Volume 2, Issue 5 , October-November 1998

In this issue:

Policy Reports to the General Assembly
On-line Conference on Violence against Women
Towards CSD's 1999 Session
1998 Information Fair
Meetings Held
Advisory Services
October-December Meetings

Recent Publications

World Economic and Social Survey 1998 , Macrothesaurus , Gender Equality , Measuring Changes in Consumption and Production Patterns , Statistics
Profile - JoAnne DiSano joins the Division for Sustainable Development
New on the Web


The following reports on economic and financial topics are from the Development Policy Analysis Division (DPAD) for the current session of the General Assembly.

Two of those reports pertain directly to the global financial crisis , which has become a more descriptive title than the "Asian crisis"; i.e., while the loss of confidence of international financial investors triggered a major economic depression in a number of East Asian economies, it has now also severely rocked some economies in Europe (notably Russia and Ukraine) and has stormed Latin America (especially Brazil). One of the reports contains a review of recent data and policy developments pertaining to the net transfer of financial resources to developing countries, highlighting particularly the 1997 swing in short-term capital movements out of Asia and the increased official flows to Asia which fell far short of offsetting the lost private flows. It also documents the continuing decline in official development assistance (see A/53/228 ).

The second report is explicitly prescriptive, offering what appears to be a new consensus on macroeconomic and exchange rate policy for emerging market economies in a world of volatile finance and on financial policy for better operation of banks and other financial institutions in developed countries (see A/53/398 ). This report draws heavily on a July expert group meeting organized by DESA in cooperation with the regional commissions to take stock of what UN economists think about these issues (the agenda and most of the papers for the meeting can be found on the Web at www.un.org/esa/analysis/expert.htm ; updated versions of the papers and summaries of discussions by DESA staff, as well as an overview essay by Barry Herman and Barbara Stallings (ECLAC) will be published by UNU Press with a target release date of January 1999).

Contact: Ann Orr, Tel. (212) 963-2569, Fax (212) 963- 1061, E-mail: orr@un.org (A/53/228) and Barry Herman, Tel. (212) 963-4747, Fax (212) 963-1061, E-mail: herman@un.org (A/53/398)

Another report entitled Integration of the Economies in Transition into the World Economy responds to General Assembly resolution 51/175, which called upon the United Nations system to conduct analysis and provide advice and technical cooperation to the economies in transition on the social and political framework for economic and market reforms, especially to attract foreign investments. The report is based on information sent to the Division by some 20 United Nations bodies (see A/53/336 ).

Contact: Robert Jones, Tel. (212) 963-4688, Fax (212) 963-1061, E-mail: jones@un.org

General Assembly resolution 52/179 requested the Secretary-General to compile and forward to Governments for its fifty-third session the inputs from a broad range of stakeholders, including actors both within and outside the United Nations system, as well as their views on key elements that might be included in the consideration of the topic of financing for development . The report was also to indicate the bibliographic references and recurring themes and key elements found in the responses from the broad range of stakeholders. Accordingly, the Division developed an open-ended questionnaire and sought views of delegations on the structure and form of the questionnaire at a briefing in March 1998. The Division then extended the invitation of the General Assembly to stakeholders from all regions and of all types. In addition, the questionnaire was made available on the UN website and redistributed by various international organizations to their constituencies. Over 150 replies were received. The Division is producing a detailed analysis of the recurring themes and key elements on the UN website (www.un.org/esa/analysis/ffd.htm ). The report will contain in part one the recurring themes and key elements that were in the replies and in part two the bibliographic references to documents and reports provided to the Division during this process. The report is due by mid-October.

Contact: Harris Gleckman, Tel. (212) 963-4690, Fax (212) 963-1061, E-mail: gleckman@un.org

The report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation, in particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade was prepared by DPAD as mandated by General Assembly resolution 51/173 of 16 December 1996. The report notes that three trends have been particularly prominent since the last assessment of the progress achieved in implementing the Declaration and Strategy. The first such development has been the trend towards increasing "globalization"; the second has been the improvement in economic growth in a number of least developed countries; and the third has been the fallout from the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Because of the latter development, the international environment has become considerably less propitious for most developing countries. The report notes that if the dual challenges of globalization and growth are to be met, greater attention will have to be paid to policy formulation on both the domestic and international fronts. Moreover, because a development strategy is no stronger than its weakest link, there is a critical need for attention to be paid to "policy complementarities". Any single policy alone, however well thought out, may not suffice. The need is for a new emphasis on innovative policies which are both individualized and multifaceted (see A/53/301 ).

Contact: Christine Shaw, Tel. (212) 963-4510, Fax (212) 963-1061, E-mail: shaw@un.org

* * *

One report of the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) before the General Assembly is titled: Role of Microcredit in the Eradication of Poverty . This is the first time the Secretary-General has been requested to prepare a report on this question. The prominence given to the matter reflects the recent success of small-scale lending programmes such as the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. While acknowledging successes, the report warns against siphoning scarce development assistance funds away from crucial sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, health, sanitation and education to pay for relatively untested microcredit schemes. The report also highlights the activities of the UN system and NGOs in support of microcredit. (A/53/223 ).

Contact: James Kanu, Tel. (212) 963-1806, Fax (212) 963-3062, E-mail: kanu@un.org

The report on the Implementation of the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006) highlights the progress and setbacks experienced in poverty eradication and underscores the link between poverty, human rights and development. It also stresses the importance of the global targets and international cooperation and reviews the activities of the UN system in national efforts. (A/53/329 ).

Contact: Lul Hassan, Tel. (212) 963-4714, Fax (212) 963-3062, E-mail: hassanl@un.org

* * *

The Division for the Advancement of Women will put the following reports before the Assembly:

  • Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (A/53/38, parts I and II );
  • Report of the Secretary-General on the status of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (A/53/318 );
  • Report of the Secretary-General on the status of women in the Secretariat (A/53/376 );
  • Report of the Secretary-General on traffic in women and girls (A/53/409 );
  • Report of the Secretary-General on traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and girls (A/53/354 );
  • Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women (A/53/308 ).

All documents are available from the Documents Distribution and on the ODS.

* * *

The Third and Second Committees have started their general debate. Mr.Nitin Desai delivered the opening statements respectively on 5 and 6 October. The full text can be found at: http://www.un.org/esa/documents/ac2.htm and http://www.un.org/esa/documents/ac3.htm .


