Volume 3, Issue 3 , June-July 1999




Contents

- Strategic Coordination in Humanitarian Assistance, Peace-Building and Development

- CEDAW Celebrates Convention

- GA Reviews Progress on Population

- ECOSOC to Focus on Poverty Eradication

JUNE-AUGUST MEETINGS

- Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

- Committee on Contributions

- Committee for Programme and Coordination

- Ad Hoc Experts Group Meeting on Economic Measures as Means of Political and Economic Coercion Against Developing Countries

- Annual Conference "Shaping Public Management for Accountability, Effectiveness and Democracy: The Role of Schools and Institutes of Administration"

- Asia-Africa Technical Workshop on Early Warning Systems for Desertification

- Experts Meeting on Employment and Globalization

- Second Iberoamerican Conference of Ministers of Public Service and Reform of the State

- 1999 Microcredit Summit Meeting

- Commission on Population and Development Acting as Preparatory Committee for the Twenty-first Special Session of the General Assembly

- General Assembly - Twenty-first Special Session for the Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development

- Third Africa Governance Forum: Good Governance and Conflict Management for Durable Peace and Sustainable Development

- Economic and Social Council

- First Specialized International Conference of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS) on Accountability in Public Administration: Reconciling Democracy, Efficiency and Ethics

- Human Resources Development for Eco-Partnership Building in Local Governance

- Ninth General Assembly of the World Future Society "Frontiers of the 21st Century"

ADVISORY SERVICES

FORTHCOMING PUBLICATIONS

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

- Development Policy Analysis

- Population

- Statistics

- Social Policy

- Women

- Public Administration

- Operational Activities

MEETINGS HELD

 

Strategic Coordination in Humanitarian Assistance, Peace-Building and Development

 

In the fall of 1998, in its resolution on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities of the UN system (resolution 53/192), the General Assembly included a special emphasis on the need for linkage of relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development efforts in situations of natural disaster and countries in crisis. In particular, the Assembly noted an urgent need to develop a comprehensive approach , involving national authorities, the United Nations system, donors and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the need for early application of developmental tools in humanitarian emergencies.

 

This is the first time the GA has dealt with such linkage in the context of operational activities. It reflects both the breadth and importance of the matter, and the progress beginning to be made in implementing the Secretary-General's reform programme, as regards linkage of the Organization's concerns and capabilities for development, humanitarian assistance, peace and security, and, as a cross-cutting issue, human rights. Traditionally the Member States have tended to treat these matters separately, in the Plenary and different committees of the GA, in the ECOSOC, and in the Security Council. So also have the Secretariat departments, the funds and programmes, and other entities of the UN system. However, momentum has been building toward a more comprehensive approach.

 

For the consideration of ECOSOC in July, the SG report on progress in implementing resolution 53/192 (E/1999/55/Add.1) includes information on a number of pertinent recent actions. Moreover, at the Council's request in relation to the humanitarian affairs segment, the SG report on coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance will include a thematic focus on issues in the transition from relief to development assistance. Most recently, the ECOSOC itself is preparing to take action, in a "first-ever" response to an invitation from the Security Council, to contribute to designing a long-term support programme for Haiti, with assistance from the SG and his Special Representative to Haiti, relevant UN funds and programmes and the specialized agencies, including the World Bank.

 

The UN system has taken several steps to implement GA resolution 53/192, including: (a) adoption of a strategic framework for Afghanistan and a paper on "Next steps for the UN in Afghanistan", as basic references for the relevant political, humanitarian and development activities of the UN system; (b) approval by ACC and circulation by the Deputy Secretary-General of generic guidelines for a strategic framework approach for response to and recovery from crisis, that had been drafted in CCPOQ for use in selected countries; 8 establishment within the OCHA-led Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (IASC) of a UNDP-led reference group to explore issues of post-conflict re-integration, with the aim of providing greater support to the field in addressing operational aspects of improving United Nations performance; and (d) convening of a round table by the Brookings Institution, co-sponsored by UNHCR and the WB, for discussion and follow-up within the larger community of the United Nations system, Governments of donor and affected countries, and international and non-governmental organizations, leading to recommendations on institutional arrangements and financing strategies. A working group composed of participating organizations is preparing appropriate recommendations.

 

Recently circulated guidelines are also relevant. Those for the Common Country Assessment (CCA) note that it can be useful in situations requiring risk and vulnerability assessment, disaster preparedness and mitigation, and post-conflict and post-natural disaster recovery and rehabilitation. Those for the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) note the importance of its linkage to strategic frameworks and the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP), where these exist, so as to build on recovery efforts. The revised technical guidelines for the CAP call for description of other relevant assistance programmes and how they relate. For all these, the documentation is to be prepared at the country level, under the leadership of the resident coordinator or resident / humanitarian coordinator.

