Volume 2, Issue 3 , June/July 1998




In this issue:

The World Bank-United Nations Exchange Programme
Special ECOSOC Meeting on Coordinated Follow-up to Conferences
High-level ECOSOC Meeting on Global Financial Integration
Economic and Social Council
Inquiry on Population and Development
Schools and Government
Expert Group Guidelines
June-August Meetings
Advisory Services
Forthcoming Publications
Development Policy AnalysisDevelopment Cooperation ,  Population ,  Public Administration
Just Issued
Women ,  Statistics AfricaSustainable Development
Meetings Attended
Meetings Held

The World Bank - United Nations Exchange Programme

Mr. James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, invited 25 UN Ambassadors to Washington on 27-28 May for an exchange programme including presentations by the Bank's senior staff (on environmentand sustainable development, partnership with the private sector, and human development), and a specialsession of the Executive Board. The discussions centered on globalization and institutional reform. Patrizio Civili and Sarbuland Khan attended.

Speakers from the Bank recognized that the UN was an indispensable forum for building internationalconsensus on economic and social issues and that this had helped the Bank to give high priority toenvironment, social and gender issues in its work. The UN participants recognized the technical competence of the Bank and its role as a financialinstitution. There was no suggestion that the United Nations was there to coordinate other institutions. Itwas generally felt that the growing convergence of views between the two institutions on developmentissues had created favourable conditions for increased cooperation around specific objectives to result inidentifiable outputs. A number of suggestions were made in this regard. The overall result was a clearerunderstanding of the respective roles of the two institutions and the need for greater collaboration amongthem. From the comments and conversations on both sides following the meeting, it would appear thatthe programme was considered highly successful.

Papers distributed at the meeting are available in ISU for consultation.

Contact: Sarbuland Khan, Tel. (212) 963-4628, Fax (212) 963-1712, E-mail: khan2@un.org


Special ECOSOC meeting on Coordinated Follow-up to Conferences

ECOSOC convened a three-day special meeting on 13-15 May to review and assess the progress madethus far at the intergovernmental and inter-agency level. In a major initiative launched two years ago,the Council not only identified the key cross-cutting themes emanating from these conferences, butdefined the orientations and modalities for the system to carry them forward at the global, regional andnational levels. The Council has since then placed this issue regularly on its agenda and addressed anumber of cross-cutting themes in its high-level and coordination segments. The special meeting was todevelop a coherent response by the United Nations system to the agenda emerging from the globalconferences of the 1990s and prepare the ground for the next more substantive phase of coordination ofconference follow-up.

The meeting was conceived as a dialogue session. The Council engaged in interactive discussions withfour panels composed of key actors within the UN system, including: the chairmen of its functionalcommissions, the chairmen of the executive boards of UNDP/UNFPA and UNICEF, the heads of fundsand programmes, and the chairmen of ACC task forces and standing committees. The overall objectivewas to enable the Council to enhance its role in the review and monitoring of progress in conferencefollow-up around a set of integrated themes and goals. The Secretary-General's report on the subjectcontains a recommendation that the Council should conduct such a review at its substantive session inthe year 2000.

The Special Adviser for Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, Angela E.V. King, in hercapacity as Chairperson of the Inter-agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality (IACWGE),participated in the meeting on 14 May. The meeting highlighted inter alia the Follow-up to the FourthWorld Conference on Women, including gender mainstreaming. At a panel discussion of chairs ofACC task forces and inter-agency committees, Ms. King addressed the proceedings, noting thatIACWGE's role in gender mainstreaming is primarily that of "catalyst and facilitator".

To conclude, Juan Somavia (Chile), the Council President noted that there had been a real debate anddialogue instead of passive listening to statements. The Council should pursue discussions oncoordinated follow-up to conferences and continue to discuss the development of social indicators andstatistics with a view to creating effective means to measure progress achieved.

Contact: Sarbuland Khan, Tel. (212) 963-4628, Fax (212) 963-1712, E-mail: khan2@un.org


High-level ECOSOC Meeting on Global Financial Integration

An innovative high-level ECOSOC meeting on Global Financial Integration and Development andRecent Issues was held on 18 April. It was attended by the Secretary-General, Mr. Desai, senior IMFand World Bank officials, Ministers of Finance, central bank governors and other senior officials.Structured as an open dialogue, it addressed viability of the financial sector, symmetry needed betweenborrowers and lenders, and development and poverty eradication. The most significant institutionaloutcome was a renewed sense that the UN has a distinct role to play in the international debate onfinance and development and that bringing the UN, IMF and World Bank closer should be a priorityobjective in the ongoing reform of ECOSOC. As noted by the Vice-President of ECOSOC,Ambassador Fulci of Italy, globalization has changed the world and global financial integration is ahistoric shift which should benefit all countries and peoples. Special efforts are needed to protect thepoor and to develop information and transparency between institutions to minimize the risk of financialcrises. Development must remain the UN's top priority.


Economic and Social Council

The session (6-31 July) will be composed of five segments, as follows:

The High-Level Segment will focus on market access. The Council will have before it the WorldEconomic and Social Survey, 1998 (see Just Issued below); the Operational Activities Segment will takeup Advancement of Women and the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action; the CoordinationSegment will have as its theme the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action on Human Rights. Anew Humanitarian Affairs Segment, established by the last General Assembly, will focus on specialeconomic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance.