A four-continent, 90-minute video conference, will take place on 24 November, the eve of the eighth Annual 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women. The theme of the event is "A Life Free of Violence: It's Our Right", and it will take place in conjunction with the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The sites of the video conference are the UN General Assembly Hall in New York, Mexico City, Brussels, New Delhi and Nairobi. The event is a collaboration of several UN entities including the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Division for the Advancement of Women/DESA, UNIFEM, UNICEF, UNCHS (Habitat), DPI, DPKO, OHCHR, GIDP/UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, ILO.

The event will take place from 10.00 to 11.30 a.m. New York time, and is expected to involve the participation of the Secretary-General, the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, and the Director of UNIFEM. UN delegates, UN agencies, funds and programmes, NGOs, academics, the media, the private sector, health professionals and law enforcement officials will attend.

The actual event will involve two or three speakers at each site in a technically well-coordinated and choreographed video interaction among the five cities. Each site will highlight key activities and issues from their national or regional perspective. A street theatre group will offer a final performance to highlight key issues and offer a resounding challenge to the international community to address them through commitment of resources and political will. The conference seeks to identify specific actions and commitments that can help eliminate violence against women.

Contact: Jane Connors, Tel: (212) 963-3162, E-mail: connorsj@un.org ; or Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, Human Rights Unit, UNIFEM, Tel: (212) 906-6458, E-mail: ilana.landsberg-lewis@undp.org


Consumption and Production Patterns

Agenda 21, Chapter 4, on changing consumption and production patterns, is on the agenda of the 7th session of CSD to be held in New York, 19-30 April 1999, for a comprehensive discussion of progress and 1999-2002 priorities.

The issue has been with CSD since UNCED met in 1992. A major step was the international programme of work at the CSD 1995 session. Another milestone was the General Assembly agreement at the 1997 Earth summit +5 that changing consumption and production patterns and poverty eradication are the overriding issues for the implementation of Agenda 21.

Preparations for the 1999 CSD session fall into five clusters:

  1. Drafting the Secretary-General's report on changing consumption and production patterns,
  2. Preparing and drafting addenda to said report, and background papers (e.g. reports of inter-sessional meetings),
  3. Drafting the Secretary-General's report on the extension of the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection, holding informal consultations and preparing for the negotiating sessions scheduled for the Inter-Sessional Ad Hoc Working Group (February-March 1999),
  4. Preparing contributions for the other issues on the CSD agenda (SIDS, oceans and tourism), including the dialogue sessions; and
  5. In cooperation with other UN agencies, international organizations and major groups organizing specific inputs and contributions to CSD 7 such as special reports, presentations, side events, and exhibitions.

Each cluster requires inputs from partners. Regular progress reports and requests will be posted on the website of consumption and production patterns:http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/conprod.htm

In January, the Government of the Republic of Korea will hold an inter-sessional workshop in cooperation with DESA/DSD on consumption patterns, related environmental impacts and policy options in Southeast Asia. The meeting will also test the new set of indicators on changing consumption and production patterns. Another important input is this year's UNDP Human Development Report where, for the first time, a strong and comprehensive case is made about the linkage between consumption patterns and human development.

On the same item, DSD is preparing a background paper on sustainability of production and consumption of aluminium, copper and lead, which exemplify non-ferrous metals. Aluminium and copper are the most widely used such metals. Lead was selected because its toxicity has become a major health and environmental concern in recent decades.

The paper will analyse trends in producing and recycling these metals over the last two decades, trends in real price movements since 1970, substitution by other materials, environmental impact of mining and metal production, and resource depletion. Emphasis is put on recycling scrap metal, a significant supply factor. Environmental benefits from recycling encompass energy savings; reduced waste, emissions and land disturbance; and ore conservation.

UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection

Informal consultations on guidelines for sustainable consumption are being held this fall in preparation for the 1999 CSD session and in response to ECOSOC's decision to extend the 1985 United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection to cover sustainable consumption. They will be based on a January 1998 draft by an expert meeting in Sao Paulo. CSD considered the question at its 1998 session, but Governments had no time to prepare detailed positions. The consultations should result in an agreed text for the CSD Inter-sessional Working Group (February 1999).

Contact: Erik Brandsma, Tel. (212) 963-0013, Fax (212) 963-4260, E-mail: brandsma@un.org


The Annual Information Fair organized by DPI will take place 20-23 October in the General Assembly lobby. It will provide an opportunity for DESA and other departments and agencies to inform official and general visitors of their programmes and activities, respond to queries and disseminate information and reference materials.

In addition, there will be the following innovations:

  • The Division for Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA) will introduce a web page on election administration at http://www.aceproject.org (see details in New on the Web ).
  • The ECOSOC NGO Unit will hold a daily information session from 11 am to 12 pm in Room GA-50 to explain the NGO consultative status process, responsibilities that come with it, the difference between DPI NGOs and ECOSOC NGOs. They will use visual aids to answer questions.


Meeting of the Secretary-General with Ministers and High Officials of DAC Countries
New York, 23 September

As part of his support of Africa's efforts to achieve peace, security and development and as a follow-up to the recommendations in his report to the Security Council on The Causes of Conflicts and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa , the Secretary-General convened an informal meeting with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and high officials of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of OECD, and a representative of the European Commission. The Secretary-General urged DAC countries to take bold steps in five areas, including official development assistance, bilateral debt, the Highly-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, trade facilitation and market access for African exports, and promotion of private investment. The participants strongly supported the five action areas proposed and indicated the actions they are planning to take in response to the Secretary-General's appeal.

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

Consultative Committee on Programme and Operational Questions (CCPOQ)
13th session
New York, 21-25 September

The Committee recommended to the ACC Mr. Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General, as its new Chairperson for the two year period, November 1998 through October 2000.

The Committee's work focused on linking the programme and operational areas of the system. Special attention was given to Gender in Development (GID) and other cross-sectoral issues, and the need to strengthen linkages with other relevant inter-agency bodies on issues of common concern. In this regard, the Assistant Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Gender issues and Advancement of Women, and Chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality (IACWGE), presented to the Committee potential areas of cooperation with CCPOQ (i.e. at its forthcoming workshop with Resident Coordinators in February 1999). It was also agreed that the Chairman of CCPOQ should address IACWGE early next year. The gender dimension will figure in the Committee's future work especially on such issues as poverty eradication, conference follow-up and the guidelines on programming.