 

The resident coordinator annual reports for 1998 reveal a wide range of responses by the United Nations system in about two dozen conflict and post-conflict situations and natural disasters. Country teams have pulled together for major emergency efforts related to, for example, floods in China and Bangladesh, and hurricanes in Central America. In some war-torn countries the reports showed uncertainty as to what the development partners could do until peace was restored, but in others the crises have led to important actions and innovations in which the interconnections of the relief, development, human rights and political concerns of the United Nations, in relation to national authorities and the international community, were well recognized. Differing innovative approaches are described in the SG report as concerns Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, and Tajikistan.

 

While the UN has successfully begun to address the issues of strategic coordination, the mechanisms remain somewhat disaggregated, incompletely understood, and not widely known, especially outside the UN system. It is a time of testing and growth for several types of collaborative action. The Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF) proposal from the World Bank further adds to the mix. It is obvious that further attention will be needed for the improvement of linkages and for development of a versatile "tool kit" of responses, in which country teams would be encouraged to experiment, in partnership with national authorities and with support from Headquarters.

Bearing all these features in mind, the SG report proposes that the ECOSOC may wish to: (a) encourage the Secretariat and the UN system, including the Bretton Woods Institutions, to continue to develop collaborative efforts for a "comprehensive approach" that reflects greater harmonization in the system, yet are flexible and appropriate to individual country situations; (b) invite Member States and other international organizations to work with the UN system in building more coherent overall programmes that respond to the complex problems of countries in crisis; 8 invite member States and other international organizations to seek to resolve the difficulties of segmented funding arrangements for relief and development, so as to facilitate contributions to transitional situations; (d) decide to consider issues in relation to relief, peace-building and development in a more integrated manner; and (e) decide to keep the matter under review and to request a consolidated report from the Secretary-General for its future consideration.

 

Massimo D'Angelo

Development Cooperation Policy Branch, DESC

 

 

CEDAW Celebrates Convention

 

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) celebrated on 7 June the twentieth anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The Convention, often called the international bill of rights for women, was adopted on 18 December 1979. The Convention sets out in legally binding form, provisions for States parties to the Convention to eliminate discrimination against women in civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres of life. The Convention has been ratified by 163 States, making it second only to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as the most widely accepted international human rights treaty. In March 1999, in an historic decision, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted an Optional Protocol on the right to petition under the Convention which awaits endorsement by the General Assembly at its next session. The Commemoration featured the Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Frechette, Mr. Desai, Ms. King and

Ms. Ertürk as speakers in addition to the current Chairperson, Ms. Aida Gonzalez Martinez (Mexico), former chairpersons, past and present members of the Committee and other guests. The theme will be implementation of the Convention at the national/domestic level.

 

During the current session, its twenty-first, CEDAW will review the reports of seven States party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, including the initial reports of Georgia and Nepal, and the combined initial and second periodic report of Belize. It will also examine the second periodic report of Chile, the combined second and third periodic reports of Ireland, the third periodic report of the United Kingdom, and the third and fourth periodic reports of Spain.

 

With Djibouti being the latest country to ratify or accede to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 2 December 1998, the number of States party to the Convention became 163. Adopted in 1979 and opened for signature in March 1980, the Convention is now among the international human rights treaties with the largest number of ratifications -- and reservations.

 

Contact: Jane Connors, Tel: (212) 963-3162, E-mail: connorsj@un.org OR Philomena Kintu, Tel: (212) 963-3153, E-mail: kintup@un.org

 

GA Reviews Progress on Population

 

The Commission on Population and Development acting as a preparatory committee for the twenty-first special session of the General Assembly met at United Nation Headquarters from 24 March to 1 April 1999. The preparatory committee held extensive negotiations on a working paper submitted by the Chairman on proposals for key actions for the further implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. Substantial progress was achieved in many areas, but the preparatory committee was not able to complete its work and recommended to the General Assembly to authorize a resumed session. It is proposed that the resumed session be held on 24, 25, 28 and 29 June 1999.

 

The special session will open on 30 June with three plenary meetings per day. The Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole which is the working group of the special session will hold parallel meetings to finalize the text that will be adopted of the special session. A small number of side events will also be held during the special session.

 

An information note on the arrangements for the special session has been issued.

 

Contact: Birgitta Bucht, Tel. (212) 963-3183, E-mail: bucht@un.org

 

ECOSOC to Focus on Poverty Eradication

 

Poverty eradication and advancement of women, coordination of policies related to the development of Africa, and transition from humanitarian relief to development are major themes for the forthcoming substantive session of ECOSOC in Geneva.

