Vol. 10, no.2 March-April 2006

Dialogue on development | Trends and analysis | Technical cooperation | Publications | Comings and goings | Calendar

Mary Chamie, Chief of the UNSD Demographic and Social Statistics Branch, and principal author of the World's Women 2006, discusses the importance of reliable statistics to policy-making and government action in population, advancement of women, health, education and other areas with Tony Jenkins of UN World Chronicle

in this issue

ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies: in the current round of meetings, Commissions are urged to consider how they and the Council can work in harmony to drive implementation of UN development goals

International migration:the international migration landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade. The General Assembly will discuss its implications

Feature article

UN reform could enable the Council and its subsidiary bodies to address the many challenges of development within a unified framework

In the current round of annual meetings, functional and regional commissions are urged to consider how they and the Council can work in harmony to drive implementation of UN development goals.

At the 2005 World Summit, Heads of State and Government strongly committed to meet all the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs. They underscored the need for urgent actions on all sides, including more ambitious national development strategies and efforts, backed by increased international cooperation. As part of this, developed countries agreed to support developing country efforts through increased development assistance. If met according to existing commitments, this would provide an additional $50 billion a year by 2010 for fighting poverty, half of it to Sub-Saharan Africa. Developed countries also resolved to consider additional measures to ensure long-term debt sustainability for some of the world’s poorest countries.

Many countries continue to face deep-rooted obstacles to achieving poverty reduction. One is the still weak link between economic growth and poverty reduction, itself associated with an array of growing inequalities—in terms of wealth and income, based on gender and ethnic background, and between urban and rural areas. Other obstacles include other major problems that disproportionately affect poor countries, such as the spread of HIV-AIDS and other diseases, and the recurrence of armed conflict.

A necessary condition for poverty reduction and sustainable development is sustained economic growth. After decades of dismal growth performance in most developing regions—particularly in the LDCs—during the past quarter century, some positive signs have emerged. Indeed, current trends indicate that 2004-2006 will show fairly widespread growth in developing countries, a pattern not seen since the late 1960s and early 1970s. During these three years, developing countries will grow, on average, at a rate of 6 percent. LDCs will perform close to the average. And Sub-Saharan Africa will score an unprecedented rate of 5.4 percent. As indicated by our recent report on the World Economic Situation and Prospects—the WESP 2006—some key factors behind this have been the mix of high commodity prices, low interest rates and increasing ODA to the poorest countries. The continuation of this mix will be critical to the sustainability of this positive growth conjuncture.

But growth is not enough. The pattern of growth is equally important—in particular, its capacity to generate decent and productive employment for the poorest sectors of society and its effects on income distribution. As both our WESP and the recent ILO report on employment demonstrate, employment generation has continued to be generally weak in the developing world, despite rapid economic growth. And as our report, The Inequality Predicament, showed last year, income inequality within countries has been rising in the majority of both and developing countries over the past three decades. In many countries, significant income inequalities between rural and urban areas point up the need actively to promote rural development as a strategy for successful poverty reduction. Similarly, in most parts of the world, women systematically receive lower salaries and have less access to paid employment than do men, and unequal school enrolment ratios remain a major element of gender disparity in many countries. These facts remind us, once again, that the “inclusiveness” of economic growth is not an automatic outcome of market forces and should thus be built through explicit public policies.

Foremost among these policies, one should underscore the need for:

  • economic growth strategies that explicitly mainstream the generation of decent and productive employment for the poor;
  • measures to address the growing inequality in income and wealth distribution; and
  • the provision of social safety nets and risk mitigation measures, as part of the long-term effort to build comprehensive and universal social protection systems.

In its Declaration on the 10th anniversary of the Social Summit, the Commission for Social Development stressed the need for poverty reduction policies and programmes to include specific measures to promote full and productive employment and to foster social integration. The 2005 World Summit also emphasized the central role of employment, not only in the poverty eradication agenda, but also in equitable development and the overall development agenda. The Summit outcome commits Governments to make “full and productive employment and decent work for all” a central objective of national and international efforts.

Success in driving forward active employment policies—as well as in designing strategies to address income inequality, increase social mobility and build strong social protection systems—depends on the quality of public policies and thus our ability to reverse a troublesome trend of recent decades: the weakening of the public sector in most parts of the world. A key issue in this regard is the need to mainstream social objectives into economic policymaking. The social implications of economic policies must be made more central to economic policy-making at the national and international levels. This applies not only to budgets and taxation, but also to trade, monetary and exchange rate policies, and to agricultural, industrial and investment strategies.

The international agenda has recognized also that a crucial element of any poverty eradication and inclusive growth strategy is the establishment of country-driven participatory processes that promote ownership of policies and programmes by all citizens. Women, youth, indigenous peoples, older persons, people with disabilities and other groups with special needs must be given voice. And poverty reduction strategies should promote their representation and empowerment. In short, the poor and the marginalized should not only be subjects but also central actors in the design of inclusive public policies.

The Summit outcome raises several questions for the commissions in the overall context of UN reform. The Summit decisions on development and on ECOSOC reform could enable the Council and its subsidiary bodies to operate as a unified system around the single framework of the development goals, in order to drive and monitor their implementation. This new ECOSOC system, with a boosted capacity to deliver for member states and their peoples, is yet to be crystallized. The General Assembly is deliberating on how to put the Summit decisions into effect. And the Council itself will have some tough decisions to take, too, particularly on its working methods.

