Volume 17, No.08 - August 2013

Publications and websites

Technical reports

World Economic and Social Survey 2013

image002The world is faced with challenges in all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. For instance, more than 1 billion people are still living in extreme poverty, income inequality within and among many countries has been rising and, at the same time, unsustainable consumption levels and production patterns have resulted in huge economic and social costs and may endanger life on the planet.

The World Economic and Social Survey 2013 contributes to the deliberations on addressing sustainable development challenges with a focus on three important cross-sectoral issues identified for action and follow-up at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development: sustainable cities, food security and energy transformation.

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Voluntary Commitments and Partnerships for Sustainable Development

image001An impressive list of commitments made by Governments, the private sector and philanthropies at the Rio+20 and other international forums have galvanized a wide range of interests into action on sustainable development. Issued by the Division for Sustainable Development, DESA, the report found that an array of thematically driven action networks, particularly on health, education, energy, transport, cities and green-economy policies, have proved useful in driving commitments, inspiring new partnerships, building capacity and aligning common goals in the drive towards “The Future We Want”, to which the outcome document from the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development aspires.

“I am encouraged by the more than 700 concrete commitments registered at the Conference, from Governments, business, industry, financial institutions and civil society groups, amongst others,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stressed:  “Voluntary commitments and partnerships are important contributions that are strengthening the implementation of sustainable development everywhere by allowing people from all parts of society to contribute.” He added:  “Partnerships and voluntary commitments complement but do not substitute for Government responsibilities and inter-governmentally agreed commitments.”

A new Sustainable Development in Action registry launched to catalogue the 730 commitments made at the June 2012 Rio+20 Conference has now reached 1,382 commitments, valued at about $636 billion.  The report says that while many of them are for projects that will take several years to realize, the commitments represent a sizable amount in global terms and are equivalent to nearly 1 per cent of the gross world product of about $70 trillion.

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The Sustainable Development in Action registry:

A Guidebook to the Green Economy Issue 4: A guide to international green economy initiatives

image003In this Issue 4, the focus turns to the various international initiatives that are supporting countries and stakeholders to implement the green economy worldwide by providing a range of services including information exchange, data management, capacity building, finance, and technology services. In doing so, it provides a resource guide to the various existing international green economy platforms, partnerships, programs, funds and other initiatives.

Published by the Division of Sustainable Development of DESA, the guidebook also aims to map out many of the key actors involved in implementing and supporting the various green economy initiatives, the key services that they provide to countries, and the geographical reach of these initiatives which are now spreading the green economy across the globe. The intent is to provide useful information to practitioners, countries and stakeholders which may assist with coordination and coherence and help countries find the support they need. As with the previous guidebooks, the review focuses on green economy and the related concepts of green growth and low-carbon development.

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Statistical compilations


Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online

image004The 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 bimonthly, quarterly and annual 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. LXVII – No. 6, June 2013

In addition to the regular recurrent monthly tables, this issue includes the quarterly and bimonthly tables: Retail price indices relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials; Earnings in non-agricultural activities, by sex; Fuel imports, developed economies: unit value indices, volume indices and value; Indicators on fuel imports, developed economies; External trade conversion factors; Manufactured goods exports: unit value indices, volume indices and value; Selected series of world statistics.

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Population and Vital Statistics Report

image005The United Nations Statistics Division issued the Population and Vital Statistics report in hard copy. This report, in this format, is published once a year, while the electronic version is updated every two weeks at the UNSD website. The report presents data on total, female and male population counts from the most recent population census, population estimates and number and rates of vital events – births, deaths and infant deaths – for all the countries of the world. These data are presented as reported by national statistical authorities to the United Nations Demographic Yearbook.
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World Statistics Pocketbook, 2013 edition

image006The World Statistics Pocketbook, 2013 edition is an annual compilation of key statistical indicators prepared by the United Nations Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Over 50 indicators have been collected from more than 20 international statistical sources and are presented in one-page profiles for 216 countries or areas of the world. This issue covers various years from 2005 to 2012. For the economic indicators, in general, three years – 2005, 2010 and 2011 – are shown; for the indicators in the social and environmental categories, data for one year are presented.

The topics covered include: agriculture, balance of payments, education, energy, environment, food, gender, health, industrial production, information and communication, international finance, international tourism, international trade, labour, migration, national accounts, population and prices. The technical notes contain brief descriptions of the concepts and methodologies used in the compilation of the indicators as well as information on the statistical sources for the indicators. Reference to primary sources of the data is provided for readers interested in longer time-series data or more detailed descriptions of the concepts or methodologies.

Note: The present World Statistics Pocketbook, 2013 edition (Series V, No. 37) is an update of the previous edition which was released in 2012 and entitled World Statistics Pocketbook 2011 (Series V, No. 36).

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Outreach material



The July issue is now available online highlighting, among others, the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The monthly newsletter is published by DESA’s NGO Branch, providing the most up-to-date information on news and upcoming events of interest to civil society at UN headquarters in New York, Geneva and elsewhere.

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Enable Newsletter

Prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SCRPD) within DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development, the June issue is now available. The newsletter features input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes, and civil society.

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Youth Flash Newsletter

June issue is now available featuring an article on Indigenous Youth. The newsletter is published by DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development Focal Point on Youth to keep the public informed about the work of the UN on youth issues. It is prepared with input from UN offices, agencies, and from youth organizations around the world.

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Discussion papers


Monthly Briefing on the World Economic Situation and Prospects No. 55

Published by DESA’s Development Policy and Analysis Division, the July issue highlights the global financial turmoil, the significant capital outflows and sharp depreciation of domestic currencies in developing countries as well as the struggle of Western Europe to move out from recession. The briefing states also that large emerging economies will continue to face domestic vulnerabilities.

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