Volume 2, Issue 2 , April/May 1998




In this issue:

Afghanistan Women
Major Initiative Planned on Finance for Development
Industry Segment at CSD6
Palestinian Census
Liberia: After the Civil War, What ?
Natural Resources Forum : a Presentation
April-June meetings
Forthcoming publications
Africa,    Governance
New releases
Population,   Natural Resources,   Statistics,   Public Administration,   Development Policy Analysis,   Consumer Protection
Meetings held

Afghanistan Women

For the past four years, the UN has been faced with ever-increasing restrictions placed by the authorities on the role of women in Afghanistan. The UN and its implementing partners have not been as consistent and clear as to how to perform their assistance and rehabilitation operations effectively and efficiently and deal with the situation of women at the same time. It was clear, however, that any assistance has to be based on UN principles.

On 3 June 1997, in response to the continued restrictions on women's rights in Afghanistan and their implications for the work of the UN, bilateral donors, and NGOs in the country, the Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA) recommended a principle-centred gender approach. This was later endorsed by the Secretary-General and communicated to all UN agencies on 26 June 1997. The principle-centred approach is based on the international standards and norms set by the United Nations and within this context sets out principles for the UN system to continue engagement in life-sustaining and other humanitarian activities. However, it introduces some degree of conditionality and in some instances proposes the disengagement of UN agencies from certain institutional and rehabilitation assistance programmes unless women can benefit equally with men.

At the same time, the UN was concerned with developing a strategic framework to deal with countries in crisis. Afghanistan and Mozambique were chosen to test it by the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) to provide the foundation for an overall international assistance strategy. An interagency strategic framework mission to Afghanistan was thus fielded from 22 September to 12 October 1997 to assist in the completion of the first phase of the strategic framework process. Its report, however, did not address gender in a direct or integrated way.

In Afghanistan, the international assistance community had long felt a pressing need to formulate practical operational guidelines on gender. These would be observed by all UN agencies, donors and NGOs working in Afghanistan in order to ensure consistent action at organizational, programme policy and operational levels. An interagency gender mission was thus sent to complement the findings of the strategic framework mission.

The gender mission was intended to assist UN agencies by preparing a set of practical, field-oriented guidelines addressing gender concerns that could be used by United Nations agencies, donors and non-governmental organizations when implementing their programmes. It was also to establish key indicators to enable agencies and others to monitor compliance with these guidelines.

The mission, led by Ms. Angela E.V. King , United Nations Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, lasted from 12 to 24 November 1997. It visited five locations in Afghanistan (Bamyan, Farah, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar) and two locations in Pakistan (Islamabad, Peshawar), and was comprised of representatives from UN agencies, funds and programmes with a field presence in Afghanistan. It included a member of the prior strategic framework mission from ESCWA, representatives from WHO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP, and a representative from Norway who participated on behalf of the donor and NGO communities.

The mission members met with representatives of UN agencies and their female staff, donors and international NGOs in Kabul, Peshawar and Islamabad. It held discussions with NGOs representing Afghan women and men, and with individuals vested with local or national responsibilities by various fighting factions. The mission also visited UN agency projects, including some implemented in collaboration with NGOs and donors, as well as hospitals, home-based schools, universities, refugee camps, and prisons, including assistance-supported projects, and interviewed a wide range of assistance agency officials, local authorities, NGO staff, community leaders and Afghan nationals, women and men.

The mission examined the condition of women in Afghanistan, the contexts in which external assistance was conceived and delivered, the ways that the international community could address gender concerns in the delivery of aid, and indicators that could be used to ensure the appropriate monitoring of assistance activities. In all of these areas, the mission examined the gender situation as it pertained to various sectors where the plight of women was most acute, including health, food security, water, sanitation and environment, education, and employment and income-generation programmes.

The mission's report notes that the situation of girls and women in Afghanistan was defined by two primary factors -- deprivations caused by continuing war, and policies directed toward the removal of women from public life -- and two secondary factors -- traditional customs that often reinforced their secondary status, and assistance programming that failed to mainstream women. The cumulative result was to reduce the capacities, powers and rights of women to define the conditions of their existence in a society that was already profoundly at risk.

The mission examined the rights of women at risk and the governance environment in Afghanistan. It also reviewed UN personnel and programming practices. The mission found that women were unable to enjoy even the most basic rights under the 16 main articles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women particularly as it affected civil and political rights, the right to education, employment, health, movement and personal security and the right to hold and dispose of property.

The mission concluded that practices of agencies of the United Nations system in Afghanistan require considerable reform if the UN is to meet the challenges that Afghanistan poses today and in the foreseeable future. Its report addresses ways that UN agencies should incorporate principles for gender awareness, gender mainstreaming, gender balance, and coordination among UN agencies in the reform of their personnel and programming practices. The mission underscored the fact that such reform "is critical to the effective implementation of future assistance."

The mission used its consultations and observations to draw some baseline judgements in two critical areas: the nature of gender discrimination in Afghanistan, and the ways that United Nations agencies and programmes handle gender issues in their work. The two are, of course, closely related. In many instances, the UN and its implementing partners have found themselves responding to situations that change almost daily, and in those responses have found it difficult to compose policies and practices that are unified in both means and ends. The mission believed, however, that both means and ends are extremely important, particularly in a crisis country like Afghanistan, and that it was critically important to establish guidelines to which all members of the international assistance community could subscribe so that the community could assist the people of Afghanistan efficiently and effectively.

Among the 16 major recommendations directed towards the international assistance community was one essential element: a consistent gender policy for working in Afghanistan to be implemented within a strict time frame under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator. The mission's report offers guidelines for implementing this policy direction and recommends that progress in achieving its goals should be assessed regularly by agencies and Headquarters offices. These guidelines and related indicators for monitoring have been made available to the UN agencies involved in order to facilitate discussion on the gender mission's recommendations.

The full report is available at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/news/index.html


Major Initiative Planned on Finance for Development

On 19 March, the General Assembly's Second Committee (Economic and Financial Questions) met in an unusual resumed session and made history. To start, the newly arrived Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Louise Fr├ęchette , made her first statement to the General Assembly. It was a hard-hitting and ambitious statement, but also a pragmatic one about how the United Nations should develop. She would like to see the Organization's profile raised in the economic and social spheres by strengthening its role in development policy and development business. In particular, she said, the work that the Second Committee was about to launch held the promise of breathing new life into the work of the Organization and had her full support.

The work to which Ms. Fr├ęchette was referring was the multi-year process of preparing a major intergovernmental undertaking at the United Nations on finance for development by 2001. The General Assembly had agreed in December to set this process in motion and the current meeting was to gather views of Member States on potential items to inscribe on the agenda for international discussion, as well as to identify official and other stakeholders whose contribution to the process might be sought. Several countries and groups of countries offered their ideas in this regard. In a number of cases, a country's ambassador gave the intervention, raising the political profile of the meeting.

