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Volume 14, No.11 - November 2010

Trends and analysis


Nominations accepted for 2011 Public Service Awards

In continuing efforts to promote and support innovations in public service delivery worldwide, the United Nations is calling for nominations to its 2010 Public Service Awards

The 2011 United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service and is open to local or national public organizations, and to public-private partnerships involved in essential service delivery to citizens. Contestant from public institutions cannot nominate themselves. Instead, interested institutions will have to be nominated by Governments and civil society organizations for their achievements and performance.

More specifically, the Awards aims to discover innovations in governance, rewards excellence in the public sector and motivates public servants to further promote innovation. In addition, the Awards also enhances professionalism in the public service, raises the image of public service, enhance trust in government, and collects and disseminate successful practices for possible replication.

Nominations can be made online until 31 December 2010. The 2011 Awards are given in 5 categories: Preventing and combating corruption in the public service; Improving the delivery of public services; Fostering participation in policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms; Advancing knowledge management; and Promoting gender responsive delivery of public services.

New Awards category on Promoting gender responsive public service delivery

DESA’s Division for Public Administration & Development Management (DPADM) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women – UNIFEM (part of UN Women) have signed an agreement to collaborate and jointly manage a new UNPSA category on “Promoting gender responsive delivery of public services”.

An efficient public administration that delivers services for all citizens is central to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is equally apparent that the achievement of gender equality remains a great challenge in many parts of the world and negatively impacts progress towards all of the MDGs. Women’s enjoyment of rights, resources, and voice are shaped by governance systems.

While there has been notable progress in ratifying conventions and improving legislation, adequate design and delivery of gender-responsive services have lagged behind. For this reason, there is hope that this award will serve as a token of recognition for all those public servants who are working untiringly to improve the delivery of services to women and serve to spur others to learn and replicate from their good examples.

New Awards category on Preventing and combating corruption in the public service

DPADM and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) have agreed to collaborate in the establishment and management of a new category on “Preventing and combating corruption in the public service”. This foresighted and important partnership, which aligns DPADM and UNODC’s missions in the area of integrity, accountability and transparency, will help to collect, document, share and possibly replicate good practices in the area of anti-corruption.

It will also encourage higher standards of public conduct and promote greater awareness of the importance to act against corruption in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. As it is well known, corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a Government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging foreign aid and investment. Corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development (United Nations Convention against Corruption).

Thus, promoting integrity and anti-corruption preventive practices is of the utmost importance to ensure that the State’s funds are used to improve people’s quality of life through the delivery of basic services and the establishment of a good business environment. Partnering with the above organizations will ensure that the project is carried out building upon and integrating in a coherent way the knowledge, expertise and experience of the various partners to the advantage of Member States.

For more information: http://www.unpan.org/unpsa

Regarding the new category on Promoting gender responsive public service delivery: http://unifem.org/news_events/story_detail.php?StoryID=1184

Endorsing recommendations for energy statistics

Second Meeting of Expert Group on Energy Statistics will be held in New York from 2-5 November

DESA’s Statistics Division is organizing this Expert Group Meeting to review and endorse the provisional draft of the International Recommendations for Energy Statistics (IRES) prior to its submission to the United Nations Statistical Commission for adoption at its 42nd Session (22-25 February 2011).

The Expert Group will review the results of the worldwide consultation on the provisional draft of IRES that took place during the period from July to August 2010 and advise on their incorporation in the final draft. During this meeting a number of issues relevant to the preparation of the Energy Statistics Compilers Manual (ESCM) and to the development of the implementation programme of the revised recommendations will be discussed.

The meeting will gather experts from countries and international/regional organizations active in energy statistics.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/energy/Workshops/EGM-IRES.htm

Improving environment statistics systems

Expert Group Meeting on the Revision of the Framework for the Development Environment Statistics will take place in New York from 8-10 November

DESA’s Statistics Division, in collaboration with Statistics Canada is organizing this meeting to revise the United Nations Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics, published in 1984, on the basis of improved scientific knowledge about the environment and new cross-disciplinary requirements created by emerging environmental concerns and their management.

