Volume 3, Issue 6 , December 1999 - -January 2000



In this issue:

Second Committee Concludes Work


Preparations Under Way for Forest Forum


Sustainable Agriculture is Theme of Dialogue at CSD 8


Optional Protocol Opened for Signature on Human Rights Day


ACC Focuses on UN Contribution to Global Agenda


Opinion: Special Interests Versus People’s Long-Term Well Being


Forthcoming Meetings


Forthcoming Publications


Recent Publications
Statistics , Africa , Public Administration


Advisory Services


Meetings Held


Comings and Goings


Second Committee Concludes Work

The Second Committee concluded its work on 16 December, after protracted negotiations on a number of key resolutions relating to finance, trade, globalization and poverty.

In all, the Committee adopted 40 resolutions this year as compared to 33 the year before. The Group of 77 submitted comprehensive drafts on the new financial architecture, external debt, financing for development, globalization and trade. The negotiations on these drafts were intensive. The outcome of Seattle and the new US stance on the role of the IMF also affected the discussions, particularly on the drafts relating to trade and financial issues.

The negotiations on the trade resolution had been postponed until after Seattle and were curtailed significantly following the events there. The draft adopted reiterates agreed positions and principles. It urges that UNCTAD X should be used as an opportunity to consider the strategies and policies that are most likely to ensure the successful integration of developing countries into the world economy.

Following intensive negotiations on the resolution on the international financial system, agreement had been reached in informal consultations, but then a vote was called for. The draft was eventually adopted with 120 in favour and 1 against (US).

The action on the financial resolution reverberated on the negotiations on the draft on globalization. The two most difficult issues that emerged were: the convening of an expert group on information technology and the reference in the draft to "good governance". Agreement was eventually reached on a high-level panel of experts on information technology to be convened next year from extra-budgetary sources. Consultations on "governance" continued to hang fire until the last minute when finally a compromise was hammered out in the Committee which " strongly underlines the importance of governance responsive to the needs of the people and based on efficient, participatory, transparent and accountable public service, policy-making process and administration".

As regards financing for development, Mexico successfully steered the negotiations. As adopted, the resolution calls for a high level event, at least at the Ministerial level, and for a preparatory committee to meet in an organizational session in January and resumed organizational session in March 2000. It also requests the Secretary-General to make proposals for a Secretariat commensurate with the level of the event. Decisions relating to the form of the final event and the modalities of participation of institutional stakeholders, notably the World Bank and the IMF as well as others including the NGOs and the private sector are to be pursued through the Preparatory Committee. The Secretary-General has been requested to initiate, as soon as possible, preliminary consultations with all relevant stake-holders, and in particular the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO and to submit the results of these consultations to the preparatory committee for its consideration at its first organizational session. The Bureau is also requested to hold consultations with all stakeholders on the modalities of their participation, including the possibility of creating a joint task force, and to submit proposals to the preparatory committee at its resumed organizational session in March 2000.


Preparations Under Way for IFF 4

The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) will take place at Headquarters from 31 January to 11 February 2000. The report of the session will be presented at the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 8) in late April. Depending on CSD’s decision, the Forum will keep working on establishing an intergovernmental negotiation process on new arrangements or a legally binding instrument on all types of forests. The issues involved are complex and politically sensitive and they have kept negotiators busy since the run-up to the 1992 Rio Summit.

What is at stake ?

  FACTS AND FIGURES

  • The World’s forests: In 1995, there were 34 million km2 (4 times the area of Brazil) of natural and planted forests plus 17 million km2 of other wooded land (FAO);
  • Deforestation: Between 1990-1995, 651 000 km2 of forests (nearly the size of Texas) were lost in developing countries due to deforestation (FAO);
  • Trade: Global trade in forest products was US$ 135 billion in 1997 (FAO);
  • People: There are 300-400 million people living in and around forests;
  • Number of countries with low forest cover: Depending on the definition used, between 70 and 100 countries are now considered as having inadequate forest cover to meet their needs;
  • Biological diversity: Forest ecosystems hold between 50% and 70% (according to different estimates) of the world’s terrestrial species (Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat);
  • International cooperation on forests: Roughly US$1 billion annually.

While much has been accomplished to build consensus and North-South partnerships in the 1990s, more needs to be done. Some of the issues that keep negotiations alive and call for urgent concerted action include:

  • Continuing alarming rates of deforestation, particularly in tropical countries; loss of biological diversity and genetic resources;
  • Poor governance, including corruption, illegal logging and trade, at an estimated annual cost of billions of US dollars, with wide ranging effect on the wealth and social fabric of entire nations;
  • The need for more efficient and effective international aid delivery, with wiser spending; and
  • Recognition of the roles of different stakeholders, particularly the rights of forest dwellers and indigenous communities.

Matters are further complicated by the highly political nature of some forest issues. These have been partly addressed in the so-called "Forest Principles" negotiated at the Earth Summit in Rio and include the following five overarching principles, reaffirmed by the IFF as well as by its predecessor, the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) in 1997:

  • States have the sovereign right to use their resources to meet their national policy objectives;
  • States have the right to economic development in accordance with their social, economic, environmental and political conditions;
  • States have common but differentiated responsibilities on collective global interest and concerns related to forests;
  • States have the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction;
  • International cooperation should focus on building human and institutional capacity in developing countries to manage their forests sustainably.

Both the IPF and IFF have run into difficulties with overriding issues on the international agenda such as development financing, international trade, and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. Agreement on these issues in relation to forests could spearhead progress in other intergovernmental fora facing much the same North-South issues.

The real challenge at IFF 4 will be to design, and agree on, an international arrangement that will prompt Governments, corporations, and concerned communities and citizens to invest in the sustainable management of forests. This will require further intergovernmental negotiations and consultations, improved coordination among development partners, implementation of agreed actions, and increased long term political commitment, including consideration of a new international, legally binding instrument on forests.

In 1997, the IPF did not reach agreement on such an arrangement, but left it to CSD 5 and subsequently to the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly to further deliberate, resulting in the creation of the IFF as an ad hoc mechanism. This time, however, there seems to be a general understanding that the IFF has to finish its work, i.e. reach a compromise to be recommended for adoption by CSD 8.

The official documentation for IFF 4 will consist of the following:

  • Annotated agenda for the fourth session;
  • Report of the IFF at its third session (with brackets still to be negotiated);
  • Secretary-General’s report on programme element II.e - Forest-related work of organizations and instruments (left pending at IFF 3);
  • Secretary-General’s report on category III - International arrangements and mechanisms.

In addition, the IFF secretariat has prepared two notes for information only:

  • Note 1 on priority policy issues in the IPF/IFF process;
  • Note 2 on elements and functions.

The Secretary-General’s report on category III and Notes 1 and 2 have been prepared in consultation with the informal, high-level Inter-agency Task Force on Forests (ITFF). Together, the three documents provide an overview of the IPF/IFF process, including priority issues, elements, functions of, and options for, a future international arrangement and mechanism on forests.

Further information on the IPF/IFF process is available on the Web site of the IFF secretariat at http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/forests.htm

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


Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Segment on Sustainable Agriculture at CSD-8

The CSD tradition of including a two-day Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Segment in its annual meetings will continue at CSD-8 with a focus on Sustainable Agriculture. CSD-8 is scheduled for 24 April to 5 May 2000.

The Segment will consist of four sessions from 24 to 26 April on the following four themes:

  • Choices in agricultural production techniques, consumption patterns and safety regulations: Potentials and threats to sustainable agriculture.
  • Best practices in land resources management for sustainable food cycles.
  • Knowledge for a sustainable food system: identifying and providing for education, training, knowledge-sharing and information needs.
  • Globalization, trade liberalization and investment patterns: economic incentives and framework conditions to promote sustainable agriculture

The Segment will include delegations representing the food industry, trade unions from the agriculture sector, NGOs working on sustainable agriculture or representing communities where agriculture is a key economic sector, and farmers. The Chair of CSD-8, Minister Juan Mayr Maldonado of Colombia, will moderate. The CSD secretariat is working with the following partners to prepare the Segment: CSD-NGO Caucus on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, the International Agri-Food Network, the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, and Via Campesina.

Multi-stakeholder dialogue sessions are unique to CSD. They emerged from the special session of the General Assembly to review progress in Agenda 21 implementation which asked CSD to "Strengthen its interaction with representatives of major groups including through greater and better use of focused dialogue sessions… " The purpose is to generate action oriented dialogue between Governments and major groups on a specific economic sector, such as agriculture, and to identify policies and actions to increase its impact on sustainable development objectives. Thus representatives of major groups can for two days engage in a focused discussion on an equal footing with Governments. No concurrent meetings are scheduled, to ensure full attendance.

A significant aspect of those sessions is their preparation, itself a participatory process with stakeholder groups in a leading partnership role.

The key outcomes can be (i) more understanding and trust between parties, (ii) direct input by stakeholders into inter-governmental decision making and (iii) multi-stakeholder follow-up programmes or projects.

The success of those sessions may inspire other bodies to follow CSD’s lead.

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


Optional Protocol opened for signature on Human Rights Day
New York, 10 December

On Human Rights Day, 10 December 1999, twenty-three of the 165 States parties to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women took a major step forward in realizing their commitments to women’s human rights by participating in a historic signing ceremony of the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The noon-time ceremony took place at UN Headquarters in New York. The Optional Protocol will enter into force three months after 10 States parties to the Convention have ratified or acceded to it.

Adopted by the UN General Assembly on 6 October 1999, the Optional Protocol is a legal instrument which will enable women victims of sex discrimination to submit complaints to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the treaty body established under the Convention. By accepting the Optional Protocol, a State would recognize the competence of the Committee to receive and consider complaints from individuals or groups of individuals within its jurisdiction in cases where they have exhausted domestic remedies.

The Optional Protocol also creates an inquiry procedure enabling the Committee to initiate inquiries into situations of grave or systematic violations of women’s rights. Although the Optional Protocol includes an "opt-out clause", allowing States upon ratification or accession to declare that they do not accept the inquiry procedure, it explicitly provides that no reservations may be entered to its terms.

Following the signing ceremony, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened a panel discussion on the Optional Protocol at 3.00 p.m. Among the panellists were Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Sra.Aída González Martínez, Chairperson of CEDAW; Ms. Aloisia Wörgetter, who chaired the working group of the Commission on the Status of Women which prepared the Optional Protocol; the Honourable Justice Sujata Manohar, former Judge, Supreme Court of India; and Ms. Fauziya Kassindja of Equality Now. Ms. Angela E.V. King, Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, moderated the panel.

Documentation: Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (A/RES/54/4)

Contact: Jane Connors, Tel. (212) 963-3162, E-mail: connorsj@un.org OR Christine Brautigam, Tel. (212) 963-0535, E-mail: brautigamc@un.org


ACC Focuses on UN Contribution to Global Agenda

ACC discussions on the main item on its agenda at its last session in October, (The institutional and programmatic capacity of the UN system to respond flexibly and effectively to the challenges of the next century ) was the culmination of a process of reflection that the Secretary-General launched at the beginning of the year, on the shared values that define the common identity of the system, the main gaps that exist and the key challenges before the system in closing these gaps as it enters a new century. The challenges identified revolve around three main poles: the system’s own contribution to effective international governance, adapted to the new requirements and circumstances; the contribution that the system can make to bring the benefits of globalization to excluded peoples and countries; and, the basic capacity of the system to promote and strengthen the rule of law globally.

ACC undertook critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the UN system in relation to these challenges and identified some broad areas for common action that included: the need to set clear goals and to work towards them collectively; mobilization of resources to overcome a major and growing constraint in promoting the global agenda; and, the need to forge new partnerships and strategic alliances with other stakeholders based on UN values to achieve global objectives. Poverty eradication and the promotion of equity should continue to be the over-arching goals guiding ACC’s contribution to a more focused global agenda. ACC gave special attention to the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) initiative and to ways for the system to join forces with the Bretton Woods Institutions to help ensure that the initiative serves to advance the social development and anti-poverty objectives underlying it.

Discussions on the Follow-up to the Beijing Conference highlighted major gaps in addressing gender concerns in macro-economic policy. DESA’s "1999 World survey on the role of women in development: globalization, gender and work" was found to be an important contribution to the current debate. ACC agreed to address a statement on gender mainstreaming to the Special Session of the General Assembly on Beijing+5.

On the Follow-up to recent ACC decisions , the Deputy Secretary-General’s recommendations to ACC for greater coherence in the work of the UN system in Africa under UNSIA Steering Committee’s umbrella were broadly endorsed; it was also agreed that the spring 2000 agenda session will cover HIV/AIDS. UNESCO’s proposal to convene an ad hoc inter-agency meeting of planners to consider the follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace was endorsed.

Under Administrative Questions , the proposal for the General Assembly to review the functioning of the International Civil Service Commission was strongly supported. A comprehensive statement or staff safety and security was adopted.

At the initiative of the Secretary-General, the Y2K issue was brought up. ICAO was confident that, based upon information received from member States and airlines, aviation safety would not be adversely affected. ITU, on the other hand, noted that not all countries have the means to make their telecommunications equipment Y2K compliant, so some disruptions in worldwide communications could be anticipated.

The ACC Summary of Conclusions may be found at the ACC website: http://acc.unsystem.org/-documents/summary.conclusions/


Opinion

Special Interests Versus People’s Long-Term Well Being

Two recent developments illustrate the inability of regional governments to build sustainable development on the basis of the exploitation of their finite natural resources and to enlist all key stakeholders, notably the private sector and the environmentalists, to devise and implement policies conducive to the long-term well being of their constituency.

In the James Bay area of British Columbia, Canada, logging companies are moving into the coastal rain forest areas to clear-cut "old-growth" wood. They are stimulated by a recent drastic reduction of logging royalties aimed at reversing the province’s poor overall economic performance in 1998. Old growth forests play a critical ecosystem role and cannot be replaced. Environmentalists have launched a market boycott for old growth logging unless it is harvested in a sustainable and selective fashion. Customers’ behaviour may force non-compliant timber companies out of business with subsequent loss of jobs and revenues for the province unless the B.C. Government reverses its current royalty policy which amounts to subsidizing clear-cut logging at the expenses of policies which encourage sustainable logging practices.

In West Virginia, USA, coal mining is the mainstay of the economy. Million of tons of overburden are dumped into the river beds by the mining companies. A Federal District Court judge found that the clean water legislation was being violated by mountaintop strip mining, the most common practice. This decision has been denounced by the elected local officials and authorities who claim that this practice is pivotal to the survival of the industry.

At the dawn of the 21st century, the coal mountaintop strip mining in West Virginia and the old growth timber logging in British Columbia do not qualify as growth and sustainable industries. Market pressure and technological trends are steadily forcing these two sectors into an unreversible retrenchment. The global economy is gradually cutting the use of carbon-rich fuels which contribute to the emission of greenhouse gas and to global warming. Except in China and the US, coal is now been replaced by other sources of energy which produce less carbon dioxide. By entering into the greenhouse gas emissions trade, many forestry companies could offset their loses and become winners of sorts by selling emissions credits to the energy industry by planting trees able to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

In both regions, the local governments seem to be fighting a rear guard battle by denouncing environmental protection norms and supporting policies which equate to scorched earth practices. These governments assert that if good environmental practices were implemented or even respected, the local industry will be destroyed and subsequently draining their tax revenues. Scare tactics which have a divisive effect on the community are even being resorted to.

It is a worrying trend, but many elected governments are increasingly perceived by the public as siding with industries which use exploitation methods that are both wasteful and harmful. Thus, not surprisingly, many citizens of West Virginia and British Columbia are upset that industries with a limited growth potential are protected at the expense of their own long-term well being. As a result, maintaining of checks and balances has increasingly become the domain of the NGOs as whistle blowers and watchdogs. But neither business nor NGOs are accountable to the public at large, only democratically elected governments are answerable to their national constituencies. It is unhealthy that democratically elected institutions become the proponents of business and special interests for short term investment’s sake, and to fill the state’s coffers at the expense of the long-term well being are of the citizens and their children. When business increasingly and openly bankrolls the costly election campaigns of politicians, it must be expected that favours have to be returned sometime, earlier than later.

The process of globalization compels governments to become more alert and increase their efforts to maximize opportunities for their people and alleviate the possible negative socio-economic impacts. Many people are concerned because governments seem to be steadily falling behind both business and NGOs in terms of policy leadership and strategic vision to meet the challenge of globalization. Through a broad based-participation mechanism, governments could develop proactive policies conducive to job creation alternatives and allow for the smooth transition from non sustainable production patterns to less wasteful development options. Governments should direct part of their mining and logging revenues to job creation away from non sustainable sectors and/or encourage the development of more environmentally benign forms of natural resources exploitation through tax incentives. Unfortunately, in the two cases, coal mining and old growth logging, which are on their last legs, may not be able to generate the revenues needed to stimulate this transition. However, elsewhere, other non-renewable natural resources industries may be able to do so.

Béatrice Labonne
Coordinator for Technical Cooperation


FORTHCOMING MEETINGS

Postal Savings for Development
Tokyo, 6-7 January 2000

The Finance and Development Branch of the Development Policy Analysis Division is organizing the first in a projected series of regional conferences on "postal savings for development" in Tokyo, 6-7 January 2000. The purpose of these meetings is to investigate the opportunities to strengthen the mobilisation of financial resources through postal savings, enhance the developmental impact of postal funds accumulated, and improve the access to savings and other financial services of low-income populations, in particular women and rural populations. Attending the Tokyo meeting, which is hosted and supported by the Government of Japan, will be officials from the postal savings administrations of Bangladesh, China, India, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. Also participating in the meeting will be a representative of the Universal Postal Union (the UPU decided at its 22nd Congress in Beijing in August/September to elaborate an action plan for postal financial services development).

Contact: Mark Scher, Tel. (212) 963 8018, Fax (212) 963 1061, E-mail: scher@un.org

International Conference on Public Management and Governance in the New Millennium
Hong Kong, 10-11 January

Key agenda items: (a) Globalization and economic change: challenges for national and global economic governance; (b) Managerial reforms: modernization of public management and state modernization; (c) New approaches to public policy analysis, policy formulation and implementation; and (d) Globalization, governance and the State. Albrecht Horn will present a paper on "Global economic governance, global public policies and international public goods". He will participate in a panel on "Globalization and international regulatory cooperation".

Contact: Albrecht Horn, Tel. (212) 963-3924, E-mail: horn@un.org .

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 22nd   Session
New York, 17 January-4 February 2000

At its forthcoming session, the Committee will review the reports of eight States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, including the initial reports of India and Myanmar, Jordan’s initial and second periodic reports, and the initial, second and third periodic reports of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will also examine the combined second and third periodic report of Burkina Faso, the combined second and third periodic report of Germany and its fourth periodic report, and the third periodic reports of Luxembourg and Belarus.