The Deputy Secretary-General addressed the Committee about reform issues and the implementation of the strategic framework in Afghanistan. The Committee approved a number of specific guidelines for inclusion in its Operational Activities Manual destined for system-wide UN and country-level application. They include guidelines on cooperation with civil society organizations, programme approach, national execution, administrative management at the country level, and the first job description for Resident Coordinators.

The Committee also agreed on how to finalize guidelines for future strategic frameworks linking peace-building, humanitarian assistance and operational activities and on a second Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) note on poverty eradication. Follow-up to global conferences will remain a principal focus of the Committee's work.

Contact: Igor Volkov, Tel. (212) 963-5776, E-mail: Volkovi@un.org ; or Monica Nogara, Tel. (212) 963-5083, E-mail: nogara@un.org

Renewal of the Dialogue on Strengthening International Economic Cooperation for Development through Partnership
New York, 17-18 September

The proposal to strengthen constructive dialogue and partnership in order to promote further international economic cooperation for development has been on the agenda of the General Assembly since its 48th session. With the adoption of the Agenda for Development in 1997, such a dialogue has acquired a new important role as a mechanism for operationalizing the Agenda for Development.

The two-day meeting proved timely, productive and enlightening. The dialogue was an encouraging step in the UN's efforts to advance multilateral cooperation on issues of vital importance to all countries. The debates were informed, analytical and action-oriented and resulted in potentially valuable ideas and proposals. The addresses by the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General were instrumental in setting orientations for the dialogue and for further progress.

Many participants commented favourably on the innovative format of the meeting which included a plenary debate in which delegations stated their national positions; two ministerial round tables on national and international responses to globalization that afforded a stimulating and fruitful exchange of views on key aspects of experiences and policies at the national and international levels; and two informal panels which brought together a wealth of expertise, knowledge and perspectives from the private sector, the academic world, trade unions and civil society at large.

At the close of the meeting, a common desire was expressed to continue this political dialogue with a view to developing a coherent and effective response to the opportunities and challenges of globalization. The issue of the renewal of the dialogue will be revisited by the Second Committee this fall.

Contact: Sergei Kambalov, Tel. (212) 963-4751, Fax (212) 963-5935, E-mail: kambalov@un.org

LINK Expert Group Meeting
Rio de Janeiro, 14-18 September

The fall 1998 LINK meeting in Rio de Janeiro, was hosted by the Instituto de Pesquisa Economica Aplicada (IPEA), chaired by the Nobel Laureate economist Lawrence R. Klein of the University of Pennsylvania and attended by 133 prominent economists from 54 developing and developed countries.

In addition to reviewing the major aspects of the global economic outlook, the meeting devoted considerable time to the impact of the spreading financial crisis and related uncertainties, policy options for the global economy, international financial liberalization and trade policy, world commodity markets, EMU and its policy implications, labour market problems as well as modelling techniques. The meeting was well organized, progressed well in a warm and sincere environment and generated illuminating and fruitful discussions on these key issues.

The world economic situation has deteriorated significantly since the spring meeting as the financial crisis which started in Asia last year has spread to Russia and Latin America recently and the real side-effects through trade and investment have been increasingly felt. The March LINK forecasts for affected countries are down substantially. The September 1998 LINK baseline forecasts predict the world real GDP growth will drop from 3.1 per cent in 1997 to 1.9 per cent in 1998, the lowest in five years. Growth for the next two years is forecast to be 2.5 per cent. Growth of world trade volume is expected to decelerate from 9.6 per cent in 1997 to 5-6 per cent in 1998 and 1999. For developing countries as a whole, a sharp deceleration of real GDP growth from 5.3 per cent in 1997 to 2 and 3.8 per cent in 1998 and 1999, respectively, is forecast while growth in the developed countries is forecast to be 2-2.3 per cent in the next two years, compared with 2.6 per cent in 1997. Significant divergence in performance is noted. Particularly, prospects for an increasing number of countries in Asia, Latin America as well as Russia and Japan are extremely precarious due mainly to spreading financial turmoils; in the cases of Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Russia, output is expected to decline by 4-17 per cent this year.

Although the baseline forecasts do not project a global depression, downside risks overwhelmingly outweigh upside risks at this juncture. Major downside risks are: (i) the ineffectiveness of fiscal stimulus and reform packages in stabilizing the banking system and securing a sustainable recovery in Japan; (ii) possible large corrrections in major stock markets, particularly in the United States when flight to quality ends; (iii) the contagion effects of the Russian and Latin American crisis which could lead to financial turmoils in other financially vulnerable countries and even total collapse in some of them if there occur massive capital flight and sharp losses of international reserves; and (iv) the behavior of the European central bank from 1 January 1999 and its impact, particularly if it tightens monetary policy. If all these risks occur simultaneously, they can have a significant effect on the short-term outlook for the world economy. A global recession may be unlikely but its cost, if it occurs, may be enormous.

To deal with these downside risks, a number of policies were put forward at the meeting.

First, given the low inflation in the developed countries, there may be some room for coordinated interest rate cuts among the major ones to stimulate their domestic demand so that developing countries can get out of the current situation more easily. Also, lower interest rates in the United States can lead to a stronger yen against the US dollar which in turn can help exports of troubled Asian emerging economies.

Second, another possibility is to inflate by announcing a long-term inflation target.

Third, Governments in troubled countries must bail out depositors and restructure banks quickly and decisively to avoid a systemic collapse of the banking system.

There were also deep concerns about the lack of global leadership, the failure of international institutions in dealing with current financial crises, imperfections of global financial markets, and increasing sentiment for reintroducing controls on capital flows and protectionism.

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

Second Session of the CSD
Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF)
Geneva, 24 August to 4 September

The session reconfirmed the significance of proposals for action by its predecessor body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF); it recognized the contribution of the Interagency Task Force on Forests; and paid special attention to the needs of developing countries with low forest cover. Many critical issues, however, remained unresolved, including:

  • the modalities of financial cooperation, transfer of technology and mutually supportive roles of trade and environment in the context of sustainable forest management;
  • addressing the underlying causes of deforestation;
  • mechanisms to mobilize the best available information and strengthen research to develop innovative and effective approaches to manage forests as ecological systems (ecosystems);
  • the adequacy of present systems of institutions and mechanisms to meet a wide range of complex challenges related to forests.