The main objective of this EGM is to agree on the conceptual framework that best supports an integrative approach to environment statistics and helps countries to establish and improve their national environment statistics systems.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/fdes/fdes_egm.htm .

Dealing with discrepancies and gaps of MDG data

Workshop on MDG Monitoring will be held in Geneva from 8-11 November

The workshop, which is organized by STAT/DESA in collaboration with UNECE, will bring together national statistical offices and international agencies and provide an opportunity to explore ways to reconcile national and international data and review recommendations for the reporting of MDG data. The workshop will aim to establish strategies for dealing with data discrepancies and data gaps at the national and international level, particularly for health related MDG indicators.

This event will also provide national statistical offices with training in the production and efficient dissemination of data for MDGs monitoring (Maria Martinho, 3-4947).

For more information: http://www.unece.org/stats/documents/2010.11.mdg.htm

Monitoring the MDGs

The 18th Inter-agency and Expert Group Meeting on MDG indicators will be held from 30 November – 2 December in Geneva, Switzerland

The meeting is part of the regular consultation with both national and international experts to review and discuss issues related to the MDG monitoring. It will focus on localizing the MDG indicators, country capacity building and creation of appropriate frameworks for monitoring national development, as well as the coordination of related technical cooperation activities in countries. The meeting will also plan the production of the global MDG monitoring outputs for 2011 (Maria Martinho, 3-4947).

For more information: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Host.aspx?Content=Capacity/Geneva.htm

Responding to the statistical needs of the global economic and financial crisis

International Seminar on Early Warning and Business Cycle Indicators will take place in Moscow from 17-19 November

This is the final seminar organized by DESA’s Statistics Division and Eurostat in cooperation with the hosts of the three seminars, Statistics Canada (Ottawa, May 2009), Statistics Netherlands (Scheveningen, December 2009) and the Federal eState Statistics Service of the Russian Federation. These seminars are held in response to the call made in the fortieth Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission in 2009 for swift and coordinated statistical initiatives by countries and international organizations in response to the global economic and financial crisis.

The seminars will focus on the methodologies for compiling and releasing of high quality rapid (or ‘flash’) estimates, their international comparability, the communication strategy for such estimates and their analytical indicators on the performance of the real sector of the economy and the financial markets for effective macroeconomic monitoring.

The third international seminar is expected to formulate recommendations for the monitoring of business cycles and the early identification of turning points, as well as strategies for future work on improving statistical tools for this purpose. The outcome will be formulated as recommendations that will be presented to the United Nations Statistical Commission at its next session in March 2011.

For more information:

Ottawa seminar: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/nationalaccount/workshops/2009/ottawa/ac188-2.asp

Scheveningen seminar: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/nationalaccount/workshops/2009/netherlands/ac202-2.asp

Moscow seminar: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/nationalaccount/workshops/2010/moscow/ac223-2.asp

Urban innovation and sustainable development

The Summit Forum of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will take place on 18 November

The Summit Forum is of the highest rank among three types of forums. It will be the climax of the Expo forums as it provides a stage for large-scale discussion of global urbanization issues. The “Shanghai Declaration,” which is to be announced at the Summit Forum, will be a significant document of the Expo based on participants’ understanding on global urban development. The “Shanghai Declaration” will be based on common willingness.

Linked to the core Expo theme of “Better City, Better Life,” the topic of the Summit Forum is recommended as “Urban Innovation and Sustainable Development,” which focuses on the key urban challenges confronting countries around the world. It is also based on the themes of past Expos and therefore enhances both the continuing value of the event and its long heritage.

The forum will take the form of conferences and sub-forums, accompanied by keynote speeches, round-table meetings, mini summits, group discussions, cocktail receptions, and visits in the Expo Site.

Up to 2,000 participants are estimated to attend the Summit Forum, including heads of state, ministers, mayors, Chinese government officials, the UN Secretary General, Commissioners General, and representatives of academic, business and media, as well as outstanding members of the younger generation.

For more information: http://esango.un.org/irene/dsd.html?page=viewContent&nr=9728&type=8

Long road to recovery

Expert Group Meeting on the World Economy (Project LINK) was held from 20-22 October in New York

The LINK Global Economic Outlook indicates that the road towards recovery from the Great Recession is proving to be long, sinuous and bumpy. After a year of fragile and uneven recovery, growth of the world economy is now decelerating on a broad front, presaging an even weaker growth in the outlook for 2011.

The report points out the weakness of major developed economies that continues to drag on the global recovery. There seems to be no quick fix to many of the predicaments these economies are facing in the aftermath of the financial crisis. While credit shortage, financial fragility, persistently high unemployment and anaemic domestic demand are found in these economies, the contribution of government spending to GDP growth is expected to become negative in 2011 as a result of the announced fiscal consolidation.

In contrast, developing countries and economies in transition have shown a strong economic recovery. In the outlook, however, as the recovery in major developed economies falters, growth prospects in developing countries are expected to weaken in tandem.

The report identified a number of risks for the world economy. Risks for the world economy are mostly rooted in major developed economies, including those associated with persistently high unemployment, the continued fragility of the financial system and looming sovereign debt stress. For developing countries and economies in transition, major risks are associated with surges in capital inflows, which are causing upward pressures on their currencies. Mitigating these risks poses enormous policy challenges.

In major developed economies, macroeconomic policy options are limited by political factors restraining further fiscal stimulus and market responses to sovereign debt distress. This has led policymakers to rely increasingly on monetary policy, which may not suffice to boost aggregate demand and create new jobs. The surge in capital flows to emerging and other developing economies and the consequent pressures on currencies are complicating the international environment for developing countries.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/policy/link/

Web-based tools to support MDG advancement

During the High Level Meeting on MDGs, a Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) Side Event was held on 21 September in New York

GAID held a high-level breakfast meeting to launch web-based knowledge tools and information resources, providing tangible and practical benefits to developing countries in their efforts to advance the MDGs.

The meeting was attended by government leaders and officials, CEOs and managers from ICT companies, and representatives of NGOs and international organizations from several countries. ASG Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram read a welcoming message on behalf of the Secretary-General.

For more information: http://www.un-gaid.org/

Advancing knowledge management for governments

Workshop on Harnessing Knowledge Management through Web 2.0 Tools took place in Shanghai, China, from 25 to 27 September

Knowledge Management has proven to be essential for government agencies at all levels to efficiently and effectively deliver public services and act as centers for the timely collection, organization and dissemination of information. However, due to the disparity between the haves and the have-nots, all countries are not at the same point in their development of efficient and effective Knowledge Management systems. Over the years, through Knowledge Management capacity building, many governments and institutions have moved toward electronic systems of data management.

Co-organized by DESA’s Division for Public Administration & Development Management (DPADM) in collaboration with the Regional Cooperation Office for City Informatization (RCOCI) of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, the meeting resulted in many actions to be undertaken by DPADM and UNPAN Partners, including updating the existing web user survey, starting an online discussion platform for continuous collaboration with workshop participants, updating the Discover UNPAN page and providing more detailed information for each partner organization and creating yearly progress reports in addition to regular monthly reports.

The meeting also decided to launch 6 more online courses in Spanish, discuss possible collaboration areas in knowledge management and consider translating some of the existing online courses into Arabic. As an outcome DPADM together with UNPAN partners will draft a set of standardized marketing tools on knowledge management products and produce a summary of UNPAN Partner fee based services to be displayed in UNPAN North America home page.

For more information: http://www.unpan.org/km2010

Developing the future of the Internet together

Fifth and last meeting of the Internet Governance Forum under its original mandate was held in Vilnius, Lithuania from 14-17 September

The meeting concluded with a number of calls by participants for continued dialogue and a renewed mandate. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, ASG for Economic Development, opened the conference on behalf of Sha Zukang, USG of DESA, together with President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania. The theme of the meeting was “developing the future together”, a concept embodying what many participants perceive to be a fundamental achievement of the IGF – bridging cultural differences among stakeholders to discuss, in a flexible, open format, critical Internet resources, access, diversity, security, privacy and the many other important matters at hand.

For more information: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/