The General Segment will discuss the follow-up to major UN conference and summits, coordination,programme and other questions such as proposed revisions to the medium-term plan for 1998-2001,international cooperation in informatics, reform of subsidiary bodies, regional cooperation, sustainabledevelopment, natural resources, energy, international cooperation in tax matters, public administrationand finance, cartography, population and development, advancement of women, social development,crime prevention, drugs, UNHCR, implementation of the Programme of Action to combat racism, andhuman rights.

The 21-page annotated Provisional Agenda (E/1998/100) is available online at:
http://www.un.org/documents/ecosoc/docs/1998/e1998-100.htm


Inquiry on Population and Development

Over the years, the United Nations has played a major role in increasing worldwide awareness ofpopulation issues and the need for appropriate policy responses. In this process, the United NationsPopulation Inquiries among Governments , conducted by the Population Division since 1963, has beenan important tool. The Inquiry , a questionnaire sent at periodic intervals from the Secretary-General toall Member and non-Member States, has gained wide visibility among policy makers and the populationexperts community as a whole over the past several decades.

The Inquiries have been used extensively as a database for the United Nations Secretariat. The vastamount of supporting material and thoughtful replies to the open-ended questions have been minedextensively in the preparation of numerous country-level studies and in the monitoring of theimplementation of the plans and programmes of action emanating from the United Nations internationalpopulation conferences.

The Eighth United Nations Inquiry Among Governments on Population and Development andaccompanying note verbale were sent to Governments on 1 November 1997, with a reply requested by1 March 1998. Many of the core questions were retained from previous Inquiries . However, newquestions and sections were added, in an effort to assess changes in population policies since theInternational Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994). To date, 45 replies have beenreceived, which will be an invaluable input to the ongoing review and appraisal process and thepreparations for the June 1999 Special Session of the General Assembly to review implementation ofthe Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.

Contact: Ellen Brennan, Tel. (212) 963-3227, E-mail: brennan@un.org


Schools and Government

A recent article in The New York Times entitled "Third World Fills a Void as Villagers Run Schools"points to the failure of many developing country Governments to provide adequate basic social services,including education. The article notes the UN official view that the creation of community-run homeschools, which are outside government regulation and control, infringes on the right of children to formaleducation.

My background in the mining sector makes me very sensitive to this issue. In much of the developingworld, the mining industry has unwillingly had to play a surrogate role. When establishing a miningoperation it has often had to provide schools, hospitals, transport, and even funds for the police force forthe benefit of the local communities, because Governments were unable to do so.

Home schools run by the community are obviously not the ideal solution but as noted in the article, theyare better than nothing at all, particularly for girls. They are cheaper than government programmes becausethey target the basic needs and create a culture of entrepreneurship.

The point of this note is not to take sides in the debate, but in a modest way to bring the issue intoperspective and suggest an alternative from our experience in the provision of another basic social service:drinking water and sanitation. The role of Government is to create the framework for the provision of theservice rather than providing the service itself. The privatization of some aspects of (mostly urban) watersupply and sanitation services, and the launching of rural community managed programmes have beenencouraged by the World Bank and most UN agencies. The privatized service is usually efficientlydelivered, to reach more people as cost recovery becomes central to the business. By applying a similarapproach to basic education, many Governments could reduce budget waste and direct the resulting savingsto other needy sectors. Some Governments could limit their involvement to defining the framework andensuring that local schools adhere to the national education curriculum.

Both the Commission on Social Development and the Commission on Sustainable Development (notablyCSD6) have given a bigger voice to the civil society through the involvement of NGOs in the negotiationprocess. This initiative could be further strengthened at the field level by defining a framework conduciveto community involvement in its own development. I could suggest the linkage of water supply andsanitation with education programmes, both run by the community. In the context of decentralization ofdecision making, the Government monitors and makes the funds available. Noting the frugality of thecommunities, the money could go a long way. This approach embodies the concept of public/privatepartnership and fulfills the Declaration on the Right to Development.

Béatrice Labonne


Expert Group Guidelines

DAW has elaborated guidelines on the organization of expert group meetings (EGMs) as part of a team-building exercise. In this context, staff members expressed the need for a coherent approach, a systematicprocess and a reflection on the practices accumulated since 1987 in organizing EGMs, thereby creating aninstitutional memory. The guidelines were prepared in answer to these needs.

The guidelines consist of three chronological parts: before the EGM, during the EGM and after the EGM. Each part covers all the substantive and technical aspects of the meeting. The document further containsa timetable for the preparation of the EGM as well as 14 annexes containing standardized documents. Since its preparation in 1997, DAW's junior professionals have found the guide to be useful in theorganization of EGMs. UN divisions and departments are welcome to use it, and comments andsuggestions are highly appreciated.

Contact: Semia Guermas de Tapia, Tel. (212) 963-3168, E-mail: tapia@un.org
For copies: Marie Antoine, Tel. (212) 963-6903, E-mail: antoinem@un.org.