With Niger being the latest country to ratify or accede to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 8 October 1999, the number of States parties to the Convention became 165. 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. However, it also is amongst those treaties with the highest number of reservations by States parties.

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

Meeting of the Board of the African Centre of Administrative Training and Research for Development (CAFRAD)
Rabat, Morocco, 18-21 January

Key agenda items : The Board will review the functions of CAFRAD and approve the Charter of Public Service for Africa that will be submitted to the Third Pan-African Conference of CAFRAD scheduled for 2000. The meeting will be preceded by a preparatory meeting to finalize the Charter of Public Service for Africa.

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

Seminar on "Values and Market Economies"
Paris, 19-21 January

The Paris Seminar will be convened as part of the preparatory process of the Special Session of the General Assembly on implementation of the outcome of the Social Summit (26-30 June 2000). It will address three themes: contribution of market economies to the realization of shared values; the actors involved: their objectives and moral norms; and instruments and institutions for dialogue and cooperation.

Contact: Gloria Kan, Tel. (212) 963-5873, Fax (212) 963-3062, E-mail: kan@un.org

International Planning Committee for the Fourth World Youth Forum of the United Nations System, Second session
New York, 1-2 February

The meeting will bring together some 50 representatives of international and regional non-governmental youth organizations in consultative status with the United Nations, youth related organizations and agencies of the United Nations system and other youth related intergovernmental organizations.

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

United Nations Inter-agency Meeting on Youth, Thirty-fifth session
New York, 3-4 February

The meeting will mainly discuss inter-agency cooperation for: a) collection and dissemination of data on youth; b) issues related to research and policy studies on youth; c) planning, budgeting and programming on youth; d) technical cooperation, training and advisory services on youth; e) and outreach and partnerships among specialized youth constituencies. Some 50 representatives from various youth organizations in consultative status with the United Nations are expected.

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

Commission for Social Development, Thirty-eighth session
New York, 8-17 February

The main theme for the session is the contribution of the Commission to the review of the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development. In line with the decisions by the Summit follow-up Prep Com, the Commission is to focus its work under this item on a review of national reports and prepare observations and suggestions on progress in the implementation of the Copenhagen commitments and programmes of action, as a contribution to the preparatory process for the General Assembly Special Session to be held in Geneva in 2000. The Commission will also be expected to take action on several other matters, particularly issues related to disability, ageing and the draft agenda for its thirty-ninth session.

Contact: Gloria Kan, Tel. (212) 963-5873, Fax (212) 963-3062, E-mail: kan@un.org.

Human Resources Conference: "Human Resources: Advances and Challenges at the Start of the Third Millennium"
San José, Costa Rica, 16-18 February 2000

Key agenda items : The goal of the Conference, which is sponsored by the International Personnel Management Association, Alexandria, Virginia, the University of Costa Rica and the Costa Rica Department of Civil Service, will be to analyse the latest challenges in human resource administration as well as new functional strategies being developed, and to review successful experiences in the United States and Latin America.

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

Asia-Africa Forum III
Kuala Lumpur, March 2000

The Forum is to enable representatives of Asian and African countries to engage in the New Millenium Dialogue for Asia-Africa Cooperation in Capacity Development, Agricultural and Private Sector Development. The objectives are to develop a list of priority actions to create a more enabling environment for private sector development, to identify specific steps to be taken for enhancing dialogue between public and private sectors and to develop a framework of cooperation for more effective use of information and communication technology in Africa and Asia.

Contact: Abraham Joseph, Tel. (212) 963 4839, e-mail: josepha@un.org


FORTHCOMING PUBLICATIONS

Social Policy

The World Ageing Situation

The World Ageing Situation , to be published sometime in early 2000, is third in a series that looks at ageing from various regional, demographic and developmental perspectives. Guest authors present a wide range of challenges and opportunities society will face when one in three persons is over 60.

Contact: Diane Loughran, Tel. (212) 963-1707, Fax (212) 963-3062, E-mail: loughran@un.org


RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Statistics

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics

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.

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/320 - Vol. LIII - No. 8 August 1999

Special features in this issue: Index numbers of world industrial production by branches of industry and regions; construction of new buildings; manufacturing earnings; index numbers of producers and wholesale prices.

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/321 - Vol. LIII - No. 9 September 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/322 - Vol. LIII - No. 10 October 1999

Special features: World shipbuilding; total exports and imports: index numbers of quantum, unit value and terms of trade by regions.

