Volume 14, No.2 - February 2010

Publications and websites

Technical reports

Report on the World Social Situation 2010: Rethinking Poverty

This flagship report, launched on 28 January, makes a compelling case for rethinking poverty and poverty-reduction efforts, saying that over-reliance on market forces and economic liberalization have led to neglect of nationally designed and developmentally-oriented strategies, to the detriment of the world’s poor. The most important lesson, accordingly, is that governments need to play a developmental role, integrating economic and social policies that support inclusive output and employment growth, while attacking inequality and promoting justice.

More information on the WESS

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2010

The full report, released on 20 January, is now available online. The flagship publication outlines that the world economic landscape has begun to show signs of improvement. Since the second quarter of 2009, global equity markets have rebounded, risk premiums on lending have fallen and international trade and global industrial production have noticeably recovered. An increasing number of countries are starting to register positive quarterly growth of gross domestic product (GDP).

More information on the WESP

State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

The report, launched on 14 January, notes that the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples suffer from disproportionately, often exponentially, higher rates of poverty, health problems, crime and human rights abuses; stressing that self-determination and land rights are vital for their survival. It also discusses many of the issues addressed by the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and is a cooperative effort of independent experts working with the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

More information on the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

World Population Ageing 2009

The report provides a description of global trends in population ageing and includes a series of indicators of the ageing process by development regions, major areas, regions and countries. It includes new features on ageing in rural and urban areas, the coverage of pension systems and the impact of the 2007-2008 financial crisis on pension systems. The report is intended to provide a solid demographic foundation for the follow-up activities of the Second World Assembly on Ageing.

More information on the World Population Ageing 2009

Statistical compilations

United Nations Statistical Yearbook – Fifty-second Issue

The Yearbook is an annual compilation of a wide range of international economic, social and environmental statistics for over 200 countries and areas of the world, compiled from sources including UN agencies and other international, national and specialized organizations. The fifty-second issue contains data available to the Statistics Division as of June 2008 and presents them in 68 tables on topics such as: agriculture; balance of payments; communication; development assistance; education; energy; environment; finance; gender; industrial production; international merchandise trade; international tourism; labour force; manufacturing; national accounts; nutrition; population; prices; research and development; and wages. The number of years of data shown in the tables varies from one to ten, with the ten-year tables covering 1996 to 2005 or 1997 to 2006. Accompanying the tables are technical notes providing brief descriptions of major statistical concepts, definitions and classifications.

More information on the Statistical Yearbook

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online

The Monthly Bulletin of Statistics presents current economic and social statistics for more than 200 countries and territories of the world. It contains over 50 tables of monthly and/or annual and quarterly data on a variety of subjects illustrating important economic trends and developments, including population, prices, employment and earnings, energy, manufacturing, transport, construction, international merchandise trade and finance.

Vol. LXIV – No. 1, January 2010

Quarterly and bimonthly tables included in this issue:

  • 31. Civil aviation traffic: passenger km, cargo net ton km
  • 36. Total exports and imports by countries or areas: volume, unit value, terms of trade and purchasing power of exports, in US dollars

More information on Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online.

Meeting records

Achieving the Global Public Health Agenda: Dialogues at the Economic and Social Council

This publication presents the main discussions that took place during the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meetings at the 2009 High-level Segment. The key debates focused on the theme of the 2009 Annual Ministerial Review, “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health”.

This book brings the deliberations of the Council to a broader audience by compiling the statements, issues papers and summaries of high-level roundtable dialogues of the ECOSOC session as well as the regional preparatory meetings of the AMR. It also presents highlights of the innovations featured at the Innovation Fair, the discussions at the NGO Forum, and Ministerial roundtable breakfasts.

More information on the Global Public Health Agenda

Working papers

Property Rights for Poverty Reduction?

This paper reviews the links between property rights and poverty reduction. Poor people not only lack current income, but also assets with which to generate incomes. Billions of poor people have access to land which may not be legally recognized. While legislation may provide more secure land tenure for the poor and thus reduce poverty, this outcome is not guaranteed. Policies that do not recognize the complexity of property rights have backfired, reducing poor people’s security of tenure. Finally, understanding legal pluralism can lead to more effective policies and interventions to strengthen poor people’s control over assets.

Poverty reduction in China and India: Policy implications of recent trends

This paper compares the experience of poverty reduction in China and India. It finds that more than economic growth per se, what has mattered crucially is the nature of the growth: whether it is associated with growing inequalities that do not allow the benefits of growth to reach the poor; whether the structural change involved in the growth process generates sufficient opportunities for productive non-agricultural employment; whether basic needs and essential social services are provided. Government mediation of these and of global economic integration is important in determining different outcomes.


screenshot of new environment statistics website

New Environment Statistics Web Dissemination

DESA’s Statistics Division publishes global environment statistics through two main web-based products: the Environmental Indicators and the Country Snapshots. In 2009, the scope of the Statistics Division online dissemination of environmental indicators was expanded, covering a wider range of environmental themes and data sources. Previously, indicators compiled from the Statistics Division/UNEP Questionnaire on Environment Statistics, supplemented by data from UNFCCC and FAO, were the focus of dissemination on the website.

Since 2009, the Statistics Division now provides a broader set of indicator themes, which makes use of the increasing availability of internationally comparable environmental data compiled by a variety of international organizations. The objective of the Statistics Division’s expanded dissemination of environmental indicators is to provide a global hub for statistics on the environment.

Ten themes have been selected to organize the current set of Environmental Indicators: Air and Climate; Biodiversity; Energy and Minerals; Forests; Governance; Inland Water Resources; Land and Agriculture; Marine and Coastal Areas; Natural Disasters; and Waste. The themes were selected after an extensive review of the availability of environmental statistics with global scope and comparability. Currently, there are 64 downloadable indicator tables organized within the 10 themes.

Country Snapshots, which include many of the indicators from the Environmental Indicators list, in addition to other economic and demographic background information, have also been updated using a new process. Country Snapshots for United Nations member states are now compiled and produced by the Division, using an automated system that allows for improved quality control and more efficient and regular updates.

Special web feature on Gender Equality and Sustainable Urbanisation

screenshot of special web feature on gender equality and sustainable urbanisation

To mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, this new feature provides evidence from a wide variety of United Nations sources on the economic and social costs of gender inequalities in cities. It also draws attention to the positive impact of better governance and targeted interventions to tackle ongoing discrimination in various aspects of urban life.

Commenting on the initiative, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka stressed the importance of incorporating urban dwellers in the fight for gender equality. Currently, 186 countries—over ninety-five per cent of the Members of the United Nations—have ratified the Convention, which is often described as an international bill of rights for women.

New Redesigned Integrated Civil Society Organizations System

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has launched its new website in all six languages. The site was designed with a view to make it a more engaging and visually attractive tool for Member States and other stakeholders, such as NGOs, the private sector, media and the academia.

ECOSOC is also on Facebook and will make information more transparent to a younger and wider audience and become a user-friendly space to incorporate all types of new media to promote the work of ECOSOC and the UN system on Economic and Social Issues.

  • Browse Redesigned Civil Society Organizations System.

New Capacity Development Office website

This new site provides access to a variety of information on the functions performed by the CDO, including Programme Development, Programme Support, and the Management of the Development Account. The structure of the site reflects the support that CDO provides to the United Nations Secretariat including the Development Account Management, the Associate Experts and Fellowship Programmes.

  • Browse the new Capacity Development Office website