Vol. 10, no.3 May-June 2006

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

Mr. Alberto Carrasquilla, Colombian finance minister and Chairman of the Joint World Bank/IMF Development Committee touches on governance, debt relief, ODA, trade, energy, and the "voice issue" in a statement to the Special High-level Meeting of ECOSOC, BWIs, WTO, and UNCTAD on 24 April:

in this issue

The renewed impulse of development cooperation: The current conjunction of political intentions and economic performance provide the necessary latitude for countries to improve the common good. However, countries must also be accorded sufficient fiscal space to implement national development strategies if balanced growth is to be achieved

Barriers, constraints, and lessons learned: The Commission on Sustainable Development takes up the issues of energy, industrial development, atmosphere and air pollution, and climate change at its May session

Feature article

The renewed impulse of development cooperation

The current conjunction of political intentions and economic performance provide the necessary latitude for countries to improve the common good. However, countries must also be accorded sufficient fiscal space to implement national development strategies if balanced growth is to be achieved.

We are at a point in history when the conjunction of political intentions and economic performance provides unique positive support for improvements in our approach to development. Governments in developing countries have taken concrete steps to improve governance, fight corruption and pursue more balanced macro policies to support expansion of the private business sector. Developed countries have increased their aid commitments and agreed on important steps to improve aid effectiveness. A buoyant global economy affords the necessary latitude for countries to take steps to improve the common good.

Indeed, this combination of positive political and economic conditions suggests an opportunity to concentrate more on long-term structural changes of developing countries. Yet these political intentions must be solidified into concrete actions and the stability of the underlying global economy must be assured if they are both to have a lasting impact on the prospects for sustained improvement in the welfare of the developing world.

Political support produces advances in aid and debt relief

The 2005 World Summit provided renewed political momentum for the development goals agreed in the UN Global Conferences and Summits of the 1990s and early 2000s, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Official development assistance increased substantially in 2005, and many countries have made longer-term commitments, including pledges by many countries that have not yet done so to meet the 0.7 per cent goal by 2015 or earlier. This increased aid will have an enhanced impact because the final decisions on monitoring the Paris Declaration provide the groundwork for real improvements in aid effectiveness and alignment with countries’ development objectives. The completion of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) has also released resources for a number of HIPC - and some non-HIPC countries. The MDRI opens the way to make debt relief broader and more equitably distributed across both countries and lenders.

Further action will be necessary to maintain this momentum. The partial debt relief granted through MDRI provides no guarantee that the beneficiaries will not have to take on additional debt in order to finance development goals that, through their domestic planning processes, they have chosen to pursue. Because the MDRI was completed after the new “forward looking” approach to debt sustainability, the threshold parameters of the latter will need to be reviewed to ensure their applicability and efficiency in assessing the amount of new borrowing that can be undertaken without countries embarking on a new round of “lend and forgive”. Substantially more grants will likely be required, and this will mean stepping up bilateral aid commitments.

The increased aid commitments made in the run-up to the 2005 World Summit must be enacted in future government budget decisions and thus may compete with other domestic and international commitments, as well as with the need to preserve developed countries’ fiscal balances. This will be even more difficult given the large proportion of the aid increases that have resulted from debt relief. MDRI relief was meant to be additional to official assistance not be counted as part of the announced increases in aid commitments.

Further, while important steps have been taken to reduce the share of tied aid, a high proportion of official assistance is comprised of emergency relief or other special purpose or project specific aid. Consequently, that assistance cannot benefit fully from the new commitments on effectiveness and alignment, nor can it serve as a source of support for expenditures required to meet the MDGs and other development goals. Indeed, the amount of aid that can be directed by recipient governments to nationally defined objectives has increased hardly at all since Monterrey. As emphasized in the UN’s 2005 World Economic and Social Survey, an important implication of the evolving new approach to aid is that it should be increasingly channelled through the budgets of recipient countries—particularly to enable the full application of the principles of ownership and alignment. This means, in turn, that the proportion of aid so channelled should become a specific target of international assistance.

The 2005 World Summit and the UN Global Partnership for Development

The 2005 World Summit also set our development efforts in a broader context. The changes that have taken place in international affairs since the Millennium Conference highlight the inter-related nature of peace and security, human rights, and economic and social development. The efforts to achieve the MDGs must be rooted, in turn, in the Global Development Partnership between developed and developing countries achieved by the International Conference on Financing for Development at Monterrey. As the World Summit Outcome suggests, enduring progress will also require integration of the MDGs with the wider array of development goals generated by the UN Summits and Conferences, which together constitute the UN Development Agenda.

Key to success on this front will be increased coordination amongst all parts of the UN System, and especially between the UN and the specialised agencies. An excellent example is the need for a coherent approach to achieving economic improvements in developing countries and ensuring that they are compatible with environmental sustainability.

Political intentions still fall short of results in making trade an engine of development

For many countries, the challenge to meet the internationally agreed development goals has been limited not by the availability of domestic resources, but by an external constraint. The first UN Conference on Trade and Development noted the need to reform the international trading system so that it could support measures by developing countries to overcome this constraint by building up a domestic industrial export sector. The most recent UNCTAD Conference has again pointed up the need to provide developing countries with the policy space required to undertake the measures in the area of trade that will enable them to earn the external resources needed for their development. While the Aid for Trade initiative takes an important step in this direction, it should be seen not as a substitute but as a complement to assistance efforts in other areas.

