DESA News

Volume 16, No.07 - July 2012

Global dialogue on development


ECOSOC opens with focus on global labour market

The Substantive Session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will take place in New York on 2-27 July

Addressing the world’s economic, social and environmental challenges, ECOSOC will hold its annual, month-long substantive session in July. The session is divided into five segments ― High-level; Coordination; Operational Activities; Humanitarian Affairs; and General. With its focus on pressing development challenges, the High-level segment regularly attracts policy-makers from the top ranks of government. The Segment also features the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) and the biennial Development Cooperation Forum (DCF).

High-level Segment

This year’s high-level segment which takes place on 2-9 July, opens with the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) on 2-3 July, spotlighting the theme of “promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty”

This focus is particularly timely, as the global economic and financial crisis has exacerbated pre-existing challenges to the achievement of full employment and decent work in both developing and developed countries. While unemployment and labour market inequity remain high in developed countries, workers in developing countries must contend with high rates of under-employment, vulnerable employment and informal work.

The 2012 AMR will examine global labour market trends and assess progress toward meeting employment and decent work-related goals. It will result in a ministerial declaration, to be adopted on 9 July that reflects the international commitment to prioritise job creation in the development agenda.

On 2 and 3 July, nine countries – Algeria, Brazil, Ecuador, Kenya, Mauritius, Qatar, Russian Federation, Senegal and Ukraine – will make National Voluntary Presentations (NVPs). They will share experience in terms of the progress that has been accomplished and the remaining obstacles with respect to productive capacity and employment. 

On 3 July, representatives from the international financial and trade institutions will convene for a high-level policy dialogue on recent developments in the world economy, followed by a thematic roundtable on 9 July, which will highlight “macro-economic policies for productive capacity, employment creation, sustainable development and the achievement of the MDGs”.

On 5-6 July, the High-level Segment will continue with the third biennial Development Cooperation Forum (DCF). As a true multi-stakeholder global platform for interactive debate on the effective and coherent use of development cooperation, the 2012 DCF will bring together a large number of diverse participants.

The DCF has an ever more important role to play and the growing number and diversity of actors in international development cooperation can benefit from such an inclusive global platform. Innovative development partnerships are gaining traction. They increasingly coordinate and regroup around common goals. Yet, to release their full potential, efforts need to be more coherent and better coordinated.  

A continued focus on turning pledges into implementation is urgently needed to scale up development efforts led and owned by programme countries. With limited resources and competing demands, any type of development assistance must show tangible results. 

These challenges are aggravated by political uncertainty and economic hardship that continue to dominate development prospects. Such deep changes call for practical solutions that are built around sustainable development and designed to work in the long run for the benefit of all people. The post-2015 UN development agenda needs to build on this premise. 

The 2012 DCF aims to promote solutions to enhance development cooperation, improve its quality and maximize its impact to accomplish national and international development priorities in the context of sustainable development. It will explore emerging drivers of change that will shape the future of development cooperation.  

In the spirit of global accountability, the frank and interactive discussions are expected to encourage all actors to live up to promises made on aid issues. Special emphasis will also be placed on South-South Cooperation and the evolving role of private philanthropic organizations and decentralised cooperation.  

In view of the evolving post 2015 UN development agenda, the 2012 DCF will also provide a unique opportunity for the universal membership of the UN and other stakeholders to discuss international efforts to promote development cooperation and to further promote the role of the DCF as a multi-stakeholder and inclusive forum for addressing emerging challenges and acting as global apex for accountability on development cooperation. 

A series of side events will also be held at the margins of the DCF, organized by representatives of different stakeholder groups. 

The High-level Segment will be chaired by H.E. Mr. Miloš Koterec of Slovakia, President of ECOSOC.

Coordination Segment

Organized on 10-12 July, this segment will focus on following up to the 2011 Ministerial Declaration on “implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education” and to the International Conference on Financing for Development

There will be a dialogue with the executive secretaries of the regional commissions on the theme of “Regional perspectives on youth and development”, during which the report of the Secretary-General on regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields will be presented to the Council. In addition, the annual overview report of the UN system Chief Executive Board for Coordination (CEB) will be presented to the Council. 