June-August Meetings

Committee for Programme and Coordination, thirty-eighth session
New York, 1-26 June

Part I of the thirty-eighth session of the Committee for Programme and Coordination meets from1 to 26 June. On 4 June, the Special Adviser for Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women introduceditem 5b on the Mid-term Review of the Implementation of the System-Wide Medium-Term Plan for theAdvancement of Women, 1996 -- 2001.

At its thirty-sixth session, the Committee considered inter alia the report of the AdministrativeCommittee on Coordination on the proposed system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women,1996-2001, and agreed to consider a progress report at its thirty-eighth session. The report describesincreased system-wide coordination in carrying out activities for gender equality, as well as obstaclesencountered such as a lack of accountability for gender mainstreaming, particularly among senior managers.

Documentation: Mid-term review of the implementation of the system-wide medium-term plan forthe advancement of women, 1996-2001 (E/CN.6/1998/3)

Contact: Amina Adam, Tel. (212) 963-3169, Fax (212) 963-3463, E-mail adama@un.org

ACC Subcommittee on Statistical Activities, thirty-second session
New York, 16-18 June

The Subcommittee will meet at United Nations Headquarters on 16-18 June. The main items onthe agenda are: environment statistics, coordination of the follow-up to the statistical implications of recentmajor United Nations conferences, inventory of all indicators produced by the United Nations system andan integrated presentation of plans of the international organizations in statistical methodology. The UnitedNations Statistics Division provides substantive and technical secretariat services to the Subcommittee andwill prepare documentation on most of the agenda items.

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

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
Pre-sessional Working Group, New York, 15-19 June
Nineteenth session, New York, 22 June-10 July

The nineteenth session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW) will take place at UN Headquarters in New York.

The Committee will review the initial reports of Slovakia and South Africa. It will also examine thecombined second and third periodic reports of Nigeria, Panama, and the United Republic of Tanzania, thecombined third and fourth periodic reports of New Zealand and Peru, and the third and fourth periodic reportsof the Republic of Korea.

The 23 experts of CEDAW -- the only United Nations human rights treaty body that deals exclusivelywith women's rights -- meet twice a year.

Documentation: Provisional Agenda (CEDAW/C/1998/II/1)

New Zealand (CEDAW/C/NZL/3-4 and CEDAW/C/NZL/3-4/Add.1)
Nigeria (CEDAW/C/NGA/2-3)
Panama (CEDAW/C/PAN/2-3)
Peru (CEDAW/C/PER/3-4)
Republic of Korea (CEDAW/C/KOR/3 and CEDAW/C/KOR/4)
Slovakia (CEDAW/C/SVK/1 and CEDAW/C/SVK/1/Add.1)
South Africa (CEDAW/C/ZAF/1)
United Republic of Tanzania (CEDAW/C/TZA/2-3)

The provisional agenda has been posted online:
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/19thsess.htm

Contact: Jane Connors, Tel. (212) 963-3162, Fax (212) 963-3463, E-mail: connorsj@un.org

ACC Subcommittee on Oceans and Coastal Areas
Informal Meeting, The Hague, 22-24 June

The role of the Subcommittee as Task Manager for chapter 17 of Agenda 21 is on the agenda. DESA willpresent a briefing note on preparations for CSD-7 in 1999, which will focus on oceans and seas as its sectoraltheme. The Subcommittee will also discuss its activities as inter-agency steering committee for theimplementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment fromLand-based Activities, as adopted in 1995. As this work is to be done in collaboration with the ACCSubcommittee on Water Resources, one day of the meeting will be held jointly with members of that group,including Pierre Najlis, DSD, who is its Secretary.

Contact: Anne Rogers, DSD Focal Point for Ocean Issues, Tel. (212) 963-2476, Fax (212) 963-1795,E-mail: rogersa@un.org

Reproductive Rights and Implementation of Reproductive Health Programmes (including Women'sEmpowerment, Male Involvement and Human Rights)
Kampala, 22-25 June

The purpose of this round table will be to identify successful programmes and initiatives that havefostered attainment of reproductive rights and implementation of sexual and reproductive healthprogrammes. Participants will examine programme countries and outcomes. The Population Division willpresent a paper on abortion policies. This is one of a number of activities in preparation of ICPD+5.

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

Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, 1998 session, Part II
New York, 22-26 June

The Committee will continue its review of applications of NGOs for consultative status withECOSOC. The Committee concluded part I of its 1998 session in late May. On its last day, pastchairpersons were awarded a certificate of recognition. New procedures to deal with quadrennial reportsof NGOs were adopted. New applications were approved for 80 NGOs.

Contact: Vladimir Schveitser, Tel. (212) 963-3463, Fax (212) 963-3463, E-mail: schveitser@un.org

The NGO pilot website was at: http://wwwunhq.un.org/esa/ngopilot now at http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo/

ACC Subcommittee on Demographic Estimates and Projections, twentieth session
New York, 23-25 June

The Population Division will be hosting the twentieth session of the ACC Subcommittee onDemographic Estimates and Projections (SCDEP), in New York, from 23 to 25 June. The role of SCDEPis to coordinate the activities related to demographic and sectoral estimates and projections among the unitsof the United Nations Secretariat, regional commissions and specialized agencies. The population estimatesand projections prepared by the Population Division provide a standard and consistent set of populationfigures for the United Nations system.