It would be fair to say that one year ago, the idea of starting a new negotiation process in economic and social affairs and especially in finance for development would have seemed most unlikely. Since then, events in Asia and elsewhere have fed a growing sense that the financial situation of a large number of developing countries was uncertain and vulnerable. In addition to the low-income countries that remain dependent on increasingly scarce official development assistance, several middle-income countries that had once been able to tap international financial markets for substantial resource flows were now in difficulty.

At the same time, it appears that Governments of developed and developing countries Governments increasingly have come to think that the United Nations can be a useful forum for international discussions on finance for development. Certainly, Governments were entering the process with their eyes open and without unrealistic expectations. The history of economic and social negotiations at the United Nations was not forgotten. Perhaps those widely shared frustrations, coupled with a genuine concern about financing for development, are the starting points for a new approach.

For our young Department, this exercise will likely be one of its most interesting challenges. Governments recognize that to be successful, the new preparatory process has to evolve new procedures for identifying areas in which policy advances can be made, for generating ideas that attract sincere interest, and for forging a consensus that is strong enough to turn international recommendations into actually adopted policies. DESA has been asked to spearhead the Secretariat work on this initiative, in cooperation with other units of the Secretariat, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. If this is to work at all, it will have to be truly a collaborative effort. Our collective challenge is to help Governments at the United Nations "break out of the box", build mutual confidence and become a source of policy innovation.

In short, the problem of finance for development has been internationally acknowledged and support for developing a new intergovernmental process has been given. It is now up to us to nurture the political will, invent new ways to make discussion fruitful, pull in the sceptical, and maintain the enthusiasm of the already intrigued, all the while providing substantive support at a high technical level and occasionally taking time out for lunch.

Contact: Barry Herman, Development Policy Analysis Division
Tel. (212) 963 4747, Fax (212) 963 1061, E-mail: herman@un.org


Industry Segment at CSD6

In accordance with the outcome of the 1997 special session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Commission on Sustainable Development has a more focused and ambitious programme of work. The 1998 session of the CSD and future sessions up to 2002 will each focus on three key areas that correspond to the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainability. The 1998 agenda focuses on freshwater as the environmental theme, on industry as the economic theme, and on the capacity building/education/technology transfer nexus as the social theme. This 6th session of the CSD (New York, 20 April-1 May) will for the first time provide a high-level policy discussion of the challenges of sustainable development in industry.

A number of countries hosted meetings, including at the ministerial level, in preparation for the session. It is expected that the session, in particular its high-level and industry segments, will attract many environment, development and industry ministers.

The industry focus at CSD6 will include a two-day segment at the beginning of the meeting in April. The arrangements for the industry segment are new. The counterparts are not only Governments but also the key stakeholders such as business and industry, trade unions and NGOs. The papers that will start the dialogue are being prepared by them through a consultative process of their own design. Rather than a debate, there will be a dialogue on specific issues with key stakeholders interacting on an equal footing. There is no requirement to negotiate a decision so time will not be allocated to "fighting over words".

The themes of the industry segment were agreed by a group of facilitating organizations representing the key stakeholders and including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the CSD NGO Steering Committee. UNEP's Industry and Environment Office and the CSD Secretariat are the UN partners in the facilitating group. The topics are as follows:

  • responsible entrepreneurship (voluntary initiatives/codes, partnerships, regulatory framework and reporting)

  • corporate management tools (workplace conditions, environmental management systems/ISO 14000, training, social assessment) -- (ISO 14000 is a number assigned by the International Standard Organization to "environmental management")

  • technology cooperation and assessment (impact of new technologies, technological choices, capacity building)

  • water industry and cleaner production (water management in industry and industry as water service provider).

We took this approach to the industry segment because we believe that the CSD, as a sustainable development organization, needs to enable mechanisms of accountability to generate more action on the global objectives. A good way to generate more action and stakeholder responsibility is to hold the stakeholders accountable for the actions they have already agreed to take. It is usually the Secretariat's job to be the "persistent nagger" reminding Governments of what they agreed to do but have not yet done. But the issue is, why not engage all stakeholders in a constructive dialogue that will not only "nag" the participants out of their inaction but also help them develop mutual trust and understanding in the process?

The industry segment has another significance in the long-term. Its success... or failure will determine whether we can repeat the exercise with other themes that are on the CSD agenda. It will be useful to have stakeholder dialogue segments on tourism in 1999, on agriculture in 2000 and on energy and transportation in 2001.

Zehra Aydin-Sipos

Contact: Zehra Aydin-Sipos. Tel. (212) 963-8811, Fax (212) 963-1267, E-mail aydin@un.org

Documents for the Commission on Sustainable Development can be accessed at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd.htm


Palestinian Census

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) successfully carried out its first population and housing census in December 1997. The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), executed the census project and provided technical support during all the preparatory activities and the field operations. Sirageldin Suliman and Angela Me undertook several missions to the West Bank and Gaza to review the activities of the census offices at the central and local levels and provided technical advisory services. Anthony Turner provided assistance on sampling procedures for the coverage evaluation study.

As the first census operation carried out by the Palestinian Authority, PCBS had to face various challenges in establishing central and local offices and implementing all the complex procedures that a large scale operation such as the census requires, e.g. recruitment and training of more than 4,000 field workers and mapping of the entire area. Despite many difficulties due to limited resources and local circumstances, the enumeration was successfully carried out in the West Bank and Gaza. The success was also due to consistent support of the international community and the devoted work of the PCBS census staff. The Palestinian population living in the city of Jerusalem was not covered.

Preliminary results of the Palestinian census shows 2,596,617 people living in the areas covered by the enumeration in the night of 9-10 December. Of the total, 1,318,804, (50.8%) were males and 1,277,813 (49.2%) were females. About 38.5% were living in the Gaza Strip. These figures do not include a preliminary net undercount of 2.4% reported in the post enumeration survey carried out immediately after the census.

In addition to the population data, the census takers collected data on establishments and housing conditions. According to the preliminary results, there were 406,896 households in the covered areas of which 262,273 were in the West Bank and 144,523 were in the Gaza strip.

The main questionnaire contained data on education, labour force, fertility, mortality, migration, and disability. Final tabulations will be available by the end of June 1998 and the publication of the final results and basic analysis will be ready by September 1998. When the data from the census are analysed and published, they will provide for the first time a detailed picture of the demographic, social and economic status of the Palestinian population. They will serve to provide planners and decision makers with statistical information for economic and social development at regional and local levels.

The census was funded by UNFPA, the World Bank and the British, Swiss and Norwegian Governments.

Contact: Sirageldin Suliman, Tel. (212) 963-4375, Fax (212) 963-1940


Liberia: After the Civil War, What ?