It is too soon to tell what exactly will emerge. But one change one would hope to see is a general segment in which the Council could give much more substantive attention to the work of its functional commissions. This means time to address the substantive and coordination issues that emanate from the commissions’ reports, including through interactive dialogue with commission members.

At the same time, the functional commissions need to consider their positions within this new system. The same is true for the Council’s regional commissions and expert bodies.

Partly, this is a matter of reflecting on substantive priorities and potential opportunities in light of the Summit outcome. The Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs (EC-ESA) has been reflecting on this—and would be very much interested in views and guidance of the commissions on this front.

With the Summit outcome, and with the upcoming ECOSOC session, the United Nations as a whole has an opportunity to engage in the debate on employment issues in a much broader and more energetic way than it has thus far. This is the backdrop for the Secretary-General’s proposing employment as the theme of your 2007/2008 implementation cycle.

The outcome document also suggests a need to bring greater attention to the developmental aspects of social integration and of building inclusive societies, and to integrate in a comprehensive manner the debates on economic and social issues that take place in ECOSOC and its functional commissions with the human rights agenda, helping in turn to underscore the centrality to that agenda of economic, social and cultural rights. And with the establishment of the new Peacebuilding Commission, an opportunity has opened up to link social development more firmly and effectively to peacebuilding.

The commissions will also need to think about how the individual follow-up processes it helps to drive could be geared towards implementation of the comprehensive development agenda — in terms not only of reporting, but also of analytical and policy contributions towards achieving the goals. How will the commissions contribute to ECOSOC’s reformed segments, to the new annual ministerial reviews, to the global policy dialogue and Development Cooperation Forum? How could the functional commissions contribute to the Council’s response to emergencies and potential threats? And what would all this mean for the work programmes of the commissions and for the support they require from the secretariat?

These are difficult questions with no easy answers. It seems clear, however, that the commissions might want to add a standing agenda item on their relations to ECOSOC. And the commissions and secretariat could make a practice of clearly identifying policy areas requiring the Council’s attention.

Another related angle for consideration here is how the commissions will respond to the Summit’s major emphasis on achieving greater coherence and synergies in the United Nations’ operational, analytical, and normative work, at both country and headquarters levels. This could mean exploring ways to engage the United Nations’ funds and programmes and the governing bodies of the specialized agencies in the commissions’ work. And it could involve the commissions and the secretariat clearly identifying their work’s operational implications.

In all these tasks, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs is eager to support the entire ECOSOC family of organizations in whatever way possible.

This article is based on the opening statement of Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, to the Commission for Social Development on 8 February.

Full information on the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies can be found on the UN economic and social affairs website at http://www.un.org/esa/.

Global dialogue on development

Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations

2006 regular session

New York, 19-27 January

At its 2006 regular session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations had before it 146 applications for consultative status. The Committee recommended ninety-seven applications and deferred forty-two. It did not grant status to three organizations and closed consideration of two others. It also recommended withdrawing consultative the status from one organization. The Committee had before it three requests for reclassification of consultative status of which it recommended two. It reviewed fifty-two quadrennial reports and took note of forty-two of them.

The Committee decided not to grant consultative status to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, based in Belgium, and the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians which were both turned down by a vote of ten against to five in favour with three abstentions. These were controversial decisions. The German delegate stated that the Committee’s rejection was an act of discrimination based on sexual orientation that would “haunt us for a long time.” The Committee also rejected the application of a Czech-based international organization called People in Need by a vote of nine against to four in favour with four abstentions. The proposal to reject the application of People in Need was put forward by Cuba which stated that the organization was a front for the Czech government used to destabilize regimes in other countries including Cuba.

The Committee decided to end consideration of the request for consultative status of the Women and Child Development Organization, from which it had received no response for several sessions, and of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth due to ongoing legal proceeding relating to possible terrorist links.

With regard to applications for reclassification, the Committee decided not to recommend reclassification to general status of the Armenian Relief Society based on an intervention by the Turkish Ambassador who stated that ARS had not respected the principles of the Charter and Council resolution 1996/31, and had provided inaccurate information.

At the request of the United States, the Committee decided to withdraw the status of the Islamic African Relief Agency based in Sudan. The United States delegation informed the Committee that IARA had been on a list of terrorist organizations maintained by the United States Department of the Treasury since 2004 because of its links with Al Qaida and terrorist financing activities. Although several notifications were sent to the NGO, no reply was received from the organization and the Committee took its decision by consensus with a caution stated by Cuba.

While the Committee recommended consultative status for the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, a Palestinian-based organization, the delegations of the United States, France and Germany disassociated themselves from the consensus on the grounds that the organizations’ position equating Zionism with racism was not clear.

The Committee also heard a statement made by the Chair on the reinstatement of status for the Indian movement Tupaj Amaru, an organization in special status that had been suspended by the Committee for one year pursuant to a complaint by the United States. The one-year suspension ended on 23 July 2005. The issue of the automaticity of reinstatement after suspension was debated at length, but no resolution of the issue was reached.

Another application that generated intense discussion was that of the Venezuelan based Associacion Civil Conscorico Desarollo y Justicia. Speaking against the organization, the representative of Venezuela, an observer to the Committee, urged denial of the application. The Committee postponed action on the application pending the receipt of answers to the various issues raised.

The Committee will resume its work on 10 May.

Contact: Ms. Hanifa Mezoui, Chief, NGO Section, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 121/963-8652

United Nations Forum on Forests

6th session

New York, 13-24 February


After two weeks of intense negotiations, the Sixth Session of the UN Forum on Forests reached an agreement on the future direction of international forest policy.

