Volume 15, No.12 - November 2011

Trends and analysis

Regional consultation for Asia and the Pacific in support of the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), Kyoto, Japan

OESC will organize the first regional consultation in preparation for the 2012 AMR, with the objective of undertaking a review of the overall performance of the region in achieving the development goals related to productive capacity and employment (2012 AMR theme).  Additionally, the consultation, which will take place on 7 December, will support preparations for and enable countries to engage at an early stage in the process leading to the AMR session to be held during the ECOSOC high-level segment in New York, in July 2012. The consultation will support the global review by focusing on aspects that could foster productive capacity and employment in the countries of the region. The outcome of this review would contribute to the analysis in support the Council’s deliberations in July, and would also feed into the preparation of the Secretary General’s report on the AMR theme. The meeting is being held in collaboration with ILO and UNESCAP, in tandem with the ILO Regional Meeting (4-7 December). (Contact person:  Makiko Tagashira – tel: 212 – 963 4836)

Mortality crises to be addressed

Expert Group Meeting on Mortality Crises: Conflicts, Violence, Famine, Natural Disasters and the Growing Burden of Non-communicable Diseases will take place in New York on 14-15 November

DESA’s Population Division is organizing the meeting with the main objective to review the state of the art in regard to evidence and understanding of crises that cause significant rises in mortality levels and to initiate a discussion on how current knowledge on this issue can inform the preparation of the UN mortality estimates.

The meeting will also consider trends in mortality from non-communicable diseases with the objective of informing assumptions about future mortality trends. The meeting will consider the following topics:

(a) mortality crises associated with violence, including both outright armed conflict and low-level endemic violence;

(b) mortality crises caused by natural disasters, including tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes as well as those caused by famines, and

(c) the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), especially when those diseases cause excessive premature mortality or when the burden of NCDs coexists with a sizable burden from communicable diseases.

For more information:

Cooperating for rural development and decent work

Inter-Agency Technical Meeting on Broadening Coherence and Collaboration for Rural Development through Employment and Decent Work will be held in Rome on 14-15 November

DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), will organize the event, intended as a continuation and a follow up of the Inter-agency technical meeting on “Building employment and decent work into sustainable recovery and development – the UN contribution” held in Turin in November 2010.

The meeting aims at establishing a broad coherence and collaboration to set “Unleashing of rural development through employment and decent work” as a core element of national and international development strategies.

A set of complementary themes will be discussed and each session will address the following three questions:

(a) What are the relevance/potential and the challenges that need to be addressed?

(b) What are the options for action?

(c) How to build coherence and collaboration among agencies and actors based on comparative advantages?

The outcome of each session will include an identification of specific areas of collaboration, as well as a set of concrete, practical and country-level initiatives to be undertaken jointly (by two or more agencies and other institutions, including donors, participating in the technical meeting). These could be new initiatives, or initiatives building on existing ones, to enrich them or increase their outreach.

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International Children’s Art Contest to raise awareness of forests

In celebration of the International Year of Forests 2011, the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFFS) is partnering with the Gabarron Foundation to organize the 2011 International Children’s Art Contest

This year’s theme, “Celebrate the Forests,” challenges children to use the power of imagery to raise awareness on the multifaceted values of forests and the role of youth in safeguarding natural resources.

The Gabarron Foundation, along with the Queen Sofia Children’s Art Museum in Spain, has been developing programs aimed at promoting diversity of arts and culture for 20 years. To date, it has collected more than 50,000 works expressing the creative spirit of children internationally.

Children between the ages of 5 and 14 are invited to submit their work through 30 December 2011. An awards ceremony for the winners will be held at the Gabarron Carriage House Center for the Arts in New York sometime in January 2012. Entries can be submitted to the Gabarron Foundation in the US, The Queen Sofia Children’s Art Museum in Spain, or by e-mail to

For more information:

Make your voice heard and show support for Rio+20

The Rio+20 Secretariat is proud to announce three inter-related initiatives, aiming at raising and mobilizing public awareness of the Rio+20 Conference and Sustainable Development

Rio+20 Messages of the World

At Rio+20, people from all over the world will gather and discuss how to best manage our common future in a sustainable and lasting way. What message would you like to echo to the world? Let us know! Either write your own message, or agree on any of the already published messages. It’s easy! Remember – the strength are in the numbers! Maybe your idea will catch on?