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

Microcredit Summit Meeting of Councils
New York, 25-27 June

The Public Finance and Business Development Branch of the Division of Public Economics andPublic Administration will participate in this meeting focusing on the role of microfinance in the eradicationof poverty. Participation is limited to institutions that are member of a Microcredit Summit Council (such asthe Microcredit Summit Council of UN Agencies, the Council of Banks and Commercial Finance Institutions).The meeting will enable participants to discuss key challenges and opportunities they face in their work tocontribute to the Summit's goal. Participants will also attend workshops that provide skills training,information resources, insights, and contacts.

Contact: Fahri Boumechal, Tel. (212) 963-4105, Fax (212) 963-2916, E-mail: boumechal@un.org

Technical Symposium on International Migration and Development
The Hague, 29 June-3 July

The Symposium, which is an activity of the Working Group on International Migration of the ACCTask Force on Basic Social Services for All (BSSA), will provide a forum for the substantive explorationby experts of key aspects of international migration. By examining issues from a scientific and technicalperspective, the Symposium will contribute to a better understanding of the economic, social, cultural,gender and human rights dimensions of migration. The Technical Symposium will help build a globalconsensus on the management of international migration and serve as an input to ICPD+5.

Contact: Hania Zlotnik, Tel. (212) 963-3185, Fax (212) 963-2147, E-mail: zlotnik@un.org

Workshop on the Preparation of the 1999 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development
Geneva, 1- 3 July

The workshop is organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women, UNCTAD, ILO andECE to help harmonize conceptually the various contributions to the Survey prepared by the UN entities,and identify the gaps and duplications. It will be attended by eight experts appointed by theSecretary-General and the main contributors from the UN system.

The 1999 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development will examine the major global trendsand crucial issues of development from a gender perspective. Its main focus will be on elaborating gendersensitive strategies and policies to improve the status of women in the workplace. It will also provide asynopsis and statistical outline of the current status of women. The Survey will identify and elaborate thefuture challenges to achieve gender equality and make recommendations in that respect.

Contact: Natalya Zakharova, Tel. (212) 963-8134, E-mail zakharova@un.org

For copies of the aide memoire, and an annotated outline of The 1999 World Survey on the Role ofWomen in Development please contact: Marie Antoine, Ext. 6903, E-mail antoinem@un.org.

Economic and Social Council, Substantive Session of 1998
New York, 6-31 July

See article above

Panel of High-Level Personalities on African Development
New York, second half of July

The Panel of High-level Personalities on African Development, which was established to advise andassist the Secretary-General in advocating greater support for African development and in coordinating theUnited Nations system's activities in the region, has been reconvened and will meet at United NationsHeadquarters to review relevant recommendations in the Secretary-General's report to the Security Councilon Africa and discuss modalities for their implementation. Furthermore, the Panel is to consider issues thatthe previous Panel had planned to discuss, in particular the implementation of the Highly-Indebted PoorCountries (HIPC) initiative on debt and market access. The Panel is also to conduct an open discussion onthe political situation and economic turnaround in Africa, and its sustainability.

Contact: Herta Kaschitz, Tel. (212) 963-2692, Fax. (212) 963-3892, E-mail: kaschitz@un.org

Partnership with Civil Society in the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action
Dhaka, 27-30 July

In some countries, a full partnership between civil society and government has evolved, but not allGovernments have fully and openly included non-governmental organizations and the private sector in theimplementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. The purpose of this round table is to provide anopportunity for leaders from a variety of backgrounds to present successes and challenges, and to proposesolutions to overcome barriers to building collaboration and trust between Governments and civil societypartners.

Contact: Stephen Baldwin, Interregional Adviser, Tel. (212) 963-8394

World Youth Forum of the United Nations System (WYFUNS)
Braga, Portugal, 2-7 August

World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (WCMRY)
Lisbon, 8-12 August

The WYFUNS, organized by the UN, will aim to nurture and build a constructive partnershipbetween the United Nations organizations and agencies and youth organizations. The meeting will focus onthree major themes: youth policies, youth participation, and youth and human rights. The WCMRY,organized by Portugal, will discuss: national youth policy, participation, development, peace, education,employment, health, and drug abuse. Why this focus on youth? Millions cannot find jobs as secondaryschool graduates, or are in educational systems that do not adequately prepare them for the job market. Many cannot afford higher education or quality health care, or are attracted to drugs, alcohol and tobacco.Over 80 per cent of the global youth population is in developing countries. The meetings will help providethe necessary conditions for youth development.

Contact: William Angel, Tel. (212) 963-1380, Fax (212) 963-3062, E-mail: angelw@un.org

Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF), Second Session
Geneva, 24 August-4 September

The IFF Secretariat, together with the members of the Interagency Task Force on Forests (ITFF),continues to prepare background documents and Secretary-General reports for IFF II. The Forum will havefour programme elements for substantive discussion:

  • Promote and facilitate implementation of the proposals for action of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) (focal point: Tage Michaelsen);
  • Trade and environment (focal point: Mahendra Joshi);
  • Transfer of technology (focal point: Elisabeth Barsk-Rundquist);
  • Forest-related work of organizations (focal point: Jaime Hurtubia).