Member States agreed on four global objectives on forests that highlight the urgent priorities for the implementation of sustainable forest management and the need to curb deforestation forest degradation. The global goals are:

  • Reversing the loss of forest cover and increasing efforts to prevent forest degradation;
  • Enhancing forest benefits and their contribution to the international agreed development goals;
  • Increasing the area of forest protected areas of sustainable managed forests; and
  • Reversing the decline in official development assistance for sustainable forest management.

The Forum set a positive tone on efforts to strengthen international and national-level collaboration on implementing the global objectives. The Forum has been in existence for five years. During the two-week session, the Forum’s mandate was renewed for another 9 years until the year 2015. At that time, Member States will review the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests and consider a full range of options including a legally binding instrument on all types of forests, strengthening the current arrangement and continuation of the current arrangement.

The Forum which was held from 13 to 24 February 2006 resumed negotiations initiated during the fifth session held in May 2005 on the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests and its future direction.

Contact: Ms. Njeri Kariuki, Secretariat of the United Nations Forum on Forests, +1 917/367-6048

Commission on the Status of Women

50th session

New York, 27 February-10 March


The theme of this year’s high-level round table in the Commission is “Incorporating gender perspectives into the national development strategies on implementation of the internationally agreed development goals requested in the 2005 World Summit.”

A high-level panel discussion on the "Gender dimensions of international migration" will also be held during the Commission, on 2 March. The outcome of the panel is intended to provide input into the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, which will be held in the General Assembly in September 2006.

As part of the preparatory process for the Secretary-General's in-depth study on violence against women, the Division for the Advancement of Women is organizing a multi-stakeholder dialogue for Governments and civil society on preventing and eliminating violence against women, in conjunction with the fiftieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The dialogue will be held at UNHQ on 3 March and will focus on multi-sectoral collaboration in addressing domestic/interpersonal violence and trafficking. Information on parallel events is available on the Commission website.

Contact: Secretariat of the Commission, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 212/963-3463

Ms. Carmen María Gallardo (El Salvador), Chairperson, welcomes delegates to the 50th session of the Commission on the Status of Women


Statistical Commission

37th session

New York, 7-10 March


The key item on the agenda is a programme review on industrial statistics prepared by Japan. Following its four-year work programme the Commission will also discuss reports on distributive trade statistics, integrated economic statistics, national accounts, classifications, the international comparison programme, environmental accounting, energy statistics and social statistics; furthermore the Commission will consider a set of principles governing international statistical activities, which has been elaborated in a three-year process by the international agencies and for which now over 20 agencies have expressed their professional commitment. Finally, an analytical report on the ability of countries to produce indicators, which was prepared by UNSD with the support of a "Friends of the Chair Expert Group”, will be discussed. In addition to the 24 members, it is expected that up to 50 countries will participate as observers at the level of heads of national statistical offices.

Contact: Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Chief, Statistical Services Branch, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4849

Committee for Development Policy

8th session

New York, 20-24 March

At its eighth session, the Committee for Development Policy will undertake the triennial review of the list of least developed countries. The Committee will also discuss its contribution to the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 2006 (on the theme creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development). In addition, the Committee will examine national and international policy responses to economic vulnerability and instability.

Contact: Mr. Anatoly Smyshlyaev, Secretary of the Committee for Development Policy, +1 212/963-4687

Committee of Experts on Public Administration

5th session

New York, 27–31 March


The Committee of Experts on Public Administration will hold its Fifth Session at UN Headquarters. The Committee will review critical issues related to the following three items for discussion approved by ECOSOC:

  • Innovations in Governance and Public Administration for the Achievement of the Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Searching for a Bottom-up Approach and Methodologies for Developing Foundations and Principles of Sound Public Administration; and
  • Compendium of Basic Terminology in Governance and Public Administration.

Contact: Ms. Haiyan Qian, Secretary of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration, +1 212/963-3393

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names

23rd session

Vienna, 28 March-4 April


The twenty-third session of the UNGEGN will be held in Vienna in accordance with Economic and Social Council decision 2004/303 of 23 July 2004. The key items on the agenda are a review of the activities undertaken by the UNGEGN working groups in view of the essential contribution the Group of Experts continues to provide Member States in the geographical information field and related cartographic areas an evaluation of the implementation of the resolutions adopted by the Eighth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, a review of toponymic guidelines for map editors and other editors, and a discussion of recommendations to facilitate and prepare the work of the Ninth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. It is expected that up to 200 country delegates and observers will participate at the level of heads of national geographical names authorities, in addition to representatives of international organizations.

Contact: Mr. Amor Laaribi, GIS Officer, Statistical Services Branch, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-3042

Commission on Population and Development

39th session

New York, 3-7 April


The theme of this year’s session of the Commission will be international migration and development. This aspect of the general debate during the session is seen as an important input to the high-level dialogue on international migration and development to be conducted by the General Assembly on 14 and 15 September 2006. Four keynote speakers have been invited, each being allocated an hour for presentation and dialogue with Commission members. Two speakers will make presentations on 4 April and two on 5 April.

Contact: Mr. Armindo Miranda, Senior Population Affairs Officer, Office of the Director, Population Division, +1 212/963-3210

Preparatory meeting for the 2006 high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council

New York, 4-5 April

The Economic and Social Council will hold its preparatory meeting for the 2006 high-level segment in New York. The theme for the high-level segment of the substantive session of 2006 will be “Creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development.”