Due to divergent views among countries, a general agreement on the need for a global legally-binding instrument on forests remained elusive. A government-led initiative on Category III of the programme of work of the IFF was announced by the Governments of Costa Rica and Canada. It will consist of expert meetings and regional consultations on international arrangements and mechanisms to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. The first global meeting is to take place in San Jose, Costa Rica, in February 1999, followed by regional consultations and a final meeting in Canada in 2000.

The list of government-led initiatives in support of IFF's programme of work - in addition to the Costa Rica/Canada initiative above - now includes:

  • NGOs/Government of Costa Rica Initiative on Underlying Causes of Deforestation and Forest Degradation;
  • Study on the Global Outlook for Plantations, sponsored by the Governments of Australia, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, and by FAO;
  • International Expert Meeting on the Role of Planted Forests, sponsored by the Governments of Chile, Denmark and Portugal;
  • Seminar on Practical Trade-Related Aspects of Conservation, Sustainable Management and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests, sponsored by the Government of Brazil in cooperation with UNCTAD and ITTO, and supported by the IFF secretariat;
  • International Expert Meeting on Protected Forest Areas, co-sponsored by Brazil and the United States of America; and
  • International Meeting on Special Needs and Requirements of Developing Countries with Low Forest Cover, organized by the Government of Iran, in cooperation with other interested countries and international organizations.

Contact: Tage Michaelsen, Tel. (212) 963-5294, Fax. (212) 963-3463, E-mail: michaelsen@un.org

ACC Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development (IACSD)
Geneva, 28-29 September 1998

IACSD was to: follow up on recent ACC meetings and relevant decisions of UN bodies impacting its work and the Commission on Sustainable Development's; follow up on CSD6 decisions and preparations for CSD7 and 8; consider preparations for the General Assembly 1999 special session that will look at the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action on Sustainable Development of Small Islands (SIDS); review guidelines for national action; and review preparations for energy discussions at CSD9 in 2001.

IACSD saw a need to consider broadening the role of Task Managers to include tasks from other processes throughout the UN system. It invited all concerned organizations which had not yet done so to bring CSD6 decisions to the attention of their governing bodies, took stock of the preparation of reports on tourism and sustainable development for CSD7 and discussed preparations for CSD8 which will examine integrated planning and management of land resources and the economic sector of agriculture. Recognizing that CSD9 would consider energy in the context of sustainable development, IACSD agreed to explore the establishment of a dedicated secretariat with a time-bound mandate to help the preparations. A number of organizations expressed their readiness to support the process by using information technology, undertaking specific tasks and providing consultative services and secondments. For the first time, an OAS observer attended and presented a brief on its work in sustainable development.

Young People Participating in Human Development
The Lisbon Declaration and Braga Youth Action Plan
Portugal, 2-7 and 8-12 August

"Rather than waiting for the future," said United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, at the World Youth Forum of the United Nations System in Braga, Portugal, "youth organizations have an important task in working with Governments in addressing the challenges of today's world." With the adoption of the Braga Youth Action Plan on 7 August, and the Lisbon Declaration just five days later at the first World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, the two groups proved they could do just that. (The outcome of both meetings is available in the six official languages as document A/53/378 . )

The World Youth Forum aims to improve the channels of communication and strengthen the mechanisms for cooperation between the United Nations system and the international youth community. In Braga, 500 delegates representing youth organizations from over 150 countries met with representatives of the United Nations system and other inter-governmental organizations, to discuss Youth Participation for Human Development . Participants articulated their concerns in the Braga Youth Action Plan , a document which specifies goals and actions to be taken on youth policies, participation and human rights.

The Action Plan was presented to the government officials attending the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (WCMRY), 8-12 August. This conference brought together national ministers from 160 Governments.

The World Conference was convened by the Government of Portugal, in cooperation with the United Nations, to strengthen the national capacity of countries to implement the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond (WPAY). Adopted in 1995 by the United Nations General Assembly, the WPAY addressed the problems faced by youth the world over, and outlined meaningful ways to enhance youth participation in the life of society, as well as in national and international policy and decision -making.

Discussion during the Conference helped delegates finalize and then adopt the Lisbon Declaration on Youth . This Declaration not only builds on the guidelines of the World Programme of Action for Youth, but also outlines further policy commitments by the world's national Governments.

While the texts for the Braga Youth Action Plan and the Lisbon Declaration may differ, the spirit remains the same: to promote and enhance the meaningful participation of all young people everywhere.

The 1999 session of the Commission for Social Development will have the results of both meetings on its agenda, and will propose United Nations follow-up action via ECOSOC to the 54th session of the General Assembly.

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

Third Meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Second Tokyo International
Conference on African Development (TICAD II)
Addis Ababa, 7-9 September

Subsequent to its March meeting in Dakar and the one in Harare in June, the Preparatory Committee for TICAD II met to finalize the draft Agenda for Action as well as the list of projects referring to the priority areas of the Agenda. OSCAL participated as co-organizer in providing substantive support to the meeting.

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

The Meeting was organized to provide input to the discussion of the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-third session to be held in March 1999. Ten experts from all regions analysed the current situation of national machineries for gender equality, drawing from the experiences of their countries. They developed action-oriented policy recommendations for the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in this critical area. The meeting was hosted by ECLAC in Santiago. Its report is described below in Recent Publications .

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

Fifty-first Annual DPI/NGO Conference
New York, 14-16 September

The three-day conference brought some 625 organizations with a total of 1,900 NGO representatives from 60 countries, to celebrate The 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: From Words to Deeds . It was organized by DPI in cooperation with the NGO/DPI Executive Committee.

The DESA/NGO Section provided logistical support, assisted NGOs and took part in the debate. It is recognized that DESA's expertise in economic and social issues of interest to the NGOs will make it possible to participate even more fully next year.

A review of all future DESA activities beyond the year 2000, will help to identify themes that could be addressed at the next conference. In the meantime, with the five year review for the World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) and for the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW ) both in the pipeline for the year 2000, there is enough material for the 1999 Agenda of the DPI Conference. Around these important topics, we can ensure that the level of interaction among NGOs will be high and we can initiate a format that departs from the NGOs "being talked down to ". DESA's substantive leadership will ensure that NGOs provide feedback as well. We intend to propose panels and moderators, and set up a DESA/NGO Section information booth at the conference, presenting DESA information materials on topics and activities of current interest to the NGO community. Detailed plan that can be worked out with the contribution of all interested DESA Divisions will be prepared by the NGO Unit.