 

A number of significant initiatives have been taken in preparing for the substantive session of ECOSOC, inter alia , meetings with the Bretton Woods Institutions, a meeting on indicators and high-level panels on poverty eradication. (See article in DESA News, Vol. 3, Issue 1, p.6: "Preparations for ECOSOC"). The additional panels on the theme "The role of training in promoting access to work" will take place at the International Labour Organization (ILO) International Training Centre, in Turin, Italy, on Sunday, 4 July, and on "National policies and international cooperation for employment-oriented growth; impact on poverty reduction and gender equality" will be held at the United Nations Offices in Geneva, on Tuesday, 6 July.

 

The outcome of the panels will significantly contribute to the elaboration of an action-oriented and result-oriented outcome of the high-level segment of this year substantive session of ECOSOC B the "ECOSOC Manifesto" - which will send a clear message of what immediate steps governments, the United Nations and the civil society should take to alleviate poverty.

 

The theme for the high level segment is "The role of employment and work in poverty eradication: the empowerment and advancement of women". The President of the Council, Ambassador Fulci of Italy has launched intensive preparations for an action-oriented "Geneva Manifesto" on poverty eradication, with support from the World Bank, UNDP, UNU and ILO. The statements made by Heads of Delegations in the high-level segment will be viewed live by webcast on the Internet.

 

The operational activities segment will take up poverty eradication and capacity building; the coordination segment will discuss the coordination of the policies and activities of the United Nations system related to the development of Africa; the humanitarian segment will take up the economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance.

 

The general segment will discuss, inter alia , coordinated implementation and follow-up of major United Nations conferences; the reports of coordination body ACC and CPC and a report by HIV/AIDS under coordination, programme and other questions; economic and environmental questions; implementation of General Assembly resolution 50/227 and 52/12 B; social and human rights questions; and non-governmental organizations.

 

The Development Cooperation Policy Branch of the Division for ECOSOC Support and Coordination will service the high-level portion of the operational activities segment, which will focus on poverty eradication and capacity-building. Other portions include a dialogue with heads of agencies; panel discussions with UN country teams for Indonesia and Mali; review of executive board reports for UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP, and the report of the high-level committee on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries; and review of progress in implementing the GA's comprehensive resolution 53/192. A wide-ranging SG report provides the basic documentation (E/1999/55 and Adds.1 and 2).

 

OSCAL staff will provide substantive support and servicing to the Coordination Segment of ECOSOC, at which the Secretary-General's report on Africa will be discussed. Its title is "Implementation of the recommendations of the Secretary-General's report to the Security Council, specifically the implementation and the coordinated follow-up by the United Nations system of initiatives on Africa". The report reviews actions and measures taken in implementing the recommendations of the Secretary-General's report, based on information provided by United Nations system organizations, and developed and developing donor countries; it discusses the priority areas covered by the current initiatives on Africa setting them against the context of Africa's own priorities as elaborated in the Cairo Agenda for Action adopted by the Organization of African Unity in 1995; and it addresses the coordinated follow-up by the United Nations system of the initiatives on Africa, together with the harmonization of current bilateral and international initiatives on Africa.

 

Senior staff of DESA, including Mr. Desai, Ms. King and Mr. Civili, and much of DESC will attend the session, to which the Department provides extensive substantive support.

Documentation, inter alia , provisional agenda and summaries of the outcomes of the panels are posted online on the ECOSOC web page, at: http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ecosoc/document.htm

 

Contact: Sarbuland Khan, Tel.: (212) 963.4628, Fax: (212) 963.1712, E-mail: khan2@un.org ; Fred Haemmerli, Tel. (212) 963-5796, Fax (212) 963-2812, on the operational segment; Emmanuel Goued Njayick, Tel. (212) 963-5006, Fax (212) 963-3892 on the SG's Report on Africa and Christopher F. Hackett, Tel. (212) 963-2263, Fax (212) 963-1712 on the panels.

 

JUNE-AUGUST MEETINGS

 

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),

Twenty-first Session

New York, 7-25 June

 

See lead article above.

 

Committee on Contributions, Fifty-ninth Session

New York, 7-25 June 1999

 

UNSD as part of its regular work programme provides statistical servicing of the annual session of the Committee on Contributions. The main agenda items for the upcoming session include: a) Review of the elements of the methodology for the preparation of future scales of UN assessment and b) Consideration of member states' requests for exemption from the application of Article 19 of the UN charter. This session is particularly important as it will lay the groundwork for next year's general review and recalculation of the assessment scale which is done every three years. The Economic Statistics Branch of UNSD provides the Committee with all of its statistical requirements and relevant studies/reports to guide it in its methodological work.

 

Contact: Cristina Hannig, Tel. (212) 963-4854, Fax (212) 963-9851, E-mail: hannig@un.org and Felizardo Suzara, Tel. (212) 963-4856, Fax (212) 963-9851, E-mail: suzara@un.org.

 

Committee for Programme and Coordination, 39th session

New York, 7 June-2 July

 

OSCAL staff will provide substantive support and servicing of the meeting, at which the Progress report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the United Nations System-wide Special Initiative for the Implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s will be discussed. The report aims at showing progress achieved in the implementation of the Special Initiative for the period June 1998 - May 1999 and includes, inter alia , measures taken in response to the recommendations set out in paragraphs 329 to 332 of the Committee's report A/53/16 and activities related to the two priority areas of economic diversification and regional cooperation and integration.

 

Ad Hoc Experts Group Meeting on Economic Measures as means of political and economic coercion against developing countries

New York, 14-16 June

 

Pursuant to General Assembly 52/181, the meeting will study the effects of such measures on the affected countries, including the impact on trade and development.

A summary of the deliberations and main findings will be included in the Secretary-General's report to the 54th session of the General Assembly.

 

Contact: Alexander Trepelkov, Tel. (212) 963-7633, E-mail: trepelkov@un.org.

 

International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA) Annual Conference "Shaping Public Management for Accountability, Effectiveness and Democracy: The Role of Schools and Institutes of Administration"

Birmingham, 19-22 June

 

Six working groups will examine the following themes: (a) education and training programmes in Public Administration: a tool for reform and change; (b) public enterprise management and the public-private mix; (c) public services reform; local Government management and Development; (d) administrative accountability; and (e) managing public finances. DPEPA will chair a workshop on "Managing for Policy Effectiveness".

Contact: Najet Karaborni, Tel. (212) 963-6207, E-mail: karaborni@un.org .

 

Asia-Africa Technical Workshop on Early Warning Systems for Desertification

Beijing, 22-23 June

 

OSCAL will be co-sponsoring the workshop together with the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Deserticiation, particularly in Africa. The objective of the meeting is to adopt a framework for Asia-Africa cooperation in early warning systems for desertification. This is one of the follow-up activities to the Second Asia-Africa Forum on Combatting Desertification, held in Niamey, Niger, in September 1997.

Contact: Leslie Wade, Tel. (212) 963 4420, Fax (212) 963 3892, E-mail: wade@un.org

 

Expert Meeting on Employment and Globalization

New York, 23-25 June

 

Organized by the Division for Social policy and Development, in cooperation with ILO, the meeting will bring together academics, policy makers and representatives of international organizations for an informal brainstorming on the implications of globalization on employment in both the national and international contexts.

 

Contact: Steve Miller, Tel. (212) 963-7535, Fax (212) 963-3062, E-mail: millers@un.org

 

Second Iberoamerican Conference of Ministers of Public Service and Reform of the State

Havana, 24-25 June

 

The meeting will examine the following themes: (a) new technologies, efficiency, transparency and citizen oversight of the State: (b) rethinking of the state in the context of a global economy: new roles and new goals; and (c) review of initiatives of the Conference for the promotion of iberamerican projects. The meeting is being organized by the Latin American Center of Administration for Development (CLAD) and the Government of Cuba, and supported by the DPEPA.

 

Contact: Guido Bertucci, Tel. (212) 963-5761, E-mail: bertucci@un.org .

 

1999 Microcredit Summit Meeting

Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, 24-26 June

 

The meeting will bring together representatives of leading institutions involved with the global campaign to ensure that 100 million of the world's poorest families, especially the women of those families, receive credit and self-employment and other financial and business services by the year 2005. Common problems hampering fulfilment of these goals will be discussed and appropriate measures will be identified to address those challenges.

 

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

 

Commission on Population and Development acting as preparatory committee for

the twenty-first special session of the General Assembly

New York, 24 to 29 June 1999

 

General Assembly - twenty-first special session for the review and appraisal of

the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference

on Population and Development

New York, 30 June to 2 July 1999

 

See lead article above .

 

Third Africa Governance Forum: Good Governance and Conflict Management for Durable Peace and Sustainable Development

Bamako, 28-30 June

 

The meeting will examine the following issues: (a) defining the conceptual and operational links between good governance and conflict management; (b) conflict management in Africa: the state of the art; and (c) institutions and practices in support of conflict management. This Forum is organized by the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) within the framework of the United Nations System-Wide Special Initiative on Africa. DPEPA is supporting substantively this initiative.

 

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

 

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

Pre-session for the Twenty-second Session

New York, 28 June-2 July

 

Economic and Social Council, Substantive Session

Geneva, Switzerland 5-30 July 1999

 

See lead article above.

 

First specialized international Conference of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS) on Accountability in Public Administration: Reconciling Democracy, Efficiency and Ethics

London, 12-15 July

 

The meeting with review the concept of accountability in public administration and the following sub-topics: accountability and democracy; accountability and efficiency; accountability and ethics; and accountability across levels of government: globalization and decentralisation. Mr. Bertucci will chair a United Nations Panel on the theme of the forthcoming report on "The State of the Public Sector".

 

Contact: Guido Bertucci, Tel. (212) 963-5761, E-mail: bertucci@un.org .