The meeting will assess the current global situation regarding productive employment and decent work, and make policy recommendations which could be considered by Member States at the High-Level segment, scheduled to take place on 3-5 July 2006 in Geneva.

Ambassadors, representatives of agencies and organizations of the United Nations system, the World Bank, the IMF, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academia, media and others are expected to attend the meeting.

Contact: Ms. Leslie Wade, Senior Officer, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 212/963-4420

NGO/civil society forum

New York, 6-7 April

An NGO/civil society forum will also be held from 6-7 April in New York to enhance contributions to the 2006 high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council.

Contact: Ms. Hanifa Mezoui, Chief, NGO Section, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 121/963-8652

Special high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the BWI, WTO and UNCTAD

9th session

New York, 24 April


The Economic and Social Council will hold its ninth special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in New York, the day following the spring meetings in Washington of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee.

This year’s meeting will be an important opportunity to build on some of the concrete development initiatives agreed upon at the 2005 World Summit. Within the overall framework of “Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the 2005 World Summit outcome”, the Council is expected to address four sub-themes:

  • Implementation of and support for national development strategies, towards the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs;
  • Fulfilling the development dimension of the Doha Work Programme: next steps, including in the area of aid-for-trade;
  • External debt: implementing and building on current initiatives to enhance debt sustainability;
  • Supporting the development efforts of middle-income developing countries.

In addition, it is expected that the representatives of the IMF and the World Bank will provide information on the latest developments in the area of enhancing the voice and participation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition in economic decision-making and norm-setting.

The broad structure of the meeting will follow that of previous years with a morning plenary meeting with a set of brief statements by heads of intergovernmental bodies and other senior officials, followed by simultaneous multi-stakeholder roundtable discussions. The afternoon will feature reports back to the resumed plenary by roundtable chairs, interventions by representatives of NGOs and the private sector, short informal comments on round table summaries and other statements from the floor (not prepared statements). The meeting will conclude with a statement by the President of ECOSOC. A more comprehensive President’s summary of the discussions will be circulated subsequently.

Contact: Mr. Oscar de Rojas, Director, Financing for Development Office, +1 212/963-2587
Mr. Navid Hanif, Chief, Policy Coordination Branch, Office of ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL Support and Coordination, +1 212/963-8415

Looking ahead

General Assembly

High-level dialogue on international migration and development

New York, 14-15 September

During its 61st session in September, the General Assembly will conduct a high-level dialogue on international migration and development to discuss the effects of migration on economic and social development in developed and developing countries, and on the effects of the movements of highly skilled migrant workers and those with advanced education, while also addressing short-term and seasonal workers within the context of labour movements.

The international migration landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade. Exacerbated disparities between the North and the South, an expanding global economy, geopolitical transformations, wars, ecological disasters and other occurrences have had a profound impact on people and their desire to leave their homeland. Today, international migration has become a complex global issue that affects every country in the world, as point of origin, transit or destination and, often, as all three at once. As a result, there is a growing interest among Governments, the United Nations system, civil society, the private sector and many other groups affected by migration to explore ways to capitalize on the benefits and minimize the negative consequences of migration. At the global level, international migration is increasingly being perceived as a development tool. It is no longer seen as a failure of development, but rather as an integral part of the global development process.

The number of persons living outside their country of birth more than doubled from 76 million in 1960 to 175 million in 2000. Today it stands at almost 200 million. There is an increased concentration of international migrants in the developed world — about 60 per cent of the world’s migrants live in developed countries. Most are found in a small number of countries. International migrants account for anywhere from 10 per cent to two thirds of the population in some countries.

While such movements have always existed, they have recently been facilitated by developments in transportation and communication and the globalization of labour markets. Migration has increased because of widening income differentials between sending and receiving countries, high unemployment rates, and education gaps in many developing countries, as well as changing demographic trends including ageing of the population and declining numbers of persons of working age in a number of developed countries.

It is estimated that between 1995 and 2000 more-developed countries experienced a 12 million net migration gain from less-developed nations. One of the key results of these population shifts has been the rapid growth of communities of expatriates from less developed countries residing in more developed nations. This is apparent from figure I, which shows the numbers of persons born in developing South countries who were enumerated in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in the 2000 round of censuses. The censuses counted 46 million expatriates in OECD countries born outside of Europe and North America.

In addition to the more-or-less permanent communities of expatriates in developed countries, there is also large-scale circulation of workers from less developed to more developed countries. This includes highly skilled, highly paid international migrants working in the global labour market. It also includes low-paid, lower-skilled workers needed in labour markets in countries where fertility has fallen well below replacement level and the local labour force has ceased to grow. These movements are both South-North and South-South. For example, at any one time there are about 20 million Asians working on a temporary basis outside their homeland in more developed countries in the region, especially those in the Middle East and other Asian nations. There are also migration flows of both skilled and unskilled workers from Asia to Africa and within Africa.

Almost half of the world’s international migrants are women. Once considered passive players who accompanied or joined migrating husbands or other family members, women are playing an increasing role in international migration. In some countries, women constitute between 70 and 80 per cent of the migrant population. While the diversity of female migration is increasing, women still tend to be more concentrated in traditionally female occupations such as domestic work and entertainment as well as in the caregiving and nurturing skilled professions such as nursing. Some move as “mail order brides”.