In the area of trade, political intentions seem to have fallen short, specifically in the hope for an ambitious, development friendly Doha round. This is somewhat surprising, given the recent continued expansion of the global economy and global trade. We can only urge negotiators to recognize that a round that increases developing countries’ benefits from trade will only benefit all participants in the global trading system.

National strategies and the search for fiscal space

The World Summit also brought renewed attention to the importance of countries taking responsibility for their own development through fuller mobilization of their own resources. The agreement to formulate national development strategies (NDS) by the end of 2006 aims to expand the focus of domestic policy discussions to include the internationally agreed development goals. This could help to ensure that those discussions concentrate on fundamental factors that underpin long-term development and on any trade offs between different economic and social goals and the policies to achieve them. Because most of the goals require medium-term expenditure planning, they will also require medium-term financing; for developing countries, this would have to include more stable and more predictable aid from donors. The NDS thus provide not a new system for development planning but, rather, a constructive framework for all countries to work out required actions and objective indicators of anticipated results—and one that may also be used by donors to measure aid effectiveness.

Mobilizing domestic resources

For most developing countries, the most under-utilised resource is the domestic labour force. This shows clearly in the increasing flows of migrant labour and the rising importance of remittances in many countries’ external finances. Most of the MDGs amount to investments in human capital directed toward improving labour’s productive potential. Yet, without policies to ensure that it is productively employed, that potential will not provide any increase in economic welfare. While policies to ensure a domestic environment supportive of private sector initiative are necessary, they may not be sufficient to ensure full utilization of domestic resources. The Summit Outcome thus seeks to bring employment and growth back to the forefront of the domestic policy agenda so that opportunity can replace frustration and resignation.

The importance of fiscal policy space in a new development paradigm

The importance of positive growth and employment policies can be easily seen in the progress in reducing poverty levels made by rapidly growing developing countries such as India and China. Indeed, most of the progress in reducing poverty is due to the rapid growth of private sector employment in rapidly growing developing countries.

Fiscal and trade policies play a central role in supporting growth and industrial transformation. This suggests that we need urgently to expand the objectives of fiscal policy from maintaining price stability and government solvency to include promoting a higher and more stable expansion of domestic demand. An important first step in this process is the recognition that the recent emphasis on fiscal solvency and macro stability may have been detrimental to developing countries’ growth performance. Another essential step is the consideration of the concept of “fiscal space” in the discussion of more public support for infrastructure investment. In many developing countries, maintaining fiscal balance has meant that increased social expenditures to support MDGs had to be balanced by reduced economic infrastructure investment. This is a short-sighted policy, for it directly undercuts the full potential benefits of meeting the MDGs.

As the recent paper on fiscal space prepared for the Joint World Bank/IMF Development Committee concludes, the ability to increase government investment depends on a careful analysis of demand conditions, absorptive capacity, short-term financing constraints and medium term public debt dynamics, as well as trade-offs with other types of expenditure. Nonetheless, the definition of fiscal space proposed therein—as the increase in expenditure that can be undertaken without impairing the ability to service debt—seems unnecessarily biased against the introduction of growth as a legitimate objective of fiscal policy. It appears to overlook some important development aspects of the problem.

The paper suggests, for example, that the use of fiscal policy to offset a cyclical downturn should be avoided if it threatens government solvency. But this seems to disregard the important lessons learned from the elimination of the US deficit in the last half of the 1990s and the explosion of the Argentine deficit in 2000-2001: that growth creates fiscal solvency and not vice versa. Comparison of the recent performance of the US, Japan and the EU also indicates little evidence to support the paper’s main contention that government solvency and macro stability are preconditions for long-term growth. A greater role for countercyclical fiscal policy should be seen as contributing to solvency and supporting a more sustained mobilization of domestic resources. And if a structural or full employment budget balance is used to define the appropriate measure of fiscal space, the linkages between fiscal policy and domestic resource utilization become obvious.

Disappointingly, the paper also found little scope for adopting a fiscal target based on the government’s current fiscal balance, excluding capital expenditures, and more particularly on the structural current balance. Differential treatment of capital and current account expenditures is not only good accounting policy, it is good economic policy. This is implicit in the “golden rule” approach to fiscal balance already implemented in some developed countries. Such a separation would concentrate countercyclical spending on infrastructure expenditures that contribute to productivity and solvency. Finally, the determination of fiscal space for direct government investment should not be distorted by failure to report transparently in government budgets the liabilities created by implicit government guarantees for public-private partnerships. A structural “golden rule” mixed with a target on government public sector debt, including the liabilities associated with public-private partnerships, would meet the counter-cyclical objective of fiscal policy, promote growth and avoid unduly discriminating against public sector investment in favour of public-private partnerships.

Clean energy and development

The need for increased coordination raised by the broader approach to development proposed at the Global Summit has been noted. It is thus encouraging that the Development Committee’s discussion of the MDGs goes beyond the limited environmental goals of the Millennium Declaration to take up the important issue of providing sources of clean energy capable to support long-term expansion of developing countries. All these issues should be considered within the context of Agenda 21, preserving in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. The forthcoming Commission on Sustainable Development offers an opportunity to further understandings and commitments dealing with the interlinked issues of energy, climate change, industrial development and air pollution.

Another paper on clean energy and development prepared for the Committee represents a valuable contribution to these discussions. The financing gap is wide, amounting to an estimated $80 billion a year for electricity. While the paper emphasizes the importance of the investment climate to attract greater private sector energy financing and of tariff reform to generate greater cash flow by energy suppliers, it gives less attention to the question of how to tackle the problems of providing modern energy services to the many people too poor to pay for them.

The paper alludes to a potential “double dividend” to be earned from providing cleaner energy—promoting more vigorous economic growth while reducing our “environmental footprint”. It understandably focuses on the energy needs of the biggest, most dynamic economies, which pose the greatest challenge for controlling greenhouse gas emissions and the widest scope for technology cooperation. Yet we must not lose sight of the urgent energy needs of the poor, especially in rural areas of the developing world. Significant “double dividends” can be reaped, for example, when households switch from traditional biomass to cleaner cooking and heating fuels, and when villages are electrified. The reality is that the basic energy needs of these poor communities could be met with only a modest increment to global greenhouse gas emissions.

With respect to the suggestions for future work on financing mechanisms made in the paper, it will be important to ensure that they are consistent with strengthening existing mechanisms such as the Global Environment Fund. In that regard, there may be important benefits from closer cooperation with the Commission on Sustainable Development, which enjoys strong and active participation by developing countries, as well as the ability to examine the issues in a holistic manner that fosters new partnerships and initiatives aimed at capturing and equitably sharing the “double dividends” from concerted action on clean energy and sustainable development.

This article is based on a statement on 23 April by Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, to the Joint World Bank/IMF Development Committee spring meeting held in Washington, DC. Information on the Special High-level Meeting of the Economic and Social Council, Bretton Woods Institutions, WTO and UNCTAD, which followed in New York on 24 April, can be found on the Economic and Social Council website at http://www.un.org/docs/ecosoc/meetings/2006/bwi2006/index.html .

The background papers cited above, on fiscal space and clean energy, can be downloaded from the World Bank website at http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/DEVCOMMEXT/0,,menuPK:64060743~pagePK:60000303~piPK:64000842~theSitePK:277473,00.html .


Global dialogue on development

General Assembly

Panel discussion on international migration and development

New York, 8 June

As part of the preparatory process mandated by General Assembly resolution 60/227 for the high-level dialogue on international migration and development, the Population Division is assisting the President of the General Assembly with the organization of two panel discussions on this topic, the first of which well be held in New York on 8 June.

Contact: Mr. Barry Mirkin, Chief of the Population Policy Section, Population Division, +1 212/963-3921

Economic and Social Council

Resumed organizational session of 2006

New York, 10-11 May

http://www.un.org/docs/ecosoc/meetings/2006/elelection 2006.html

During its resumed organizational session of 2006, the Council will elect members of its subsidiary bodies, including the functional commissions, governing boards of UN funds and programmes, and other standing committees. The Council will also discuss adoption of a theme for the joint event on operational activities and humanitarian affairs to take place during the substantive session in July.

Special high-level meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

New York, 24 April


The ninth annual spring meeting of ECOSOC, held on 24 April 2006 addressed the overall theme of coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the 2005 World Summit Outcome. The meeting had four sub-themes: (1) Implementation of and support for national development strategies; (2) Fulfilling the development dimension of the Doha work programme, including “Aid for Trade”; (3) Implementing and building on current initiatives to enhance debt sustainability; and, (4) Supporting the development efforts of middle-income developing countries.

Strong participation at senior levels, including the Board of Directors of the World Bank, finance, development cooperation and other Government ministers, and the president of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board, suggests the potential of the meeting as a platform for promoting coherence within the system both in the follow-up to Monterrey and the MDGs where there is increasing synchronization of stakeholder efforts.

Participants noted that current exceptional global circumstances present a unique opportunity for advancing the development agenda, especially in countries that appear to be lagging. However, in contrast with positive trends on global growth, aid, debt relief and innovative sources of finance, a lack of significant progress on trade is conspicuous. A recent decision by the IMFC to discuss concrete proposals on the issue of voice and representation of developing countries in the Fund was also welcome. It is hoped that other intergovernmental bodies will follow suit.

Supported by DESA, the President of the Council will undertake consultations with all stakeholders to further enhance the impact of this important meeting.

Contact: Ms. Cheryl Stafford, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 917/367-3116

Commission on Sustainable Development

14th session

New York, 1-12 May


The Commission on Sustainable will hold its fourteenth session at UN Headquarters in New York from 1-12 May. This year’s CSD will work toward identifying the barriers and constraints, as well as the lessons learned and best practices, in four related areas: energy for sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution and atmosphere, and climate change.

In Johannesburg, countries articulated a number of issues and goals concerning the above-mentioned themes and agreed to work toward mobilizing financing for environmentally sound technologies, developing and utilizing renewable energy sources, promoting the use of a greater mix of energy technologies, assisting developing countries in adopting cost effective clean energy technologies, and adopting policies to reduce market distortions and promote energy systems compatible with sustainable development.

CSD-14 will feature two parallel plenary sessions during the first week, including expert panels, regional discussions and thematic discussions focusing on linkages among issues. The high-level segment promotes ministerial interactive dialogue focusing on how to make a difference in the context of the given themes and to make the way forward.

A day for Small Island Developing States (SIDS Day will be convened on 8 May to consider progress towards the sustainable development of SIDS, within the framework of the thematic cluster under review by the CSD-14. The programme for SIDS Day is available at http://www.sidsnet.org/SIDSDay_Index.html .

So far, 1,220 major groups have registered for CSD-14, and its high-level segment is expected to be attended by a large number of ministers. In addition, CSD-14 will also feature the Partnerships Fair and Learning Centre. The Partnership Fair will include interactive discussions on common issues, such as challenges related to communication strategies and funding. The Learning Centre will continue to offer a wide selection of courses related to the current CSD themes. Seventeen courses have been scheduled covering such issues as energy and sustainable development: bringing the message home through journalists and opinion leaders, and innovative energy financing in developing countries. There are also many requests for side events sponsored by governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

Contact: Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-8102

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

5th session

New York, 15-26 May


The fifth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will take place from 15-26 May. Members of the Forum, which is an expert advisory body of the Economic and Social Council, will address the theme of the Millennium Development Goals and indigenous peoples: redefining the MDGs. This year goals three to eight will be addressed through the lens of indigenous approaches to cultural diversity, traditional knowledge and human rights. This applies equally to MDG country reports and poverty reduction strategy papers. Goals one and two were addressed during the fourth session in 2005.

Forty-six side events are scheduled during the session as of now. They are organized by governments, agencies, indigenous organizations, NGOs and others. Side events take place mostly at lunch time. The schedule of the side events will be posted on the UNPFII website shortly.

Region-specific side-events on North America, the Arctic and Russia, the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean will be organized by the SPFII with the purpose of encouraging dialogue at the regional level on the major challenges and visions for action, including as regards the MDGs.

Feeding into the Forum’s work are the results of a number of expert groups meetings and workshops that covered issues such as indigenous traditional knowledge, indigenous participation and good governance, indigenous peoples and migration and the formulation of indicators of well being. In addition to these reports, the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has compiled a review of MDG country reports and indigenous peoples.

In addition to the fifth session of UNPFII, the Programme of Action for the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples will be launched during the opening ceremony in the General Assembly Hall at 11:15 on May 15th where United Nations high level officials will address the session and the Secretary-General will deliver a message. The ceremony will be co-chaired by the Chairperson of UNPFII and the Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social affairs, who is the coordinator for the Second Decade.

The opening of the annual indigenous exhibit and a cultural event and reception will take place on Tuesday, 17 May at 6:15 pm, with an impressive array of indigenous artists from around the world.

The Forum is expected to be attended by about 1200 participants, 1000 of whom are indigenous representatives, in addition to some 70 states and 30 intergovernmental agencies.

Contact: Ms. Sonia Smallacombe, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917/367-5066

Ms. Elissavet Stamatopoulou, head of the Forum Secretariat, joins a panel discussion on 13 April on changing realities: indigenous peoples in the next decade



Committee for Development Policy

8th session

New York, 20-24 March


At its latest session, the Committee for Development Policy recommended that Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe be included in the list of least developed countries, subject to their respective Governments’ acceptance. The Committee further recommended that Samoa be removed from the list. Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Vanuatu were found to meet the threshold criteria for advancement for the first time. If those countries meet the threshold criteria again in three years, they too may be recommended for graduation.

The major benefits associated with least developed country status are believed to be special advantages compared to other developing countries in the terms of multilateral trade, access to financing for development and to trade-related technical cooperation.

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

World Information Society Week

Geneva, 9-19 May


In connection with the World Information Society Week to be held in Geneva from 9-19 May, DESA will facilitate consultations on modalities for implementation of lines C1, C7 and C11 of the WSIS-Geneva plan of action dealing with the role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development, e-Government, and international and regional cooperation in the follow-up to WSIS, respectively. The consultations are open to all WSIS stakeholders interested and involved in the implementation process. The WSIS outcome document can be downloaded at http://www.itu.int/wsis/promotional/outcome.pdf

Contact: Division for Public Administration and Development Management (C1 and C7), Ms. Haiyan Qian, +1 212/963-3393 or Ms. Angela Capati-Caruso, +1 212/963-5318; Office for Economic and Social Council Affairs (C11), Mr. Sergei Kambalov, +1 212/963-4751 or Mr. Serge Kapto, +1 917/367-2431

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

35th session

New York, 15 May-2 June


The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will review reports submitted by States Parties on measures taken to implement the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol. At its 35th session, the Committee will consider the reports of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malaysia, Saint Lucia, Turkmenistan, Cyprus, Guatemala, Malawi and Romania.

Contact: Ms. Philomena Kintu, Secretary of the Committee, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 212/963-3153

United Nations Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting

1st meeting

New York, 22-23 June


The first formal meeting of the Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting, established by the Statistical Commission in March 2005, will be held from 22 to 23 June in New York. Members will consider the Committee’s programme of work which addresses: (a) coordination of activities in environmental accounting and related statistics; (b) implementation and promotion of environmental accounts; (c) advance the research agenda in order to elevate integrated environmental and economic accounting to a level of international statistical standard; and (d) harmonization of data-collection activities with environmental-economic accounting concepts and definitions.

Contact: Ms. Alessandra Alfieri, Statistics Division, + 1 212/963-4590

London Group on Environmental Accounting

10th meeting

New York, 19-21 June


The London Group on Environmental Accounting will discuss its governance structure, review the work of its subgroups – on mineral and energy resource accounting, water accounting, and policy uses of environmental accounting – and advance the research agenda in this field. The meeting also provides a forum for exchanging information on country practices in the implementation of the accounts.

The London Group was created in 1993 as a forum for sharing of experiences of developing and implementing environmental satellite accounts linked to the economic accounts of the System of National Accounts. It convened its first meeting in March 1994 in London, England. Participation includes representatives from statistical offices and international organizations.

Contact: Ms. Alessandra Alfieri, Statistics Division, + 1 212/963-4590

Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development

Inaugural meeting

Kuala Lumpur, 19 June

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has approved the launch of a Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development which will hold its inaugural meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 19 June. The mission of the Alliance is to facilitate and promote integration of information and communication technology with development activities by providing a platform for an open, inclusive, multi-stakeholder cross-sectoral policy dialogue on the issue. It is expected to contribute to linking the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society with the broader United Nations development agenda.

The Global Alliance will function primarily as a decentralized network, open to participation of all stakeholders, including Governments, business, civil society and international organizations. The Alliance will aim significantly to expand the circle of participants in policy and partnership debate beyond the traditional set of stakeholders, by actively engaging constituencies that currently are not adequately involved, particularly non-governmental participants from developing countries, media, academia, youth and women’s groups.

The Alliance will organize thematic events addressing core issues related to the role of information and communication technology in economic development and eradication of poverty, employment and enterprise in pro-poor growth scenarios, with particular focus on health, education, gender, youth, disabled and disadvantaged segments of society. Groups of participants would coalesce around specific topics of mutual interest put forward for discussion.

Contact: Ms. Enrica Murmura, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 212/963-5913

DESA forum on productive employment and decent work

New York, 8-9 May

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs will hold a forum on productive employment and decent work from 8 to 9 May in the Economic and Social Council Chamber at United Nations Headquarters. This event will feature renowned specialists and practitioners on issues of employment and decent work from academia and the United Nations system. The complex issues surrounding unemployment will be discussed with the aim of offering tangible policy guidance on solutions. The forum is being organized in support of the 2006 high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council whose theme is “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 event brings together Member States of the United Nations system and other stakeholders.

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

United Nations panel on participatory budgeting at the University of Chile’s sixth international conference on finance

Santiago, 9 May


DPADM is joining with the University of Chile at Santiago to organize a panel on participatory budgeting as part of the University’s sixth international conference on public finance taking place from 8-12 May. The panel is expected to bring together development practitioners, academics and members of civil society organizations to discuss the key issues of public finance relevant to poverty reduction.

Contact: Mr. Adil Khan, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-6168

Expert group meeting on cooperatives and employment

Shanghai, 15-19 May


An expert group meeting on cooperatives and employment to be held in Shanghai, China on 15-19 May 2006 has been organized by the Poverty Eradication and Employment Section of DSPD in collaboration with the Co-operative Branch of ILO, and the International Cooperative Alliance. The meeting will be hosted by the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives. Its purpose is to identify and evaluate strategies to enable cooperatives to promote and generate jobs and sustainable livelihoods as a means of reducing poverty. The meeting will also focus on the sharing of good practices and lessons learned by cooperatives in different sectors with respect to creating productive employment.

Contact: Ms. Felice Llamas, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 212/963-2924

Expert group meeting on international migration and development in the Arab region: challenges and opportunities

Beirut, 15-17 May


The Population Division is collaborating with ESCWA in the organization of an expert group meeting on challenges and opportunities of international migration in the Arab region to be held at the ESCWA office in Beirut from 15 to 17 May. The meeting will bring together experts from academia and research centres and government officials, as well as representatives of international organizations, civil society and the private sector. It is expected to provide a platform for the exchange of views and for debate of regional issues in preparation for the high-level dialogue on international migration and development of the General Assembly in September.

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

Expert group meeting on housing censuses

New York, 5-8 June

Participants will undertake a critical review of the housing section of the draft United Nations Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2. The outcome of the meeting will be reported to the expert group meeting on the 2010 World Programme on Population and Housing Censuses to be held in New York from 10 to 14 July, and will provide a basis for finalizing global recommendations on conducting censuses.

Contact: Mr. Yacob Zewoldi, Statistics Division, + 1 212/963-0445

Institutional partners group of the Global Forum on Reinventing Government

New York, 27-28 June

A meeting of the institutional partners group will be held from 27-28 June to prepare for the capacity development workshops of the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government, which will be hosted by the UN in 2007. Twenty partner institutions, including the entities of the UN system and other world-renowned institutions will participate.

Contact: Mr. Shabbir Cheema, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-4533

International symposium on international migration and development

Turin, 28-30 June

In preparation for the high-level dialogue on international migration and development, the Population Division is collaborating with the Italian authorities and the Rosselli Foundation in the organization of an international symposium on international migration and development, to be held at the Politecnico di Torino in Turin from 28 to 30 June. The symposium will comprise opening and closing plenary sessions, and a number of roundtables highlighting thematic, regional, institutional and other perspectives on the subject of international migration and development.

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

ECESA and UNDG coordination efforts

As part of the follow-up to the 2005 World Summit, the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Development Group have resolved to take further steps to coordinate the activities of their respective members. For example, 2006-2007 work plans were prepared and adopted by the two committees taking due account of opportunities for complementary action. A concern of both committees is the communications of conference outcomes to decision-makers and accommodation of those outcomes in national development strategies as called for the World Summit. Joint efforts now include the preparation of ECESA/UNDG toolkits and guidance notes containing advice for policy-makers at the national level.

ECESA and UNDG are senior-level management bodies of the Secretariat dealing with the analytical and normative aspects of economic and social affairs and with development operations, respectively. ECESA is convened by the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and UNDG by the Administrator of UNDP. The two committees have a number of common members, and the two conveners meet regularly.

Contact: Ms. Marion Bathélemy, Secretary of the Committee, Office of the Under-Secretary-General, +1 212/963-4005

Technical cooperation

Global initiatives

User-producer conference on water accounting for integrated water resource management

Voorburg, Netherlands, 22-24 May

The conference, organized by the Statistics Division and hosted by Statistics Netherlands, is intended to raise awareness of water accounting as the hydrological-economic information system to support integrated water resource management. It seeks to develop a dialogue between users and producers of water information by identifying the information needs for policy making and how the water accounting framework meets these needs.

Specific objectives of the conference are: (a) to launch the Handbook on Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting for Water Resources, which has been prepared by UNSD in collaboration with the London Group on Environmental Accounting; (b) to promote its implementation in the users’ community; and (c) to establish a strategic group of countries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations responsible for promoting and advancing the implementation of water accounting in countries as well as in the international community, under the auspices of the UN Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting,

Contact: Ms. Alessandra Alfieri, Statistics Division, + 1 212/963-4590

Diplomats’ training workshop on e-governance for development

New York, 14 June

DPADM, in partnership with UNITAR, has designed a “webinar” series training workshop for New York delegates entitled E-Governance for Development. This series of events is a response to the outcome of the two phases of the World Summit on the Information Society, which called for a continuous effort of developing countries to utilize the potential of ICT to further economic and social development and reduce the digital divide. The first one-day workshop will take place on 14 June in Conference Room 9 at United Nations Headquarters.

Contact: Ms. Angela Capati-Caruso, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-5318

Africa south of the Sahara

Africa Governance Inventory and African Peer Review Mechanism focal points’ workshop

Kigali, 8 May

DPADM is organizing a workshop for focal points of the Africa governance inventory and African peer review mechanism in conjunction with the Sixth Africa Governance Forum at UNDP offices in Kigali, Rwanda on 8 May. The workshop will promote the inventory as a governance information tool supporting the African peer review mechanism. The main objective of the workshop is to raise the awareness of government officials tasked with coordinating governance review processes in Africa on the AGI Portal as a management and analytical tool to improve programming, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of governance initiatives within the context of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. The workshop will also expand the potential for regional and national cooperation in establishing knowledge networks supporting the implementation of the NEPAD/APRM.

Contact: Ms. Valentina Resta, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-8423

Workshop on the compilation of international merchandise trade statistics

Douala, Cameroon, 12-15 June

UNSD, together with the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), will hold a regional workshop in Central Africa on the Compilation of International Merchandise Trade Statistics from 12 to 15 June. Customs officers and statisticians of the national statistical offices will come together to solve problems in producing trade data.

Contact: Mr. Ronald Jansen, Statistics Division, + 1 212/963-5980

Asia and the Pacific

Workshop on energy and environment statistics for the Gulf Council countries

Doha, 1-3 May

This workshop, which features the Statistics Division, is being organized and hosted by the Planning Council of Qatar. Experts from the statistical offices and other governmental agencies of the GCC countries are to attend.

Participants will be presented with an overview of the activities of the Statistics Division with special emphasis on energy and environment statistics in order to continue building national capacities in energy and environment statistics. Environment statistics and environmental impact assessment, frameworks, concepts and definitions, significance of legal and institutional frameworks and the annual questionnaire for collection of national environmental data will be discussed. Participants will also have an opportunity to exchange information on the status of national energy and environment statistics, and consider establishment of a network of energy and environment statisticians and other experts in the GCC countries.

Contact: Mr. Karoly Kovacs, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4748

Workshop on national sustainable development strategies in Pacific small island developing States

New York, 4-5 May


In the context of the DESA project to develop national sustainable development strategies in Pacific island developing States, the Division for Sustainable Development has invited national project focal points from each of the fourteen Pacific small island countries to review the status of NSDS development. The workshop will allow countries to share experiences and discuss both good practices in implementation and ways to advance and support the work already undertaken. In addition to national focal points, participants will include representatives from the permanent missions of Pacific island developing States to the UN, representatives from UNDP, GEF and the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat.

Contact: Ms. Birgitte Alvarez-Rivero, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-8400

Regional workshop on the poverty-environment nexus: building institutional capacity

Hue City, Viet Nam, 23-25 May

DPADM, in collaboration with the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the UNDP Poverty-Environment Project and other partners such as the Ho Chi Minh City-based Hue Farmers’ Association, is organizing a regional workshop on the poverty-environment nexus. The workshop will be held in Hue City, Viet Nam from 23 to 25 May. The theme of the workshop is institutional capacity-building and partnership development for participatory governance aiming to address the complex and intertwining challenges of poverty and environment at the community level. Approximately forty officials and experts from Viet Nam and other Asian countries, as well as officials from international organizations, are expected to attend.

Contact: Mr. Yoshinobu Yonekawa, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-7009

Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States

Panel on standards of excellence in public administration and training

Ljubljiana, 12 May

DPADM is organizing a panel on standards of excellence in public administration and training to be held on 12 May in conjunction with the 14th annual conference of the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe being held in Ljubljiana from 11 to 13 May. The objective of the panel is to bring together specialists and practitioners in public administration education and training to reflect and exchange ideas, information, experiences and best practices in the area of public administration education and training, especially given the challenges that are facing public sector leadership and management today and in the future. It is expected that the exchanges will benefit managers of public administration education and training institutes in their efforts to strengthen the human and institutional capacities of their institutes for improved public sector performance.

Contact: Division for Public Administration and Development Management: Mr. John-Mary Kauzya,+ 1 212/963-1973 or Mr. Jide Balogun, +1 917/367-5068

Meeting on the launch of the Network of Innovators in Governance in the Mediterranean Region

Marseille, 5-7 June

DPADM has organized a meeting on the launch of the network of innovators in governance in the Mediterranean region, which will take place in Marseille, France from 5 to 7 June. The establishment of the network is one of the activities of the programme for innovation in public administration in the Euro-Mediterranean Region (InnovMed), which is implemented by DPADM in collaboration with the World Bank Institute in Marseille and with the support of Formez, Italy through the Centre for Administrative Innovation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region. Over thirty senior government officials, experts and representatives from selected regional organizations in the Mediterranean region will participate, providing guidance and substantive inputs for launching the network. The meeting aims to provide a platform for discussion on the mission, composition, operational modalities and services, funding mechanisms, and sustainability of the network, as well as the challenges and opportunities of linking existing networks in the region for the promotion of good governance and a better quality of life for all citizens.

Contact: Division for Public Administration and Development Management: Ms. Adriana Alberti, +1 212/963-2299 or Ms. Laila Fala, +1917/367-5012

Publications and websites

Technical reports

World Population Policies 2005



The latest version of this biennial United Nations review contains the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available on the population policy situation for each of the 194 Member and non-Member States of the United Nations. It provides an overview of population policies for every country as of 2005, and at mid-decade for the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s — that is, at the time of the United Nations international population conferences at Bucharest, Mexico City and Cairo, and at “Cairo + 10”.

Contact: Mr. Barry Mirkin, Chief of the Population Policy Section, Population Division, +1 212/963-3921

Trends in Sustainable Development


Sales number E.06.II.A.1

This report includes a collection of colourful maps and graphs covering the thematic cluster of issues being addressed at the fourteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, namely energy for sustainable development, industrial development, atmosphere and air pollution, and climate change. Among the key findings:

The world is gradually shifting to cleaner forms of energy, but traditional biomass is still widely used in the household sector of some developing regions, where it is an important contributor to respiratory illness in women and young children;

The developed countries remain the world's largest industrial producers, but the centre of gravity has begun to shift towards the developing world. Developing countries account for roughly one-third of global manufactured exports, up from 18% in 1980;

The phase-outs of leaded gasoline and chlorofluorocarbons are global success stories but particulate air pollution and sulfur dioxide emissions remain high in many developing country cities, despite some progress towards controlling emissions;

The transport sector has seen substantial growth in greenhouse emissions and is expected to continue to do so with rapid expansion of motor vehicle fleets around the world. In developed countries, emissions from international aviation have grown twice as fast as overall transport emissions.

Social Justice in an Open World: The Role of the United Nations



This publication provides an overview and interpretation of the discussions and debates that occurred at the four meetings of the Forum for Social Development held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, within the framework of the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development.

AIDS and the Family: Policy Options for a Crisis in Family Capital


HIV and AIDS take a profound toll on families. When a family member becomes sick or dies, everyone in the family suffers. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS recognized the important role played by the family in prevention, care and support. This publication addresses the issues and challenges of HIV/AIDS from a family perspective, using information and data from sub-Saharan Africa.

Meeting records

Agreed Conclusions of the Commission on the Status of Women on the Critical Areas of Concern of the Beijing Platform for Action 1996-2005

Sales number E.06.IV.3


In 1996, the Commission adopted a programme of work to monitor the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action based on the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Interactive expert panels were organized by the Commission to stimulate exchange of experience, lessons learned and good practices at the national level. The outcomes of the consideration of the themes of the Commission were reflected in action oriented agreed conclusions, which are presented in this publication.

Statistical compilations

National Accounts Statistics, Analysis of Main Aggregates, 2003-2004


Sales number E.06.XVII.5

The publication contains detailed national accounts estimates for some 207 countries and areas of the World for the years 1970 to 2003/2004. The national data for each country and area are presented in separate chapters using uniform table headings and classifications recommended in the United Nations Systems of National Accounts 1993. It contains statistics on national account aggregates such as gross domestic product, per capita gross domestic product, share of gross domestic product by expenditure and by kind of activity, average growth of gross domestic product and components thereof, and implicit price deflators.

Contact: Mr. Jurgen Schwarzler, Statistics Division, + 1 212/963-4559

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online


MBS and MBS Online provide 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. 12, December 2005 ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/396

Special features in this issue: Retail price indices relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials; Fuel imports, developed economies: unit value and volume indices; Indicators on fuel imports, developed economies; Registration of new motor vehicles; External trade conversion factors; Manufactured goods exports: unit value indices, volume indices and value; Selected series of world statistics.

Vol. LX, no. 1, January 2006


Special features in this issue: World shipbuilding; Civil aviation traffic: passenger-km, cargo net ton-km; Total exports and imports by countries or areas: volume, unit value, terms of trade and purchasing power of exports, in US dollars.

Vol. LX, no. 2, February 2006 ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/398

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.

Contact: Ms. Adriana Skenderi, Statistics Division, + 1 212/963-4602


Manual for the National Standardization of Geographical Names


Sales number E.06.XVII.7

The manual provides basic information for establishing a national geographical names programme and gives readers further details in selected aspects of the basic trends of geographical names standardization. It is designed primarily to assist countries that do not have an appropriate authority and a specific set of standards for the consistent rendering of their geographical names.

Contact: Mr. Amor Laaribi, Statistics Division, + 1 212/963-3042

Indigenous Women and the United Nations System: Good Practices and Lessons Learned


The Task Force on Indigenous Women of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality was established in 2004 and adopted a three-year programme of work. During the first year, 2004-2005, the Task Force conducted a general survey of work of the UN system with indigenous women. During the second year, 2005-2006, the Task Force devoted its efforts to collecting good practices and lessons-learnt from the work of the UN system with indigenous women.


PRED Bank CD-Rom, version 4.0


The Population, Resources, Environment and Development Data Bank (PRED Bank) brings together data series dealing with various aspects of population, labour force, education, economic and social development, land, water and energy use.  It also provides the texts of selected international treaties and conventions related to major environment and development issues.

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

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



This report presents all the agreed language on international migration, extracted from the outcome documents of the United Nations conferences and summits, permitting the reader to assess in which areas there is already consensus regarding measures that can improve the benefits of international migration and address its drawbacks. In addition, the report presents a comparison of the recommendations emanating from the United Nations conferences and summits with the recommendations made by the Global Commission on International Migration.

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


Natural Resources Forum

Vol. 30, issue no. 2, May 2006



The May 2006 issue of Natural Resources Forum will be devoted to national sustainable development strategies, featuring contributions from experts from different parts of the world addressing different dimensions of NSDS planning, implementation and review. The authors share lessons that have been learned by different countries and a regional forum in moving toward the 2005 target of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation by which all countries should begin implementation of NSDS, and suggest new developments that lie ahead. The NSDS special issue is expected to be distributed at the CSD-14.

Contact: Ms. Hiroko Morita-Lou, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-8813

Working papers

Constraints to Achieving the MDGs with Scaled-up Aid


Growth is Failing the Poor: The Unbalanced Distribution of the Benefits and Costs of Global Economic Growth


GDP-Indexed Bonds: Making it Happen


The Politics of Inclusion in the Monterrey Process



Partnerships for sustainable development


The partnerships team in the Division for Sustainable Development has launched a revamped partnerships website and database for the Commission on Sustainable Development. The redesign was undertaken to enhance usability, improve site navigation and enable easier access to partnerships-related information. New features include a partnerships events calendar to assist in identifying partnership activities, and a searchable listings of web links, publications and related articles.

Contact: Division for Sustainable Development: Ms. Patricia Chaves, +1 917/367-2089, or Ms. Mita Sen, +1 917/367-5069

Case studies in sustainable development


DSD has also launched a database of case studies on water management, sanitation, human settlements, air pollution and atmosphere, climate change, energy, and industrial development in order to share best practices among Governments, UN organizations, and major groups. National sustainable development focal points and others are encouraged to submit and update studies online.

Contact: Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-8102

Population Division e-mail announcements service


To keep abreast of new publications of the Population Division as they are released, readers are invited to subscribe to the Population Division e-mail alert service.

Contact: Mr. Armindo Miranda, Population Division, + 1 212/963-3210

Comings and goings


Mr. Jeremiah Banda has been appointed Chief of the Demographic and Social Statistics Branch of the Statistics Division effective 1 April. Previously, Mr. Banda was head of the Social and Housing Statistics Section. Mr. Banda came to DESA from ECA where he acted as Regional Advisor on Statistical Training and Household Surveys and before joining the United Nations was Director of Census and Statistics of the Central Statistical Office of Zambia.


The following staff members retired from the organization between 1 February and 31 March.

Ms. Alice Coquia, Administrative Assistant, Technical Cooperation Management Service

Mr. Massimo D’Angelo, Chief of the Development Cooperation Policy Branch, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination


The following staff members were promoted between 1 February and 31 March.

Ms. Maria Vittoria Beria, Social Affairs Officer, Division for Social Policy and Development

Mr. Kristinn Helgason, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination



Commission on Sustainable Development

14th session New York, 1-12 May

DESA forum on productive employment and decent work

New York, 8-9 May

United Nations panel on participatory budgeting at the University of Chile’s sixth international conference on finance

Santiago, 9 May

World Information Society Week

Geneva, 9-19 May

Economic and Social Council

Resumed organizational session of 2006

New York, 10-11 May

Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations

Resumed session of 2006

New York, 10-19 May

Panel on standards of excellence in public administration and training

Ljubljiana, 12 May

Expert group meeting on international migration and development in the Arab region: challenges and opportunities

Beirut, 15-17 May

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

5th session

New York, 15-26 May

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

35th session

New York, 15 May-2 June


Expert group meeting on housing censuses

New York, 5-8 June

General Assembly

Panel discussion on international migration and development New York, 8 June

Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development

Inaugural meeting

Kuala Lumpur, 19 June

London Group on Environmental Accounting

10th meeting

New York, 19-21 June

United Nations Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting

1st meeting

New York, 22-23 June

Meeting of States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

14th meeting

New York, 23 June

International symposium on international migration and development

Turin, 28-30 June


International Day of Families – Changing Families: Challenges and Opportunities

15 May


The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families as basic units of society as well as to promote appropriate action. The focus of activities for the observance remains at the national and local levels. The Day can become a powerful mobilizing factor on behalf of families in all countries, which may avail themselves of this opportunity and demonstrate support for family issues appropriate to each society. This year’s theme is “Changing Families: Challenges and Opportunities”.

In New York, the Day will be marked by a special event to be held on 11 May in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. The observance will include a presentation by the United Nations Postal Administration of UN postage stamps on the theme of the family which will be issued at the end of May. A panel discussion on the changing family will follow. The panel will consist of representatives from a Member State, the United Nations system and civil society.

Contact: Mr. Eric Olson, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 212/963-0013

United Nations Public Service Day

23 June


The United Nations Public Service Day will be observed in a ceremony to be held at UNNQ on 23 June from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Conference Room 4. In conjunction with the Day, the United Nations Public Service Awards for 2006 will be presented to winners from various countries in recognition of outstanding contributions to public service. Countries from all regions of the world will participate by videoconference. The ceremony will also feature cultural performances.

Contact: Mr. Vyatcheslav Cherkasov,Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-5097

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