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

1996 Energy Statistics Yearbook
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.J/40
Sales No. E/F.99.XVII.3

The 1996 Energy Statistics Yearbook is the fortieth in an internationally comparable series on commercial energy summarizing world energy trends. Annual data for 215 countries and areas from 1993 through 1996 are presented on the production, trade and consumption of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels and electricity. Per capita consumption series are included for all individual products. Special tables of interest include international trade tables for coal, crude petroleum and natural gas by partner countries, selected series of statistics on fuelwood, charcoal and bagasse, refinery distillation capacity, production of, and a table on, fossil fuel, nuclear and hydraulic resources.

Contact: Donald Shih, Tel: (212) 963-8491, Fax (212) 963-0623, E-mail: shih@un.org

Population and Vital Statistics Report
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.A/211
Series A Vol. LI, No.4
Data available as of 1 October 1999

This issue of the Population and Vital Statistics Report presents 1998 and 1999 estimates of world and continental population, as well as corresponding 1998 estimates for 229 countries or areas of the world, which are listed separately. Also shown for each country or area are the results of the latest nationwide 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 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 ones, and the data in it are subject to future revision. For more detailed data and data on years not shown, readers should consult the Demographic Yearbook.

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

Standard Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.M/49/Rev.4
Sales No. M.98.XVII.9
(Multilingual Publication)

This publication provides a list of all populated countries or areas in the world with their three-digit numerical codes and twelve-character abbreviations assigned by the Statistics Division of the United Nations Secretariat and their two- and three-character alpha abbreviations assigned by the International Standards Organization (ISO). Additional listings show the country/area composition of macro geographical regions (continental) and component geographical regions and the composition of economic, trade and other groupings of countries or areas, also with three-digit numerical codes assigned by the Statistics Division for statistical use. Annex tables indicate changes in numerical codes since Revision 2 of the publication was issued in 1982.

All information is provided in the six official languages of the United Nations.

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

1997 International Trade Statistics Yearbook, Vol. I and II
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.G/46
Sales No. E/F.99.XVII.2

This publication gives information relevant to the external trade performance of approximately 170 countries or areas and highlights world trade of selected commodities (3 digits of the SITC Rev.2). The publication is issued in two volumes. Volume I provides historical information on the external trade of individual countries in terms of current values and, if available, exchange rates, as well as quantum and unit value indices. Information showing important commodities traded by an individual country (latest 4 years) as well as the country's trade with its major trading partners and selected regions (latest 5 years) is included. In addition, imports by broad economic categories, exports by industrial origin and the percentage share of a country's top ten trading partners and selected regions in relation to its total trade are also shown. Volume II contains selected commodity tables showing total world trade of commodities (3 digits of the SITC Rev.2) analysed by selected regions and by major trading countries. It also includes special tables showing analytical data on trade flows.

Contact: Ronald Jansen, Tel: (212) 963-5980, Fax (212) 963-9851, E-mail: jansen@un.org

Handbook of Input-Output Table Compilation and Analysis
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/74
Sales No. E.99.XVII.9

The Handbook of Input-Output Table Compilation and Analysis contains three parts: analytical and statistical foundation of the input-output model, compilation of SNA supply and use tables and some applications of input-output tables and model. The main focus is to detail the conceptual and statistical integration of the supply and use tables in the 1993 System of National Accounts.

Contact: Stefan Schweinfest, Tel: (212) 963-4849, Fax (212) 963-1374, E-mail: schweinfest@un.org

Africa

Increasing Productivity and Competitiveness of the Informal Sector in Africa: Experiences of African and Asian Countries

The publication refers to the Asia-Africa Expert Group Meeting held at Banjul, the Gambia, 1–3 December 1998, and organized by the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries (OSCAL) in collaboration with the Government of the Gambia and the Special Unit for Technical Cooperation among Developing countries of UNDP. It summarizes the report of the meeting and its conclusions. It highlights the basic context of the informal sector in Africa, the productivity constraints in the informal sector and the strategies towards productivity improvement based on experiences of Asian and African countries. It also talks about lessons learned.

Contact: Raj Bardouille, Tel. (212) 963 2645, E-mail: bardouille@un.org

Report of the Forum on Asia-Africa Cooperation in Export Promotion

The publication refers to the Forum held at Seoul, Republic of Korea, 14-16 December 1999, which was co-organized by the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries (OSCAL). It contains the summary report of the Forum and the Seoul Framework for Cooperation for export promotion in Africa . It highlights Asian experiences, challenges facing Africa and areas for Asia-Africa cooperation in export promotion, Its particular focus is on capacity-building and institutional mechanisms. The publication is in English and French.

Contacts: Abraham Joseph, Tel. (212) 963 4839, E-mail: josepha@un.org , and Herta Kaschitz, Tel. (212) 963 2692, E-mail: kaschitz@un.org .

The Tokyo Agenda for Action: African Development towards the 21st Century

The publication contains the Tokyo Agenda for Action, which was adopted at the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II), held at Tokyo, Japan, 19-21 October 1998. The Agenda outlines the primary themes, namely poverty reduction and integration into the global economy, as well as the underlying principles, which are ownership and global partnership. It sets out the approaches and cross-cutting themes, which are capacity building, gender mainstreaming and environmental management. It sets out the actual action plan focusing on social development and poverty reduction, economic development and the basic foundations for development and outlines follow-up action. The publication is in English and French.

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

Public Administration

Governance in Africa: Consolidating the Institutional Foundations
(ST/ESA/PAD/SER.E/64)

The publication reports on the Conference on Governance in Africa, jointly organized by DPEPA/DESA and the Economic Commission for Africa took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2-6 March 1998. During the opening session, messages were heard from the Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Minister of Justice of the Ethiopia, and the convener, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mr. Julius K. Nyerere. The conference discussed, inter alia , the nature and role of the State, the legal foundations and key governance institutions and the political transitions in Africa.

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

The Role of Supreme Audit Institutions in Auditing Public Works
(ST/ESA/PAD/SER.E/73)

The publication reports on the 13th interregional seminar jointly organized by the Division for Public Economics and Public Administration, DESA and the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) on Government Auditing. The seminar which took place in Vienna, Austria, 16-20 March 1998, discussed, inter alia , the following topics: real estate transactions prior to public works; audit of project planning including consideration of alternatives; auditing the procurement of services; and the contribution of Supreme Audit Institutions in avoiding and detecting corruption in public procurement.

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

Public Service in Transition: Enhancing its Role, Professionalism, Ethical Values and Standards
(ST/ESA/PAD/SER.E/77)

The publication reviews the outcome of the Conference which took place in Thessaloniki, Greece, 17-20 November 1997. One of several conferences sponsored by DESA as a sequel to the resumed fiftieth session of the General Assembly on Public Administration and Development, the Conference was hosted by the Greek Government and co-sponsored by the UNDP (Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States). It focused on the need to enhance the role, professionalism, ethical values and standards of the public service and emphasized the need for closer cooperation among the Member States of Eastern and Central Europe.

Contact: Dimitri Argyriades, Tel. (212) 963-2304, E-mail: argyriades@un.org .

Issues 10 and 11 of the monthly news review entitled "Governance World Watch"

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


ADVISORY SERVICES

  • The Group of 15 have requested United Nations assistance through UNCTAD on negotiating bilateral tax treaties between developing countries, with particular emphasis on the issue of double taxation, and DESA’s Division for Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA) was asked for its substantive inputs in this respect.

    A round of negotiations on specific tax treaties between some members of the Group of 15 was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 9-14 December 1999, with DPEPA providing the expertise of Suresh Shende, Interregional Adviser on Taxation Matters, to help UNCTAD personnel and facilitate the negotiations.

  • Jointly with UNDP in Bucharest, Romania, DPEPA launched an STS (Services of Technical Support) project entitled: Preparatory Assistance for Conflict Management/Resolution (ROM/99/005). The objective is to analyse current conflict management capacities and needs in the country in order to delineate a plan for strengthening the Government’s capacity in managing and regulating disputes constructively, both nationally and in support of regional needs.
  • An STS (Services of Technical Support) project (EGY/93/020) aimed at evaluating the implementation of the National Civil Service Reform Plan to assess its integrity and effectiveness is about to start in Egypt.
  • As a follow-up to a project entitled: "Impact Assessment of the Year 2000 Problem in the Government of Nepal", DPEPA is launching a SPPD (Support to Programme Policy Development) project which concentrates on four major components of the development of information technology, namely education, infrastructure, policy and institutional environment, and cyber laws.
  • Following an agreement between DESA, the Australian Government and the International Institute for Public Ethics, a one-week training workshop project aimed at training government officials in professional ethics is planned for January 2000 in Australia.
  • The Division will undertake advisory services in Azerbaidjan, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago in the area of governance and public sector reform.

MEETINGS HELD

Meeting on Finance for Sustainable Development
Nairobi, 30 November-3 December

The Division for Sustainable Development convened the fifth Expert Group Meeting on Financial Issues of Agenda 21. The meeting was sponsored by the Government of the Netherlands, as part of the preparatory process for the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in 2000 which will evaluate progress in implementing Chapter 33 of Agenda 21. The meeting provided Governments with a sound basis for decisions in this area and complement the preparations of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Financing for Development for a high-level consultation to be held before the end of 2001.

Topics included improving the policy framework for sustainable development finance and testing new policy approaches for the international and domestic financing of sustainable development. The meeting also focused on major problems of sustainable development finance in sub-Saharan Africa including the progress of ODA reform, the impact of external debt, the promotion of private capital flows, and the role of environmental taxes and charges.

The meeting’s conclusions and recommendations are to be put to the Ad Hoc Inter-sessional Working Group of the Commission on Sustainable Development. The full proceedings will be distributed at the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development as a background document and it is planned to disseminate them as a sales publication towards the latter half of 2000.

Contact: Eric Olson, Tel. (212) 963-8776, Fax (212) 963-4260, E-mail: olson@un.org.

First Interregional Consultative Meeting of the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN)
Thessaloniki, Greece, 15-17 November

In cooperation with the Greek Ministry of the Interior, DPEPA held the first Interregional Consultative Meeting of the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) in Thessaloniki, Greece, 15-17 November 1999. Sixteen international and regional institutions, as well as two United Nations Regional Commissions participated. The main goal was twofold: (a) to bring together representatives of UNPAN potential partners/recipients to inform them of the Department’s initiative in launching the above-mentioned project; and (b) to start the dialogue and delineate the conceptual aspects of the project, as well as the relevant plan of action for its implementation. DPEPA presented an overview of the concept of UNPAN which was followed by intensive discussions, with many comments and suggestions by the participating agencies. The meeting culminated in the adoption of the UNPAN Plan of Action by the participants.

Contact: Guido Bertucci, Tel. (212) 963-5859, Fax 963-9681, E-mail: bertucci@un.org OR Qian Haiyan, Tel. (212) 963-3393, Fax. (212) 963-2916, E-mail: qian@un.org

Workshop on "Beijing +5 - Future Actions and Initiatives"
Beirut, 8-10 November

The Division for the Advancement of Women organized an international Workshop on "Beijing +5 - Future Actions and Initiatives" which was hosted by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). The workshop, attended by international experts from all regions, and observers from the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations, elaborated action-oriented recommendations to be forwarded for discussion to the UN Commission on the Status of Women acting as the preparatory committee for the special session of the General Assembly. Experts discussed the progress and constraints of implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action under the broad themes of the world conferences on women: equality, development and peace. In view of the trends in the implementation of the Platform for Action and the changing global context since the Beijing Conference, the experts formulated their recommendations under five categories: attitudes and practices; governance; alliances and coalitions; social and economic justice, and peace-building.

Copies of the report and documentation are available on the website: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/beirut.htm

Contact: Maria Hartl, Tel. (212) 963-3140, E-mail: hartl@un.org

Judicial Colloquium on the Application of International Human Rights Law at the domestic level
Vienna, 27-29 October

A DAW-organized judicial colloquium was held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Attended by close to 100 senior members of the judiciary from around the world, the Colloquium was opened by Assistant Secretary-General Angela E.V. King, UN Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women.

Case studies from judges and magistrates were presented at the Colloquium and participants examined how international human rights law could be used at the domestic level to achieve equality for women and girls. Participants assessed how courts in different legal systems utilize international human rights law to ensure that women and girls are guaranteed their human rights on a basis of non-discrimination. They compared experiences on the use of treaty law in domestic courts at different levels, taking into account the various ways treaties can be incorporated into domestic law. They also discussed strategies for creative and widespread use of international human rights norms contained in CEDAW and CRC at the domestic level, in both common law and civil law systems.

At the end of the three-day session, the participants adopted a communiqué on principles and strategies on how judges can, or should, use international human rights treaty law relating to women’s and girls’ human rights in their judicial decisions. The communiqué and other documents from the Colloquium can be accessed from the website: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw20/judicial.htm

Contact: Jane Connors, Tel. (212) 963-3162, E-mail: connorsj@un.org OR Christine Brautigam, Tel. (212) 963-0535, E-mail: brautigamc@un.org


COMINGS AND GOINGS

Yvette Stevens has joined OSCAL as its Special Coordinator. A national of Sierra Leone, she graduated as an engineer from the Moscow Power Engineering Institute and the Imperial College of Science and Technology, at the University of London. She taught Electrical Engineering at the University of Sierra Leone from 1974 to 1980, when she joined the ILO as Village Technology Expert, in a project aimed at alleviating the work of rural women in Africa, through the introduction of technology. In 1984 she joined UNHCR, where she worked in various capacities: First, as Income Generating Activities Expert, her work involved the promotion of self-reliance of refugees. Then she worked as Evaluation/Senior Evaluation Officer, in which capacity she evaluated some twenty UNHCR country programmes world-wide, and made policy recommendations to UNHCR Senior Management. In 1990 she became Chief of the Technical Support Section, in which her work involved coordinating technical inputs for the setting up of refugee camps and settlements, and developing joint programmes with development agencies for the rehabilitation and development of refugee and returnee areas. In 1995, she was posted to Addis Ababa as Deputy Regional Liaison Representative for Africa, and represented UNHCR in ECA meetings, as well as being in charge of a country programme for 250,000 refugees. Before joining OSCAL on 1 November this year, she was UNHCR Representative to Kenya and Somalia. In this position, she acted as UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and Designated Official to Somalia on several occasions.