Commission on Population and Development, Intersessional Meeting of the Bureau
Kuala Lumpur, 23-28 September

The Director of the Population Division, Joseph Chamie, attended the meeting which was a follow-up to the thirty-first session (23-28 February) and provided the groundwork for the thirty-second session. Among other things, the Bureau discussed the organization of work. The central theme was population growth, structure and distribution. The Bureau also addressed preparations for the special session of the General Assembly on the Review and Appraisal of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.

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

Modelling of Sustainable Development
17 and 18 September

On 17 and 18 September, Ken Ruffing and Ralph Chipman of DSD attended an OECD expert group meeting in Paris on modelling of climate change. Participants from a number of research institutions presented recent results of modelling exercises on implementation of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Climate change models are becoming increasingly comprehensive and hence more capable of modelling a broader sustainable development process. DSD will be working with modelling groups to promote use of models in studying possible approaches to sustainable development and to compare the results of different models.

Update on the International Year of Older Persons, 1999

On 1 October 1998 at UN Headquarters, the Secretary-General launched the International Year of Older Persons, 1999. The theme selected was "Towards a society for all ages". Basically, it is about equal treatment for people of all ages. An interregional meeting on the subject will be held in Bangkok, May 1999. Experts will discuss, and make recommendations to Member States on, specific policy directions, which could help the move toward the society for all ages. Four 1999 plenary meetings of the General Assembly will be devoted to the follow-up to the Year, at an appropriate global policy-making level (General Assembly resolution 52/80). This year's Report of the Secretary-General (A/53/294 ) suggests that an evaluation of past strategies on ageing as a basis for a new one to the year 2010 or 2020 may be in order.

A key goal in preparing for 1999 is to encourage Member States to make long-term plans. Some such as Australia, Finland, India and Malta have already started. Others are starting: South Africa, Spain, and Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, ESCAP is holding meetings to formulate a regional action plan on ageing.

The United Nations Secretariat will promote substantive activities for the International Year and beyond. Preparations are under way to draft a research agenda at an expert group meeting in January 1999, with support from the Novartis Foundation for Gerontological Research. Overall, the initiative in ageing is intended to influence national policy and research in the next decade, with special recognition to the challenge of population and individual ageing in developing countries.


Traditional Peace-making Tapped in Africa

Mr. S., a Kenyan anthropologist, is the Head of Ethnography of the National Museums of Nairobi. This past July, I was following him to his office, a vast room of long shelves where calabashes, pirogues, and woodcarvings were amassed, packed in plastic bags. The room, desk and papers all smelled heavily of camphor.

If this sounds like the beginning of an Indiana Jones story, it shouldn't. It was in fact the beginning of a mission, one of several I have undertaken in the past two years in search of programmes that contribute to peaceful resolution of conflicts. What DESA does for this UNDP-financed project is to encourage field offices in Africa to develop programmes that promote social reconciliation in countries which have suffered from protracted conflict. That was how I met Dr. S. In the Museum, Dr S. had recently prepared an exhibition of the objects and rituals traditionally used by local notables to end wars between ethnic groups. In well ordered glass boxes were beads, leather belts, bunches of dry flowers, water amphors and milk gourds. Pastel drawings illustrated how these objects were used, and a video showed a Masai peace-making ceremony.

The exhibition caught the eye of UNDP. Coming less than one year after severe ethnic violence, it had set in motion an unusual and very interesting train of thought. Since conflicts often occur among ethnic groups, could one promote reconciliation by supporting peace-making mechanisms that have existed among them from time immemorial? Could traditional institutions for peaceful resolution of conflicts be revived? And if so, how? UNDP asked our regional projects. If their answer was promising, UNDP was prepared to consider funding this initiative under its governance programme.

The material I collected to prepare the mission, and the interviews I held in Nairobi with those who had studied the events ruled out ethnic rivalries as the main cause of ethnic conflicts but made it clear that these conflicts, whatever their causes, had increasingly taken on an ethnic dimension. The calls to arms that mobilized the factions, and the stories told to explain the events often came from an ethnic cultural background.

To a large extent, this was what we had expected. Conflict is generally over resources but ethnic identity is superimposed on other identities to whip up support for this power struggle by those who will eventually gain from it. The poor seldom do. Another way to look at it is that ethnic identity comes into play most easily in moments of insecurity. It is the identity people choose when they feel threatened.

The fact is that the ethnic dimension of recent conflicts in Kenya had appeared to increase, and, if ethnic groups know how to put an end to conflicts, could a project strengthen, support and spread this knowledge? Dr. S. is now a consultant for DESA. In a couple of months when we expect his report to reach us, he will tell us whether this is possible. UNDP will then decide whether it wishes to finance this project.

If the decision is positive, the project will have to do several things. First of all it will have to discover what still exists of the legitimate institutions for peace-making in Kenya, and train or retrain traditional leaders to use them. Also, it will have to create the right environment for these institutions to be effective. Traditional leaders are not as powerful as they used to be. They compete with local representatives of political parties and local authorities. Unless these are persuaded to allow traditional leaders to perform their functions, knowledge and capacity alone will be of no avail.

Our adventure with Dr. S. and UNDP/Nairobi is rather unusual. We do not normally recruit anthropologists as consultants or mention milk gourds in our mission reports. Yet, D. S.'s study will, perhaps obliquely, address one of the difficult issues in the development debate: in what ways can modern and traditional cultures coexist? Is development a package societies either take or leave, as a whole? Can one build a modern society without absorbing the culture which produced it? Is there still a place for traditional leaders? Is there an African, Asian, Latin-American way to development? Some evidence would indicate there is, but this evidence is scattered and flimsy. We have sent Dr. S. after it. After all, he is our Indiana Jones.

But I hope Dr. S.'s study will be useful also for the substantive work of our Division. If DESA sees itself as contributing to development, it can hardly afford to ignore the fact that the single most important obstacle to development nowadays is political instability and the insecurity it generates. Consolidating institutions that create consensus is often the critical precondition for planning and carrying out development programmes.

Open conflict is also the most striking example of the failure of societies to integrate all. From my reading of the material on this issue, it seems to me that the tendency is to consider social integration the concern of rich societies. If one thinks of a society for all one imagines a well-integrated community which wishes to share its prosperity with the few that are still not benefiting from it. Social integration seems to be the goal of societies that can afford to worry about it, and not of those where poverty and unemployment are rampant.

But, despite their occasional image of blissful peace, poor rural societies are by no means immune to social disintegration. In poor countries, inequities in access to income and services are more severe, and ethnic, cultural, political and gender fault lines often run deeper. Many in the citizenry are kept away from the political arena, except for elections - often imposed by the international community. These are societies in which institutions that build consensus on common goals and the means to reach them are weak. There, conflict is difficult to avoid and, with weapons now available to everyone, is bound to cause ever greater damage. If DESA does not consider it its business to help societies strengthen the institutions that prevent conflict, operationally , who will?

Carlo Geneletti

Contact: Carlo Geneletti, Tel. (212) 963-5095, Fax (212) 963-1265, E-mail: geneletti@un.org

Workshop on Census Data Processing for the Central Asian Countries
Almaty, Kazakhstan, 19 October-6 November

A workshop on census data processing will be organized by the United Nations Statistics Division in collaboration with the National Statistical Agency of the Ministry of Economy and Trade of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The workshop will be held in 1998 and will be funded from UNFPA/UNSD project CIS/98/P02, Strengthening Population and Housing Census Taking Capabilities in Four Central Asian Countries, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

Three participants from each of the six Central Asian Republics will participate in the workshop. Carlos Ellis, the principal trainer, will cover the data processing elements and Sirageldin Suliman will cover the substantive portions which deal with data editing and other related topics. The workshop will concentrate on the planning, design and operation of census data processing. The Integrated Microcomputer Processing System (IMPS) will be the basis for training.

The workshop will provide the participants with the needed knowledge on census data processing and will help in developing a common data processing approach for the six countries.

Contact: Carlos Ellis, Tel. (212) 963-4928, Fax (212) 963-1940, E-mail: ellis@un.org

Regional Workshop on Decentralized Rural Electrification in the Arab States
Marrakesh, Morocco, 26-30 October

Agenda: country case studies of solar PV, wind, biomass and small hydropower; policies, planning and institutional issues; information needs for project development, project management and implementation. Serviced by DSD with presentations by J. Gururaja

Country workshops on Energy End-Use Efficiency Standards
Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt, 6-20 September

Agenda: Building blocks of a national energy standards programme; testing procedures and infrastructure; energy efficiency standards; and energy labelling for appliances and equipment.

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

Start-up meeting for GEF project EGY/97/G31
Energy Efficiency Improvements and Greenhouse Gas Reduction
Cairo, 26-30 September

Agenda: finalization of letter of agreement between government and DESA, project work plans, and coordination of national and international inputs. Participating officer: Yehia Abu-Alam.


General Assembly, Fifty-third Session
9 September-23 December 1998

See note above on key policy reports.

Sixteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians
Geneva, 6-15 October

Joann Vanek and Grace Bediako of the Demographic and Social Statistics Branch of UNSD are participating in the Sixteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians. The Branch is collaborating with ILO on a number of activities, including preparation of a handbook for the collection of economic characteristic data in population and housing censuses, the improvement of labour force statistics on women and men, developing a classification for activities in time use surveys and preparing an inventory of indicators to monitor achievement of conference goals.

Panel of High-level Personalities on African Development
New York, 15 October

The recently reconstituted Panel of High-level Personalities on African Development meets on 15 October at United Nations Headquarters to exchange views on the report of the Secretary-General on The Causes of Conflicts and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa . Specifically, panelists are to focus on the harmonization of bilateral and multilateral initiatives on African development, the external debt of African countries, and the opening of international markets to African products. Panelists are to comment on the report and their recommendations and to advise the Secretary-General on actions he may wish to take in the above areas. OSCAL prepared issue papers on the three areas and will service the meeting.

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

Internationalization of the Economy, Environmental Problems and New Policy Options: Developments, Empirical Analysis and Institutional Innovations
Potsdam, Germany 15-17 October

Peter Bartelmus will attend the meeting which was organized by the European Institute for International Economic Relations at the University of Potsdam. He will present a paper on "Greening the national accounts - Approach and policy use" as a contribution to the session on environmental policy options in a globalized world.

Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II)
Tokyo, 17-19 October

TICAD II aims at formulating an agenda for action for African development, taking into account the challenges facing African countries and the international community into the 21st century. It will continue to be based on the new principles in ownership of African countries and the global partnership, as also stated in the DAC/OECD New Development Strategy on "Shaping the 21st Century: the Contribution of Development Cooperation". The discussion at TICAD II will focus on African development in general, and specifically on economic development, social development, good governance and conflict prevention, and the role of non-governmental organizations. The main outcome will be the presentation and adoption of an agenda for action. The expected participants include all African countries, 11 Asian countries, 16 donor countries, representatives of 10 international organizations, two observer countries and representatives of 45 non-governmental organizations. The participants are expected to define their respective roles in the implementation of the approaches and actions identified in the selected priority areas of the agenda for action.

The organizers of the Conference are the Government of Japan, the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries (OSCAL/DESA), UNDP, and the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA). Parallel to the Conference, a forum on the private sector and civil society from Asia and Africa will be held.

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

Seminar on Environmental and Natural Resource Accounting (ENRA)
Addis Ababa, 26-28 October

As part of its programme on environmental conservation, the Food Security and Sustainable Development Division of ECA is promoting the application of environmental and natural resource accounting (ENRA) in Africa by means of a seminar. The objective is to obtain a consensus on the concept and application of ENRA for sustainable development. Peter Bartelmus will discuss the approach and policy use of "Greening the national accounts".

Thematic Workshop: Population, Poverty and Environment
Rome, 26-30 October

UNFPA's Executive Board has been emphasizing cooperation within the United Nations system in the area of population. As a joint effort of the advisory teams for the Country Support System (CST) and the specialists of the Technical Support System (TSS), it has been proposed to organize a series of thematic workshops in four areas: 1) Advocacy and information, education and communication in reproductive health; 2) Male involvement in reproductive health; 3) Capacity building; and 4) Population, poverty and the environment. FAO and ILO are organizing the last thematic workshop with close to 30 participants from the United Nations system at FAO headquarters from 26 to 30 October. The Population Division of DESA will participate in this workshop.

Contact: German A. Bravo-Casas, Tel. (212) 963-3188, Fax (212) 963-2368, E-mail: bravo-casas@un.org

Administrative Committee on Coordination, Second Regular Session
New York, 30-31 October

A common statement on the global financial crisis is being proposed as an outcome of this meeting. The annotated agenda for the ACC session, scheduled for 30 and 31 October, will be circulated to all ACC participants later this week. It will reflect the conclusions reached at the session of the ACC organizational committee which ended on 9 October. It focuses on four issues: 1) the reform processes under way in the system; 2) the follow-up to the Secretary-General's report on "The Causes of Conflict and Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa"; 3) UNESCO's "Culture of Peace" programme; and 4) administrative questions.

Workshop on Environment Statistics, Indicators and Accounting
Cairo, 1-5 November

UNSD and the Statistics Division of ESCWA are jointly organizing the Workshop whose purposes are to: ( i ) familiarize participants with international concepts and methods of environmental statistics, indicators and accounting; (ii) provide a forum for exchange of information on the status of national environment statistics; (iii) promote a regional programme of environment statistics; and (iv) promote the statistical methodology for environmental household surveys. Peter Bartelmus and Reena Shah will be serving as resource persons and presenting UNSD's work in environmental statistics, indicators and accounting.

Regional Consultative Meeting on Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific
Manila, 10-12 November

This meeting is organized by the Asian Development Bank (the host) and ESCAP. The Japanese Government is a co-sponsor. The meeting will address the following issues: 1) Strengthening global-regional links: the role of regional institutions in relation to the Commission on Sustainable Development and the Global Environment Fund; 2) Regional exchange of experiences in the implementation of national sustainable development strategies; 3) Currents trends in regional cooperation; 4) Role of NGOs in regional and subregional sustainable development; 5) Asian and Pacific contribution to the CSD process.

The meeting will be attended by country representatives, regional IGOs, key NGOs and UN agencies active in the region (about 40 experts in total).

Contact: Hiro Morita-Lou, Tel. (212) 963-8813, Fax (212) 963-3260, E-mail: morita-lou@un.org


World Economic and Social Survey 1998
ST/ESA/261 - Sales No.E.98.II.C.1

The 1998 edition of the World Economic and Social Survey notes that the after-effects of the third major currency crisis of the 1990s have plunged several of the world's fastest growing economies into a severe recession, slowed world economic growth and highlighted dangerous weaknesses in the international market for financial assets. These events have led the Survey to question the "widely held belief" in the desirability of fully liberalized financial markets, a virtual article of faith in the economic orthodoxy of the 1990s. What is needed at this time, according to a growing number of experts, is not more decontrol and deregulation, but more effective official oversight and market-based controls of financial markets, the Survey says.

The East Asian experience is only one indication of the degree to which liberalization and the ballooning magnitude of international capital flows have rendered the standard macroeconomic policies ineffective, or even perversely counter-productive. The 1998 Survey includes recommendations on new policies, in response to a request of the General Assembly (resolution 52/180). The policies include variants of suggestions to "throw sand into the wheels of international finance" and suggestions to "throw uncertainty into the wheels of international finance."

In addition, the Survey looks at the coming introduction of the euro by the European Union, possible implications for Europe as a global monetary centre and for exchange rate volatility, and the need for international monetary cooperation. The Survey also reviews international trade and financial flows and developments in the world's economies.

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

Macrothesaurus for Information Processing in the Field of Economic and Social Development
ISBN 92-64-16025-6

The recently published fifth edition of the Macrothesaurus is a continuation of the combined efforts of many organizations over almost 30 years to create a common vocabulary to facilitate the indexing, retrieval and exchange of development-related information. The maintenance of the Macrothesaurus is guided jointly by the OECD, the UN, and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada through an advisory and technical committee where DESA represents UN system organizations and acts as focal point for the UN network of Macrothesaurus users.

The Macrothesaurus is a collection of descriptors (keywords) designed for indexing books and documents for subsequent retrieval, covering the field of economic and social development. It thus constitutes a useful documentary research tool to find a book, article or document based on one or more keywords used to describe a particular document. The fifth edition of the Macrothesaurus is also available in electronic version for use in on-line interactive computer systems with associated software MTM3 for its maintenance.

As a co-publisher of the Macrothesaurus, the UN shares the copyright with the OECD. Copies of the fifth edition are available in English, French and Spanish from UN Publications offices in New York and Geneva, as well as at OECD, where the electronic version can also be obtained.

Contact: Christopher Hackett, Tel: (212) 963-2263, Fax (212) 963-1712, E-mail: hackett@un.org

Report of the Expert Group Meeting on National Machineries for Gender Equality

The report of the Expert Group Meeting held in Santiago, Chile, 31 August to 4 September is now available. It provides an analysis of the current situation of national machineries and a set of recommendations on how to strengthen them as catalysts for gender mainstreaming and to link them effectively with civil society, and on mechanisms to hold Governments accountable for gender mainstreaming.

A copy of the report can be obtained in Room DC2-1245 from Marie Antoine, Tel: (212) 963-6903, E-mail: antoinem@un.org . The report will soon be posted online at: http://www.womenwatch/daw/pub

Measuring Changes in Consumption and Production Patterns
Sales No. E.98.II.A.3

The above publication has recently been issued by DESA. Its main feature is a proposed set of indicators on changing consumption and production patterns, as selected by experts from Governments, international organizations, research institutes, NGOs, businesses, and other major groups. The indicators reflect how the key resources of energy, materials, water, and land are used by selected agricultural, industrial, household, and service sectors. Indicators are proposed for so-called consumption clusters, including mobility, consumer goods and services, buildings and housekeeping, food, and recreation.

For a copy of the report, please call Catherine Rubbens (212) 963-5243.

For more general information about the issue of changing consumption patterns and the preparations for CSD 1999, call Erik Brandsma (212) 963-0013.


Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/307 Vol. LII No. 7 July 1998
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/308 Vol. LII No. 8 August 1998

Provides monthly statistics on 60 subjects from over 200 countries and territories, together with special tables illustrating important economic developments. Quarterly data for significant world and regional aggregates are included regularly.

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

Statistical Charts and Indicators on the Situation of Youth, 1980-1995
Sales No. E.98.XVII.15

This statistical and analytical book uses charts and graphs to highlight key aspects and trends in the social and economic situation of youth in 202 countries from 1980 to 1995. The format and statistics are simple enough to be understood and used by non-specialists. The five chapters cover population, education and training, economic activity, health and child-bearing, and households and marital status. The charts and tables are accompanied by statements of how the indicators are defined, where the data are from and how they can be interpreted. The book was prepared by the Statistics Division and updates the 1992 and 1985 issues.

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

Population and Vital Statistics Report
Series A, Vol. L, No. 2. Data available as of 1 July 1998

This issue presents 1996 and 1997 estimates of world and continental population, as well as corresponding 1997 estimates of 229 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 nationwide censuses 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 nationwide 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. This issue of the Population and Vital Statistics Report supersedes all previous issues, and the data in it are subject to future revision.

Contact: Manuel Otero, Statistics Division, Tel. (212) 963-4970, Fax (212) 963-1940, E-mail: otero@un.org

Central Product Classification (CPC), Version 1.0
Sales No. E.98.XVII.5

This publication provides a framework for international comparison of statistics on all products, i.e. goods and services. It includes description of products that can be the object of domestic or international transactions or that can be entered into stocks. The CPC serves as an international standard for assembling and tabulating all kinds of data requiring product detail, including industrial production, national accounts, service industries, domestic and foreign commodity trade, international trade in services, balance of payments, consumption and price statistics. This is the first international classification to cover not only products that are goods , but also the whole spectrum of products that are services . Particular attention was paid in the new publication to further elaboration of the services part of the classification. CPC Version 1.0 now provides detailed explanatory notes describing the content of services. It also includes an alphabetical index to assist in the classification of service products according to the CPC. The publication is a revised and expanded version of the 1991 Provisional Central Product Classification (SER.M/77). This new publication contains correspondence tables between CPC Ver. 1.0 and provisional CPC categories to facilitate conversion between the old and new versions of the CPC. It is available in English and is forthcoming in all other United Nations languages.

Contact: Mary Chamie, Statistics Division, Tel. (212) 963-4869, E-mail: chl@un.org


JoAnne DiSano joins the Division for Sustainable Development

Twinkling eyes, a warm, sometimes impish smile, the unaffected manner of a friendly neighbour - and the enthusiasm, excitement, and drive of someone who has just got The Big Job: JoAnne DiSano, the new Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, comes across as a really nice person intent on doing a really good job.

And the qualifications are there for it: a long career in public service spanning two countries and two continents: her native Canada, where her focus was employment policy, and her adopted Australia, where the focus has been the environment, and where she went on a civil servants' exchange programme, but also to be with a certain Australian - Tom, her husband.

The turning point, the key change of field, came in 1988, when she was made responsible for environment assessment in the Australian Environment Department. That led through increasing responsibilities to the position of First Assistant Secretary in the Department, as deputy head of the Environment Protection Group from which she joins the Secretariat.

Along the way she was involved with strategic policy issues of increasing scope - from the national, to the regional (South Pacific) and finally the global level. She was in the preparations for Rio, at Rio, at the launching of the Commission for Sustainable Development and its subsequent sessions, often leading the Australian delegation. Most recently she co-chaired the CSD Intersessional Working Group on Freshwater, and negotiated the agreed text on the issue that went to CSD. Joining the UN offers her the chance to broaden her policy involvement, and to serve the )organization, " a privilege, to contribute to something important".

In Australia, one of her key functions was to engage external groups in a real dialogue on policy, through presentations, discussions, reports showing the relevance of the issues, making them interesting, and putting options on the table. She feels that her hands-on experience on how sustainable development affects local and regional issues and her work with constituencies prepare her well for the UN job. She looks forward with evident enthusiasm to seeing CSD "from the other side", that of the Secretariat, to orchestrate it, and to make things happen with Member States.

And what are the most essential skills to succeed? The reply comes quickly: "Patience, collaboration, understanding what the parties want", and, not least, "political nose". She says that twice, and sums in it the intangibles of knowledge, experience, analysis, perception, diplomacy, common sense and more, that make for success.

Personal repercussions of the move to New York? Not many, except for lack of easy access to a beloved home on the Australian coast. Tom, now retired, is coming along, indeed he is serving as advance man, scouting for apartments: a key requirement is a good kitchen, as both of them love to cook, JoAnne bringing with her a much treasured Italian culinary heritage. And they are looking forward to the opportunities the city offers.

We welcome them, and wish them the very best.

Luciana Marulli-Koenig


General Assembly Documentation

Fifty-third session documentation is being posted by ISU at: http://www.un.org/esa/documents/adoc53.htm . As in previous years, the documentation is separated into four categories: Plenary, Bureau, Second Committee and Third Committee.


Administration and Cost of Elections (ACE), a global information resource on alternative approaches to election administration has been produced through the cooperative efforts of the DPEPA, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) and is available on the Internet at http://www.aceproject.org and on CD-ROM. This comprehensive electronic publication contains detailed information on options in the design and selection of an electoral system; the creation of an appropriate legal framework and election management structures; approaches to voter registration, voter education, and the regulation of political parties and candidates; and alternative methods for delineating boundaries, conducting voting operations and vote counting. A wide array of sample materials such as forms and manuals, as well as country case studies, are included in this compendium.

On 22 October, ACE will be officially launched into cyberspace at the United Nations in the presence of representatives of the three organizations. A panel on Administration and Cost of Elections will meet from 3 to 5 p.m. chaired by Richard Soudriette, President of IFES and with the participation of the Chief Electoral Officers of the Federal electoral organizations of Canada and Mexico.


An updated United Nations web index to economic and social development has been posted to the internet and can be viewed through the ESA website by selecting the 'Index' button that follows the list of major ESA topics (http://www.un.org/esa ). Major new features of the index, which has been completely revised, include:

  1. A comprehensive inventory of UN system programmes and sub-programmes based on a review of organizational websites and planning documents;
  2. A set of search terms based on the UNIVOC subject index developed by an inter-agency task force of the Information Systems Coordination Committee;
  3. An informal ranking system that attempts to sort search results in order of programmatic relevance as well as website content.

ISU will continue to revise the index based on comments and suggestions from interested parties, and has agreed with DPI to assume ongoing responsibility for its upkeep.