Because women migrants are often found in gender-segregated and unregulated sectors of the economy, they are at a much higher risk of gender discrimination, violence and abuse. The demand for women for specific types of work also renders them more vulnerable to unauthorized migration including trafficking. The feminization of migration and the abuses often experienced by women migrants call for the recognition of gender equality as an integral part of the process of policymaking, planning, programme delivery and monitoring at all levels. Protection of human rights and equal access to legal and health services are especially important when it comes to addressing the challenges faced by migrant women.

In the increasing global discussion on international migration, one of the most promising dimensions from a policy perspective is that which is centred around the complex interrelationships between migration on the one hand and economic development and social change on the other. This is promising for at least two reasons. First, the potential for policy to enhance the positive effects of migration and mitigate the negative impacts opens up the possibility that migration can become a net contributor to the important global agenda of reducing poverty in South countries. Second, this issue has the potential to bring together both sending and receiving countries to develop mutually beneficial migration situations, whereas in the past there was not much dialogue between the two groups. What is needed are sound policy and programme interventions based on a solid understanding of the dynamics of contemporary international migration and the two-way relationship with development.

The foregoing is an extract of a report submitted to the Commission on Population and Development in preparation for the high-level dialogue (E/CN.6/2006/4). The full text of the report is available on the website of the Population Division at http://www.un.org/esa/population/cpd/comm2006.htm .

The General Assembly high-level dialogue on international migration can be found at http://www.un.org/esa/population/hldmigration/index.html

Working session on emerging trends and best practices in data dissemination

New York, 3 March


The United Nations Statistics Division will hold a working session on emerging trends and best practices in data dissemination. The working session will discuss the emerging trends in data dissemination policies and practices, approaches in promoting greater access to statistical information, and the means to enhance utilization and understanding of statistical data. The meeting will coincide with the launch of UNSD’s project on “Statistics as a Public Good”, which aims to promote public access to UN data resources and to establish best practices in the dissemination of official statistics.

Contact: Mr. Jacob Assa, Associate Statistician, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-2561

Marakesh Task Force on Sustainable Public Procurement

1st meeting

Jongny sur Vevey, Switzerland, 8-9 March

The Marakesh Task Force will have its first meeting in Jongny sur Vevey, Switzerland. This meeting will discuss and decide on the terms of reference and future work programme of the Task Force, which has as its objective developing policy options for promoting sustainable public procurement.

Contact: Mr. Tarcisio Alvarez-Rivero, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-5708

Expert group meeting on indigenous peoples and indicators of well-being

Ottawa, 21-23 March

The Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is organizing an expert group meeting on Indigenous Peoples and Indicators of Well-Being in cooperation with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and University of Ottawa. The meeting will be held at the Aboriginal Policy Research Conference in Ottawa.

Contact: Mr. Sushil Raj, Associate Expert, Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917/367-5798

4th World Water Forum

Mexico City, 16-22 March

The overriding theme of the 4th World Water Forum is local actions for a global challenge. The Forum will review financing, monitoring, capacity-building and other decisive factors, with a view both to improving involvement and empowerment of local actors and to effecting appropriate channeling of domestic and international support for local actions worldwide. The framework themes of the Forum are:

  • Water for Development;
  • Implementing Integrated Water Resources Management;
  • Water Supply and Sanitation for All;
  • Water Management for Food and the Environment; and
  • Risk Management.

A number of cross-cutting issues will also be revised, such as new models for financing local water initiatives; institutional development and political processes; capacity-building and social learning; application of science, technology and knowledge; and targeting, monitoring and implementation assessment.

The Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation will meet on 14-15 March in conjunction with the 4th World Water Forum.

Contact: Mr. Manuel Dengo, Chief, +1 212/963-4208; or Marcia Brewster, Senior Officer, +1 212/963-8590, Water, Natural Resources and Small Island Developing States Branch, Division for Sustainable Development

Regional expert group meeting on development challenges for young people in Asia

Bangkok, 28-30 March

The Division for Social Policy and Development will organize an expert group meeting, hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. The meeting will bring together experts and representatives of universities, United Nations Member States, United Nations agencies and programmes, and intergovernmental organizations, to identify and discuss major youth development challenges in Asia in preparation for the World Youth Report 2007.

Contact person: Ms. Charlotte van Hees, Associate Expert in youth policies and programmes, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917 367-4053

Inter-agency and expert group on MDG indicators

9th meeting

Washington DC, 27-29 March

The ninth meeting of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on the Millennium Development Goal indicators will be hosted by the World Bank. This IAEG is responsible for data development and analysis for the assessment of trends in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. The group includes the United Nations Secretariat, a number of UN agencies, IMF, OECD and the World Bank, national experts from statistical offices, and representatives from other organizations concerned with the development of data for the MDGs at national and international levels.

Contact: Ms. Fabia Yazaki, Statistician, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4823

Technical cooperation

Arab States

Regional forum on reinventing Government in the Arab States

Dubai, 25–27 April

In the context of the preparations for the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government to be held in 2007, DESA is organizing with a number of partner organizations a series of regional fora to discuss region-specific issues related to the main theme of the Global Forum. The regional forum is being organized by DPADM, in collaboration with the UNDP programme on governance in the Arab States and the Dubai School of Government. The purpose of the forum is to provide a platform for regional experience-sharing and mutual learning through discussions of successful practices and current and planned efforts to pursue the renewal and modernization of public agencies. It also aims at enhancing the introduction and application of innovations in public management through a re-examination of the administrative environment and the factors that may encourage or impede innovation for development.

