Volume 15, No.6 - June 2011

Trends and analysis

Confronting family poverty and social exclusion

Expert Group Meeting on family policies will be held in New York on 1-3 June

The UN Programme on the Family in DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development is organizing this event under the theme “Assessing family policies: confronting family poverty and social exclusion & ensuring work-family balance.”

The meeting is convened as part of the preparations for the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014. The Expert Group Meeting will focus on the importance of designing, implementing and monitoring family-oriented policies especially in the areas of poverty eradication, full employment and decent work and work-family balance. The experts will offer recommendations on appropriate policies in these areas.

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Poverty eradication and decent work for all

High Level Expert Group Meeting will be arranged on 20-22 June in Geneva

DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), in close collaboration with the International Labour Organization (IL0), is organizing this event as part of the preparations for the 50th session of the Commission for Social Development, which is scheduled to take place in New York in February 2012.

The meeting is convened in the context of ECOSOC resolution 2010/L.5 in which the Economic and Social Council decided that the priority theme for the 2011-2012 review and policy cycle of the Commission should be “Poverty Eradication, taking into account its relationship to social integration and full employment and decent work for all.”

The outcomes of the meeting will provide important inputs to the work of the Commission, in particular contributing to formulation of policies that have been shown to have a major impact on efforts to reduce poverty.

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Reviewing responses to global job crisis

Expert Group Meeting on “The Challenge of Building Employment for a Sustainable Recovery” will take place in Geneva on 23-24 June

The meeting aims at providing input to the work of the Commission and at informing ongoing national and international debates on the challenge of building productive employment. It also aims to send a strong message on the importance of promoting job-rich growth to reduce poverty and maintain social cohesion.

It is organized by DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and will bring together specialists to undertake a review of responses to the global jobs crisis in different countries and regions of the world. It will also consider concrete policies and strategies to create productive, decent employment during the recovery.

The meeting has two main objectives:

  • To undertake a review of national and international responses to the global jobs crisis, identifying best practices in preserving existing jobs and in generating new, decent jobs, and discussing lessons learned;
  • To consider strategies, at the national and international levels, to create productive employment during the recovery as a central strategy for poverty eradication and social integration, so as to assist Member States to adopt policies consistent with the Global Jobs Pact.

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Youth briefings on ICT and education

Two new youth sessions will take place in New York in June highlighting information and communication technology and education

The International Year of Youth briefing events continue to bring attention to different youth issues in the lead up to the High Level Conference on Youth to be held on 25-26 July at UN Headquarters in New York.

DESA’s Programme on Youth has two new sessions in the pipeline for June, where one will highlight information and communication technology and the other education.

The Sessions are aimed at Member States, NGOs (with ECOSOC and/or DPI status), and staff members of the UN system. The Sessions will bring together panelists and audience to discuss the most important issues concerning youth in the context of the International Year.

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Sport as a tool for development

The role of sports in development and its importance for people with disabilities will be highlighted at a panel discussion on “Sport as a tool for development: using sport to foster the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities” at UN Headquarters in New York on 27 June

The unique ability of sports to transcend linguistic, cultural and social barriers makes it an excellent platform for strategies of inclusion and adaptation. Furthermore, the universal popularity of sport and its physical, social and economic development benefits make it an ideal tool for fostering the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities.

Sport can help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with disability because it can transform community attitudes about persons with disabilities by highlighting their skills and reducing the tendency to see the disability instead of the person. Through sport, persons without disabilities interact with persons with disabilities in a positive context forcing them to reshape assumptions about what persons with disabilities can and cannot do.

Sport changes the person with disability in an equally profound way by empowering persons with disabilities to realize their full potential and advocate for changes in society. Through sport, persons with disabilities acquire vital social skills, develop independence, and become empowered to act as agents of change. Sport teaches individuals how to communicate effectively as well as the significance of teamwork and cooperation and respect for others. Sport is also well-suited to reducing dependence and developing greater independence by helping persons with disabilities to become physically and mentally stronger.

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Principles and recommendations on Vital Statistics System

Expert Group Meeting on International Standards for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics will take place on 27-30 June in New York

DESA’s Statistics Division is organizing an Expert Group Meeting on International Standards for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics, which will review the Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System, Rev. 2, published in 2001 by the UN (UN publication, Sales No. E.01.XVII.10).

The essential standard which the Principles and Recommendations promulgates – generating accurate, reliable and regular vital statistics from civil registration system – remains unchanged and valid. However, over the past 10 years several issues emerged that might require revisions and updates of the principles and recommendations, such as the increasing use of population registers as source of vital statistics, advances in modern technologies that have helped some countries in accelerating the improvement of their civil registration and vital statistics systems, and the development of statistical systems in countries.

The meeting will review the Principles and Recommendations for updates and elaborations and propose an outline for the next revision of the recommendations.

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Transitioning to low-carbon economy

DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development and Development Policy and Analysis Division organized an Expert Group Meeting on 19-20 May

The meeting was arranged with the purpose to engage international and national experts in a substantive discussion on appropriate modeling techniques to implement a project titled “Supporting National Government in the Transition to Low-Carbon Development Pathway”.

The project aims to assist countries in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy through enhancing policymakers’ capacity to promote green technologies, including renewable energy development, affordable access to clean energy for the poor, and support to industries and other economic sectors in adopting low-carbon technologies. The project proposes to start with the following group of countries in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand.

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Education makes progress but challenges remain

Regional Ministerial Meeting was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 12-13 May on the theme “Key Education Challenges in Latin America and the Carribean: Teachers, Quality, and Equity”

The meeting—hosted by the Government of Argentina, in cooperation with UNDESA, UNESCO, UNICEF, and ECLAC—was held in preparation for the 2011 Annual Ministerial Review of ECOSOC. It was attended by a number of education ministers and vice-ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as participants from Governments, regional organizations, the UN system, civil society and the private sector. ECOSOC was represented by Vice-President Ambassador Gonzalo Gutiérrez and Mr. Thomas Stelzer led DESA’s delegation.

Key messages emanating from the discussion include the following: LAC has made significant progress on the education agenda (primary education, gender equality in education, and adult literacy rates), but challenges remain. There is a need to develop strategies to address inequality in access to education and to improve education quality and to include civil society as a key partner in education policy. Bilateral donors and multilateral organization need to better harmonize their agendas and programmes and efforts are needed to promote the educational use of new technologies, as well mechanisms that facilitate the sharing of lessons learned on the use of ICTs in education.

A summary report containing a full list of policy recommendations from the meeting will be presented at the high-level segment of ECOSOC.

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