The IFF Website is at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/iff.htm

The secretariat of the IFF can be reached at: Tel. (212) 963-5294, Fax. (212) 963-3463, E-mail:michaelsen@un.org

Expert Group Meeting on National Machineries for Gender Equality
Santiago, Chile, 31 August-4 September

This meeting organized by DAW in conjunction with the Economic Commission for Latin Americaand the Caribbean (ECLAC) will analyse the progress in establishing national machineries for genderequality and develop recommendations for policy makers. Ten experts will report on experiences in theircountries and/or regions on assessing the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in this regard. Based on this cross-regional analysis, experts will analyse what determines the success of nationalmachineries. The result of the meeting will be a set of recommendations on improving the capacity ofnational machineries to mainstream gender in all policies and programmes. The outcome of the meeting willbe submitted to the 43rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 1999, for its discussionon the critical area of concern, i.e. institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women.

Documentation: Aide-mémoire for the EGM on national machineries (available from Room DC2-1215)

The aide-mémoire has been posted online:
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/news/national.htm

Contact: Christina Janssen, Tel. (212) 963-3787, Fax. (212) 963-3463 E-mail: janssenc@un.org.


Advisory Services

Mission of UN Focal Point for Women

From 30 May to 9 June 1998, Ms. Zohreh Tabatabai, the Focal Point for the status of womenissues in the UN in the Office of the Special Adviser, undertook an official mission organized andcoordinated by DPKO. The Mission visited UNMIBH, UNPREDEP and UNPSG to discuss genderissues, in particular the situation of women in peacekeeping operations, and the follow up to ST/AI/412"Special Measures for the Achievement of Gender Equality".

Following this mission, Ms. Tabatabai is attending the second meeting of ORIGIN from 10 to 13June 1998 in Geneva. ORIGIN is an electronic network of senior women/gender specialists from acrossorganizations within and outside the United Nations system, which provides an opportunity for informaldiscussions and shared experiences on gender balance and gender-sensitive work environments. Amongthe topics to be addressed are recruitment, mentoring, and diversity indicators.

Contact: Zohreh Tabatabai, Focal Point for Women in the UN, Tel. (212) 963-6828, E-mailtabatabaiz@un.org

A Development Approach to Governing Diversity and Preventing Conflict:
DESA's Strategic Response

Recent world events have underscored the inadequacy of international strategies for conflictprevention and reduction. Rapid changes and growing complexity in the responsibilities of Governmentshave made the governing of diversity, management of conflict, promotion of co-existence and peace-building tasks of central and growing importance to Governments. Such capacity-building is a sub-component of the public administration and governance work which DESA/DPEPA is mandated to carryout. Key to preventing conflicts is the development of an enabling governance environment and thecorresponding infrastructure. In addition, specific dispute resolution capacity can be developed bystrengthening existing, and developing new structures, mechanisms and skills for negotiation, mediation,arbitration, judicial process, and alternative forms of peaceful dispute resolution. These techniques areneeded not only once conflict has erupted, but constantly and especially in the pre-conflict context. DESAcan contribute to the development of national capacities for governance in diverse societies and themanagement of potential conflicts in a number of ways related to its mandated activities. These include:facilitating a system-wide policy dialogue and conducting normative and operational activities such asresearch, policy coordination, information dissemination, clearing-house services, organizing fora forprofessional exchange and development, promoting linkages and networks among developing andtransitional countries, support to fledgling institutions, and the development of human resources.

Contact: Gay Rosenblum-Kumar, Tel. (212) 963-8381, Fax. (212) 963-2916, E-mail: rosenblum-kumar@un.org

Decentralization in Papua New Guinea

Many Governments are trying to decentralize their functions, resource allocation andimplementation to local levels. The major constraint is the practical difficulty of maintaining localaccountability. A current example is in Papua New Guinea, where DESA has implemented a computerizedProvincial Government Accounting System and trained support staff in all 20 provinces. Now theGovernment has established 284 popularly-elected lower-level governments. The challenge is how toextend the accounting system at least to 89 district offices of the provincial governments. A DESAtechnical adviser, on a recent mission, has revised two proposals for technical assistance. One is to broadenthe scope of a distance learning programme which will result in some 100 government accountants havinga University diploma in commerce (government stream) in three years. The second is to strengthen theTreasury's training arm to provide a large-scale training programme to support the decentralization moves.Funding of the projects is under negotiation and both will require training to be given in the provinces, withUN volunteers the preferred strategy since they can train their replacements at an overall cost of $40,000a year--a level of cost-effectiveness which cannot be matched by any bilateral donor.

Contact: Anthony Bennett, Tel. (212) 963-2296, Fax (212) 963-2916, E-mail: bennetta@un.org

Gambia's Growth

Some theories hold that population growth is not a major constraint on economic development. Iwas reminded of that on a recent mission (April 1998) to the Gambia to help the Government and UNDPformulate a programme on capacity building in economic management.

The Gambia, with just over one million inhabitants, has an annual population growth of about 4.2percent, a per capita income of about US$350 yearly, and as a least developed country is ranked 165 outof 175 countries in the Human Development Index (1997). With 97 persons per square kilometer, thecountry is one of the most densely populated places in Africa. Some 45 percent of the population is under15 putting further pressure on health and education services. Most of the labour force, up to 70 percent,is in the rural sector, where the main output, and export earner, is groundnuts produced out of the fragileSahelian scrubland. Life expectancy at birth, at 46 years, and adult literacy rates, at 37 percent, aremanifestly low and gender and rural to urban disparities are significant. One statistic seems particularlydisturbing. While output growth rates 4 percent, the minimum rate to prevent slippage, were achieved inthe past (1987 -1991), they have dropped in recent years. But even if they were as high as 6 percentannually, the absolute increase in annual per capita income would be about US$7 only. Barring aspectacular windfall, such as an oil find, policy supports and interventions have to go beyond the purelyeconomic and encompass tractable social and environmental dimensions. Given current population trends,past growth rates of output are not likely to have a substantial impact on the living standards of Gambians. Thus, the quality of interventions matters, which in this case means a more interdisciplinary approach tocapacity enhancement, especially when resources are scarce.

Contact: Olympios Katsiaouni, Tel. (212) 963-6417, Fax (212) 963-1265, E-mail:katsiaouni@un.org

Population/Education Linkages

A review of the linkages between population and education (POP-TSS-97-6) was completedrecently, based on research done mainly in the Population Division and covered the impact of educationon mortality, migration and fertility (on family size preferences, family formation, breast feeding andcontraception).

Contact: German Bravo-Casas, Tel. (212) 963-3188, Fax (212) 963-3463, E-mail: bravo-casas@un.org

Liberia Reconstruction

The Special Donors Meeting on Post-War Reconstruction in Liberia took place as scheduled on7 April (see April-May 1998 Newsletter for background). Total pledges and commitments made at themeeting were estimated at US$230 million.

Contact: Olympios Katsiaouni, Division of Social Policy and Development, Tel. (212) 963-6417, Fax(212) 963-1265, E-mail: Katsiaouni@un.org

Belize Population Policy

The Population Division fielded a mission to Belize to help the Government prepare its officialpopulation policy. A draft document and recommendations were presented to the Population PolicySubcommittee of Belize. The draft includes guiding principles, a profile of the demographic situation andits implications, policy goals and objectives and strategic elements for policy implementation, includinginstitutional arrangements. It is expected that the draft, once completed by the Subcommittee, will besubmitted to the Belizean Cabinet of Ministers for approval and become the official population policy ofthe Government.

Contact: German Bravo-Casas, Tel. (212) 963-3188, E-mail: bravo-casas@un.org

Financial Accountability and Reforms in Yemen

UNDP Sana'a is considering a programme in financial accountability, transparency and legal andjudicial reforms in Yemen. Through the UNDP Programme in Accountability and Transparency (PACT) ithas requested DESA to lead a mission in June 1998 to formulate a programme support document and assistin mobilizing donor funding. This follows a short "scanning" mission undertaken in March on behalf ofUNDP-PACT. The TOR were to scan the state of financial accountability and transparency in the YemenRepublic with a view to identifying weak points and possible areas of intervention.

Contact: Anthony Bennett, Tel. (212) 963-2296, Fax (212) 963-2916, E-mail: bennetta@un.org

Enterprise Reform in China

Two back-to-back training workshops on state-owned enterprise reform and business planning willbe conducted by PFBDB/DPEPA in cooperation with the China Association for Peaceful Use of MilitaryIndustrial Technology in Guiyang and Nanchang, China, 2-12 June. Over 100 senior managers andgovernment officials will attend. Each workshop will be a 4-day event comprising the basic concepts ofshareholding corporations and the experience of other countries undergoing transition from centrally plannedto market economies, and will be followed by the building blocks of a commercial business plan which willbe presented to, and discussed with the trainees. At the conclusion of each workshop, a written test, including48 questions, will be conducted and followed by the issuance of a training certificate for each participant.The workshops will wind up with field visits.

Contact: Qian Haiyan, Tel. (212) 963-3393, Fax. (212) 963-2916, E-mail: qian@un.org


FORTHCOMING PUBLICATIONS

Development Policy Analysis

World Economic and Social Survey 1998

The 1998 World Economic and Social Survey , to be issued in July in conjunction with thesubstantive session of the Economic and Social Council, gives DESA's assessment of the current state of theworld economy. Drawing on the network of Survey branches in the regional commissions and the ProjectLINK forecasting exercise, the DESA Survey team publishes a comprehensive review of macroeconomicdevelopments in 1997 and the 1998 outlook in developed, developing and transition economies. It alsosurveys major trends in international trade and financial flows, in particular regarding the net transfer offinancial resources, as well as implications of the European Union agreement to start its monetary union in1999 and emerging lessons from the international treatment of the Asian currency crisis. This years's Surveyalso reviews the upturn in economic growth in the developing and transition economies that emerged in themid-1990s, examining the prospects for a continuation of the higher rates of growth over the longer term. It contains as well an extensive statistical annex, produced by the International Economic Relations Branchwith support from the Statistics Division.

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

Committee for Development Planning
Report on the thirty-second session (4-8 May)

Following its 4-8 May plenary meeting, the Committee for Development Planning's report for 1998has been finalized and is being edited. It contains the Committee's views and recommendations on threesubjects: (I) the systemic implications of the Asian financial crises; (ii) the gradual establishment ofcomprehensive pension systems in developing countries; and (iii) fine-tuning of criteria and methodology foradjudicating inclusion in and graduation from the list of least developed countries. This year's report, as usual,will be submitted to ECOSOC's substantive session in July. In addition to preparing the standard ECOSOCdocument, the Development Policy Analysis Division is working on bringing out the report, perhaps in aslightly modified format, as a separate sales document produced in-house, as used to be the case before theCDP was suspended from 1992 to 1995.

Contact: Jozef van Brabant, Tel. (212) 963-4752, Fax (212) 963-1061. E-mail: Brabant@un.org

The Asian Crisis: Toward Recovery and Reform
Report on a United Nations Expert Group Meeting (17-18 March)
by Byron Gangnes, University of Hawaii at Manoa

This report contains the outcome of the expert group's deliberations and participants' forecast fordevelopment in their economies over the next several years. The meeting had four goals: to summarize whatis now known about the causes of the crisis, and its spread through Asia; second, to discuss the likely short-run adverse impact of the crisis on affected economies, other economies in the region, and the globaleconomy; third, to evaluate the prospects for recovery in the region and barriers to recovery that must beaddressed; finally, to determine what policy lessons have emerged from the crisis, both for policy makersin the economies and for the international community.

Contact: Leena Chary, Tel. (212) 963-4408; Fax (212) 963 1061. E-mail: chary@un.org

Development Cooperation

Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review (TCPR)
Secretary-General's Report to the General Assembly

The Development Cooperation Policy Branch (DCPB) provides substantive support to ECOSOC andthe GA in both the formal and informal processes of operational activities for development in the UnitedNations system. One of the main activities of the Branch this year is the preparation of the 1998 Secretary-General's report on the triennial comprehensive policy review (TCPR) for the General Assembly. The reportdeals with the entire range of opportunities and challenges related to the field-level activities fordevelopment of the United Nations system, which include: the follow-up to global conferences, thedevelopment of strategic frameworks encompassing development and peace building, as well as areas suchas the relations with the Bretton Woods Institutions. A major focus this year will be the implementation ofthe Secretary-General's reform programme such as the strengthening of the resident coordinator system(RCS), and the implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAFs),whose assessment will be part of the Branch's responsibilities for the TCPR. The preliminary report is nowavailable in draft form DCPB and will be issued in the first instance as .

Contact: Monica Nogara, Tel. (212) 963-5083, E-mail: nogara@un.org

Population

Abortion Policies

The Population Division is undertaking a study to compile, evaluate and analyse national abortionpolicies and practices worldwide. The study will consist of a wall chart of the grounds on which abortionis available on a country-by-country basis, and a monograph analysing the results. Some 25 million legalabortions, plus an additional 20 million unsafe abortions, occur annually in the world. The death rate fromunsafe abortion is far greater than the rate reported for legal abortions. The research will update theDivision's 1992 and 1995 studies.

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

Public Administration

Integrated Financial Management in Least Developed Countries

A major study on Integrated Financial Management in Least Developed Countries has been preparedand edited by DPEPA. It updates to May 1998 a draft prepared in 1996, and is based on field experience bya team of consultants. No document or sale number has yet been assigned.

Contact: Anthony Bennett, Tel. (212) 963-2296, Fax (212) 963-2916, E-mail: bennetta@un.org


JUST ISSUED

Women

Women 2000

The April 1998 issue of Women 2000, entitled " Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict: UnitedNations Response", examines how the UN has responded to the problem of sexual violence against womenduring armed conflict over the second half of this century. It describes how very little attention was givento the issue in the post-World War II period, and how the laws enacted to govern wartime rape during thatperiod reflect misconceptions about the seriousness of the crime. The issue explains how this situationfinally changed as a result of attention given to sexual violence against women during the conflict in theformer Yugoslavia. Since that time, the problem of sexual violence has been addressed by various bodieswithin the UN, including the ad hoc criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well asseveral special rapporteurs. The issue assesses how much progress towards improving the lives of womenhas actually been made. It concludes by calling for continued attention to the question, particularly in thecontext of the current negotiations for a permanent international criminal court.

This Women 2000 and previous issues are posted online:
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/cover.htm

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

Statistics

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/303, Vol.LII - No. 3 - March 1998

Special features in this issue: (a) Selected series of world statistics; (b) Petroleum products:Production; © Trade conversion factors; (d) Manufactured goods exports: Unit value index, quantum index,value; (e) Fuel imports; (f) Some indicators on fuel imports; (g) Registration of new motor vehicles; (h)Retail price indexes relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials.

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

Handbook on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems
Developing Information, Education and Communication
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/69, Sales No. E.98.XVII.4

This handbook is intended to help countries design and carry out information, education andcommunication activities in support of a comprehensive improvement programme of civil registration andvital statistics systems. It is one of a series of five to improve civil registration and vital statistics systems.

Contact: Violeta Gonzales-Diaz, Tel. (212) 963-4966, Fax (212) 963-1940, E-mail: gonzales-diaz@un.org

Handbook on Policies and Protocols for the Release and Archiving of Individual Records in CivilRegistration and Vital Statistics Systems
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/70, Sales No. E.98.XVII.6

This handbook is a comprehensive guide to assist countries in designing policies to protect theconfidentiality of individual information contained in vital records and related statistical reports. It alsooffers alternative methods for permanently storing vital records and protecting them from the many hazardsthey are exposed to by daily handling and the passing of time. The handbook has been prepared as part ofthe International Programme for Accelerating the Improvement of Vital Statistics and Civil RegistrationSystems.

Contact: Violet Gonzales-Diaz, Tel. (212) 963-4966, Fax (212) 963-1940, E-mail: gonzales-diaz@un.org

Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses
Revision 1

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.M/67/Rev.1, Sales No. E.98.XVII.8

Since its early years, the United Nations under the guidance of the Statistical Commission has issuedinternational recommendations on population and housing censuses to help countries plan and carry outimproved and cost-effective censuses. The last such recommendations were published in 1980 as Principlesand Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses (ST/ESA/STAT/SER/M/67, SalesNo.E.80.XVII.8). That publication has been widely used by national statistical offices and census officialsthroughout the world. Now this new Revision 1 has been guided by four themes: (a) Changes in technologyfor national census-taking; (b) increased ability of national census offices to disseminate data flexibly andof users to access computerized census data; © changes in socio-economic situations in many countries,particularly in housing, economic characteristics of the population and patterns of international migration; (d) increased emphasis on responding to users' needs for demographic and social data.

Contact: Yacob Zewoldi, Tel. (212) 963-0445, Fax. (212) 963-1549, E-mail: zewoldi@un.org

Demographic Yearbook, 1996
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/27, Sales No. E/F.98.XIII.1

On 29 May the United Nations published its Demographic Yearbook 1996, which features statisticson mortality from 211 countries or areas, as well as arrival and departure statistics. The information iscompiled by national statistical offices around the world and prepared by the Statistics Division. TheYearbook contains 21 statistical tables on induced abortion, foetal, perinatal and infant mortality; and ondeath by age, sex, rural/urban residence, marital status and cause of death. Detailed data on lifeexpectancy and other related statistics are also provided.

Africa

Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the Causes of Conflict and the Promotionof Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa
A/52/871 - S/1998/318

On 16 April the Secretary-General submitted this report as requested by a ministerial meeting ofthe Council on 25 September 1997. In it he analysed the causes of conflict in Africa and presented acomprehensive set of far-reaching, realistic and achievable recommendations designed to address thosecauses and ways and means of eliminating them and laying the foundation for durable peace and sustainabledevelopment. Fifty-two delegations debated the report on 24 April. Several follow-up recommendationswere made for review by the Council and the Secretary-General.

Contact: Makha Sarr, Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries, Tel. (212)963-5084, Fax. (212) 963-3892, E-mail: sarr@un.org

Sustainable Development

The Division for Sustainable Development has produced a second collection of SustainableDevelopment Success Stories focusing on the main agenda items of CSD98, capacity building, education,freshwater and industry. The volume is based on voluntary submissions of project descriptions bygovernmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental actors. A third collection is in preparation forCSD99. The focus will be on tourism, oceans and seas and changing consumption and production patterns.Your contribution is welcome.

The publication is available on the Internet at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev

For printed copies please contact: Federica Pietracci at ext. 3-8497, or E-mail: pietracci@un.org


Meetings Attended

Mr. Desai participated in the GEF Assembly Meeting in New Delhi and the G-24 Meeting inWashington (part of the Spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund).

Guido Bertucci attended the Anti-Corruption Summit in Miami, Hania Zlotnik was at theInternational Migration Seminar in Mexico City, and German Bravo-Casas at the 27th Session of ECLACin Aruba.


Meetings Held

Outcome of CSD6 in the Area of Freshwater Resources

The sixth session of the CSD urged Governments, with the technical and financial support of theinternational community, to address the numerous gaps in the path towards integrated water resourcesdevelopment management, protection and use. According to the CSD, areas requiring further attentionincluded: (a) basic health education needs, (b) the need for human resource development and participatoryapproaches, notably by women and local communities, (c) explicit linkages with socio-economicdevelopment, for equitable utilization and efficient freshwater allocation and use; (d) improved sanitationand waste-water treatment and recycling; (e) conserving the biological diversity of freshwater ecosystems,including wetlands; and (f) understanding hydrology and the capacity to assess the availability andvariability of water resources.

Contact: Pierre Najlis, Tel. (212) 963-4800, Fax (212) 963-1795, E-mail: najlis@un.org orFrederico Neto, Tel. (212) 963-4826, Fax (212) 963-1795, E-mail: neto@un.org

Public Administration and Finance

The Fourteenth Meeting of Experts on the United Nations Programme in Public Administration andFinance was held in New York from 4 to 8 May. It explored current issues of governance, publicadministration and finance and reviewed the United Nations work programme in those areas. Its centraltheme was defined as "Redesigning the State for the Twenty-First Century." Within this overall theme, thefollowing issues were identified as particularly relevant: (1) Relationship between public administration andthe implementation of commitments made at major United Nations conferences; (2) Key issues and emergingtrends in governance, public administration, public finance and private sector development; (3) Approachesand guidelines for monitoring, measuring and evaluating performance in public sector programmes; and (4)Basic data on public administration and finance for policy-making purposes.