This may appear to be a rhetorical question, perhaps, but in essence it encapsulates the present challenge of building on the momentum of peace for reconstruction and development. That peace and development are intertwined and inseparable is part of the international community's mantra, and something the UN system, to its great credit, is never tired of repeating and promoting. In the case of Liberia, a country emerging from seven years of civil war, it is very much a reality and a joint task with its international partners. Namely, to get development going, and provide an enabling environment for civil society to heal its wounds and the private sector to invest, one needs peace and to make peace sustainable it has to be nourished with an equitable and participatory development process. Here, we wish to relate a small part of the UN system's response, and one that I have experienced at first hand.

A mission of one, just me on behalf of the Division for Social Policy and Development, went to Liberia in March, with two objectives in mind. First, to help the Government, UNDP, and other stakeholders finalize the documentation for a Special Donors Meeting on Post-War Reconstruction scheduled for 7 April 1998 in Paris. Second, to support the process of initiating the formulation of a programme support document on capacity building for economic management. It may be noted here that, given the deeply felt issues surrounding reconstruction, and the enormousness of the task, capacity building for economic management is truly an immense challenge and outside traditional recipes. As an aside, keep in mind that, out of an estimated population of 2.6 million, with all socio-economic indices showing a steep decline, something of the order of one million are internally displaced persons and about half a million are refugees in neighbouring countries. Although all sections of the population have been affected by the war, vulnerable groups, especially women and children, have suffered most. If I were adroitly religious, or insensitive, I would have evoked the biblical "this is the way for the meek to inherit the earth". But clearly, this is not a case of "business as usual"!

In terms of time allocation, the first week was spent mainly with the editorial team, together with the Government, UNDP and World Bank, to prepare the documents for submission to the Special Donors Meeting. It is worth emphasizing that any assistance rendered from the outside, which included a World Bank team in addition to our mission, was secondary to the ongoing process led by the Government. The second working week focused on networking with the relevant stakeholders, including the Government, UNDP and the Bretton Woods institutions, to begin putting in place the various components for a programme of technical support for capacity building for economic management. Good intentions and agency sensibilities are one thing, but how far this exercise can deliver will depend in part on how successful the Paris meeting is in mobilizing additional resources for Liberia. Thus, the jury is still out on how effective this joint endeavour has been in terms of reaching its goals, and the pockets of a rather muted international community. On this, one may take comfort from the poet's words, Eliot I think, "for us there is only the trying, the rest is not our business".

Finally, it may be recalled that the Division's positive presence in Liberia is already felt through the existing project on Reconstruction and Poverty, funded mainly by UNDP, and especially in its micro-credit and other pro-poor, and gender sensitive, interventions. Through this project, for which currently there is considerable effort jointly with UNDP to find fresh funds, some 2,000 households are given small repayable financial assistance to build their livelihoods. Most of the beneficiaries, organized by NGOs with the support of the project, are single parent female headed households. But this is another story, and a far more deserving one, that its stakeholders perhaps will be given the chance to relate to you in future.

Olympios Katsiaouni

Contact: Olympios Katsiaouni, Tel. (212) 963-6417, E-mail: katsiaouni@un.org


Natural Resources Forum

Most of you have probably seen a copy of a glossy blue-and-red-covered journal called the Natural Resources Forum floating around the Department. Although I inherited it only in 1993, this quarterly UN journal has been published commercially since 1976. It is an unusual case of a long-standing partnership between the United Nations and a private company, currently Elsevier Scientific Publishers in Oxford, UK. It is being used as an example for other UN publications which are of wide interest and could be usefully disseminated and published commercially.

Until the early-1990s the Forum focused mainly on technical, economic and legal aspects of natural resources exploitation and development. Articles were usually evenly divided among energy, mineral and water resources. Following UNCED and evolving UN priorities and concerns, however, the Forum shifted its emphasis to cover the broader issues of integrated sustainable development. It now mainly examines socio-economic, legal, environmental and policy aspects of natural resources use and management. Topics now also include sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

The journal seeks articles which explore innovative approaches to natural resources management, integrating social and political realities with economic and environmental priorities. It seeks to provide relevant case studies and policy options to decision-makers in developing countries. Articles are submitted by a diverse range of contributors from academia, the private sector, NGOs and national and international organizations. By highlighting forward looking -- sometimes controversial -- topics, such as the sharing of transboundary waters, demand management, the role of women, and issues related to national sovereignty, the Natural Resources Forum aims to offer relevant inputs to developing countries attempting to incorporate sustainable development into their national policy frameworks. Articles are peer-reviewed by technical experts, from within the UN system, and the academic world, or by practitioners in the field.

For policy directions and new ideas, the journal relies on regular inputs from its editorial board, composed of United Nations staff and resident technical advisers (mainly in energy, minerals/law and environment protection), and its editorial advisers, a more broadly-based group consisting of experts representing the major disciplines within natural resources, e.g. energy, oil, minerals, water, agriculture, forestry, conservation, etc. hailing from a wide spectrum of geographic locations and cultures in the world.

For the past four years, the journal has come out with a special issue each year, with articles solicited from specialists in the subject, to draw attention to specially important global issues in natural resources management, such as Sustainable Development (1995); Women and Natural Resources Management (1996); Transboundary Waters (1997); and Public-Private Partnerships (1998). The special issue for 1999 will focus on Oceans and Coastal Zone Management. More details on the 1998 special issue are given below.

Special issue on Public-Private Partnerships (May 1998)

The 1998 special issue presents case studies on public-private partnerships, as well as some specific views on privatization of public assets. The resulting gains and risks for all involved, including government at the national and local level, communities and the private sector, are highlighted. Most of the articles stress that government should ensure effective and fair regulatory mechanisms and enhance the participation of civil society in decision-making on issues of interest. In turn, the private sector is expected to provide efficient management and operation, up-to-date technology, capital inputs and market access for resource-based commodities. These are generally in short supply in government-run enterprises.

The articles in the issue provide a good mixture of material on public-private partnerships from various perspectives: governmental and non-governmental organizations; international organizations; universities and research institutes; and the private sector. The authors vigorously explore the public and private aspects of innovative management and use of natural resources. In the water sector, the balance between governmental regulation and private capital and participation are discussed by: Hillary French, Vice President for Research at the Worldwatch Institute; Steven McCoy Thompson, an economist with the Bechtel Corporation; Judith Rees of the London School of Economics and Political Science; and Fred Neto of DESA's Sustainable Development Division. Their articles reflect the importance of an appropriate mix of government regulations and economic incentives in the management of water and sanitation to ensure the goals of social welfare, environmental integrity and economic productivity.

Public-private partnerships in the mining industry are analysed by Craig B. Andrews, a Senior Mining Specialist at the World Bank, and Philip Crowson, formerly Chief Economist at the multinational corporation Rio Tinto. On the subject of energy production in developing nations, T. L. Sankar, Principal of the Administrative Staff College of India, and Russell J. de Lucia, an expert in financing of renewable forms of energy, offer concrete examples, from South Asia.

The editorial for the issue is by the Secretary-General, while the introduction has been provided by Ms. Beatrice Labonne.