Contact: Mr. Shabbir Cheema, +l 212/963-4533; or Mr. John-Mary Kauzya, Chief, Governance and Public Administration Branch,

Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-1973

Asia and the Pacific

Tackling poverty together: the role of young people in poverty reduction

Kampala, 14-17 March

A second workshop for the project "Tackling Poverty Together: The Role of Young People in Poverty Reduction" will be held in Kampala. The workshop will review the action plans created by youth organizations in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in order to strengthen their involvement in the poverty reduction processes of their countries. The project is a joint initiative of the UN programme on youth and the National Council of Swedish Youth Organizations.

Contact: Ms. Julie Larsen, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1917 367-6036

Climate Change:  inter-sessional workshop in the context of the Commission on Sustainable Development

New Delhi, 7-8 April

A workshop on climate change and sustainable development will explore the linkages between climate change and sustainable development. The workshop is being jointly organized by DESA and the Energy Research Institute with the support of the Government of India.

The workshop will also identify gaps in the understanding of the linkages between climate change and sustainable development, examine and discuss analytical tools to improve understanding, and assist countries to integrate adaptation and mitigation strategies and policies into national sustainable development plans and strategies.

Contact: Mr. Mohammad Reza Salamat, Senior Officer, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 917/367-3200

Latin America and the Caribbean

Panel on the status of e-Government in Latin America and the Caribbean

Ottawa, 6-8 March

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States and the Institute for Connectivity in the Americas are organizing the RED GEALC workshop on sharing Canadian e-Government experiences, which will take place in Ottawa. RED GEALC is the network of e-Government leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean. DPADM is participating in a panel of the workshop on the status of e-Government in Latin America and the Caribbean which will be presented to the eGe Task Force, established to support e-government development in these regions.

Contact: Ms. Barbara Chiara-Ubaldi, Public Administration Officer, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 917/367-3349

Official launch of the Caribbean e-Government technical advisory and support facility

New York, 29 March

The fifth Caribbean ministerial consultation on regional cooperation for e-Government capacity-building, held in Barbados in June 2004, saw the endorsement of the Action-oriented e-Government Strategy for Countries of the Caribbean Region, 2004-2007. In embracing the strategy, the meeting agreed on various actions to support its implementation, including the establishment of a regional technical and advisory support facility to support national and regional e-government efforts. Through the sharing of information, data and experiences, the TASF, established in 2005, not only enhances regional cooperation but also plays a catalytic role in supporting the development of national e-government capacities in the region.

Contact: Ms. Barbara Chiara-Ubaldi, Public Administration Officer, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 917/367-3349

Task force meeting on e-Government for effectiveness

Washington, DC, 11 April

One of the goals of the E-government for Effectiveness (eGe) Task Force is to create an inter-institution platform that will house the e-government activities of the World Bank, the Organization of American States, the Gateway Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank and DPADM in Latin America and the Caribbean. This platform will be in the form of a closed website which will allow each institution to upload its information on e-government in the region.

The task force will be held periodically over a two-year period to discuss common interests and activities. They will continuously look for ways to improve communication among the members and coordinate activities. The task force will identify the strengths of each institution as well as their weaknesses and identify a complementary roadmap for working together in this endeavour.

Contact: Mr. Richard Kerby, Interregional Adviser, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 917/367-4332

Panel discussion on indigenous peoples, agrarian reform: reaching the MDGs through rural development

Porto Alegre, 8 March

The Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is organizing a panel discussion at the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development . The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the specific challenges faced by indigenous peoples in relation to agrarian reform and rural development, in addition to sharing experiences and best practices. The panel will be chaired by Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the Forum.

Contact: Mr. Broddi Sigurdarson, Associate Social Affairs Officer, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917 367-2106

International training courses on the implementation of the Ibero-American Charter for the Public Service

Antigua, Guatemala, 18-21 April

The course is part of a series of training courses for high-level public officials which are taking place throughout the year. It has been designed to train public officials in the implementation of reforms for the execution of the principles of public service and transparency contained in the Ibero-American Charter for the Public Service. The Institute of Public Administration of Spain, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and the Latin American Centre for Development Administration are joining DPADM in this important effort. The first course will cover Central America and Mexico. Ministers and directors in charge of the public service in their countries are expected to attend.

Contact: Mr. Jose Manuel Sucre-Ciffoni, Chief of the Office of the Director, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-0701

Publications and websites

Technical reports

Public Administration and Globalization: Enhancing Public-Private Collaboration in Public Service Delivery


The United Nations programme in public administration supported the Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration in its 19th General Assembly and Conference on Public Administration and Globalization: Challenges, Opportunities and Options with a specific focus on enhancing public-private collaboration in public service delivery. This DPADM report seeks to highlight the experiences of various states and institutions in bringing together state and market mechanisms to introduce new forms of producing and delivery public services which were traditionally delivered solely through state mechanisms.

Public Sector Transparency and Accountability in Selected Arab Countries: Policies and Practices


The public is increasingly demanding more transparency and accountability in public sector operations in the face of globalization. This DPADM report presents a qualitative analysis of the state of public sector transparency and accountability in the Arab Region. A comparison of policies and practices for the six countries under study (Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen) serves as the basis for this report. Because the participating countries were chosen to be representative, the main findings and policy recommendations may also be applicable to other countries in the region. The report is available in Arabic, English, and French.

