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Monthly Briefing

Highlights of the Monthly Briefing on the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP), No. 65.

  • Global employment remains a challenge
  • United States Federal Reserve faces challenges in adjusting its monetary policy
  • Financial markets in emerging economies attempted to stabilise


Briefing with students from The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies


A group of graduate students from Yale University, led by Prof. Roy Lee of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, came to UN/DESA today for a briefing on "Post-2015 Strategies of Development and Transformation", chapter II of the World Economic and Social Survey 2013: Sustainable Development Challenges.

Mr. Nazrul Islam and Ms. Mariangela Parra-Lancourt, Senior Economic Affairs Officers of DSP/DPAD, conducted the meeting. Mr. Islam, lead author of the chapter, gave a presentation and also updated the students about the progress made by the UN Open Working Group (OWG) in discussing and identifying the issues that need to be covered by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Capital in the Twenty-First Century


A Development Policy Seminar sponsored by the Development Strategy and Policy Analysis Unit of DPAD will feature "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", presented by Prof. Thomas Piketty, Professor of Economics from the Paris School of Economics.

Prof. Piketty will address questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth. The seminar will be held on Wednesday, April 16 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm at S-2727FC. The UN Bookshop will be providing copies for sale at the event, signed by the author. The seminar will be live-tweeted under the hashtag #Piketty.

New Social Accounting Matrix for Nicaragua


With the technical support from UN-DESA/DPAD, the Central Bank of Nicaragua constructed a new Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) for the country, which presents a snapshot of all economic transactions and the distribution of income across institutional sectors in Nicaragua. The SAM was built to provide a coherent accounting framework for a modelling tool that is being used to inform policymakers on issues of economic and human development in the framework of UN-DESA's capacity development project "Strengthening Macroeconomic and Social Policy Coherence through Integrated Macro-Micro Modelling".

The project participants representing a number of Government institutions succeeded in presenting policy notes to high level policymakers addressing development issues. All results, as well as more information on the project, are available in the project webpage.

The Central Bank of Nicaragua's Annual Report provides more detail on the effort to build the SAM and its importance to its work: 2013 Annual Report.

WESP Weekly Highlights

Labour market mismatches in the Middle East

In the next few years, youth unemployment will continue to be a major concern in the Middle East, due to the fact that 27.2 per cent of young people in the labour force were unemployed in 2013. Although this is a historical issue in the region, youth unemployment has been accelerating since the beginning of the global financial crisis, reaching new record highs (see figure). In some countries, such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, youth unemployment is close to 30 per cent, while it reached about 40 per cent in the State of Palestine.

Read more>>

Standardized World Income Inequality Database

In the forthcoming World Economic and Social Survey 2014, the Development Strategy and Policy Analysis Unit of DPAD uses the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID) created by Frederick Solt, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa.

Research and analysis on the causes and consequences of income inequality across countries has often been hindered by the limitations of inequality data sets: greater coverage across countries and over time is available from these sources only at the cost of significantly reduced comparability across observations. The aim of the SWIID is to overcome some of these limitations. The Database is increasingly used as a resource for conducting broad cross-national research on income inequality.

Capacity development project on sustainable development policies launched in Bolivia and Nicaragua


A team of UN-DESA/DPAD representatives completed a mission to Nicaragua (10-11 March) and Bolivia (13-14 March) to launch a project that will strengthen government capacities to design coherent sustainable development policies. The team conducted scoping meetings and dialogues with technically qualified staff and policy makers representing a wide range of institutions in each country. UN-DESA representatives described the project's policy modeling tools and discussed with government representatives the ways in which these tools will be used to assess the merits and shortcomings of sustainable development policies currently under consideration. Mr. Ivan Acosta, Minister of Finance of Nicaragua (sharing the table in the picture) and Ms. Viviana Caro Hinojosa, Minister of Development Planning in Bolivia were debriefed at the end of the missions.

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