The coordination segment provides an opportunity to identify areas where the UN system should promote more comprehensive and effective approaches and to recommend ways in which support by the UN system can be strengthened against the backdrop of current challenges. 

The Secretary-General’s report on “the role of the United Nations system in implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education” will provide the background analysis for the debate. The discussion will focus on the work of the UN system in the field of education through the angle of coordinated and/or joint initiatives, as well as partnerships with other stakeholders aimed at accelerating progress towards MDG2, Education for All and related goals. The report also provides food for thought on emerging trends in education development and their potential consequences on the international education agenda.   

Under the financing for development agenda item, the Council will have before it the Summary by the President of the Council of the special high-level meeting of ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the UN Conference on Trade and Development, held in March 2012. 

The work of the Coordination Segment will be complemented by the following panels:

  • Mobilizing partnerships for development, including in the field of education
  • Addressing the challenges of the education/skills and job mismatch
  • Innovative mechanisms of financing for development

The Segment will be chaired by H.E. Mr. Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil of Egypt, Vice President of ECOSOC.

Operational Activities Segment

Taking place on 13-17 July, this segment will be guided by the two reports of the Secretary-General for the 2012 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) and the report of the independent evaluation of the Delivering as One programme

The QCPR is the mechanism by which the General Assembly assesses the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and impact of the UN system’s development work.  Through the QCPR, the General Assembly also establishes system-wide policy orientations for the development cooperation and country-level modalities of the UN system in response to the evolving development landscape. 

The two Secretary-General reports on the 2012 QCPR are the result of extensive and substantive preparations for the 2012 QCPR process. These analytical preparations comprise 9 in-depth issue studies, four global surveys of stakeholder perspectives and a comprehensive funding analysis of UN operational activities for development, touching upon key features and challenges posed by emerging issues in international development cooperation.

The Segment will bring the perspectives of national policy makers on all these critical QCPR issues, complemented by the operational experience of senior UN officials. It will feature a dialogue with the Executive Heads of UN funds and programmes, as well as with the Chairs of the Executive Boards of UN funds and programmes.

There will also be panel discussions on the functioning of the UN development system, with the participation of senior government officials. Findings of the Delivering as One independent evaluation will be presented as will the achievements and remaining challenges of this UN pilot initiative.

Prior to the Segment, a half-day workshop will bring together national focal points for operational activities to discuss key development topics emerging from the 2012 QCPR process, which will be shared with the Council and used to enrich Segment deliberations. 

Chaired by H.E. Mr. Desra Percaya, of Indonesia, Vice President of ECOSOC, the Segment will not result in any outcome resolution, as 2012 involves a QCPR process. However, the debates will serve to complement the negotiations of the General Assembly in its 67th session in the adoption of a QCPR resolution which will provide policy directives on UN operational activities for development for the 2012-2016 cycle.

Humanitarian Affairs Segment

Providing an opportunity to discuss opportunities and challenges related to strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance, this segment will take place on 18–20 July

The Segment is arranged under the theme “Working in partnership to strengthen coordination of humanitarian assistance in a changing world”, and it will feature two panel events on the following topics:

  • Improving capacities for evidence-based humanitarian decision-making;
  • Partnerships for effective humanitarian assistance in support, of national, regional and international efforts.

Each panel will feature high-level representation from Member States, Regional Organisations, UN and NGOs and will be moderated by the Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. 

The panel on Improving capacities for evidence-based humanitarian decision-making will feature prominent speakers from the academic and practitioner world, in addition to a Minister from an affected country. Speakers will include Professor Hans Rosling, Chairman of the Gapminder foundation and noted TED Speaker. It will focus on how to strengthen the evidence-base for humanitarian decision-making and it will also highlight the role of new technologies in strengthening the link between affected people and humanitarian response decisions; and will recommend measures to strengthen information and data platforms for humanitarian decision-making. 

Scheduled for 20 July at 10:00 am, the panel on Partnerships for effective humanitarian response will highlight examples of innovative partnerships in humanitarian response. It will also explore how such partnerships can strengthen local resilience and national level capacities to respond to new emergencies. The panel will recommend steps that stakeholders can jointly take to strengthen preparedness, resilience and response. Participants include representatives of regional organisations, affected member states and civil society. 