Meeting records

International Symposium on Natural Gas and Sustainable Development

The International Symposium on Natural Gas and Sustainable Development was co-organized by the Government of the State of Qatar and DESA and held in Doha, Qatar, 6-8 February 2006. Presentations at the symposium emphasized the multiple benefits of increasing the use of natural gas to provide reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound forms of energy for sustainable development. The symposium reflected, among others, on intermediate and long-term energy development trends, gas market reforms and other gas related policy issues, initiatives to reduce gas flaring, environmental safeguards, transparency of revenues and revenue sharing and dimensions of social development related to natural gas. The outcome of the Symposium will be reported to the Commission on Sustainable Development in May 2006.

Contact: Mr. Ralph Wahnschafft, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-8598)

Citizen Participation and Pro-poor Budgeting


The publication comprises six essays stemming from an expert group meeting on civil society participation in fiscal policy, organized by DPADM in March 2004. These essays deal with: the definition of civil society in general; citizen/government dialoguing in fiscal policies and its potential to influence budgeting to assist the poor; relations between direct citizen/government dialoguing and established democratic processes; and the general role of civil society in the budgetary process.

Decentralization: Poverty Reduction, Empowerment and Participation


This DPADM publication includes technical papers issued in 2005, stemming from the International Conference on Engaging Communities (an initiative of the United Nations and the Queensland State Government, Australia) held in Brisbane in August 2005. The scope of the Conference and the resulting papers is decentralization, including country experiences and monitoring concepts, as it affects the Millennium Development Goals, particularly Goal One of halving poverty by 2015. The report includes experiences, empirical findings and country papers.

Statistical compilations

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS On-line


Provides monthly statistics on 50 subjects from over 200 countries and areas, together with special tables illustrating important economic developments. Quarterly data for significant world and regional aggregates are included regularly.


Vol. LIX – No. 11

November 2005

Special features in this issue: Indices of world industrial production by branches of industry and by regions; Producer price indices; Earnings in manufacturing by sex; Construction of new buildings; Total exports and imports by regions: volume and unit value indices and terms of trade; World exports by commodity classes and by regions

The World’s Women 2005 Progress in Statistics


Sales No. E/F.05.XVII.7

The World's Women 2005 uniquely reviews and analyses the current availability of data and assesses progress made in the reporting of national statistics, as opposed to internationally prepared estimates, relevant to gender concerns. Analyzing statistics reported by 204 countries during the past 30 years, The World's Women 2005 sets out a blueprint for improving the availability of data in the areas of demographics, health, education, work, violence against women, poverty, decision-making and human rights.

The World’s Women report is prepared by the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) at regular five-year intervals starting in 1991.

Contact: Ms. Erlinda Go, Statistician, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4507

2002 Demographic Yearbook


Sales No. E/F.05.XIII.1

The 2002 edition of the annual Demographic Yearbook provides statistics on population size and composition, fertility, mortality, infant and fetal mortality, marriages and divorces collected through a set of questionnaires dispatched annually by the United Nations Statistics Division to over 230 national statistical offices. This year, for the first time, data on births by month of occurrence (1980-2002) are provided and the table on causes of death (as provided by the World Health Organization) is included again. The Yearbook also includes a detailed set of technical notes and footnotes explaining the sources, availability, timeliness, quality, reliability and coverage of the data presented.

Contact: Mr. Srdjan Mrkic, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4940

World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision, Volume 1: Comprehensive Tables

Sales no. E.05.XIII.5

Published February 2006


This volume represents the latest global demographic estimates and projections prepared by the United Nations Population Division.

Data also available interactively at http://esa.un.org/unpp/

Contact: Mr. Thomas Buettner, Chief, Population Estimates and Projections Section, Population Division, +1 212/963-3209

International Migration 2006: wall chart




Online and CD-ROM Human Resource Recruitment and Best Talent Retention Tool Kit for the Public Sector


There is no greater challenge in public sector today than recruiting, hiring and retaining talented people; and this trend will be continue in the future. DPADM called upon the expertise of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) to carry out a number of studies to determine appropriate recruitment selection and retention strategies aiming at acquiring the best talent in the public sector. The findings of these studies have been compiled in this CD-ROM, which also includes the report on a workshop on: “Unlocking the Human Potential for Public Sector Performance”. Additional documentation has also been included to provide more reference tools to the reader for: i) how to get the best pool of qualified applicants, and ii) how to assist public sector institutions in identifying job vacancies and filling them in a proactive, effective and responsive manner with respect to their business plans.

Compendium of Recommendations on International Migration and Development: The United Nations Development Agenda and the Global Commission on International Migration compared




Contact: Mr. Bela Hovy, Chief, Migration Section, Population Division, +1 917/367-9887

National Trends in Population, Resources, Environment and Development 2005: Country Profiles


Contact: Ms. Marybeth Weiberger, Chief, Population and Development Section, Population Division, +1 212/963-4531

Compendium of E-government Innovative Practices


DPADM has produced a Compendium of E-government Innovative Practices which aims to support developing countries in their implementation of e-government solutions. It focuses on current e-government practices, with an emphasis on providing public value, creating an environment that is conducive to participation of citizens, and highlighting e-government policies that sponsor transparency and efficiency.

Working papers

Real Exchange Rate, Monetary Policy and Employment


Evaluating Targeting Efficiency of Government Programmes: International Comparisons


What is the Most Effective Monetary Policy for Aid-Receiving Countries?


Development and Social Goals: Balancing Aid and Development to Prevent ‘Welfare Colonialism’



The World's Women 2005: Progress in Statistics


Site of the fourth World’s Women report since 1991. This issue focuses on national reporting of sex disaggregated statistics in such areas as demographics, health, education, work, violence against women, poverty, human rights and decision-making.