Persons to contact

Contributions of articles on relevant subjects from staff in DESA would be most welcome, as well as suggestions regarding topics of interest. We also feature book reviews and we have a number of excellent current titles available for review. We would be pleased to provide a list of books available to anyone interested in reviewing books.

Elsevier Website address: http://www.elsevier.nl/locate/natresfor

Marcia Brewster

Contact: Marcia Brewster, Tel. (212) 963-8950, Fax (212) 963-4340, E-mail: brewster@un.org or Editorial Assistant Saroja Douglas, Tel. (212) 963-8781, E-mail: douglas@un.org


APRIL-JUNE MEETINGS

A comprehensive list of forthcoming meetings can be accessed online by keying http://imdis.un.org and then clicking on "Journal of Meetings".

Below is a list of the current meetings with DESA participation:

Round Table on Adolescent Reproductive Behaviour
New York, 14-17 April 1998

As part of the review of national and international experience in implementing the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, UNFPA is organizing a series of round tables on selected population and development issues. The first in that series is a round table on adolescent reproductive health. The major focus will be the review of progress in programmes to improve reproductive and sexual health of adolescents. The conclusions from this meeting will, in addition to being consolidated in a background report for the UNFPA International Forum, serve as input to the Secretary-General= s report for the special session of the General Assembly in June 1999. Ms. Kandiah of the Population Division will attend the round table.

Contact: Vasantha Kandiah, Tel. (212) 963-3207, Fax (212) 963-2638 or (212) 963-2147, E-mail: kandiah@un.org

Asia-Africa High-level Workshop on Advancing Financial Intermediation in Africa
Mauritius, 20-22 April 1998

This interregional workshop is being organized by OSCAL in collaboration with the Government of Mauritius and the Special Unit for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries of the United Nations Development Programme. The main objective of the workshop is to advance financial intermediation in Africa by formulating a framework of action in light of the experiences of Asian and African countries. The workshop will be attended by high-level officials from the Ministries of Finance and from central banks of 24 African and six Asian countries. Five issue papers will be discussed, focusing on, among other things, sound banking management, development of capital markets, linkages between formal and informal financial sectors, and Asian experiences in advancing financial intermediation.

Further information on the workshop (available in English and French) can be obtained upon request from: Ms. Raj Bardouille, OSCAL, Tel. (212) 963-2645, Fax (212) 963-3892, E-mail: bardouille@un.org

Commission on Sustainable Development, sixth session
New York, 20 April-1 May 1998

See article: Industry Segment at CSD6 above.

Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations
New York, 18-29 May and 22-26 June 1998

The NGO Section is finalizing the review of over 300 applications from non-governmental organizations seeking consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, to be considered by the NGO Committee at its 1998 regular session.

It is the intention of the Section to reinstate the support it provided to the Secretariat staff responsible for organizing or following up on international conferences with respect to NGO accreditation process. In this connection, the Section will provide assistance in a number of major events organized by or in cooperation with the United Nations in the months ahead, one of them being the World Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth hosted by the Government of Portugal in cooperation with the United Nations, to take place in Lisbon in August. As in previous years, the Section will provide support to the accreditation of NGOs wishing to participate in the Commission on Sustainable Development at its next session (20 April-1 May). It will also assist the United Nations International Drug Control Programme in the accreditation process of non-governmental organizations participating in the special session of the General Assembly devoted to the fight against the illicit production, sale, demand, trafficking in and distribution of narcotic drugs (8-10 June).

London Group on Environmental Accounting, fifth meeting
Fontevraud, France, 25-29 May 1998

The meeting will discuss diverse topics such as valuation of environmental degradation, policy uses of environmental accounts and the relationships of accounting and environmental statistics and indicators. A major focus of the meeting is the review and revision of the UN System of integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA): a paper on frameworks and systems of environmental accounting by Peter Bartelmus will address this issue.

Contact: Peter Bartelmus, Tel. (212) 963-4581, Fax (212) 963-0623, E-mail: bartelmus@un.org and Alessandra Alfieri, Tel. (212) 963-4590, Fax (212) 963-0623, E-mail: alfieri@un.org

Eco-Partnership
Tokyo, 26-29 May 1998

The World Conference on International Cooperation of Cities and Citizens for Cultivating an Eco-Society will be held under the joint auspices of the United Nations and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG).

The Conference is designed to provide an opportunity for all interested parties worldwide to discuss their roles, responsibilities, and modalities to foster cooperation and solidarity in the creation of an Eco-Society on a global scale. These endeavors are fully consonant with the recommendations of Agenda 21, as well as other recent UN conferences (Copenhagen, Istanbul, Beijing and the resumed fiftieth session of the General Assembly).

It is expected that the Conference will contribute significantly to the formation of networks of cooperation among cities in this area; increase the awareness of Governments towards further promoting an Eco-Society; and enhance the support system for assistance to cities, municipal governments and NGOs worldwide, as they attempt to incorporate the results of the Conference in their future policies.

The Conference will be attended by approximately 500 participants, including mayors, municipal administrators, senior central government officials, prominent expert, and representatives of NGOs, private enterprises, relevant UN entities and other inter-governmental bodies.

Contact: Itoko Suzuki, Tel. (212) 963.6052, Fax . (212) 963.2916, E-mail: suzuki@un.org

First part of the 38th session of the Committee for Programme and CoordinationNew York, 1-26 June 1998

In response to a request of the CPC at its 37th session, OSCAL has prepared for this session, in cooperation with the UNSIA secretariat, a progress report on the United Nations System-wide Special Initiative for the Implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s . The report provides information on action taken by United Nations bodies and agencies since the last progress report of 20 May 1997. It also sets out the linkages between the System-wide Special Initiative, the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworkss and the Country Strategy Notes and outlines the way forward for the Special Initiative , which reflects the recommendations made at a high-level retreat organized by the secretariat of the Special Initiative.

OSCAL will also service the relevant meetings.

ACC Subcommittee on Statistical Activities
New York, 16 and 18 June 1998

The ACC Subcommittee on Statistical Activities will hold its 32nd session at United Nations Headquarters. The main items on the agenda are: environment statistics, coordination of the follow-up to the statistical implications of recent major United Nations conferences, inventory of all indicators produced by the United Nations system and an integrated presentation of plans of the international organizations in statistical methodology. The UNSD provides substantive and technical secretariat services to the Subcommittee and will prepare documentation on most of the agenda items.

Contact: Richard Roberts, Tel. (212) 963-6037, Fax (212) 963-9851, E-mail: roberts@un.org

Second Meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II)
Harare, 22-23 June 1998

The task of the Harare meeting, following the first preparatory meeting in Dakar, Senegal, is to formulate the A Agenda for Action@ for TICAD II, which will take place from 19 to 21 October 1998. The Harare meeting will discuss, among others, action-oriented guidelines in the Agenda for Action by areas of cooperation. They are social development, private sector-led development, prerequisites for development, and others. The modalities of cooperation are donor coordination, regional cooperation, South-South Cooperation, capacity building, gender in development, and the environment. OSCAL will participate as co-organizer in providing substantive support to the Preparatory Committee.

Two related regional workshops will take place in Eastern/Southern Africa in June and in Western/Central Africa in July. The workshops will provide an opportunity for African countries participating in TICAD II to express their views on the draft A Agenda for Action@ being prepared by the Preparatory Committee. Furthermore, the African countries will discuss the output of the missions on model projects of Asia-Africa cooperation in nine African countries, examining applicability and adaptability of model projects proposed.

South Asia Workshop on Strengthening the Regional Situation
of the Assessment Database
Kathmandu, 22-26 June 1998

Organized by the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia, this workshop will review official government and United Nations estimates for core social indicators and develop procedures for maintaining the South Asia database to ensure its technical consistency with UNICEF's and the Population Division's global level monitoring process. Ms. Kandiah of the Population Division will attend the workshop.

Contact: Vasantha Kandiah, Tel. (212) 963-3207, Fax (212) 963-2638 or (212) 963-2147, E-mail: kandiah@un.org

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, 19th session
New York, 22 June-10 July 1998


ACC Subcommittee on Demographic Estimates and Projections (SCDEP)
New York, 23-25 June 1998

The Population Division will be hosting the 20th session of the Subcommittee. The role of SCDEP is to coordinate the activities related to demographic and sectoral estimates and projections among the units of the United Nations Secretariat, regional commissions and specialized agencies. The population estimates and projections prepared by the Population Division provide the standard and consistent set of population figures for the United Nations system.

Contact: Joseph-Alfred Grinblat, Tel (212) 963-3216, Fax (212) 963-2147, E-mail: grinblat@un.org

Expert Meeting on Putting the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF)
Proposals for Action into Practice at the National Level
Germany, 29 June-3 July 1998

This is a six-country initiative in support of programme I.a. of the programme of work of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF). It is sponsored by the Governments of Finland, Germany, Honduras, Indonesia, Uganda and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in cooperation with the IFF Secretariat, UNDP and FAO. A preparatory meeting was held in Bonn, Germany, 3-5 February 1998.

Contact: Christian Mersmann, GTZ TWRP, Support to International Programmes in Tropical Forestry, P.O.Box 5180, D-65726 Eschborn/Germany. Tel. 49-6196-79-3453, Fax 49-6196-79-7333, E-mail: marlene.steigerwald@gtz.de
or 101562.31@compuserve.com


FORTHCOMING PUBLICATIONS

Africa

Overview of African Development

Work on this overview is in its final stage. It will be the first in a series of biennial reports on Africa's development. The principal areas covered will be peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development, human development, capacity building (capacity development) and initiatives on Africa. The overview will highlight progress achieved in the last five years by African countries in those areas as well as the challenges ahead.

Report of the Asia-Africa Forum on the Economic Empowerment of Women

The report will summarize the discussions of the Asia-Africa Forum on the Economic Empowerment of Women, held in Bangkok, 16-19 July 1997, and will cover the Framework for Action that was adopted. It will also reflect the main working papers submitted to the Forum, and the main statements. The report is now in translation.

Publication on Poverty Eradication in Africa  

The publication will attempt to link 14 case studies to the broader concept of poverty eradication in Africa. It will show what activities African Governments and people are planning and undertaking for the eradication of poverty, and will assess their sustainability.

Directory of African Non-Governmental Organizations

Following the recommendation of the Panel of High-level Personalities on African Development in 1994 and the recommendation of the DPCSD Task Force to set up a data bank on NGOs for common use, OSCAL is updating its database on NGOs and preparing a directory of African non-governmental organizations for use by the development community, i.e. agencies, donors, groups and individuals, in order to respond to related frequent user demands. A further goal is to identify development organizations within civil society in Africa, including national, international and community based non-governmental organizations.

Secretary-General's Report to the Security Council on conflicts in Africa

The report is to be published in mid-May. It responds to the Security Council= s request made by the at its 25 September 1997 ministerial meeting on Africa that the Secretary-General report on how sources of conflict could be better identified, how conflicts could be prevented or resolved, and how Africans could be helped in laying the groundwork for peace and prosperity.


Governance

Compendium of African Governance Programmes

The Governance and Public Administration Branch, DPEPA, in cooperation with the Social Economic Policy and Development Management Branch, SDD, is undertaking a timely project in Africa. DPEPA negotiated with the Regional Bureau for Africa/UNDP to produce with a budget of US$ 278,000, a compendium of governance programmes, in 14 countries: Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Uganda.

The overall objective is to help Governments and development partners improve governance coordination and programming. Further, the compendium will help donors identify gaps in current policies and programmes and establish priorities among the different areas of intervention. The information in the compendium will be distributed within the UN system, and will be widely available to development partners such as international NGOs and national groups, active in governance. It is expected that a special Internet site will in time help to disseminate and update this compendium.

Contact: Yolande Jemiai, Tel. (212) 963-8395, E-mail: jemiai@un.org


NEW RELEASES

Population

International Migration Policies
(ST/ESA/SER.A/161)

Against a background of widening economic disparities and political change, international migration has increasingly become an issue of major policy concern in most of the developed and developing world. This new release by the Population Division examines the many issues surrounding immigration policies and practices from a wide range of perspectives. Part one is devoted to: family reunification; citizenship, nationality and naturalization; and social, political, economic and cultural integration of migrants. Part two reviews policies and programmes targeting specific types of migration as well as national, regional and global instruments on permanent migration, labour migration, refugees and undocumented migrants.

The conclusion points to the continuity of migration policies adopted by Governments since the late 1970s. It also stresses that recent trends in labour migration and the movement of asylum-seekers and, to some extent, in family reunification efforts, confirm that international and national immigration policies significantly influence migration patterns. However, the growth of undocumented migration raises questions about Governments' ability to control migration across borders.

Contact: Ellen Brennan, Population Division, Tel. (212) 963-3227,
Fax (212) 963-2147, E-mail: Brennan@un.org

World Population Prospects: the 1996 Revision
(ESA/P/WP.138)

In February 1998, the Population Division published as a working paper the text of World Population Prospects: The 1996 Revision. This unedited text complements Annex tables I, II and III which had been published earlier as working papers. Together, these present the results of the fifteenth round of global demographic estimates and projections, which analyses population trends, and its fertility, mortality and migration components, from 1950 to 1995, and population projections from 1995 to 2050, for the world, 21 regions and 228 countries or areas.

At mid-1997, world population stood at 5.85 billion including 4.67 billion -- 80 per cent -- in the less developed regions, and 1.18 billion in the more developed regions. Between 1990 and 1995, world population grew at 1.48 per cent per annum, with an average of 81 million persons added each year The average annual growth rate was about 1.8 per cent in the less developed regions and 0.4 per cent in the more developed regions.

Contact: Joseph-Alfred Grinblat, Tel (212) 963-3216, Fax (212) 963-2147,
E-mail: grinblat@un.org

World Urbanization Prospects: The 1996 Revision
(ESA/P/WP.141)

In February 1998, the Population Division published as a working paper World Urbanization Prospects: The 1996 Revision . This unedited version of the analysis and methodology, together with the 17 Annex tables and 20 figures, presents the results of the estimates and projections of urban and rural populations for the world, regions and countries or areas from 1950 to 2030, and of urban agglomerations from 1950 to 2015. The Population Division figures show that currently 46 per cent of the world population are urban dwellers. Half of the world population is expected to live in urban areas by 2006. Tokyo ( 27.5 million in 1997) is still the largest urban agglomeration in the world, with Mexico City the second largest (17.3 million), followed by Sao Paulo (17.0 million), New York (16.4 million) and Bombay (16.3 million).

By 2015, Tokyo will have a population of 28.9 million . At that time, Bombay is projected to be second with 26.2 million people, followed by Lagos (24.6 million), Sao Paulo (20.3 million), Dhaka (19.5 million), Karachi (19.4 million), Mexico City (19.2 million), Shanghai (18.0 million), New York (17.6 million) and Calcutta (17.3 million). There will be 26 mega-cities, including 22 in the less developed areas, mainly in Asia.

Contact: Nancy Yu-Ping Lin, Tel (212) 963-3210, Fax (212) 963-2147,
E-mail: linn@un.org

World Population Monitoring 1996: Selected Aspects of Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health
(Sales No. E.97.XIII.5)

The report is the first in a new series of annual reports on a special set of themes of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. The report covers such topics as entry into reproductive life; reproductive behaviour; contraception; abortion; maternal mortality and morbidity; sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS; reproductive rights; and population information, education and communication with respect to reproductive rights and reproductive health. The report contains annex tables providing indicators of the current demographic situation in major areas and regions as well as data specific to reproductive health.


Natural Resources

The Russian Gas Industry
(ST/TCD/EB/5 - Sales No. E.97.II.A.4)

The Division on Sustainable Development has just issued this technical publication which analyses the world's largest consolidated gas network, GAZPROM, in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union. In addition to problems arising from political reorganization, GAZPROM has undergone restructuring and privatization efforts to increase its market orientation, and faces increased competition for gas sales to European markets. Recommendations for strengthening GAZPROM are included.

Contact: Mohan Peck, Tel. (212) 963-8799, Fax. (212) 963-4340, E-mail: peck@un.org

Gender and Energy: From Policy to Action
(TCD/Energy/Gender/97)

This brochure for to governmental decision makers looks into how to translate intergovernmental recommendations into national action programmes. Numerous paragraphs in Agenda 21 or the Beijing Platform of Action state the importance of the participation of women in designing, developing and implementing national energy programmes. The brochure suggests that in order to ensure that women benefit from energy projects, we must better analyse or re-think women's energy needs which, besides cooking, include water collection, pounding of grains and headloading of crops to storage areas. In addition to these domestic energy needs are those related to economic activities such as craft skills and non-traditional areas of production. Adopting a gender disaggregated approach to planning assures that the different impacts on males and females of any energy policy intervention will be taken into account.

Contact: Mohan Peck, Tel. (212) 963-8799, Fax (212) 963-4340, E-mail: peck@un.org


Statistics

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
(ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/300, Vol.LI, No. 12, December 1997)

Special features in this issue:

  1. Selected series of world statistics
  2. Petroleum products: Production
  3. Trade conversion factors
  4. Manufactured goods exports: Unit value index; quantum index; value
  5. Fuel imports
  6. Some indicators on fuel imports
  7. Registration of new motor vehicles
  8. Retail price indexes relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
(ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/301, Vol.LII, No. 1, January 1998)

Special features in this issue:

  1. World shipbuilding
  2. Total exports and imports: Index numbers of quantum, unit value and terms of
    trade by regions
  3. Civil aviation traffic:passenger-km and cargo net ton-km

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
(ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/302, Vol.LII, No. 2, February 1998)

Special features in this issue:

  1. Index numbers of world industrial production by branches of industry and by regions
  2. Construction of new buildings
  3. World exports by commodity classes and by regions: Developed economies only
  4. Earnings in manufacturing
  5. Index numbers of producers prices and wholesale prices

Contact: Gloria Cuaycong, Tel. (212) 963-4865, Fax (212) 963-0623, E-mail: cuaycong@un.org


Handbook for Producing National Statistical Reports on Women and Men
(ST/ESA/STAT/SER.K/14, Sales No. E.97.XVII.10)

This handbook provides a framework for developing and disseminating in the form of a publication, a minimum set of statistics and indicators on women's and men's position in society. In 1991 The World's Women 1970-1990: Trends and Statistics was produced as a joint effort of United Nations agencies to present a factual view of global progress in advancing the situation of women relative to men. The publication generated demand for gender statistics publications that could be widely disseminated to users of varied backgrounds. This handbook is a step-by-step guide to the preparation of such publications in countries, from organizing a planning committee to promoting the final product. A main feature is the practical guidance and illustrations given on developing statistical indicators from national data sources.

Contact: Grace Bediako, Tel. (212) 963-7771, Fax (212) 963-1549, E-mail: bediako@un.org

Population and Vital Statistics Report
(ST/ESA/STAT/SER.A/204)
Statistical Papers, Series A, Vol. L, No.1
Data available as of 1 January 1998

This issue of the Population and Vital Statistics Report presents 1996 and 1997 estimates of world and continental population, as well as corresponding 1996 estimates for 230 countries or areas of the world, which are listed separately in the report. Also shown for each country or area are the results of the latest nation-wide census of population (total, male and female) and, wherever possible, nationally representative statistics of live births, deaths and infant deaths (deaths under one year of age) for the most recent year available. If a nation-wide population census has never been taken, but a sample survey has, the survey results are shown in the "Latest population census" column until census data become available.

Contact: Manuel Otero, Tel. (212) 963-4970, Fax (212) 963-1549, E-mail: otero@un.org

Statistical Yearbook, forty-second issue
(ST/ESA/STAT/SER.S/18, Sales No. E/F.97.XVII.1)

This annual compilation of statistics for over 200 countries and areas of the world is organized in four parts: world and region summary; population and social statistics; economic activity; and international economic relations. This issue of the Yearbook presents 88 tables in demographic and social statistics, national accounts, finance, labour force, wages and prices, agriculture, industry, transport and communications, energy, environment, science and technology, international merchandise trade and tourism. It covers, broadly, the ten-year period 1985-1994 or 1986-1995 with data available as of 30 June 1997.

Contact: Gloria Cuaycong, Tel. (212) 963-4865, Fax (212) 963-0623, E-mail: cuaycong@un.org


Public Administration

Role of SAIs in Fighting Corruption and Mismanagement
(ST/TCD/SER.E/58)

Report of a seminar held in Vienna, 21-25 October 1996. It discusses general aspects of fighting corruption; the role of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) in detecting mismanagement and inefficiency; and strategies and measures to control corruption in public administration. It also looks at the role of SAIs in promoting efficient and effective financial management and their contribution to prevent and detect corruption in public procurement. The report is available in English, French, German and Spanish.

Contact: Dawne Gautier, Tel. (212) 963-2306, Fax (212) 963-9681, E-mail: gautier@un.org  

Administrative Reforms: Country Profiles
(ST/TCD/SER.E/55)

This report contains the country profiles in administrative reform of five Asian countries: China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand. It outlines the experiences of each country and provides good reference points for other countries. It is published in binder format and available in English only. 

Contact: Dawne Gautier, Tel. (212) 963-2306, Fax (212) 963-9681, E-mail: gautier@un.org


Development Policy Analysis

International Finance and Developing Countries in a Year of Crisis: 1997 Discussions at the United Nations
(Sales No. E.98.III.A.10)
(ISBN 92-808-1011-1)
Barry Herman and Krishnan Sharma, eds., 1998. Tokyo, United Nations University and New York, United Nations 

This publication features essays based on presentations made to the Second Committee of the General Assembly in the fall of 1997 on global financial issues, background essays and supporting materials.

Contact: United Nations Publications, Room DC2-853, Tel. (212) 963-8302 or Internet: http://www.un.org/Publications


Consumer Protection

Consolidated List of Products Whose Consumption and/or Sale Have Been Banned, Withdrawn, Severely Restricted or Not Approved by Governments
(Sales No. E.97.IV.2)

This sixth issue of the Consolidated List was published in late 1997. The List is part of a continuous effort in the United Nations system aimed at disseminating information to the international community on products harmful to health and the environment.

The Consolidated List is a tool for government agencies, which review applications for the registration of products, to ascertain restrictive regulatory decisions in other countries. It also helps NGOs and concerned citizens' groups to raise public awareness at national and international levels against adverse effects of harmful pesticides, dangerous pharmaceuticals, toxic industrial chemicals and hazardous consumer products on health and the environment and to push for legislative changes and/or safer alternatives.

The List covers pharmaceutical, agricultural, industrial, and consumer products regulated on account of their chemical composition and contains regulatory and commercial information. It is prepared jointly by DESA, WHO and the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals of the United Nations Environment Programme (IRPTC/UNEP). WHO collects, screens and processes the information relating to regulatory measures taken by Governments on pharmaceutical products and on health-related and environmental reasons for these measures. IRPTC/UNEP performs a similar function with regard to chemical products.

Part one of the List contains the actual text of the regulation and its effective date, references to the relevant national legal and statutory documents as well as bibliographical references to scientific and technical studies by international organizations relating to these products. Part two, which is compiled by DESA, contains commercial information including data on trade names under which these restricted products are marketed and their manufacturers. Trade-name data are included for most pharmaceuticals and chemicals whereas manufacturers' data are provided only in respect of agricultural and industrial chemicals.

While the information presented in the List cannot be regarded as exhaustive, either in terms of products or regulatory measures, it covers regulatory actions taken by 93 Governments on some 700 products, and includes indices on scientific names and trade names for ease of cross-referencing between recognized common scientific names and available trade names. Given the increasingly complex and voluminous data presented, the List is being published in separate volumes for pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The recently published sixth issue contains data only on pharmaceuticals and the next (seventh) issue will contain data on chemicals. Copies of the sixth issue of the List are available at United Nations sales offices in New York and Geneva.

Contact: Mohamed Akhter, Tel. (212) 963-3934, Fax (212) 963-1712, E-mail: akhterm@un.org


MEETINGS HELD

Innovative Financing of Renewable Energy Projects

With financing from OHRM, a staff training workshop on innovative financing of renewable energy (RE) projects was held on 26 January 1998 in New York. The purpose was to upgrade the knowledge of professional staff on recent trends and experiences in the mobilization of finance and credit for renewable energy systems.

A number of innovative financing mechanisms are emerging to help meet the growing demand for the financing of RE projects. They include: Renewable energy service companies, micro-utilities and cooperatives; RE leasing companies; RE vendor credits; Targeted project credits; Direct consumer credits; Acceptance of equipment as collateral by suppliers; Support for project preparation/development; Global Environment Facility; Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ).

The training workshop was attended by ten staff members of the Division for Sustainable Development/DESA, as well as four officials from UNDP.

Contact: Mohan Peck, Tel. (212) 963-8799, Fax (212) 963-4340, E-mail: peck@un.org

International Statistical Programmes and Coordination

The Statistical Commission's Working Group on International Statistical Programmes and Coordination held its 19th session at United Nations Headquarters from 10 to 12 February 1998. The Working Group:

(a)   agreed in principle with the proposed delegation of authority to the Intersecretariat Working Group on National Accounts (ISWGNA) in order to handle effectively minor editorial amendments and non-controversial clarifications in the 1993 SNA. With regard to "interpretations" and changes of the 1993 SNA, in order to bring in the expertise of national statistical agencies and also for the Statistical Commission to be fully involved, all members of the Statistical Commission would receive a 30-day notice to review proposed changes. If during this period no objections were raised the proposal would be considered as adopted;

(b)   endorsed the proposed first international compilation of environmental indicators and encouraged national statistical services and international organizations to participate fully in this exercise;

(c)   endorsed the proposed activities of a number of groups comprised mainly of interested national statistical offices, namely, the Voorburg Group on Services Statistics, the Canberra Group on Household Income Statistics, the Expert Group on Capital Stock Statistics, the Sienna Group for Social Statistics, the Expert Group on Intangibles, the London Group on Environmental Accounting, the Rio Group on Poverty Statistics and the Round Table on Business Frames; the Paris Group on Labour and Compensation, the Ottawa Group on Price Indexes, the Delhi Group for Informal Sector Statistics and requested several of them to carry out particular tasks.

(d)   called on Governments and international institutions to give high priority to the next population and housing census especially in those countries which have experienced the greatest population changes and where the need for a census is therefore the most urgent. (The Commission on Population and Development subsequently passed a draft recommendation for ECOSOC on the matter).

(e)   considered possible changes in the role and functioning of the Statistical Commission and its Working Group to be further considered by the Statistical Commission itself in March 1999.

Third Session of the Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality

The Committee, which was formally established by the ACC in mid-1996, held its third session on 25-27 February 1998. Excellent inter-sessional preparation of agenda items through ad hoc working groups enabled the Committee to solidify its output-oriented approach to the implementation of its mandate. During the session, plenary discussions were followed by meetings of working groups to examine issues and draft recommendations. The Committee agreed to submit to the ACC a mission statement for the UN system on gender equality and mainstreaming which the ACC adopted 28 March 1998. Welcoming the action already taken by agency heads in response to the Secretary-General's letter on gender mainstreaming of 13 October 1997, the Committee identified the following issues for the ACC's attention:

  • Integration of the recommendations made by the UN inter-agency gender mission into the strategic framework on Afghanistan by ACC. The Committee hoped that the lessons from the gender mission would be a model for integrating gender issues into strategic frameworks of the UN system in development and humanitarian assistance.

  • Implementation of ECOSOC agreed conclusions 1997/2 on gender mainstreaming. The Committee urged members of ACC to take further action consistent with the ECOSOC agreed conclusions to adopt gender mainstreaming policies and to formulate specific mainstreaming strategies and action plans in a participatory process with staff; to establish clear structures to implement the policy and strategy which would include the accountability of all staff; to allocate a specific percentage of the core programme budget to women's advancement and gender equality issues; and to establish institutional mechanisms for capacity-building and training on gender for staff.

  • WomenWatch. The Committee recommended that the ACC give its support to the United Nations' Internet Gateway on women's issues, WomenWatch, as an inter-agency project, so that it could become a system-wide effort. Several agencies pledged financial support to the project.

The Committee continued its work on development of gender-sensitive indicators and budget codes. It adopted guidelines for the compilation of good practices on the advancement of women and gender mainstreaming to be used in the inventory of such practices and to compile a portfolio of these good practices. The Committee agreed to conduct a review of the gender focal point's function in the UN system, provided resources for this could be mobilized. It also agreed to convene a workshop on the understanding of a rights-based approach to gender equality as a follow-up to the Workshop on Gender Mainstreaming held last year. It identified task managers for these and other inter-sessional activities.

Contact: Abigail Loregnard-Kasmally, Tel. (212) 963-3137, Fax (212) 963-3463, E-mail: loregnard-kasmally@un.org

Joint DESA/ECA Conference on Governance in Africa

A high-level Conference on Governance was held in Addis Ababa from 2-6 March 1998. It was jointly organized by the Governance and Public Administration Branch, Division of Public Economics and Public Administration and the Development Management Division of ECA. It comprised a two-day round table of eminent persons followed by a three-day workshop where high-level government officials, representatives of NGOs, women organizations, the private sector, academicians as well as practitioners were represented.

The Conference touched on a wide range of issues relevant to the consolidation of the institutional foundations of good governance in Africa. These included the nature and objective of good governance, the nature and role of the State, key governance institutions (the constitution, legislature, judiciary and executive, including the public service) and civil society, as well as related issues of the military, elections, the opposition, women, decentralization and the media. The Conference also debated the question of how to manage political transitions in a manner consistent with the principles and values of good governance, together with that of strengthening the role of civil society's organizations in these transitions. Emerging from the round table and workshop discussions were a number of recommendations for possible follow-up action.

The conclusions from the round table and workshop discussions will be found in the final report of the Conference, to be submitted to the preparatory meeting of TICAD II and made available to the second Africa Governance Forum, to take place in July 1998 in Accra, as well as other relevant world conferences on governance issues in Africa.

Contact: Atnafu Almaz, Tel. (212) 963-8378, Fax (212) 963-9681, E-mail: almaz@un.org

Commission on the Status of Women

The 42nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place in New York from 2 to 13 March 1998. Mr. Desai and Ms. King addressed it on 2 March, Ms. Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights did so on 3 March.

The Commission discussed the following four critical areas from the Beijing Platform for Action: violence against women; women and armed conflict; human rights of women; and the girl child. These areas make up the human rights core of the Platform, and panel discussions were held on all of them. The panels included government nominees, NGOs and representatives of the UN system.

The Commission was attended by a record number of NGO representatives -- approximately 1,000 representing 250 organizations.

The documentation of the Commission is available online at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw Annual Meeting of the Donors Committee on Small Enterprise Development

The Division for Public Economics and Public Administration participated in the annual meeting of the Donors Committee on Small Enterprise Development, held in Brussels, 3-5 March 1998, by the European Union. The meeting focused on the issue of business development services and on planning for the Conference on Business Development Services now scheduled for the week of 16 November 1998, in Brazil.

Contact: Ms. Angela Capati-Carusso, Tel. (212) 963-5318, Fax (212) 962-9681, E-mail: capati-carusso@un.org

International Women's Day

A panel discussion on "Women and Human Rights" was organized jointly between the Department of Public Information and the Division for the Advancement of Women to commemorate International Women's Day. Held on Thursday, 5 March 1998, the panel consisted of the Deputy Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Chairperson of the Commission on the Status of Women, the General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association, and the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. The panel was moderated by the Assistant Secretary-General for Public Information.

Another panel organized by the Group on Equal Rights for Women in the United Nations was held on Monday 9 March, also to commemorate International Women's Day. The Secretary-General spoke on "Women and the United Nations: Challenges for the Millennium". Other panellists included the Deputy Secretary-General, the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Assistant-Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, and both a co-founder of the UN Group on Equal Rights for Women, and the current President. Bianca Jagger was a special guest.

Contact: Abigail Loregnard-Kasmally, Tel. (212) 963-3137, Fax (212) 963-3463, E-mail: loregnard-kasmally@un.org

Project LINK Spring Meeting

The Expert Group Meeting on Short- and Medium-Term Prospects of the World Economy (Project LINK) held its regular spring meeting at United Nations Headquarters, 16-19 March 1998, to discuss the world economic outlook, 1998-1999, the Asian financial crisis and the coming single currency in Europe. The summary of the outlook can be accessed online at : http://www.un.org/esa/analysis/link.htm

Contact: Anatoly Smyshlyaev, Development Policy Analysis Division. Tel. (212) 963 4687, Fax (212) 963 1061. E-mail: Smyshlyaev@un.org.

UN/INTOSAI Seminar on the Role of Supreme Audit Institutions
in Auditing Public Works

From 16 to 20 March 1998 in Vienna, the Division of Public Economics and Public Administration with the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), organized this seminar on public works auditing particularly those dealing with real estate transactions prior to public works, audit of project planning, audit of procurement of required works, audit of execution of projects, etc. The Division gave presentations during the seminar.

Twelfth Annual International Conference on New Developments in Governmental
Financial Management


The Division of Public Economics and Public Information was represented at the 12th Annual International Conference on New Developments in Governmental Financial Management for Government Financial Managers, "Emerging Government Financial Management Operations", 30 March-1 April 1998 and the follow-up Anti-Corruption Summit, 2-4 April 1998, Miami, Florida. Key agenda items: Achieving Excellence in Governmental Financial Management and Auditing, Integrated Government Financial Management and Auditing, and Anti-Corruption Efforts including Global Cybernetic Money Transfers. The Division made presentations and provided resource persons during the Conference.

Contact: Mr. Guido Bertucci, Tel. (212) 963-5859, Fax 963-9681, E-mail: bertucci@un.org