Volume 16, No.03 - March 2012

Trends and analysis

Decent jobs and inclusive growth in focus

The 2012 Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) e-discussion on “Jobs, Decent Work and Inclusive Growth” runs from 8 February to 14 March

UN DESA is currently hosting this e-discussion in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labor Organization (ILO). It is an open, multi-stakeholder space for experts, practitioners and policy-makers to discuss a series of questions pertaining to the AMR theme. Mr. Stephen Pursey (ILO) and Mr. Selim Jahan (UNDP) are serving as expert moderators, leading participants through a discussion of public policies and strategies to support aggregate demand, foster enterprise development, create decent jobs and ensure inclusive growth.

The recommendations that emerge from the e-discussion will feed into the preparations for the 2012 AMR. If you are not already a member of UNDG’s MDG-Net, UNDP Poverty Reduction Network, Gender or Human Development Report Networks and would like to participate, please register by sending a request to

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Annual Ministerial Review

Catalysts for job creation

2012 Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) regional meeting will be arranged in Addis Ababa on 25 March focusing on “Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as drivers of productive capacity and job creation”

AMR is a function of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the purpose of assessing progress made towards the MDGs and the implementation of other goals and targets agreed at major UN conferences and summits, forming the UN development agenda. It also aims at contributing to scaling-up and accelerating action to realize the development agenda, by serving as global high-level forum with broad-based participation, where lessons learned are exchanged and successful practices and approaches that merit scaling-up are identified.

The meeting in Addis Ababa is organized by UN DESA, jointly with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the International Labor Organization, within the context of the Fifth Joint Meeting, African Union Conferences of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, to be held from 22-27 March.

The outcomes of the meeting will be presented during the ECOSOC high-level segment to be held in New York in July 2012.

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UN Public Service Awards sees nomination increase

The 2012 United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) has seen an unprecedented number of 471 nominations, marking a 58% increase in comparison to 2011 and over 100% growth since 2010

The United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) 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.

The 2012 UNPSA has seen a record number of nominations. Member State participation has also increased from 57 in 2011 to 73, including 16 countries partaking for the first time, almost doubling Member State involvement which was 39 in 2008.

The 2012 UNPSA programme has been accepting nominations from 15 September to 31 December 2011 and are now going through the first amongst a series of evaluations which will culminate in the final evaluation to be done by the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) in April 2012.

The increase in the number of nominations can largely be attributed to the intensive and innovative communication and outreach strategy employed by the UNPSA team which has engaged the Permanent Missions to the UN through three briefing sessions and continuous open communication, prepared material for the delegates, who attended the 66th Session of the General Assembly, and collaborated with multiple partners at regional and national levels to sensitize public institutions in their regions.

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UN Public Service Awards

Understanding today’s economic volatility

On 7 February, the Economic and Social Council with support from UN DESA’s Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination arranged an “Interactive dialogue on the current economic and financial situation”

“Clouds are particularly dark over developed economies,” remarked Mr. Rob Vos, Director of the Development Policy and Analysis Division of UN DESA while moderating the event featuring distinguished economists sharing their views on the current global economic and financial situation.

At the outset of the discussion, the President of the Council and Chair of the ECOSOC Special Briefing, H.E. Mr. Miloš Koterec (Slovakia) also stated, “With growing inequality within and among countries, it is my view that the current development model needs to be revisited… Studies estimate that the global crisis has caused between 47 million and 84 million persons to fall into or remain trapped in poverty. Furthermore, prolonged unemployment affects medium-term growth prospects due to its impact on workers’ income and skills. I believe that a more inclusive and balanced growth strategy should be adopted in order to address these challenges.”

The objective of the event was to allow UN Member States to better understand the systemic and other challenges facing the global economy and explore possible policy responses. The panellists addressed three main topical subjects: what major structural fragilities still exist in the global economy and their implications for recovery; what alternative development models there are for sustainable, equitable and inclusive growth and job creation; and what are the most appropriate arrangements are for effective global policy coordination to mitigate uncertainties.

The panellists included Peter Diamond, Institute Professor and Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and 2010 Nobel Economics Laureate, and Carmen Reinhart, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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Financing social development

A special event was arranged within the Fiftieth session of the Commission for Social Development on 3 February

The event was jointly organized by UN DESA’s divisions Financing for Development Office (FfDO) and the Division for Social Policy and Development in line with the General Assembly resolution “Follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development”. The panel discussion was chaired by the Vice-Chair of the Commission, Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim Elbahi (Sudan) and moderated by Mr. Alex Trepelkov, Director of FfDO.

Emphasis was placed on the importance of resource mobilization for social development, as sufficient financial resources are critical to achieve progress in such key social areas as poverty eradication, job creation, education, health, social inclusion, food security and reduction of inequalities. In order to strengthen financing of social development, challenges resulting from the recent global financial and economic crisis and the food and energy crises need to be addressed.

It is also necessary to tackle long-term, structural bottlenecks. In this context, enhancing domestic resource mobilization, including through effective tax systems, is of critical importance. At the same time, domestic efforts need to be complemented by international resources, such as ODA, innovative financing mechanisms, FDI, trade, migrant workers’ remittances and debt relief.

The panel discussion featured four panelists. Mr. Elliot Harris, IMF Special Representative to the UN, assessed comparative advantages of various types of financing for social purposes and suggested to use external financing predominantly for finite projects with measureable results.

Ms. Christine Bockstal, Chief, Technical Cooperation and Country Operations Group, Social Security Department, ILO, presented findings of the CEB Social Protection Floor Advisory Group, according to which some degree of basic income security that ensures access to essential goods and services for everybody was affordable at all levels of development.

Ms. Eva-Maria Hanfstaengl, Director, Social Justice in Global Development, stressed the role of domestic resource mobilization, including through progressive taxation, taxes on capital gains, and repatriating stolen assets. Mr. Elias Eljuri Abraham, President, National Institute of Statistics, Venezuela, highlighted experiences from his country in reducing poverty and inequality through public investments in key social areas such as housing, employment, education and health.

In the ensuing discussion, participants followed up on some issues raised by the panelists, including feasibility of social protection floors, introduction of financial transactions tax and policies to reduce inequalities. Some participants also supported the creation of a Commission on Financing for Development and the upgrading of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters to an intergovernmental body.

In his closing statement, the Chair identified four key messages of the special event:

  • (i) in the face of multiple crises, both developed and developing countries need to scale up social spending;
  • (ii) countries need to channel their recent prosperity into a more ambitious social development agenda;
  • (iii) countries should prioritize social protection financing; and
  • (iv) it is important to further strengthen financial inclusion and the role of cooperatives.

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Financing for Development