Volume 15, No.2 - February 2011

Trends and analysis

Formulating policy messages on education

ECOSOC e-discussion on “Education: Closing the Gap” will be held from 1 February to 4 March

As part of the preparatory process for the ECOSOC 2011 Annual Ministerial Review, DESA will launch an e-discussion in collaboration with the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF).

The e-discussion is an open, multi-stakeholder forum for practitioners, academic experts and policy-makers to share new ideas and formulate critical policy messages to the UN intergovernmental decision-making process regarding the education related to MDGs and IADGs.

This year, expert moderators will facilitate a global discussion on quality, access quality in education, access to education and innovation in education. The outcome of the discussion will feed directly into the Global Preparatory Meeting (April 2011) and the Annual Ministerial Review of education being held in Geneva during the Substantive Session of ECOSOC (July 2011).

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Expressing ideas on education

ECOSOC Facebook e-discussion on “Building a future for today’s youth: improving access to education” will be held from 16 February to 16 March

DESA and the Department of Public Information will organize another e-discussion to be hosted on the Facebook page of the United Nations Academic Impact. The purpose of the moderated online discussion is to provide a platform for people to express their hopes and dreams for education for all for themselves, their family and community.

The outcome of the Facebook e-discussion will be shared by the moderators of the e-discussion from each region (Japan for Asia; Ecuador for Latin America and the Caribbean; Lebanon for the Middle East and Western Asia and South Africa for Africa) with the Economic and Social Council on 5 April 2011 during a Global Preparatory Meeting in New York, for the 2011 Annual Ministerial Review on the theme of achieving education goals.

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Activities on international migration and development

Ninth Coordination Meeting on International Migration will be held from 17-18 February in New York

The meeting, organized by DESA’s Population Division, is being held in response to General Assembly Resolution 58/208 of 13 February 2004, which requests the Secretary-General to continue convening meetings to coordinate international migration activities.

The meeting has the following three objectives: (a) to examine the development of indicators that measure the contribution of international migration to countries of origin and destination; (b) to exchange information on recent initiatives to build capacities on international migration and development, and (c) to discuss the contribution of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and other relevant organizations to the Global Forum on Migration and Development as well as to the informal thematic debate on international migration and development which will be organized by the President of the General Assembly on 19 May 2011.

By providing participants with the opportunity to present their activities, the meeting will contribute to greater coherence of the United Nations and other international organizations in responding to the growing demand from Member States to support and develop activities on international migration and development.

The outcome of the meeting will contribute to the preparation of the report of the Secretary-General on international migration and development for the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly.

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Developing national aid policies

Regional Workshop on Mutual Accountability for Eastern and Southern Africa was held on 24-25 January

DESA’s Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination (OESC) helped to organize a regional workshop on mutual accountability in development cooperation, together with UNDP. Bringing together senior officials of government agencies responsible for aid management, parliamentarians and civil society organizations, the event aims at discussing how to develop national aid policies and ensure balanced and open mutual accountability fora where progress on aid effectiveness is being discussed. National stakeholders are invited to develop concrete recommendations based on their national experiences.

Key messages will feed into the preparations for the fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan and the 2012 Development Cooperation Forum (DCF). They will also contribute to the evaluation report the DCF will prepare on this occasion based on a comprehensive mutual accountability survey in up to 90 United Nations Member States.

This workshop is the first of a series of events aimed at deepening the understanding and improving mechanisms on mutual accountability, co-organized by UNDP and national governments, with analytical inputs from OESC. The mutual accountability survey is available on the DCF website in English, French and Spanish.

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Strengthening system-wide reporting on funding flows to the UN system

Expert Group meeting held in Geneva from 20-21 January had a particular focus on operational activities for development

A two-day expert group meeting was organized by DESA in cooperation with the Chief Executive Board for Coordination (CEB) Secretariat. The meeting, which brought together heads and other senior-level personnel of budget and finance offices from across the UN system as well as OECD, discussed how to further streamline and strengthen system-wide reporting on funding flows to the UN system. The participants examined the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges of system-wide reporting on funding for the UN system and developed strategic priorities to enhance such reporting going forward.

The expert meeting reviewed how to foster effective synergy, complementarities and convergence between key system-wide reporting instruments, which include DESA’s annual report on funding for UN system-wide operational activities for development, the CEB’s report on the budgetary and financial situation of the organizations of the UN system and the UN system-wide comprehensive financial statistics database and reporting system which is in its early stages of development.

This task is made more complex as there are several new initiatives within the UN system aimed at increased harmonization of financial reporting across entities, such as the adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), which will impact any coordination effort on system-wide reporting.

There has been increasing demand from donors and programme countries for enhanced system-wide reporting as it is expected that this would improve transparency, governance, coherence and coordination of the UN development system.

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Significant increase in Public Service Awards nominations

United Nations Public Service Awards Call for Nominations closed on 15 January with a 44.4 per cent increase over 2010

Two new categories were created this year in partnership with UNODC and with UN Women. Eight new countries were nominated, including Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Dominica, Somalia, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ukraine.

This year DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) held for the first time a series of informative sessions for representatives of Permanent Missions to the United Nations, to brief them on the programme and encourage them to notify their governments to increase nominations and participation.

The United Nations Public Service Awards is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide.

Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service. It is held every year on 23 June, United Nations Public Service Day. This year’s Awards Ceremony and Forum will be held in Tanzania.

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Indigenous peoples’ rights to forests

The annual meeting was held in New York from 12-14 January to identify possible ways forward

The meeting was attended by 7 indigenous, 4 Members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as well as 20 Member States as observers, 30-40 representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations and some 20 colleagues from the UN System, including the Secretariat of the Forum on Forests.

The meeting provided an opportunity to exchange information on issues regarding indigenous peoples and forests, including the impact of large-scale development, conservation projects and climate change mitigation measures in forests on indigenous peoples’ livelihoods. The meeting also analyzed cultural practices and resource management systems, highlighted good practices models of forest management and identified gaps and challenges as well as possible ways forward.

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