international agencies and major groups gathered for a High Level Dialogue in Solo, Indonesia on 19-21 July

The dialogue was arranged to discuss reforms of the institutional framework for sustainable development and it helped define two key drivers in reforming sustainable development institutions: Integration and Implementation. The event featured a number of experts in sustainable development governance at international, national and local levels who were invited to present on the thematic areas of each session to start the discussions.

Each of the five sessions was co-chaired by representatives from developed and developing countries. The three-day dialogue ended with the “Solo Message”, which will feed into the Rio+20 process. The Message reflects the convergence of views discussed and focuses on two main points: (i) to integrate the economic, social and environmental pillars; (ii) to effectively implement the political commitments for sustainable development.

In particular, the Solo Message calls for an organization at the international level that enhances the integration of the three pillars – economic, social and environmental. Various options were discussed, ranging from an enhanced mandate for ECOSOC to establishing a sustainable development council. Many participants were also of the view that the environmental pillar needs to be reinforced to become balanced with the other two pillars. Strengthening UNEP will be essential in this process.

There is also a strong emphasis in the Message on the need to renew political commitment and translate it into implementation. Sustainable development governance at the local, national and regional levels needs to be reviewed and supported. At the national level, various options were discussed for more integrated support for national strategies, including the UN’s Delivering as One. In addition, the Solo Message called for innovative and additional financing to enable implementation of capacity building and technology transfer.

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ECOSOC discusses global economic governance and follow-up to Istanbul

Two panel discussions on “Global economic governance and development: Enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems” and “Building on Istanbul: Financial support for the development efforts of LDCs, including South-South and triangular cooperation” were held under the Financing for Development agenda item during the Coordination segment in Geneva on 11 and 12 July

Role of UN in global economic governance to be strengthened

The panel on global economic governance focused on the existing governance framework and ways to improve it. Following the financial and economic crisis, global economic governance is currently at the centre of attention, as the moderator, Mr. Sha Zukang, DESA’s Under-Secretary-General, pointed out. The current system was put in place more than 60 years ago and has become increasingly fragmented and inconsistent. In order to adequately respond to today’s challenges, a number of key issues need to be addressed, Mr. Sha said.

The UN as the only truly universal body must play a stronger role in global economic governance. UN institutions and procedures for coordination and policy-making should therefore be enhanced. Governance reforms should also be continued at the Bretton Woods institutions. Regional arrangements need to be more closely integrated in global governance. Better linkages should be developed between the informal G-20 process and existing multilateral structures. Moreover, in view of the Rio+20 process, governance for sustainable development is crucial.

Panelists supported the call for a strengthening of global economic governance. In particular the exchange rate system, global economic and financial imbalances, policy coordination and surveillance need to be addressed to improve modalities for the integration of developing countries in the world economy, said Mr. Petko Draganov, UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General. Reforming financial regulation, in particular with regard to systemic risks, was stressed as a key action area by Mr. Andrew Cornford of the Observatoire de la Finance.

On behalf of the G-20 presidency, Mr. Christian Masset, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of France, reaffirmed that global governance is a high priority on the G-20 agenda. Long-term issues such as the emergence of new economies and food and agriculture security will need to be effectively addressed by the governance mechanism. Improving global economic governance will be a gradual process that requires dialogue between informal and formal mechanisms. Countries stressed the need for an inclusive and transparent governance framework. In terms of the institutional set-up, an enhanced ECOSOC was considered well-placed to act as a hub for economic policy coordination in the UN system.

After Istanbul – mobilizing resources for LDCs

The Istanbul conference on the Least Developed Countries held in May was a major event to assess progress of LDCs and to adopt new measures and strategies. Building on the Istanbul Programme of Action, the panel discussed perspectives for resource mobilization for LDCs. Additional resources for LDCs are needed, involving official development assistance, but also other sources of financing such as foreign direct investment and remittances, said the moderator, Mr. Cheikh Sidi Diarra, USG and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

Another challenge faced by LDCs is to ensure that growing trade and financial linkages lead to structural change and growth in those countries. In the future, climate change adaptation and mitigation will require significant financing. Climate change financing is gaining traction, but only a small part of it is dedicated to LDCs. South-South and triangular cooperation is also important to further LDC development, said Mr. Diarra.

Panelists pointed to some major impediments faced by LDCs: limited productive capacities; infrastructure gaps; lack of human and social development; and prevalence of conflict or post-conflict situations. Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Permanent Representative of Nepal, mentioned the financial crisis and rising food prices as additional challenges for LDCs. Extensive national effort and strong international partnerships are necessary to see more LDCs graduate. Mobilizing domestic and external financial resources and using them effectively is crucial. In addition, governments’ capacities and institutions need to be enhanced.

Mr. Jeffrey D. Lewis, the World Bank, emphasized that aid flows continue to fall short of international commitments. However, the number of donors is increasing. It is also important not to limit debt relief to official debt, but also to tackle private commercial debt of LDCs. Mr. Jean-Marie Paugam, ITC Deputy Executive Director, stressed the importance of aid for trade.