Contact: Mr. Jeremiah Banda, Chief, Social and Housing Statistics Section, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-8338

Principles Governing International Statistical Activities


Site of the set of principles in UNSD’s mission to promote the development of the global statistical systems

New website of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


The Secretariat for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has launched a renovated website. In addition to general news and events relating to Indigenous Issues and the Permanent Forum’s activities, the website contains a wealth of information and documents from previous sessions of the Permanent Forum. The website is in English with content steadily being added in Spanish.

Contact: Mr. Broddi Sigurdarson, Associate Social Affairs Officer, Secretariat for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917/ 367 2106

Online training course on e-Government: What a Government Leader Should Know

This online training course, available for free to all users, is on the UNPAN website of DPADM. It is designed for individuals who are and/or will be involved in e-government initiatives at the country level, and consists of three parts: 1) Background knowledge on ICT development and e-government-related basic concepts; 2) A focus on fundamental infrastructures that are required for the success of e-government development; and 3) Discussions of high-level concerns on e-government sustainable development. The online training provides coaching, question-and-answer sessions, short tests and a final exam.

Contact: Ms. Haiyan Qian, Chief, Knowledge Management Branch, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, + 1 212/963-3393; or Mr. Deniz Susar, Associate Public Administration Officer, +1 212/963-8421

High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development


The Population Division has launched a site to share information on and promote the General Assembly high-level dialogue to take place in New York from 14-15 September.

Contact person: Mr. Bela Hovy, Chief, Migration Section, Population Division, +1 917/ 367-9887

Comings and goings


Mr. Peter Sutherland of Ireland has agreed to act as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to assist in the preparation of the high-level dialogue on international migration and development, to be held by the General Assembly in September.  Mr. Sutherland is the former Attorney General of Ireland, former European Union Commissioner and former Director-General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization.  He is currently Chairman of BP plc and Goldman Sachs.


Mr. Massimo D'Angelo, Chief of Development Cooperation Policy Branch retired on 28 February. Mr. D'Angelo joined the United Nations in 1984. His career with the United Nations has focused on various fields of economic and social development at both United Nations Headquarters and the United Nations Development Programme. Before joining the United Nations, Mr. D'Angelo lead positions in various Italian research and development institutions, and served as a lecturer and research fellow in economics. Mr. D'Angelo graduated from the University of Rome with a doctorate in economics and is the author of several publications on development economics.


The following staff members also retired from the organization between 1 December2005 and 31 January 2006.

Mr. Anatoli Belov, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Division for Sustainable Development

Ms. Judith Capahi-Villegas, Administrative Assistant, Technical Cooperation Management Services

Ms. Ruth Gobin, Editorial Assistant, Population Division

Ms. Gladys Wang, Programming Assistant, Development Policy and Analysis Division


The following staff members were promoted between 1 December 2005 and 31 January 2006.

Ms. Elvira Cachola, Technical Cooperation Assistant, Division for Public Administration and Development Management

Ms. Arlene Cezar, Meeting Services Assistant, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination

Mr. Carl Grey, Economic Affairs Officer, Development Policy and Analysis Division

Mr. Martin Kraus, Programme Officer, Office of the Under-Secretary-General

Ms. Ria Mojica, Administrative Assistant Executive Office

Ms. Pacita Montanez, Administrative Assistant Executive Office

Mr. Mohan Peck, Senior Sustainable Development Officer, Division for Sustainable Development

Mr. Jurgen Schwarzler, Statistician, Statistics Division

Mr. Peter Trupia, Statistics Assistant, Statistics Division Calendar



Working session on emerging trends and best practices in data dissemination

New York, 3 March

Statistical Commission

New York, 7-10 March


Committee for Development Policy

8th session

New York, 20-24 March

Expert group meeting on indigenous peoples and indicators of well-being

Ottawa, 21-23 March

Regional expert group meeting development challenges for young people in Asia

Bangkok, 28-30 March

Committee of Experts on Public Administration

5th session

New York, 27-31 March

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names

23rd session

Vienna, 28 March-4 April


Commission on Population and Development

39th session

New York, 3-7 April

Preparatory meeting for the 2006 high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council

New York, 4-5 April

Special high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the BWI, WTO and UNCTAD

9th session

New York, 24 April

Regional forum on reinventing Government in the Arab States

Dubai, 25–27 April


International Women's Day

8 March


In observance of International Women's Day, a panel discussion on “Women in Decision-making: Meeting Challenges, Creating Change” will be held at UNHQ. The panel will bring together women of different regions who will illustrate how women in decision-making positions make a difference and create change. The Secretary-General will open the discussion.

Contact: Ms. Sylvia Hordosch, Personnel Policies Officer, Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, +1 212/963-5450 or Ms. Renata Sivacolundhu, Department of Public Information, +1 212/963-2932

World Water Day

22 March


World Water Day 2006 will be guided by the theme Water and Culture under the leadership of UNESCO.

World Health Day

7 April


In 2006, World Health Day will be devoted to the health workforce crisis. On this day around the globe, hundreds of organizations will host events to draw attention to the global health workforce crisis and celebrate.

DESA News is an insider's look at the United Nations in the area of coordination of economic and social development policies. The newsletter is produced by the Communications and Information Management Service of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with DESA Divisions, and is issued every two months. Contact: Communications and Information Management Service, + 1 212/963-5874