 

Human Resources Development for Eco-Partnership Building in Local Governance

Bangkok, 19-20 July

Tokyo, 22-23 July

 

As a follow-up activity to the World Conference on International Cooperation of Cities and Citizens for Cultivating an Eco-Society held in Tokyo in May 1999, DPEPA/DESA is organizing jointly with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government a series of study programmes for selected African and Asian Mayors. The programme is intended to promote partnership, along with the transfer of technical know-how and practical experiences in waste management (including recycling), urban transportation planning and water resources management, to facilitate the creation of an eco-society in the selected cities.

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

 

Ninth General Assembly of the World Future Society "Frontiers of the 21st Century"

Washington, 29 July-1 August

 

Mr. Bertucci will make a presentation on the theme: "Strengthening International Public Service" at a session which will address efforts to create a fully professional public service to manage international functions, including an important and unique partnership between the United Nations and the American Association for Public Administration.

 

Contact: Guido Bertucci, Tel. (212) 963-5761, E-mail: bertucci@un.org.

 

ADVISORY SERVICES

 

Forthcoming advisory services

 

The Division for Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA) will carry out two substantive evaluations of administrative reform and governance programme in Cambodia.

 

It will also carry out, with CAFRAD, a review of civil service charters and codes of conduct in Africa, with the view to assisting a task force of African Ministers responsible for the preparation of a charter of civil service in Africa.

 

* * *

 

UN Workshop on the System of National Accounts (SNA) and Classifications,

Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, 31 May to 4 June.

 

This workshop was organized by UNSD in collaboration with the Subregional Office for the Caribbean of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and with the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM). It was hosted by the Bureau of Statistics of the Netherlands Antilles in Curacao. The workshop focused on: (a) Current sources and methods and status of implementation of the 1993 System of National Accounts, (b) Current implementation and use of the Central Product Classification (CPC) and the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC), and (c) SNA External Sector and International Trade in Services.

 

Contact: Jan van Tongeren, Tel. (212) 963-4859 and Mary Chamie, Tel. (212) 4869

 

* * *

 

Advisory missions to Belarus, Malta, Kazakhstan and Sudan are planned. The main terms of reference for these missions are to review/evaluate the existing computing infrastructure available to the national Statistical Offices and advise on the planning and achieving rapid modernization and development of their socio-economic informatics technology infrastructure.

 

* * *

 

The Division for Social Policy and Development is conducting two interregional workshops during the second quarter, one on the social implications of the financial crisis at the national and local levels (May, Bangkok) and one on the Asian experience of social policy reforms and their relevance to Africa (June, Nairobi).

 

 

Contact: Daniel Olden, Tel. (212) 963-5319, Fax (212) 963-3062.

 

FORTHCOMING PUBLICATIONS

 

1999 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development

 

The 1999 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development is being finalized for publication later this year.

 

 

1999 World Economic and Social Survey

E.99.II.C.1

 

The Survey will be in two parts this year. First, following tradition, Part One of the Survey assesses the current global economic situation, including a forecast of output, international trade and other key economic variables in 1999 in the main regions of the world. Part Two is an analysis of financial development in the globalizing world. It looks at the evolution of financial systems in developed, developing and transition economies, in particular the changing functioning of banks and the growing role of financial markets. It also discusses special questions of bringing financial services to the poor (in particular credit) and traces the nascent spread of venture capital as a mechanism for fostering innovation in developing and transition economies, as well as in developed countries. Finally, as barriers to international movements of funds have fallen in the face of globalization (reflecting both technology and policy change), the Survey looks at the international dimension of financial development, some major reforms being adopted and others being discussed at the international level. The Survey concludes with an extensive statistical annex of economic, trade and financial indicators.

 

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

 

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

 

Development Policy Analysis

 

Global Financial Turmoil and Reform: A United Nations Perspective

Edited by a team from the Development Policy Analysis Division of DESA, Barry Herman, Supervising Editor. The United Nations University Press.

ISBN 92-808-1032-4

Sales No. E.99.III.A.8

 

United Nations economists based in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and New York met last July at DESA, along with staff of other international organizations, from international finance and business, and academic authorities, to share notes and analysis to better understand the international financial crisis that had begun in Asia the year before. The process led to a set of recommendations that were presented to the General Assembly in a report of the Secretary-General on methods to strengthen the capacity of developing and transition economies to cope with international financial volatility and to reduce the risks embodied in the international financial system (A/53/398). This volume collects the main inputs to these exercises, including revised and updated papers and summaries of debates at the expert group meeting. In the rapidly changing discussions of reform of national and international financial policy, ideas from outside the mainstream of thinking have suddenly gained a wider hearing. Several can be found in this book.

 

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

 

Population

 

Wall Chart on Abortion Policies

 

A wall chart recently issued by the Population Division provides the most complete and up-to-date information available globally on abortion laws, practices and policies.

 

The chart indicates the grounds on which induced abortion is legally permitted in each of the countries. Based on an extensive review of national and international sources, the chart discloses that 98 per cent of the countries permit abortion to save the woman's life. Abortion under other circumstances varies; 63 per cent of countries permit abortion to preserve the woman's physical health; in 62 per cent of countries abortion is legal to preserve the woman's mental health and in 43 per cent of countries when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

 

There are substantial differences in abortion policies between the developed and developing countries. Among the 48 developed countries, 65 per cent permit abortion on all grounds, whereas the corresponding figure for 145 developing countries is 14 per cent. This information on abortion policies is complemented by relevant demographic data for each country, such as the incidence of abortion, the contraceptive prevalence rate, the total fertility rate and the maternal mortality rate.

 

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

 

Statistics

 

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/314, Vol. LIII - No. 2, February 1999

 

Special features in this issue: Index numbers of world industrial production: By branches of industry and by regions; Construction of new buildings; World exports by commodity classes and by regions: Developed economies only; Earnings in manufacturing; Index numbers of producers prices and wholesale prices.

 

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/315, Vol. LIII - No. 3, March 1999

 

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

 

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/316, Vol. LIII - No. 4, April 1999

 

Special features in this issue: World shipbuilding; Total exports and imports: Index numbers of quantum, unit value and terms of trade by regions; Civil aviation traffic: passenger-km and cargo net ton-km.

 

Contact: Gloria Cuaycong, Tel: (212) 963-4865, Fax: (212) 963-0623,

E-mail: cuaycong@un.org

 

Population and Vital Statistics Report

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.A/209

Series A Vol. LI, No. 2

Data available as of 1 April 1999

 

This issue of the Population and Vital Statistics Report presents 1997 and 1998 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 nation-wide census of population (total, male and female) and, wherever possible, nationally representative statistics of live births, deaths and infant deaths (deaths under one year of age) for the most recent year available. If a nation-wide population census has never been taken, but a sample survey has, the survey results are shown in the "Latest population census" column until census data become available.

 

This issue of the Population and Vital Statistics Report supersedes all previous issues, and the data contained in it are themselves subject to future revision. For more detailed data and data relating to years not shown here, readers should consult the Demographic Yearbook.

 

Countries or areas are arranged in alphabetical order within continents.

 

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

 

Social Policy

 

Technology and its Impact on Families

 

This publication to be issued in June 1999 describes the outcome of the UN Workshop on Technology and Families, held in Dublin, 6-10 October 1998. It was organized by the Family Unit, Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in cooperation with the Government of Ireland, Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, and in association with Quest Campus.

 

The technical publication addresses: how technological change affects the family unit in the performance of its central and irreducible functions in any society - traditional, modern and post-modern alike; how change driven by technology affects relationships among family members; and conversely, how technology can help the family in its efforts to adapt to change in order to continue to play its central role in society.

 

Contact: Amr Ghaleb, Tel. (212) 963-3238, Fax (212) 963-3062, E-mail: ghaleb@un.org

 

Experts Discuss Some Critical Social Development Issues

ESA/DSPD.BP.2

 

The paper contains three important contributions by distinguished academics on the following issues: (I)"Macroeconomics and the Social Dimension" by A.B.Atkinson, Nuffield College, Oxford University, United Kingdom; (ii)"Sustaining Revenue for Social Purposes in the face of Globalization" by Anthony Clunnies-Ross, Professor Emeritus, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom; and (iii)"The Right to Development and the Need for an Integrated Human Rights Approach To Development" by Philip Alston, Professor of International Law, European University Institute, Florence, Italy.

 

Bulletin on the Eradication of Poverty, No 5.

 

Issued by the Division for Social Policy and Development.

 

Enhancing Socio-economic Policies in the Least Developed Countries of Asia

ST/ESA/263

 

The publication focuses on current trends in the socio-economic development of Asia's least developed countries. It identifies a number of social and economic policies to enable these countries to improve their economic and social situation.

 

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

 

Women

 

The DAW periodical, Women 2000 on Integrating a Gender Perspective into UN Human Rights Work has been issued. The next issue of Women 2000 will focus on Women and HIV/AIDS.

 

 

Public Administration

 

Restructuring and Reform: Business Development Opportunities in Military Industry Conversion to Civilian Markets

ST/TCD/SER.E.63

 

This publication presents and discusses the military industry restructuring and public sector reform experience in a wide range of situations in Argentina, Belarus, Chile, China, Eritrea, the European Union, France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.

 

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

 

Regulation policies concerning natural monopolies in developing and transition economies - DESA Discussion Paper No.8

ST/ESA/1999/DP.8

 

The paper defines natural monopoly and its current regulation policy agenda and offers some recommendations concerning natural monopoly privatization and regulation Contact: Albrecht Horn, Tel. (212) 963-3924, E-mail: horn@un.org or Seok-Ran Kim, Tel. (212) 963-8391, E-mail:@un.org.

 

Budgeting Reform in Developing Countries

ST/TCD/SER.E/60

 

The publication comprises papers presented at a United Nations Workshop in New York.

 

Privatization of Public Sector Activities, with Special Focus on Telecommunications, Energy, Health and Community Services

ST/TCD/SER.E.34

 

The publication comprises conference papers, including general papers, presented at a International Conference and Workshop on Privatization of Public Sector Activities in Stockholm, Sweden, organized jointly by the United Nations and the Swedish International Services.

 

Public Enterprise Reform and Performance Contracting: The State of the Art

ST/TCD/SER.E/57

 

The publication comprises papers presented at an international Conference on Performance Contracting held in New Delhi.

 

For the above-mentioned three publications in the area of public finance, contact

Mr. Abdel Hamid Bouab, Tel. (212) 963-8406, E-mail: bouab@un.org.

 

Governance World Watch

 

The Clusters for Networking and Outreach in DPEPA produced issues 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the monthly news review entitled "Governance World Watch", which is intended to provide DPEPA staff members with closer links between their work and the reality of the world. Collected from all sources of media focussing on major concerns and interests related to the Division's mandate in the field of public economics and public administration, the news review is organized along the following themes: public economic; governance system and institutions; civil service reform and administration; management innovation and development; and public finance and private sector development.

 

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

 

Operational Activities

 

Report on operational activities of the UN for international development cooperation

E/1999/55 and Adds.1 and 2

 

The report of the Secretary-General will provide basic documentation for the operational activities segment of ECOSOC. A wide-ranging report, the main document extensively treats poverty eradication, as well as capacity-building, chosen by the Council as themes for special consideration. It further gives priority attention to the issues of resources and funding, and the oversight role of the Council in relation to the UN funds and programmes (UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP). The Add.1 document reports progress in implementing last year's triennial comprehensive policy review (GA resolution 53/192), with attention to: the Common Country Assessment (CCA) and UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) instruments; the UN resident coordinator system; planning, programming and implementation mechanisms; humanitarian assistance, peace-building and development; regional dimensions; south-south cooperation; national execution; and monitoring and evaluation. Annexed are a statement of the ACC on its commitment to enact the resolution in a coherent and coordinated manner, and a detailed management process for the resolution's implementation. The Add.2 document provides comprehensive statistical data for 1997.

 

MEETINGS HELD

 

Subgroup of the Expert Group on International Economic and Social

Classifications

New York, 9-10 June

 

UNSD organized this meeting to identify proposals to be put before the whole Expert Group at its annual meeting on 6-9 December 1999. The main agenda items were: (a) General issues such as: review of actions taken by the 30th session of the Statistical Commission, objectives and scope of the Expert Group's activities, guiding principles for the development and review of classifications, etc.; (b) Industrial classifications issues such as: industry and products, future revisions of activity classifications, achieving greater convergence among NAICS, NACE, ANZSIC and other industrial classifications, etc; and (c) Support of ISIC Rev.3: short term measures to improve documentation and tools, training and assistance programs, etc.

 

Contact: Mary Chamie, Tel. (212) 963-4869, Fax (212) 963-9851 and Ralf Becker, Tel. (212) 963-4600, Fax (212) 963-9851

 

Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Global Patterns and Trends in Public Expenditures and their Implications for National and International Development Strategies, New York, 8-10 June

 

The meeting reviewed recent patterns and trends in public expenditure in developing and transitional economy countries and their implications for development strategy.

 

A publication titled "Patterns and Trends in Public Expenditure and their Implications for Development Strategy" will be issued.

 

Contact: Larry Willmore, Tel. (212) 963-4758, E-mail: willmore@un.org.

 

Application of Growth Triangles in Southern Africa

Lusaka, Zambia, 3-5 June

 

OSCAL will participate in this brainstorming technical working session, which UNDP Lusaka is organizing in the context of developing a programme for innovative cooperation among the South, as part of the substantive United Nations system support to a private sector driven initiative for regional economic cooperation and integration in Africa. The meeting will work out the terms of reference for a pre-feasibility study on the Zambia-Malawi-Mozambique growth triangles for the promotion of infrastructure, economic, microcredit and other activities that have the potential to stimulate trade and investment, including the development of microenterprises and cross-border trade.

 

Ninth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters

New York, 3-7 May

 

In response to ECOSOC resolution 1273 (XLIII) of 4 August 1967, the Secretary-General in 1968 set up an Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Tax Treaties between Developed and Developing Countries which has met on a biennial basis to review major international taxation issues between developed and developing countries. In 1980 the United Nations published the United Nations Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries and the Manual for the Negotiation of Bilateral Tax Treaties between Developed and Developing Countries.

 

By its resolution 1980/13 of 28 April 1980, ECOSOC endorsed the recommendations of the Secretary-General on the dissemination of the material in the Manual and Model Convention and renamed the Group of Experts Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters.

 

Over the past decade, the Group of Experts has noted significant changes in the international economic, financial and fiscal environment. It therefore established a Focus Group to update both the Model and the Manual.

 

The Group of Experts adopted, by acclamation, the revised United Nations Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries and requested its publication as soon as possible. It recommended a biennial review process for it.

 

The main objectives of the revision were to rationalize the provisions on tax treatment of dividends, interest and royalties, strengthen anti-abuse provisions on associated enterprises, capital gains and independent personal services and introduce administrative simplification on mutual agreement procedure for tax collection and exchange of information with a view to combatting tax avoidance and evasion. The revision provides further guidelines and suggestions to negotiate bilateral tax treaties between developed and developing countries.

 

The Group of Experts took note with satisfaction of the training provided to developing and transitional economies countries during the First Interregional Training Workshop in Amsterdam (22 - 26 March 1999) which focussed on transfer pricing and relief methods for the elimination of double taxation. It considered technical assistance aimed at strengthening developing countries institutional capacities in tax administration and recommended it be continued.

 

Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF)

Geneva, 3-14 May

 

The third session of the IFF dealt successfully with on forest valuation, rehabilitation of forests in environmentally critical areas, economic instruments and future supply and demand. A number of proposals for action remained in brackets in programme elements such as underlying causes of deforestation, traditional forest-related knowledge, forest conservation and protected areas, and transfer of technologies.

 

Concerning IFF category III, international arrangements and mechanisms, the discussion centered on guidance to the Secretariat for the fourth session of the IFF including preparation of a Secretary-General's Report to support deliberations on possible elements of, and work towards consensus on, international arrangements and mechanisms.

 

The Forum adopted a comprehensive report with major conclusions and proposals for action to be further negotiated at its fourth and final session to be held in New York, from 31 January to 11 February 2000.

 

Two major government-led initiatives remain to be implemented between IFF III and IFF IV as follows:

 

(1) International arrangements and mechanisms to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, in support of IFF Category III. Regional consultations are scheduled in a variety of global locations from August to October 1999. The final meeting will be in Canada in December 1999.

 

(2) First week of October 1999, Tehran, Iran. Open-ended International Expert Meeting on "Special Needs and Requirements of Developing Countries with Low Forest Cover and Unique Types of Forests". Organized by the Government of Iran, in cooperation with other interested countries and international organizations. An international contact group meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland, 13 May 1999.

 

Further information is available on the website of the IFF Secretariat at

 

http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/iff.htm

 

Major Decisions of CSD-7 in the area of Oceans

 

The seventh session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, in April 1999, addressed oceans and seas as its sectoral focus. It adopted recommendations for joint or individual action by UN system organizations and noted oceans and seas require a more integrated approach on legal, economic, social and environmental aspects. Accordingly the Commission:

 

(a) Invited the Secretary-General to take measures for a better coordination of the Secretariat work on oceans and seas;

 

(b) Requested the Secretary-General to complement his annual reports to the General Assembly with suggestions on initiatives to improve coordination and integration, and to submit these reports well in advance of the debate in the Assembly;

 

(c) Further invited the Secretary-General, in cooperation with the executive heads of relevant organizations of the United Nations system, to improve the effectiveness of the ACC Subcommittee on Oceans and Coastal Areas, including through making its work more transparent and responsive to Member States, for example by organizing regular briefings on its activities;

 

(d) Recommended that the General Assembly, bearing in mind the importance of utilizing the existing framework to the maximum extent possible, consider ways to enhance the effectiveness of its annual debate on oceans and the law of the sea.

 

The Commission recommended that the General Assembly establish an open-ended consultative process which should take into account inputs from UN bodies. The Assembly should strengthen existing structures and mandates within the UN system in this area; then should be no duplication and overlapping. The results of CSD-7's review of oceans and seas will be considered by the General Assembly at its 54th session.

 

CSD-7 also considered the status of implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), and expressed its grave concern at the slow rate of progress. It welcomed the recent decision of the UNEP Governing Council [20/19 B] which called for expediting progress in this regard, and reiterated its appeal to the governing bodies of relevant UN agencies and organizations to review their role in, and contribution to, the implementation of the GPA, as recommended by GA resolution 51/189. CSD ask them to provide information on progress in this area for the annual reports of the Secretary-General to the Assembly.

 

CSD reiterated its 1996 call for the sponsoring organizations of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), to review its modus operandi with a view to improving its effectiveness and inclusiveness, while maintaining its status as a source of independent scientific advice. In this context, CSD welcomed plans for an August 1999 intersecretariat meeting called by the IMO, as administrative secretariat of GESAMP, to review the Group's terms of reference and modus operandi , in response to the Commission's recommendations.