Post your message here:

Rio+20 Pictures of the World

Rio+20 present world leaders the opportunity to create a new paradigm of sustainable lifestyles. Ensuring that our future needs can be met, and balancing our consumption with the environmental limits of the planet, is a collective effort that will impact all levels of society. What aspects of a sustainable lifestyle do you enjoy? Show us in pictures!

Upload your image here:

Rio+20 Count me in!

Show the World that you support Rio+20 and Sustainable Development. Put yourself on the map:

Big turn-out at internet forum

The Sixth Internet Governance Forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya on 27- 30 September

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multi-stakeholder event which brings together the global internet policy making community. Although it has no decision making role it has, over the years, influenced the way other fora and policy making processes have engaged with the policy debate. Thus, for example, the IGF has forged a multifaceted public policy debate around three equal pillars of security, openness and privacy.

At its 6th meeting in Nairobi, organized by DESA through Division for Public Administration & Development Management (DPADM) who provides substantive and administrative support to the IGF, in cooperation with the Government of Kenya and the UN Office, over 2000 badges were issued to participants with delegates attending from around the world; Africa (53%), WEOG (29%), Asia (11%), GRULAC (4%) and Eastern Europe (3%) including representation from 125 governments.

A core feature of any IGF meeting is the thematic workshops which are complemented by the main sessions around each of the core issues, namely Internet Governance for Development, Emerging Issues, Access and Diversity, Security, Openness and Privacy; Critical Internet Resources, Taking Stock and the Way Forward. In Nairobi over 100 of these were organized.

The theme for the sixth meeting was “Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation”. Participants highlighted how the previous year had seen access to the Internet act as a catalyst for development of new freedoms and the delivery of innovative products and services. The debates on Internet governance for development highlighted the importance of emerging countries as centres of Internet innovations of global importance, especially with regard to services and applications, thus, ensuring that policy initiatives fully incorporated Internet governance issues for all countries, was seen as fundamental. Growth in mobile broadband access had accelerated in recent years, coupled with the increasingly pervasive smart phones, Internet access was becoming a reality for development projects across the world.

The constant evolution of Internet technologies and consumer use was seen as creating a myriad of emerging issues. Increasingly, mobile networks were becoming the norm for Internet access, raising new opportunities and challenges. The combination of smart phones, tablets and cloud computing was giving users unprecedented access to content and services, such as social networks, and the ability to communicate and make new associations. The management, allocation and assignment of radio spectrum was becoming a new policy focus area as the continuing growth in the use of mobile networks makes them the access technology for the Internet.

The debates over access and diversity focused not only on the availability, quality and cost of Internet access but also on the ways in which access to the Internet is increasingly seen as a human right. Establishing the rights of users to freedom of expression and freedom of association on the Internet as human rights was seen as one of the recent and fundamental developments in Internet public policy.

One key area of focus was on issues of access and diversity for the disabled, stressing that the need for designing access into products and services for the disabled was fundamental and that ultimately all people benefited from access regimes that addressed those needs; an example being the pioneering use of captioning throughout all sessions at the IGF. What was clear though, was that universal access to the Internet was fundamental to the lives of people worldwide.

The IGF has pioneered work which has inextricably linked the policy debates of security, openness and privacy, and linked these issues in a multi-stakeholder process. Such an approach encourages a debate about the responsibilities and limits to the action of different stakeholders across local, national and international communities, thus individual responsibilities and freedoms can be complemented by actions of other stakeholders and legislative processes.

In the coming months the critical resource that is the Internet will be subject to radical change. Not only will the continued diffusion and adoption of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) dramatically increase in capacity but also new generic top level domain names (such as by way of illustration .eco) will allow several hundred new ‘registries’ to be created; some of which may well be private. These transformations of Internet resources and the processes by which they had been implemented, especially the new generic top level domain names, provoked a debate about how best to secure open and multi-stakeholder participation across all Internet policy making fora and processes.

The theme of multi-stakeholder participation and the call for open and transparent policy debates underpinned the debates about taking stock and the way forward. The momentum that had launched the IGF, the desire to see all the people of the world enjoy the benefits of the Internet, continued to drive plans for the future of the IGF. As befitting a highly innovative technical system, the innovative approach of the IGF to policy making was seen as critical to its continued success. In the coming year, the IGF can make a significant contribution to DESA’s Rio+20 process as discussions around Internet governance have become ever more crucial in setting the ICT agenda and in solidifying the Internet as a catalyst for positive change and supporting sustainable development.

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