As in previous years, the ECOSOC Vice Presidents for Operational and Humanitarian Affairs will co-host an informal ECOSOC event on “Humanitarian needs in the Sahel and the importance of building resilience”, shedding light on the food and nutrition crises in the Sahel region, including efforts by national governments, civil society and international humanitarian actors to address the mounting humanitarian needs and building resilience of local communities to these recurrent crises. 

On the margins, Member States, UN organisations, Red Cross/Red Crescent and NGOS will host fifteen side events on a number of different issues. The Global Humanitarian Assistance report 2012, which is an independent attempt to capture the international humanitarian financing, will also be launched. 

The Emergency Relief Coordinator will host the launch of the Mid-Year Review of the Consolidated Appeals Process for 2012 on 19 July at 13:15-14:30 pm. The event is significant as it will raise the profile of key emergencies and will encourage member states and partners to support humanitarian multilateral efforts. 

As the substantive Secretariat supporting the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment, OCHA will present a booth featuring humanitarian publications, enabling ECOSOC guests and visitors to collect additional information. Additionally, this year the panels will be more publicised and interactive, allowing social media users on Facebook and Twitter to participate in the discussion and pose questions to the panelists.

The Segment will be chaired by H.E. Mr. Fernando Arias of Spain, Vice-President of ECOSOC.

General Segment

During this segment to be held on 23-27 July, the Council will review reports of its subsidiary bodies and of other UN entities working in the economic and social fields

The subsidiary bodies include the Council’s functional commissions, regional commissions, expert and ad hoc bodies. The Segment will also consider the report of its Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti. 

The Council will also review the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDC) and consider the recommendations made by the Committee on Development Policy on the inclusion in and graduation from the LDC category. It is also expected to take action on the follow-up to the IV UN Conference on the LDCs. 

A number of system-wide thematic issues will be reviewed, among them, the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the UN system. The work of the UN inter-agency task force on tobacco control and the follow-up to the World Summit on Information Society will also be reviewed. 

A series of events will be held including a briefing by the Members of the Committee for Development Policy; a briefing by the Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission; and a panel event on “Integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan” on 24 July, as part of the Council’s discussion on “African countries emerging from conflict”. The event will provide an opportunity to examine some of the key elements of the first Secretary-General’s report on “Implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system”, in particular in the areas of capacity-building and core governance functions.

The economic and social situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan and the support to colonial countries and peoples will also be considered.

The Segment will be chaired by H.E. Mr. Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, Vice-President of ECOSOC.

For more information:
United Nations Economic and Social Council

Celebrating cooperatives worldwide

The International Day of Cooperatives will be commemorated on 7 July under the theme “Cooperative enterprises build a better world”
International Year of Cooperatives LogotypeThis year’s theme links to the observance of the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives (IYC). It seeks to encourage the growth and establishment of cooperatives all over the world, and to recognize the actions of cooperatives in helping to achieve internationally agreed upon development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals.

As part of the Year, a short film festival will take place on 19 November at UN Headquarters during the closing ceremony of the IYC. Filmmakers around the world are invited to submit their contributions by 30 September 2012. The films should raise awareness about cooperatives – what they are, and what they do – and encourage support and development of cooperative enterprises by individuals and their communities. The films should also highlight at least one of the 10 key messages of the International Year of Cooperatives. Please see the links below for more details.

For more information:
International Day of Cooperatives

International Year of Cooperatives 2012

International Year of Cooperatives Short Film Festival

UN awarded 44 organizations for public service excellence

On 25 June, 44 public organizations from 29 countries received international recognition for excellence in public service, in acknowledgement of the UN Public Service Day
UN Public Service Award Logotype
The UN Public Service Awards, celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2012, was held in the General Assembly Hall in New York. Commemorated each year on 23 June, the UN Public Service Day was established to “celebrate the value and virtue of service to the community.”

A total of 471 nominations from more than 80 UN Member States were received in 2012, with 16 Member States participating for the first time. This represents an increase of 58 per cent compared to the number of initiatives submitted in 2011.

The winners of the UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA) are as follows: 1st place – Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, India, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United States; 2nd place – Australia, Canada, Egypt, Georgia, Grenada, India, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey.

The UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration selects winners according to category and region. The five UNPSA categories are: i) prevention of corruption; ii) improving service delivery; iii) promoting innovative mechanisms for citizen participation in policy-making; iv) advancing knowledge management in government; and v) promoting gender responsive service delivery.

United Nations E-Government Survey 2012 Special Awards
As part of the UNPSA Ceremony, countries that performed well in the 2012 UN E-Government Survey rankings were also recognized. A UN E-Government Survey Special Award was given to the top winners. The award is based on findings from the 2012 United Nations e-Government Survey, and acknowledges recipients for: establishing robust telecommunications infrastructure; investing in the development of human capital the usage of e-government facilities; providing exceptional e-services; and making e-content available on a continuous basis.

Innovation and Citizen Engagement for Effective Governance
Over 400 participants from across the globe were expected to attend the event, which also included the United Nations Public Service Forum, taking place from 26 to 27 June and focusing on “Innovation and Citizen Engagement for Effective Governance”.

As part of the UN Public Service Day and Awards celebration, DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) also presented the Sound of Harmony Cultural Performance, showcasing Chinese traditional and contemporary dance and music, on 25 June in the General Assembly Hall.

For more information:

UN Public Service Awards

UN Public Service Day

DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM)

Wrapping up Rio: Commitments for a sustainable future

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, took place in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June

Rio+20 - The Future We WantThe Conference gathered more than 40,000 people, including UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders and over 100 Heads of State and government. The event followed on from the Earth Summit in 1992, also held in Rio de Janeiro, during which countries adopted Agenda 21 – a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.

Many months of preparation went into Rio+20 and on 19 June, 91 countries reached agreement on the Conference’s outcome document for adoption by Heads of State on the closing day. Rio+20’s outcome document, entitled “The Future We Want,” calls for a wide range of actions including beginning the process to establish sustainable development goals; utilizing the green economy; strengthening the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); promoting corporate sustainability; developing a strategy for sustainable development financing; and, adopting a framework for tackling sustainable consumption and production.

$513 billion in funding was committed during Rio+20 for energy, food security, access to drinking water and management of the oceans. Additionally, a wide range of actions have also been pledged, such as planting 100 million trees, empowering 5,000 women entrepreneurs in green economy businesses in Africa, and recycling 800,000 tons of polyvinyl chloride (commonly known as PVC) per year.

There have been nearly 500 voluntary commitments on sustainable development activities by civil society groups, businesses, governments and universities and the UN’s Global Compact initiative announced more than 200 commitments to sustainable development by businesses. At the closing ceremony of the three-day summit UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The speeches are over. Now the work begins.”

UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Outcome Document “The Future We Want” in all six UN languages

UN News Special Coverage on Rio+20

UN Webcast Special Coverage on Rio+20

Celebration of first UN World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

After being officially recognized by the UN General Assembly in December 2011, the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was commemorated on 15 June

“I call upon Governments and all concerned actors to design and carry out more effective prevention strategies and stronger laws and policies to address all aspects of elder abuse. Let us work together to optimize living conditions for older persons and enable them to make the greatest possible contribution to our world,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated.

The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) happens each year on 15 June. It was officially recognized by the General Assembly in December 2011, following a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), who first established the commemoration in June 2006.

It represents the one day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some of our older generations. Elder Abuse is a global social issue which affects the Health and Human Rights of millions of older persons around the world, and an issue which deserves the attention of the international community.

Individuals, communities, municipalities and organizations come together and hold events to raise awareness of elder abuse. As in previous years, many activities were held, hoping to bring greater recognition of the mistreatment of older adults wherever they live throughout the world and to highlight the need for appropriate action.

The Government of Argentina, UNDESA-DSPD Focal Point on Ageing and the NGO Committee on Ageing/NY organized a meeting on 14 June at the United Nations in New York to celebrate the event.

For more information:
Download the full programme

Message of the Secretary General
English | French | Spanish | Chinese | Arabic Russian |
More information on Elder Abuse available at: