Vol. 10, no.4 July-August 2006

Dialogue on development | Trends and analysis | Technical cooperation | Publications | Comings and goings | Calendar
Mr. Guido Bertucci

Eleven pioneering initiatives in government accountability, service delivery, transparency, and e-governance were honoured with prestigious UN Public Service Awards on 23 June. Government leaders from around the world joined the proceedings by videoconference. Complete coverage of UN Public Service Day 2006, orchestrated at UNHQ by Mr. Guido Bertucci, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, is available at http://www.unpan.org/dpepa_PSDay2006.asp

in this issue

Economic and Social Council 2006: delegates are advised that short-term world economic conditions remain positive for developing countries but that risks are increasing

The challenge of employment: unemployment has risen while quality of employment has deteriorated - responsibility for creating the conditions for decent work for all rests first with national governments

Financing for development: the role of national development banks is brought under the microscope in a series of regional consultations with stakeholders

Feature articles

Short-term world economic conditions remain positive for developing countries, but risks are increasing

The Economic and Social Council’s substantive session of 2006 begins with a policy dialogue on important developments in the world economy. Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, explains how rising international inequality remains a major concern in the long run though current economic conditions are generally positive.

As shown in the update of the World Economic Situation and Prospects, which has recently been released, the world economy has performed well this year. Some moderation in global growth is expected, however, in the second semester of 2006. This reflects a number of downside risks that have heightened recently, as partly seen in the conspicuous increase of volatility in global financial and commodity markets over the past two months.

At the same time, the rapid and fairly broad growth of the developing countries—undoubtedly the most positive global economic trend in recent years—persists. In 2006, the developing world will again, as in the two previous years, register a growth rate of more than 6 per cent, comparing favourably with 2.7 per cent for the industrialized world. The LDCs in particular will reach an unprecedented rate of over 7 per cent.

The solid growth figures of developing countries reflect a very favourable international economic environment. Among the elements that make up this environment, let me mention first debt relief for some of the world’s poorest countries and the increased commitments in relation to official development assistance. Developing countries have also benefited from strong growth in world trade, from strong commodity prices fuelled by economic expansion in some large developing economies and, until the first quarter of 2006, from exceptional access to international private capital markets.

Yet, this mix of exceptional conditions is threatened by increasing risks. The first are the uncertainties surrounding current trade negotiations. The increased volatility of commodity markets in the first half of 2006 also signals the risks that commodity-exporting economies face in the current conjuncture. And rising interest rates in industrialized countries have been accompanied in recent months by a “flight to safety” by investors in financial markets, implying less financing at higher costs for developing countries.

The global economic outlook itself features increased uncertainties. As is well known, some of the major risks are associated with the global imbalances, particularly the high current account deficit of the United States, which is expected to reach over $900 billion in 2006. This continues to create the possibility of a sudden and sharp disorderly adjustment of global imbalances, especially through a large devaluation of the dollar, or a significant slowdown of the US economy, both of which would have adverse effects on the world economy. In turn, although high oil prices have so far not had major adverse effects on world economic growth, we are seeing a rise in the risks posed by adverse supply shocks and contractionary monetary policies in response to higher inflation.

To maintain a solid, broad-based and stable world economic growth we need more international cooperation to address these risks, particularly to redress the global imbalances while avoiding recessionary adjustment in the US. Given its nature, the International Monetary Fund should take a leading role on this front. The agreement reached by the International Monetary and Financial Committee during the 2006 spring meetings to place multilateral surveillance at the centre of the IMF’s work is thus welcome.

Rising international inequality in the long-run is a major concern

Despite the improved breadth of performance by developing countries, both recent and past experience indicate that some of the currently favourable conditions tend to be highly volatile. In fact, as argued in the other report before you—the World Economic and Social Survey 2006, over the past three decades, the incomes of developing countries have on average fallen further behind those of the developed world. International economic inequality has thus increased. More precisely, since 1980, the world has witnessed a process of dual divergence: an increasing income gap between developed and developing countries, paralleled by a process of growth divergence among developing countries.

Four major findings of the World Economic and Social Survey 2006 should be underscored. First, success and failure in achieving sustained economic growth appear to be concentrated in time and space. This means that the growth of individual developing countries depends not only on their domestic economic policies—the focus of debates in recent decades—but also on the regional and global economic environments. During the so-called golden age of 1950-1973, most developing regions experienced rapid economic growth. In contrast, the final two decades of the twentieth century brought a worrisomely large number of “growth collapses”, with only a few developing economies able to sustain fast rates of growth.

This finding helps to explain our concern about greater international economic inequality. The divergence seen in recent decades has come mainly from growth failures in a large number of countries. This is quite different than a situation in which global inequality is rising because some economies are growing faster than others, but in the end all countries gain. Moreover, widening global inequality itself diminishes the growth prospects of the less advantaged countries. This is so because markets may exacerbate inequality, as successful countries accumulate richer endowments and as capital follows success, while those left behind remain more vulnerable to shocks in international financial and commodity markets.

The second major finding of the Survey is that, compared to growth in industrialized countries, growth in developing countries is much less about pushing the technological frontier than about changing the production structure in order to shift resources towards activities with higher levels of productivity. More broadly, sustained economic growth is associated with the capacity to diversify domestic production structure: that is, to generate new activities, to strengthen economic linkages within the country and to create domestic technological capabilities. The industrial and modern service sectors typically contribute dynamically to this diversification process. In contrast, de-industrialization and concentration of growth in informal service activities is a certain recipe for growth failure.

Observation of growth patterns suggests that the domestic factors that determine the capacity of a given economy to succeed in structural transformation of production structures are more important than integration into world markets per se, and that not all patterns of integration into international markets have the same effect on economic growth. According to the Survey, the countries that profit most from FDI are those whose domestic firms and institutions have the requisite absorptive capacity and help to build domestic technological capability through linkages created between domestic firms and foreign affiliates. At the same time, countries that have integrated into the more dynamic world markets for manufactures and services have performed better than those that have specialized in primary goods and natural resource-intensive manufactures. For the success of the latter, diversification seems to be a sine qua non. Finally, specializing in low-value added activities with weak domestic linkages generates low economic growth. In sum, a successful export strategy is a question not of how much countries export but rather of what they export and how their export sectors are integrated with other domestic economic activities.

The Survey’s third major finding is that macroeconomic stability, investment and growth are mutually reinforcing. But stability means more than low inflation; it also means avoiding strong swings in economic activity, as well as avoiding external imbalances and/or financial crises. This is why counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies play such an important role in economic growth. In this regard, the Survey argues that in recent decades macroeconomic policy in most developing countries has become excessively pro-cyclical, largely reflecting the volatility of financial markets and commodity prices. Stimulating developing country growth and reducing world inequality will therefore require encouraging and opening up more space for counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies in the developing world.

Insufficient fiscal space, associated with pro-cyclical fiscal adjustment, has also been detrimental to long-term investments in infrastructure and human capital. The Survey finds, for instance, that lagging infrastructural development likely accounts for as much as one-third of the income gap between East Asia and Latin America. In contrast, the analysis shows that official development assistance, when not determined by geopolitical factors, has a strong positive impact on long-term growth—essentially because it tends to support long-term investments in infrastructure and human development.

In its fourth major finding, the Survey puts forward a broader definition of institutional reform, encompassing more than creating markets and guaranteeing property rights. It also includes creating the regulatory and institutional framework that markets require to function, providing necessary public goods, and guaranteeing the fairness of rules. Equally important, the analysis shows that institutional reform does not need to be large-scale and comprehensive from the outset, and, indeed, that “big bangs” in institutional reform may generate more harm than good. In contrast, minor and gradual institutional change can have a great impact on growth if it is perceived as initiating a further process of credible reform.

Overall, some of the Survey’s findings may not appear to be particularly surprising to those familiar with classical perspectives on economic development, but they certainly provide new and meaningful insights in light of the more recent debates on economic development. In this sense, the Survey helps to explain why the conventional strategy followed since the 1980s for closing the income gap between the developing and developed worlds—focused on unleashing market forces and integration into global markets—has been only partially effective.

An agenda for reducing international economic divergence

Based on these findings, the Survey advances a strategy for reducing international economic divergence, centred on an assertive but flexible agenda for domestic development, facilitated by international cooperation and rules that guarantee the appropriate “policy space” for developing countries. Such an agenda should address, among others, the following four issues:

Fostering active trade and production sector policies to encourage the structural transformation of developing country economies, aimed at encouraging the diversification of production sector structures, creating strong domestic linkages among production activities, and upgrading technologies. International rules should be reviewed in this light, while avoiding at the same time some mistakes of past industrial policies.

Opening up more space for counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies, striking a better balance between fiscal and monetary prudence and flexibility, and making price stability less an objective in itself than an intermediate goal of economic growth and employment creation. The effectiveness of these domestic policy efforts will also require policy interventions at the international level to dampen financial volatility.

Ensuring sustained levels of public spending to make the necessary investments in infrastructure and human capital. This means that additional fiscal space needs to be created through increased efficiency of public expenditures, through improved governance and strengthening of the tax base and, for the poorest countries, through additional official development assistance.

Promoting gradual, country-specific and home-made institutional reforms. International cooperation can help in this regard by supporting such gradual domestic processes, by fully respecting the principle of ownership of domestic policies and institutions and, particularly, by avoiding the proliferation of institutional conditionality.

Reducing global inequality should be at the centre of the UN development agenda, and can help avert economic and social crises and even political instability. The Economic and Social Council should focus more concerted attention on this issue, so that people and states alike can reach their full potential.

This article is based on a statement of Mr. José Antonio Ocampo to the high-level segment of the Council on 3 July.

The World Economic and Social Survey 2006 was released in April as E/2006/50, and is scheduled to appear as a UN publication in July. The full text can be downloaded or ordered at http://www.un.org/esa/policy/wess /.

The mid-2006 update to the Survey is being distributed as conference room paper E/2006/CRP.3. The original 2006 Survey was released in January and is available at http://www.un.org/esa/policy/wess/wesp.html

Unemployment has risen while the quality of employment has deteriorated: responsibility for creating conditions for decent work for all rests first with national governments

The goal of “full employment” has been one of the central concerns of the United Nations since its inception and is enshrined in its Charter. In its first five years, the United Nations issued three major reports on economic development, each of which focused primarily on “how to achieve or maintain full employment”. The reports identified the rapid creation of employment as a fundamental goal. This preoccupation was no doubt fuelled by the memories of massive unemployment in the industrial economies during the Great Depression.

In recent history, the 1995 World Summit on Social Development focused global attention on the issue of employment. And last September, at the 2005 World Summit, world leaders agreed to “make the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all a central objective of their national and international policies”.

While these commitments are in themselves achievements, the vision they represent does not match the reality of recent trends in employment generation and the quality of jobs. Over the last decade, unemployment has risen. The number of unemployed worldwide reached its highest point in 2005, affecting 192 million people, despite the world economy’s having witnessed fairly robust growth in recent years. Clearly, this means that the actual link between global economic growth and the creation of new jobs has been weak. Growth alone can neither guarantee job creation nor ensure the much-needed significant reduction in extreme poverty, called for in the first Millennium Development Goal.

Meanwhile, the quality of employment has deteriorated. Half of the world’s labour force still does not earn enough to shake loose the shackles of poverty and deprivation. While unemployment is a major challenge in developed countries, in most developing countries, poverty results less from unemployment than from the inability of workers to secure sufficient income from their hard labour. Underemployment, characterized by low productivity and inadequate income, remains pervasive and is probably on the rise. This is particularly true in the agriculture sector and in the urban informal economy, which together account for the major share of employment in most developing countries.

Unemployment also affects youth in a severe way. Young people are only 25% of the world’s working population, but they make up half of the world’s unemployed. The young not only have greater difficulty in finding work of every sort; when employed, they are less likely to have decent and productive jobs. Youth unemployment and underemployment are serious challenges for both developed and developing countries and must be firmly confronted, lest they continue to tear at the fabric of societies.

Globalization, technological change and other related economic processes have widened income disparities, particularly between skilled and unskilled workers. This income gap between types of workers, when combined with the rising share of profits and growing regional or urban-rural disparities in some countries, explains the fairly widespread trend towards rising income inequality within countries seen in recent decades. The gender gap also remains very large, in terms of both income and employment opportunities. Indeed, around the world, women face a higher level of open unemployment and informal sector employment than men.

Significant changes in the labour market are taking place worldwide. In a rapidly globalizing world, structural change and labour-market adjustments have become quasi-permanent features of national economies. While efficiency gains may come from some of the major policy transformations under way, such as trade liberalization, those who lose their jobs in the process gain little comfort from that. This is particularly because the social protection systems that should accompany such changes are absent in many parts of the world and have weakened in others. There is thus a growing perception that the world seems to be moving away from the concept of secure employment. The pressures for increasing labour market flexibility have resulted in a growing sense of socio-economic insecurity, which has in turn generated problems for all societies, particularly in the face of adverse trends in social protection.

Finally, and as part of the structural changes taking place, international migration is redefining many features of the global labour market. Migration has some negative effects on less skilled workers in receiving countries, many of whom are themselves prior migrants. But, as underscored in the recent report of the Secretary-General on International Migration and Development, these impacts are relatively small because low-skilled migrants are generally hired for jobs for which there is an insufficient domestic labour supply. Migrants thus tend to complement rather than compete with local workers.

In spite of the complementary character of migrant labour, and the salutary effects that it has on growth in recipient countries, we see xenophobia on the rise, along with more restrictions on labour mobility, particularly of unskilled labour. This has generated significant asymmetries in the mobility of factors of production and of goods in the global economy. And it may generate a bias in the distribution of world income against the less mobile factors of production, particularly unskilled labour, which is sometimes the only factor of production that the poor possess to lift themselves out of poverty.

The challenges of achieving and maintaining full and productive employment clearly require a fairly comprehensive approach at both the national and international levels. This is essential to achieve not only the global objectives on employment but also the wider UN development agenda, with its central focus on overall improvement in the plight of the poor.

As the report of the Secretary-General points out, the responsibility for creating conditions for full and productive employment and decent work for all rests first with national governments. This means that the goal of full employment and decent work for all must be made the central goal in all areas of national economic and social policy. And it implies that the commitment to generate adequate employment levels should be central to macroeconomic policies, including to monetary and exchange rate policies, even when they are under the responsibility of independent central banks.

In recent decades, monetary and fiscal policies in many countries have shifted towards emphasizing the single objective of achieving and maintaining low levels of inflation. This has often led to pro-cyclical adjustment of economies which, as shown in the latest World Economic and Social Survey, has been detrimental to long-term growth and thus to employment creation. So countries should also strive to create more space to conduct counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies. And they will need to ensure adequate levels of public expenditures in the areas of infrastructure and human development, without which the employment goals cannot be achieved. In developing countries, exchange rate policies are also crucial for employment generation, particularly as trade liberalization has reduced policy space to adopt pro-active industrial policies.

The competitive environment that characterizes the global economy has made it more difficult in all countries to manage demands for both job security and labour market flexibility. As we well know, any solution to the major trade-offs involved in meeting these opposing demands will require the strengthening of social protection systems. This by itself is a major challenge in industrial economies; for developing countries, it is even more difficult, given the underdevelopment of their own social protection systems and the large proportion of employment in the informal sector. Consequently, the continuous development of contributory social security systems must be complemented by increased State responsibility for providing social protection through fiscal mechanisms that are not tied to social security contributions. Another requirement is to build institutions that enhance labour-business cooperation—and thus social dialogue—as a tool for adapting to changing, competitive market conditions and to unstable macroeconomic environments.

For many developing countries, the agriculture sector is still the main source of jobs. Accordingly, more concerted action is needed on rural development, aimed at expanding market access, employment and productivity. To reduce the prevalence of the working poor in the developing world, employment generation and productivity growth must be pursued simultaneously. More generally, the poor are overwhelmingly employed in small production units or self-employed. Thus, in rural and urban areas alike, the reduction of poverty requires promoting micro and small enterprises and building strong linkages between small firms and dynamic sectors.

The productive integration of youth into the labour market, especially from poor households, is essential for socio-economic stability. And it is also key to breaking the inter-generational transmission of poverty and inequality. A comprehensive strategy to promote youth employment should focus on investing in education and vocational training, promoting entrepreneurship and providing equal opportunities to both men and women. In addition, governments need to launch targeted measures to overcome the specific disadvantages that many young people encounter in entering or remaining in the labour market.

All these efforts and policies for generating employment, as well as others presented in the Secretary-General’s report, will not likely make any headway without a supportive and enabling international environment. Developing such an environment is a crucial exercise in the “coherence” of the international system, as correctly underscored by the World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization convened by the International Labour Organization. The ILO should be at the centre of international cooperation in this area, but must be able to count on the full support of the whole international system.

This exercise of coherence must address the employment implications of global macroeconomic conditions and of the international trading system. Under the current conjuncture, this means that international cooperation in macroeconomic policymaking should work to guarantee high levels of effective demand in the global economy while its large existing imbalances are being redressed. The International Monetary Fund should play an important role in facilitating such cooperation and in ensuring that employment objectives are given centre stage. Only this could do justice to the Fund’s first Articles of Agreement, which enshrined “the promotion and maintenance of high levels of employment” as one of the IMF’s core objectives.

The UN system at large needs to attach high priority to this goal. There have been some encouraging signs, as the UN agencies, funds and programmes, and the international financial institutions are all placing more emphasis on employment issues. But the need remains to ensure that employment policies appear more prominently in national development and growth strategies. To this end, the ILOs’ Decent Work country programmes should be made an essential part of the UN Development Assistance Frameworks.

The need for consistent follow-up to declarations and global agreements in this field is also very real. Particularly in view of its new functions, the Economic and Social Council should become a major forum for ensuring that the goal of full and productive employment and decent work for all receives the attention—and action—that it deserves from governments and the international community.

This article is based on a statement of Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, to the Council in the context of its discussion on employment on 4 July.

The report of the Secretary-General on 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 has been issued as document E/2006/55 (http://www.un.org/docs/ecosoc/documents.asp?id=1088 ).

Full information on the Economic and Social Council’s substantive session of 2006, including the employment report, can be found at http://www.un.org/docs/ecosoc/ .

Global dialogue on development

General Assembly

Informal, interactive hearings with non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector on international migration and development

New York, 12 July


The Population Division is assisting the President of the General Assembly in conducting informal, interactive hearings between Member States and representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector on 12 July on the subject of migration and development. The hearings are being held as part of the preparatory process for the high-level dialogue, which will take place in September.

Contact: Population Division: Ms.Marybeth Weiberger, +1 212/963-4531, or Mr. Barry Mirkin +1 212/963-3921

Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Person with Disabilities

8th session

New York, 14-25 August


The General Assembly decided in its resolution 56/168 in 2001, to establish the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, based on a holistic approach in the work done in the fields of social development, human rights and non-discrimination and taking into account the recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission for Social Development.

The Committee has called upon the organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, including the World Bank, to intensify cooperation in support of the work of the Committee, as well as in anticipation of the implementation of the draft convention, and has invited DESA in close collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to take the necessary steps to secure this inter-agency collaboration.

The first session of the Ad Hoc Committee in 2002 decided to seek views and suggestions on a convention by States and all relevant international, regional and national organizations. At its second session in 2003, the Ad Hoc Committee decided to establish a Working Group with the aim of preparing and presenting a draft text of a convention, which would be the basis for negotiation by Member States. The Group would take into account all previous contributions submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee.

The Ad Hoc Committee started its negotiation on a draft convention at its third session in 2004 to promote, protect and fulfill the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities. The version of the draft text to be considered at the 8th session includes articles on equality and non-discrimination, awareness raising , accessibility, freedom from torture and exploitation, respect of privacy, education, as well as work and employment. The proposed Convention should provide for effective monitoring at the national and international levels.

Contact: Mr.Jean Pierre Gonnot, Division for Social Policy and Development, + 1 212/963-3256

Economic and Social Council

Substantive session of 2006

Geneva, 3-28 July


High-level segment

3-5 July

During the high-level segment of its 2006 substantive session, the Economic and Social Council will address “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.” This theme will focus the segment on assessing progress towards the employment and work related goals, in light of their central role in achieving the MDGs and the broader UN development agenda. It will also allow the Council to bring greater attention to the relationship among economic growth, sustainable development, and the expansion of full and productive employment and decent work for all.

H.E. Mr. Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan, and H.E. Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway will open the session on 3 July with keynote addresses on “Working out of Poverty”. DESA and ILO have prepared a joint report of the Secretary-General as input to the plenary discussion, and have worked in close collaboration with other agencies, funds and programmes of the UN system throughout the preparatory process.

Two Ministerial-level roundtables will follow as part of the high-level segment on the question of modalities for conducting the Annual Ministerial Review of progress made towards internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, and the biennial Development Cooperation Forum to review development strategies, policies and financing, and promote coherence among bilateral and multilateral development agencies. Both the AMR and the DCF are innovations introduced at the 2005 World Summit in connection with the UN reform effort.

Coordination segment

6-10 July

The coordination segment will address the question of sustained economic growth for social development, including the eradication of poverty and hunger. This cross-sectoral theme will enable the segment to make a meaningful contribution to the completion of the First International Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006), which will be under review throughout the year.

Operational activities segment

11-13 July

The substantive session of the Council of 2006 coincides with the mid-cycle review of implementation of the General Assembly resolution 59/250 on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities of the United Nations system. Accordingly, the operational activities segment will includes a panel discussion on the comprehensive review of trends and perspectives in funding for development cooperation, a dialogue with executive heads of UN funds and programmes, and a panel discussion with the UN country team in Indonesia on the role of UN development cooperation in pursuit of employment creation and decent work. The final day of the segment will be devoted to the review of progress in implementing General Assembly resolution 59/290.

Humanitarian affairs segment

14-19 July

During the humanitarian affairs segment, delegates will stock of progress on the UN humanitarian reform agenda, including strengthening the capacity of the humanitarian system, improving field level coordination, and implementation of the Central Emergency Response Fund.

General segment

19-27 July

As in previous years, a wide range of agenda items and topics will be considered during this segment of the Council. These include: integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of UN conferences and summits; financing for development; and, reports of the subsidiary bodies of the Council including those of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Haiti, Burundi and Guinea Bissau.

The Secretary-General’s report on integrated follow-up will provide the Council with information and tools to build thematic unity across the different segments of its substantive session and to strengthen coherence in the work of the functional commissions and regional commissions. Towards this end, the report assesses the contributions of the functional and regional commissions to implementing the conference and summit outcomes.

Contact: Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination: Ms. Leslie Wade, +1 212/963-4420 (plenary session on employment and decent work); Mr. Navid Hanif, +1 212/963-8415 (roundtable on AMR); Mr. Kristinn Helgason, +1 212/963-8418 (roundtable on DCF)

Side events

CONGO civil society forum

29-30 June


The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO) – along with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the NGO Section of DESA, and the Non-Governmental Liaison Service – held a Civil Society Forum at ILO headquarters from 29-30 June in preparation for ad hoc discussions with delegates attending the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council in July.

Luncheon meeting on sports as means to support local economic development and job creation

5 July

The NGO Section of DESA is organizing a luncheon meeting on sports as a means to support local economic development and job creation, cosponsored by Give Them a Hand Foundation. Attendance is by invitation only.

Contact: Ms. Hanifa Mezoui, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 212/963-8652

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

High-level meeting on sustainable development

Santiago de Chile, 20-21 July


The Division for Sustainable Development will represent DESA in a high-level meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on sustainable development to be held in Santiago, Chile, from 20-21 July. APEC will consider the issues of energy, air pollution and atmosphere, climate change, and industrial development, which are the subjects of the current two-year implementation cycle of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Input from APEC will be presented to the Commission at its 15th session in May 2007.

Contact: Ms.Kathleen Abdalla, Division for Sustainable Development, + 1 212/963-8416

Multi-stakeholder consultations on the role of national development banks

1st regional consultation, Lima, 12-13 June

2nd regional consultation, Paris, 27-28 June


The role of national development banks in the promotion of economic and social development is being addressed in a series of multi-stakeholder consultations organized by the Financing for Development Office in collaboration with regional and national development banks, international financial institutions, the regional commissions and others from the private sector, academia and civil society. The consultations give participants an opportunity to discuss such issues as the role of NDBs in addressing market failures and development gaps, financial instruments, financial and business sector development, and regional integration.

The first regional consultation, on national development banks in Latin America, took place in Lima on 12-13 June. A second regional consultation, on regional and national development banks in Africa, took place in Paris on 27-28 June. Four additional consultations are planned for late 2006 and early 2007.

Contact: Mr. Oscar de Rojas, Financing for Development Office, +1 212/963-2587

Global Alliance for ICT and Development

Inaugural meeting

Kuala Lumpur, 19-20 June


The Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development, an initiative of the Secretary-General to promote effective use of ICT for development as a follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society, held in its inaugural meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 19-20 June, hosted by the Government of Malaysia. The session was launched by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch-Brown, with more than 700 participants from governments, business, civil society, international organizations, the Internet community, academia, and women’s and youth groups in attendance.

The Alliance’s Strategy Council also met for the first time in Kuala Lumpur. The 60 members of the Council – from the fields of ICT, development and public policy – establish overall strategic guidance and priority setting for the Alliance’s work. The Council works to ensure engagement of high-level expertise and leadership, and facilitate outreach. The basic requirement for the members of this policy-setting group is commitment, experience and vision in ICT for development and traditional development fields.

The co-organizers of the meeting – the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Malaysia and the secretariat of the Global Alliance – issued a document outlining the principles of the Alliance’s future work as discussed at the meeting. Pledging to overcome the social and digital divides between developed and developing world, the document promotes policies and partnerships that can help create an “arc of digital opportunity” in the developing world. Among the initiatives proposed at the Kuala Lumpur meeting were a Cyber Development Corps – young volunteers from developing countries to help other developing countries in ICT for development; establishing regional centres seeking to build human capital; and, setting up thematic and regional networks and working groups to promote outreach and partnership for action.

The Alliance will function as a partnership and network supported by the United Nations, under the authority of the Secretary-General and the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, and will seek to facilitate dialogue on formulating policies and exchanging experiences on ICT for development. It will operate as a decentralized network, using technologies that allow people to work together on-line and will complement and enhance the work of existing networks and institutions, working independently while at the same time maintaining a link to the United Nations.

Executive guidance to the work of the Alliance and its secretariat will be provided by a Steering Committee composed of a Chair and several Vice-Chairs representing major constituencies. For policy and expert advice, the Strategy Council and the Steering Committee will be able to draw upon a group of High-level Advisers and a Champions Network. Dr. Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board of Intel Corporation, serves as the first Chairman of the Alliance.

Contact: Mr. Sergei Kambalov, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 212/963-4751

International symposium on migration and development

Turin, 28-30 June


Migration is too important an issue to be defined “through anecdotes and hunches”, or via fear and manipulation, United Nations envoy Peter Sutherland told experts who had gathered for an international symposium on migration and development in Turin from 28-30 June. The symposium brought together diplomats, government policymakers, economists and demographers to assess migration patterns and the impact of policies.

According to Mr. Sutherland, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on migration issues, in discussions with some 60 governments to date, there has been broad agreement on the value of global dialogue, including between sending and receiving countries.  That assessment will be put to the test in September, when the General Assembly holds its special high-level dialogue on international migration and development.

Contrary to the general misperception that migration is strictly a South-to-North phenomena, only one third of the current stock of international migrants are natives of developing countries who now live in a developed country.  Another third are from a developing country and are now residing in another developing nation, and the remaining third originated in a developed country. Without the benefit of an influx of workers, however, the developed world would see a 22 per cent decline in its labour force over the next four decades.  In receiving countries, migrant workers do not compete with local workers, but rather complement them and allow the economy to perform better.  The positive effects of labour migration are heightened in the many developed countries where educational levels and the average age of the population are rising.

Contact: Ms. Hania Zlotnik, Population Division, +1 212/963-3179

Lunchtime seminar on the role of women in reducing violence from small arms

New York, 6 July

Conference room DC2-1283, 1:15-2:45 p.m.

When illicit small arms and light weapons become freely available, women and men are affected differently, yet women have traditionally been excluded from decision-making related to disarmament and arms control strategies. Security Council resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, emphasized the importance of equal participation and full involvement of women in maintenance and promotion of peace and security. DAW has invited Dr. Vanessa Farr of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research to lead a lunchtime seminar on the use of resolution 1325 to promote the role of women in policy-making in weapons-saturated societies for increased security.

Contact: Ms. Eve Burnett, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 917/367-9637

Seminar on the creation, recognition and valuation of intellectual assets

New York, 13-14 July

In the knowledge-based economy, the creation of value can precede the occurrence of transactions as observed with today’s accounting systems. Successful research and development and other business activities create considerable value in products and intellectual assets, but the mismatch between the recognition of these values and the investments into research and development and other activities is a major reason for the growing disconnect between market values and financial information.

There is therefore a need to explore best practices and infrastructure that support intellectual asset creation, recognition and valuation. The Statistics Division is arranging a two-day seminar on this topic based on discussions and consultations with experts in the statistical, business and accounting community.

The seminar forms part of a process to develop coordination mechanisms for information sharing on the developments of business accounting standards and statistical standards on macroeconomic accounts like the 1993 System of National Accounts.

Contact: Mr. Herman Smith, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4689

Panel on civic engagement in public accountability

Monterrey, Mexico, 19 July

The Division for Public Administration and Development Management is organizing a panel entitled “Accountability from the Bottom” on 19 July during the 3rd regional international conference on transparency for better governance. Five panelists – from DESA, the World Bank, Transparency International, civil society and academia – will discuss the issue of civic engagement in public accountability, under the chairmanship of Mr. Guido Bertucci, Director of DPADM. The venue for the panel and conference is the International Institute of Administrative Sceiences and the Seccion Mexicana Del Instituto International De Ciencias Administrativas in Monterrey.

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

Meeting on e-participation and e-government: understanding the present and creating the future

Budapest, 27-28 July

This meeting on e-government, organized by DPADM, is being held within the ambit of an International E-Participation and Local Democracy Symposium organized by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Participants will review and analyze approaches and best practices in e-government, and discuss how to characterize e-participation worldwide. The goal is to identify issues and challenges facing different countries as they advance in the development of e-government programmes. This multidisciplinary group will exchange ideas and contribute to the evolution of a UN framework for e-participation and assessing e-government globally.

Contact: Division for Public Administration and Development Management: Ms. Haiyan Qian, +1 212/963-3393 or Ms. Seema Hafeez, +1 917/367-3025

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

36th session

New York, 7-25 August


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, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 212/963-3153

Expert meeting on institutionalizing sustainable development

Stockholm, 31 August-1 September


The Division for Sustainable Development, in cooperation with the OECD and the Governments of Canada and Sweden, is organizing an expert meeting on institutionalizing sustainable development through national sustainable development strategies, to be held from 31 August to 1 September in Stockholm. Participants will present and discuss good practices in governance structures, implementation measures, monitoring and evaluation. Recommendations will be made on the further development and implementation of national sustainable development strategies, and on ways in which OECD and DESA can contribute to these efforts.

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

Technical cooperation

Global initiatives

Expert group meeting on the 2010 World Programme on Population and Housing Censuses New York, 10-14 July

The Statistics Division is organizing an expert group in New York from 10-14 July in connection with the 2010 World Programme on Population and Housing Censuses. This meeting will bring together over 45 experts from all regions with the sole objective of reviewing and adopting a revised set of international standards for population and housing censuses as presented in the draft Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2.

The proposed revision is the product of broad consultations with over 100 national experts, and includes: the introduction of 40 recommended census tabulations that each country or area would be called to generate at least once in the period 2005-2014 at the smallest geographical level; a new definition and concept of "usual residence"; several new core topics, such as those related to mortality and the availability of information and communication technology devices in the household; new approaches to census-taking and the geographical information systems for collecting and disseminating census results.

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

Workshop on tourism statistics

Madrid, 17-20 July


The Statistics Division and the World Tourism Organization are organizing a workshop on tourism statistics as part of a worldwide consultation on revision of the international Recommendations on Tourism Statistics, which were approved by the 27th session of the Statistical Commission in 1993. Representatives from national tourism organizations, national statistical offices, and international and regional organizations will be asked to provide their assessment of the relevance of the 1993 recommendations, indicate areas where revision is needed, and to make concrete proposals for updating specific recommendations. The revised text will be submitted to the 39th session of the Commission for approval in 2008.

Participants are expected to: (1) review current country practices in compilation of the basic variables of tourism statistics and their relevance to current user needs; (2) review the existing 1993 Recommendations in the context the amendments incorporated in Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework to ensure that the improved basic tourism statistics better serve the needs of economic policy makers, industry managers, the business community, while at the same time providing a solid foundation for the national accounts in general and for the compilation of the Tourism Satellite Account; (3) create a network of tourism statisticians working in different institutional environments in order to foster the exchange of country experiences and the formulation of good practices in the compilation of such statistics; and (4) advise on institutional arrangements between different national agencies active in tourism statistics.

Contact: Mr. Vladimir Markhonko, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-5252

Africa south of the Sahara

Planning meeting on strengthening statistical capacity in the Southern African Development Community region

Durban, 14-16 July


The Statistics Division is organizing a meeting in Durban, hosted by Statistics South Africa, to launch a new project on strengthening statistical capacity in support of progress towards the internationally agreed development goals among countries of the Southern African Development Community. The meeting will bring together heads of SADC national statistical offices, staff of the SADC secretariat, ECA, the Statistics Division and other development partners with current or planned activities in the region. Participants will discuss needs and priorities for statistical capacity building in the region, review a project proposal made by the various partners, and agree on an implementation plan.

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

Expert group meeting on energy and environment statistics

Abuja, 7-9 August


As part of the follow-up to a project on strengthening statistical capacity in support of the Millennium Development Goals, the Economic Community of West African States is organizing an expert group meeting on energy and environment statistics in collaboration with the Statistics Division to be held in Abuja in August. The purpose of the gathering is to finalize strategic frameworks for strengthening capacity in the development and institutionalization of energy and environment statistics in the fifteen countries of the region on a long-term, sustainable basis. Experts from national statistical offices, energy and environment ministries and agencies will participate. The conclusions of the meeting will be presented to the ECOWAS Steering Committee for approval on 28 August.

Contact: Statistics Division: Mr. Karoly Kovacs, +1 212/963-4748, or Ms. Reena Shah, +1 212/963-4586

Second meeting of the Pan African Conference of Ministers of Local Government

Maseru, Lesotho, 28-30 August

The objective of the meeting of the Pan African Conference of Ministers of Local Government is to enable lawmakers from different African countries to share knowledge and experiences on strategies for enhancing capacities for civic participation in local governance. Discussions are expected to cover international norms, presented by DPADM, as well practices unique to the African continent. The first meeting of the Ministers took place in Kigali in 2005.

Contact: Mr. John-Mary Kauzya, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, + 1 212/963-1973

Latin America and the Caribbean

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

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, 10-13 July


The Division for Public Administration and Development Management, in cooperation with the Agency for International Cooperation and the Institute of Public Administration of Spain, will hold the second of three sub-regional training seminars on the implementation of the Ibero-American Charter of Public Service in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia on 10-13 July. Participants include high level government officials and parliamentarians from Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. The seminar is intended to contribute to reform of public administration systems in particular to enhance transparency, accountability, professionalism and efficiency in public service, as stated in the Charter.

Contact: Mr. José Manuel Sucre-Ciffoni, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, + 1 212/963-0701

High-level roundtable on government reform for poverty reduction

Lima, 9 August

DPADM will hold a high level seminar on the reform of the State and the public sector to facilitate poverty reduction on 9 August in Lima. The seminar will be attended by the President of Peru, Mr. Alan Garcia, and several ministers of the newly appointed cabinet. The participants will analyze the plans of the new government on the design and implementation of social programmes and policies to reduce poverty. Participants will be invited to discuss reforms that may be needed to take place to implement poverty reduction programmes efficiently.

Contact: Mr. Guido Bertucci, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-5761

Publications and websites

Technical reports

World Economic and Social Survey 2006: Diverging Growth and Development


According to the 2006 World Economic and Social Survey, world inequality is high and rising. The main reason is that income levels have grown steadily over the past five decades in the industrialized world whereas sustained growth has generally eluded developing countries. China and India are two notable exceptions whose growth performance has helped to reduce global inequality, but when these two countries are left out, a strong and steady increase in world income inequality becomes apparent.

Success in development depends both on country efforts and on an appropriate international environment. Greater income divergence is partly explained by a rising number of growth collapses. Countries with weakly integrated domestic economies, weak institutions, and low levels of infrastructural and human development are less likely to gain from integrating global markets. Such conditions make it more difficult for developing countries to grow out of poverty and reduce their vulnerability to global shocks. Hence, the greater likelihood of growth collapses and, as the WESS also reasons, of situations of conflict as international inequality rises.

The problem of rising global inequality thus has an important bearing on the implementation of the UN development agenda. The WESS provides an agenda for national and international policies to redress the tendency towards widening income disparities across the globe.

Contact: Mr. Rob Vos, Development Policy and Analysis Division, +1 212/963-4838

World Economic Situation and Prospects: Mid-2006 Update


The world economy has generally performed well so far this year, but a notable moderation in global growth is expected in the second half of 2006. A number of downside risks to economic performance have increased recently as reflected by the conspicuous volatility of global financial markets seen in May and June. Policymakers worldwide need to pay serious attention to these risks and take the necessary policy actions.

In the baseline scenario, which assumes that the global economy could avoid any significant shocks in the near term, gross world product is forecast to grow by 3.6 per cent this year, the same rate as in 2005. While economic growth in developed economies is expected to stay at 2.7 per cent, developing economies will again, as in the two previous years, register an expansion by more than 6.0 per cent in 2006. Growth in the economies in transition, on the other hand, will slow somewhat in 2006, but still amount to 6.0 per cent.

Among the developing economies, all country groups continue to see economic growth rates that are at or near their highest levels in many years, with East Asia growing by more than 7.0 per cent and Africa as well as South Asia expected to achieve growth of around 6.0 per cent this year. Western Asia and Latin America are forecast to see a slight acceleration in growth rates, which will remain above 5.0 per cent and 4.0 per cent, respectively. Economic prospects for the poorest nations, the least developed countries also remain favourable with growth rates expected to reach an unprecedented 7.3 per cent this year.

The WESP update cautions against too much optimism, however, as a disorderly adjustment of widening global imbalances, persistently high oil prices, a collapse of house prices, and the possible outbreak of an avian flu pandemic could signal a downturn.

Contact: Mr. Rob Vos, Development Policy and Analysis Division, +1 212/963-4838

Building Inclusive Financial Sectors for Development


Why are so many people and firms in developing countries excluded from full participation in the financial sector? The Monterrey Consensus that Heads of State and Government adopted at the International Conference on Financing for Development in 2002 explicitly recognized that “microfinance and credit for micro, small and medium enterprises…as well as national savings schemes are important for enhancing the social and economic impact of the financial sector.”

The General Assembly further designated 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit to “address the constraints that exclude people from full participation in the financial sector.” In this context, the Financing for Development Office of DESA and the UN Capital Development Fund undertook a project to analyse the obstacles to financial inclusion and to report on efforts to overcome those obstacles in a variety of countries. An electronic version of this publication, now available in print, first appeared in January 2006.

World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision, Volume III (Analytical Report)


The 2004 Revision of World Population Prospects represents the latest global demographic estimates and projections prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. This third and last volume of the 2004 Revision provides a detailed analysis of the results of the World Population Prospects 2004. It also documents data sources used and methods applied in the preparation of the 2006 Revision. The report is accompanied by an executive summary of the results and the assumptions underlying the 2004 Revision. The executive summary and the assumptions have been translated into the six official United Nations languages.

Statistical compilations

World Contraceptive Use 2005 on CD-Rom


This CD-ROM, produced by the Population Division, contains the latest as well as trend data on contraceptive prevalence as of 1 October 2005.  Contraceptive prevalence is the percentage of women using contraception among those of reproductive age who are married or in union.  Estimates are given by method of contraception for individual countries and country aggregates, including the world as a whole, the more and less developed regions and the major world areas. Also available in abridged form as a wall chart (https://unp.un.org/details.aspx?entry=E06WCU )

World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision, Volume 1: Basic, Comprehensive, and Extended Datasets on CD-Rom


The 2004 Revision is the nineteenth round of official United Nations population estimates and projections prepared by the Population Division. These are used throughout the United Nations system as the basis for activities requiring population information. The 2004 Revision is the first to incorporate the full results of the 2000 round of national population censuses. It also takes into account the results of recent specialized surveys carried out in developing countries to provide both demographic and other information to assess the progress made in achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. The comprehensive review of past worldwide demographic trends and future prospects presented in the 2004 Revision provides the population basis for the assessment of those goals.

The 2004 Revision confirms the variety of demographic dynamics of our times. While the population at the global level continues to increase, that of the more developed regions as a whole is hardly changing and virtually all population growth is occurring in the less developed regions. Especially rapid population growth characterizes the group of 50 least developed countries.

Contact: Mr. Thomas Buettner, Population Division, +1 212/963-3209

Working paper

Equity in Latin America since the 1990s


Outreach material

Population Ageing 2006 wall chart


For 228 countries or areas, regions and the world, this wall chart presents comparable indicators including absolute and relative numbers of the older population, proportions currently married, living alone and in the labour force among both older men and women, the sex ratio of populations aged 60 and over and 80 and over, the potential support ratio, the statutory retirement age for men and women and life expectancy at age 60 for men and women. The new chart updates the wall chart Population Ageing 2002 and adds information on the percentage of older persons who live alone.

International Migration 2006 wall chart


This wall chart, produced by the Population Division, displays the latest data and information available on international migration and development, covering topics such as size of the migrant stock, net migration, remittances, immigration and emigration policies and ratification status in respect of relevant United Nations instruments.


Commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Statistical Commission


Next year, 2007, will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations Statistical Commission. The Statistics Division is planning a number of special activities to commemorate significant accomplishments of the Commission, such as the adoption of the System of National Accounts in 1953, 1968, and 1993, the launching of the World Population and Housing Census Programme in 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, and 2005, and the adoption of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics in 1994.

Contact: Mr. Virgilio Castillo, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4867

Development of national statistical systems


A key responsibility of the Statistics Division is to assist countries in the development of their national statistical systems. As part of this effort, a repository of country profiles of statistical systems has been compiled that includes a brief history of national statistical systems, their legal basis, statistical programmes and more.

Contact: Statistics Division: Ms. Fabia Yazaki, +1 212/963-4823, or Mr. Gerrod Thomas, +1 917/367-9311

Global e-government knowledge base


In July, DPADM will launch a new website to assist policy makers in assessing e-government readiness. The site, formally known as the United Nations Global E-Government Knowledge Base (UN Kbase) is an online interactive tool for comparative analysis of the state of e-government readiness of countries around the world. UN Kbase will provide an online user a web portal allowing policy makers and researchers and academia to easily access, view, sort and print information from DPADM’s database on e-government readiness of 191 countries worldwide. The site will facilitate the creation of a network of groups and individuals interested in e-government at the international level and will serve as a stable, ongoing data repository and information system in support of the DPADM UN Global E-Government Readiness Reports and other related e-government initiatives.

Contact: Ms. Haiyan Qian, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-3393

Comings and goings


The following staff members were appointed between 1 April and 31 May.

Ms. Marva Corley, Economic Affairs Officer, Development Policy and Analysis Division

Mr. Taeke Gjaltema, Population Affairs Officer, Population Division

Mr. Marco Sanchez Cantillo, Economic Affairs Officer, Development Policy and Analysis Division


The following staff members were promoted between 1 April and 31 May.

Ms. Patrizia Alayan, Administrative Assistant, Technical Cooperation Management Service

Mr. Jeremiah Banda, Chief, Demographic and Social Statistics Branch, Statistics Division

Ms. Chi Hyun Cho, Statistics Assistant, Statistics Division

Ms. Natalia Devyatkin, Editorial Assistant, Population Division

Ms. Karen Eckerson, Administrative Assistant, Executive Office

Ms. Marcela Guimaraes, Administrative Assistant, Executive Office

Mr. Kyaw Kyaw Lay, Information Systems Assistant, Population Division

Mr. Branko Milicevic, Statistics Assistant, Statistics Division

Mr. Thomas-Markus Schindlmayr, Social Affairs Officer, Division for Social Policy and Development

Ms. Adriana Skenderi, Statistician, Statistics Division

Mr. Jorge Vargas, Statistics Assistant, Statistics Division


Ms. Mary ChamieMs. Mary Chamie, former Chief of the Demographic and Social Statistics Branch, retired from the United Nations on 31 March after more than twenty years with the organization. Over the course of her UN career, Ms. Chamie made a notable contribution to the definitions, concepts, and methods of statistical measurement related to the status of women, disability, youth and aging, as well as the population and housing censuses that underpin social statistics.


The following staff members also retired from the organization between 1 April and 31 May.

Mr. Maurice Clapisson, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination

Mr. Daniel Olden, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Division for Public Administration and Development Management

Mr. Carlos Peragallo, Statistics Assistant, Statistics Division



Economic and Social Council

Substantive session of 2006 Geneva, 3-28 July

General Assembly

Informal, interactive hearings with non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector on international migration and development

New York, 12 July

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

High-level meeting on sustainable development

Santiago de Chile, 20-21 July


Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

36th session New York, 7-25 August

General Assembly

Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities

8th session

New York, 14-25 August


International Day of Cooperatives

1 July


The International Day of Cooperatives is intended to increase awareness of cooperatives, highlight the complementary nature of the objectives of the United Nations and the international co-operative movement, and underscore the contribution of the movement to the resolution of global issues. The International Day helps strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other actors, including governments, at local, national and international levels.

This year the theme of the International Day is the role of cooperative enterprises in fostering peace among peoples, communities and nations through democratic participation and shared economic development.

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

World Population Day

11 July


An outgrowth of the Day of Five Billion, celebrated on 11 July 1987, the now annual World Population seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, particularly in the context of overall development plans and programmes, and the need to find solutions for these issues.

World population totalled 6.5 billion in 2005, and was growing by some 76 million a year. The Population Division estimates that there will be between 7.7 billion and 10.6 billion people in 2050, with 9.1 billion the most likely projection.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

9 August


On Tuesday, 9 August, the International Day of the World's Indigenous People will be commemorated at United Nations Headquarters, in the Visitors' Lobby at 12:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

The program will include a message from the Secretary General, statements from United Nations agencies, the Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issue, and others, as well as various indigenous cultural presentations. Representatives of Member States, UN agencies, indigenous peoples’ and other non-governmental organizations, and the media are invited to attend. The Day’s programme has been organized by the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, DPI, and the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Contact: Ms. Mirian Maaquiza, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917/367-6006

International Youth Day

12 August


This year’s theme for international youth day is tackling poverty together. Over 200 million young people, or 18 per cent of all youth, live on less than one dollar a day, and that over 88 million youth are unemployed. However, little is known about young people living in poverty, as they are frequently overlooked in national poverty reduction strategies. Since the Millennium Summit, new initiatives to reduce poverty among young people have been very promising. Governments, the international community, and young people themselves are working together to reduce youth poverty, using the framework of the Millennium Development Goals. Also encouraging, is the adoption of national youth policies by Governments to support the involvement of young people in the decisions that affect their lives.

A number of activities are being organized at UN Headquarters in cooperation with the YMCA of Greater New York, Directions for our Youth, and the City of New York's Department of Youth and Community Development.

Contact: Mr Girma Mulugetta, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 212/367 8009

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