Mr. Vicente Yu from the South Centre underscored the importance of international development cooperation. In particular fulfilling ODA commitments and establishing counter-cyclical facilities are vital. Countries supported the Istanbul agenda and the need to provide targeted and effective support to LDCs. In addition, private sector development, enhancing productive capacities and technology transfer were emphasized as means to achieve progress in LDCs.

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Excellence in public service acknowledged

UN Public Service Day was celebrated on 20-23 June in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The United Nations Public Service Awards was celebrated at the Mlimani City Conference Centre on 23 June, concluding the UN and Africa Public Service Forum, taking place on 20-23 June. The Forum, under the theme “Transformative Leadership in Public Administration and Innovation in Governance: Creating a Better Life for All” featured four capacity-building workshops that focused on challenges, trends, innovative practices and capacity development tools for improved public governance. Over five hundred attendees participated from sixty countries.

The Forum was organized jointly by DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management, the African Union Commission, and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, with the assistance of UN-Women and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

The Opening Ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister of Tanzania, Honourable Mizengo P. Pinda; the Minister of State, President’s Office, Public Service Management, of Tanzania, Honourable Hawa Ghasia; the Chairperson of the Pan Africa Conference of Ministers of Public Service and Minister of State for Public Service, Kenya, Honourable Dalmas Otieno Anyango; and Head, Division of Governance, Democracy and Human Rights, Department of Political Affairs of the African Union, Honourable Dr. Mamadou Dia.

The Closing Ceremony was attended by the Vice President of the Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal, who handed out the awards together with the UNDP Resident Coordinator in Tanzania, Mr. Alberic Kacou, and who officially closed the Forum.

Thirty-six public organizations from 22 countries were awarded with the most prestigious recognition of excellence in public service on 23 June, United Nations Public Service Day. Of this total, 20 awards were first place winners and 16 awards were second place winners.

The United Nations Public Service Awards programme, coordinated by DPADM, introduced two new categories in 2011, “Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service” and “Promoting Gender-Responsive Delivery of Public Services”. The programme received 299 nominations this year, marking a 44 per cent increase from the 207 nominations submitted for 2010 and the 81 nominations submitted at the inception of the awards programme in 2003.

The nominations came from 57 UN Member States, with seven participating for the first time. Although the Latin America and the Caribbean region doubled its share of the nominations, the region with the highest participation continues to be Asia and the Pacific.

The Republic of Korea won the most awards, seven in total, of which two were first place and five were second place winners, followed by Oman with a total of four awards, three of which are first place and one second place.

The winners are from the following countries in 1st place and 2nd place, respectively:

First place winners: Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, India , Mexico, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand

Second place winners: Dominica, Egypt, Netherlands, Oman, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates.

The event recognized the vital importance of the United Nations Public Service Awards and Africa Public Service Day Awards along with other international, regional and national public governance reform strategies, towards the replication and transfer of good and innovative practices among the United Nations and African Union Member States, acknowledging, with appreciation, the positive outcomes of these since 2003.

It also recognized the need for governments to commit themselves firmly to good governance with deliberate focus on the formulation and implementation of pro-poor policies to foster equitable societies where all individuals have equal opportunity.

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Celebrating indigenous cultures, stories and design

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples will be commemorated in New York on 9 August

In cooperation with the United Nations Department of Public Information/DPI and the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (SPFII) is organizing the celebration of the International day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

The event will take place on Tuesday, 9 August at the UN Headquarters in New York, from 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm at the ECOSOC Chamber. The theme of the year will be “Indigenous designs: celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future”.

The event will include the screening of a short video on the theme and an interactive dialogue to reflect this issue will be hosted. The dialogue is aimed at providing different perspectives on: the spiritual dimension of designs in traditional wear as a way of expressing identity, art, intellectual knowledge and culture.

It will also deal with the threat of appropriation of indigenous cultures and need of cultural preservation and revitalization; examples of good practices of businesses taking inspiration from indigenous peoples’ cultures and customs with emphasis on the nature and extent of involvement of indigenous peoples in this process. The focus will be on indigenous peoples’ rights and challenges in terms of ownership of their cultures, identities and traditions, intellectual property rights, and related economic development opportunities.

Previously, two Permanent Forum members, Edward John and Valmaine Toki, and SPFII staff attended the annual session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva on 11 – 15 July. Particular focus of this year’s session was on indigenous peoples and the right to participate in decision-making. In connection with the indigenous fellowship programme hosted by OHCHR, SPFFI also conducted a training session on 19 July in Geneva.

The Small Grants Programme for the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples of the United Nations Trust Fund on Indigenous Issues opened its 2012 call for proposals on 1 July. It will end on 1 September. Projects focusing on indigenous peoples and education, health, environment, culture, human rights and social and economic development are accepted.

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Further information and application forms: