DESA News

Volume 16, No.08 - August 2012

Global dialogue on development


Empowering indigenous voices

The 18th commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples will be held on 9 August at UN Headquarters in New York

The event will be organized by the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues within DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), the UN Department of Public Information, and the NGO Committee on the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. 

There will be statements delivered on behalf of the Secretary-General, DESA’s Under-Secretary-General, the Director of DSPD, the Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and others. 

An interactive dialogue on “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices” will take place from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the ECOSOC Chamber. Some short clips and videos will also be screened during the commemoration. 

Those who wish to attend the interactive dialogue but do not hold UN grounds passes must confirm their participation by sending an email to Ms. Nataliia Grushevska at grushevska@un.org by noon (New York time) on 2 August indicating your name, affiliation and contact information. After successfully registering, participants should pick up their passes at the UN Visitors’ Lobby from 1:15 pm until 3:00 pm on 9 August. 

This commemoration is an afternoon event and the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues does not issue any invitation letters for participation in this event. Representatives of Member States, UN Agencies, indigenous peoples’, other non-governmental organizations and the media are invited to attend. 

For more information: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Celebrating International Youth Day 2012

International Youth Day will be commemorated on 12 August under the theme “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth”

The theme relates to the announcement in January when the Secretary-General committed to ‘Address the needs of the largest generation of young people the world has ever known’ by making “Working with and for women and young people” a priority in his Five-year Action Agenda. 

He also announced the development of a System-Wide Action Plan on Youth as well as the appointment of a Special Advisor on Youth and a UN Volunteer youth initiative. In addition, five thematic areas were highlighted in the development of these initiatives: employment, entrepreneurship, political inclusion, citizenship and protection of rights, and education, including on sexual and reproductive health.

The need to enhance partnerships both with and for youth was underscored in the outcome document of the General Assembly’s High-Level meeting on Youth last year and it has been the topic of many events and discussions throughout 2012.

With this in mind, International Youth Day 2012 aims to highlight the many ways the UN, Member States, the private sector and other stakeholders can partner with and for youth, with a focus on the five thematic areas described.

For more information: International Youth Day

Protecting the rights of older persons

The third substantive session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing will take place in New York on 21-24 August

In December 2010, the UN General Assembly established an open-ended working group aimed at strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons. It was mandated to consider the existing international framework and to identify possible gaps and how best to address them. The open-ended working group held two working sessions in April and August 2011. 

During the first session, the working group focused on the international and regional human rights structure and how it addresses the specific situation of older persons. A number of fissures in the protection system were identified. The second session was devoted to considering some specific thematic human rights issues relevant to older persons, such as multiple discrimination, the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, violence and social exclusion. 

The topics of the upcoming third substantive session will include (a) age discrimination, (b) abuse and violence against older persons, (c) life in dignity, social security and access to resources, (d) access to justice, and (e) older persons, autonomy, independent living and health care. The session is open to all Member States, UN system organizations and accredited NGOs. 

Participants have consistently noted various gaps within the international human rights framework including normative, implementation and information gaps. These disparities contribute to challenges faced by older persons in the enjoyment of their lives and their rights. So far, some Member States called attention to normative gaps and the importance of universal standards to effectively enhance the protection of older persons, while other Member States underlined that existing instruments could be better implemented and used for more effective monitoring. 

For more information:
Open-ended Working Group on Ageing

Development challenges in focus of ECOSOC’s month-long session

The substantive session of ECOSOC, which took place in New York, concluded on 27 July following four weeks of work on a wide range of issues on the UN’s development agenda

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) ended its annual session on finding solutions and proposing policy recommendations to global issues, from employment and decent work to global partnerships, development cooperation, education, poverty reduction and sustainability, and humanitarian assistance.

“We have reached the end of four, remarkable weeks of high-level engagement and dialogue, review and deliberation, and, importantly, decision-making,” said Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. More than 40 ministers and heads of development cooperation agencies, and the UN system attended the session.

Chaired by ECOSOC President Miloš Koterec, the High-level Segment opened on 2 July, featuring the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) on productive employment and decent work and the two-day Development Cooperation Forum, focusing on making advances in poverty reduction and sustainable development through partnerships among countries, civil society organizations and the private sector.

“The Forum (DCF) is making its mark on the development landscape, demonstrating its worth as a marquee destination for policy discourse and guidance,” said Mr. Koterec. “And with calls for more inclusive development cooperation growing ever louder, the DCF’s star will, no doubt, only shine brighter in the years ahead”.

Two major reports were released during the High-level segment – “The 2012 progress report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” and the “World Economic and Social Survey (WESS): In Search of New Development Finance” – and nine countries held voluntary presentations. A high-level panel discussion was also arranged on transparency and sustainable development.

The High-level segment concluded on 10 July with the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration focusing on ‘promoting productive capacity and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the Millennium Development Goals’.

The Coordination Segment examined commitments and goals related to education, including the role of partnership to boost results and the future of education goals in the post 2015 context., as well as follow up to the International Conference on Financing for Development, with a particular focus on innovative financing for development.

2012 will feature the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) of the operational activities for development, an exercise that relates to the work of all UN system entities delivering support on the ground. At its operational activities segment, the Council started the QCPR process with a wide range of panels and keynote addresses. The process will continue at the forth coming General assembly session. An independent evaluation of the UN’s Delivering as One progress was also presented to ECOSOC

How coordination of humanitarian assistance could be strengthened in a changing world was on the agenda for the Humanitarian Affairs Segment, whereas the General Segment dealt with a number of issues including the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, the economic and social situation in African countries emerging from conflict, the international assistance to South-Sudan as well as long-term support to Haiti.

A number of online Face-to-Face live conversations were also arranged on topics related to the global jobs crisis. Video material highlighting ECOSOC and its annual session is stored online and can be accessed via ECOSOC’s Youtube page. The link has been included below.

The 54-member EOCOSC coordinates the work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, 10 functional commissions and five regional commissions, receives reports from ten UN funds and programmes and issues policy recommendations to the UN system, as well as to Member States. It meets every year, alternating between New York and Geneva.

For more information:
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
Adopted draft Ministerial Declaration
Media Centre
ECOSOC on Youtube

Promoting public service excellence

The 2012 UN Public Service Day, Awards Ceremony and Forum on “Innovation and Citizens Engagement for Effective Governance” held in New York on 25-27 June, resulted in a Final Communique, containing a set of recommendations to Member States and the UN

The suggestions were the result of active interactions and dialogue held across four parallel capacity development workshops and a ministerial round-table by over 400 government officials from 96 Member States on the respective themes of: 1) Institutions and Leadership Capacities to Innovate and Engage Citizens in Service Delivery; 2) Preventing Corruption in Public Administration: Engaging Citizens in the Fight Against Corruption; 3) E-Government: From Policy to Practice; 4) The Dividends of Women in the Frontline of Service Delivery: Good Governance and Citizen Engagement.

The recommendations were outlined along the following respective thematic areas: 

  • Localizing public priorities and build institutional mechanisms that allow for two-way communication and active listening to engage citizens in service delivery;
  • Promoting excellence in public service through national awards and recognition systems, i.e., naming and faming;
  • Creating a global academy for leadership capacity-building;
  • Implementing e-government strategies through collaborative government approaches by building partnerships with private sector and civil society which would ensure sustained investment in e-government;
  • Improving public sector human resource capacity development for preventing corruption and engaging citizens in anti-corruption initiatives;
  • Promoting a system to manage the transfer of knowledge among countries that are seeking for innovations and those that have already implemented innovative practices. 

For more information:

Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM)