Volume 4, Issue 5 , October-November 2000

In this issue:

The Millennium Assembly

Africa at the Millennium Summit

Hearings on Financing for Development
United Nations Forum on Forests to be established
Optional Protocol on Discrimination against Women to come into force
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Competence Development Programme on Gender Mainstreaming
Forthcoming Meetings
Technical Cooperation

Just Issued:
Policy Analysis , Africa , Statistics , Social Development
Meetings Held

55th session of the General Assembly - The Millennium Assembly of the United Nations
5 September-23 December 2000

A total of 178 speakers, including 7 Head of State and Government and 148 Foreign Ministers, took the floor during the Plenary general debate, 12-22 September. Many speakers referred to the Declaration adopted by the Heads of State and Government at the Millennium Summit, and reiterated their commitment to the goals and objectives contained therein (A/RES/55/2) . With regard to the economic and social goals contained in the Declaration, the commitment to halve the proportion of the world's poor by 2015 was the most frequently reiterated target.

With regard to economic and social issues, matters that received the most attention included globalization, interdependence and the need for new partnerships, poverty eradication, international trade and financial systems, financing for development, including ODA and debt relief, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, ICT, past and future UN conferences, the situation in Africa, and the participation of NGOs, civil society and the private sector in economic and social development.

Mr. Desai addressed the Third Committee of the General Assembly on 25 September and the Second Committee on 3 October 2000. In his statements he emphasized the important role these Committees have played and should continue to play in addressing various concerns being raised by the current backlash against globalization. Among these concerns are the serious disparities under globalization, including the persistence of absolute poverty; the unequal distribution of the gains of globalization; the vulnerability of many countries to the volatility of globalized financial markets; the major environmental consequences of globalization, and the deficits of both governance and democracy in the processes of managing globalization. In his Second Committee statement, Mr. Desai highlighted the incomplete nature of globalization. While liberalization has occurred in many sectors, he pointed out, it has been slow in areas in which developing countries have relative strength, such as agriculture and textiles; also, while capital flows have been liberalized, the movement of natural persons has not.

The full text of the analytical summary of the general debate (economic, social and related aspects) of the 55th session of the General Assembly and the statements by Mr. Desai will be issued as an addendum to this issue of DESA News.

* * * * *

Major reports by DESA Divisions for consideration by the General Assembly include:

prepared by the Development Policy Analysis Division (DPAD):

  • Towards a stable international financial system, responsive to the challenges of development, especially of the developing countries (A/55/187) , prepared in consultation with IMF, World Bank and UNCTAD.

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

  • Integration of the economies in transition into the world economy (A/55/188)
  • Draft text of an international development strategy for the first decade of the new millenium (A/55/89-E/2000/80)
  • Update on the implementation of the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation, in particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries, and implementation of the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade (A/55/209) ;

    Contact: Anatoly Smyshlyaev, Tel. (212) 963-4687, E-mail: smyshlyaev@un.org on the three reports above;

prepared by the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD):

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Implementation of the first United Nations Decade for Poverty Eradication (1997-2006) in response to GA res. 54/232. The report focuses on progress made in global poverty reduction since the World Summit for Social Development and provides a summary of the coordination of activities at the inter-governmental level and of the United Nations System in support of national efforts to eradicate poverty. The report also examines the impact of globalization on the eradication of poverty, with particular reference to the least developed countries that have not been able to take advantage of opportunities offered by the globalized economy.

    Contact: Donald Lee, Tel. (212) 963-8762, E-mail: lee27@un.org

* * * * *

In the plenary on 1 November 2000, the General Assembly will be discussing a report of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc Working Group of the General Assembly which was set to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Secretary General's Report on Africa to the Security Council and the General Assembly on The Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable development in Africa .

Contact: Emmanuel Goued Njayick, Tel. (212) 963-5006, Fax (212) 963-3892, E-mail: njayick@un.org

* * * * *

A Second Committee Panel on the status of the reform of international financial architecture was held in New York on 10 October 2000.

Titled "Where are we in the reform of the international financial architecture?", the meeting was addressed by a panel of experts and followed by an open discussion. It was hosted by the Second Committee in support of the General Assembly deliberations on the financing of development, including the net transfer of resources between developing and developed countries.

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

Africa at the Millennium Summit

Africa featured prominently in the just concluded Millennium Summit, which was designed to generate consensus on a vision for the United Nations for the 21st century. Article VII of the Millennium Declaration adopted by the Summit was devoted to "Meeting the Special Needs of Africa" while Article III "Development and Poverty Eradication" contained a paragraph on the special needs of LDCs, 33 of the 48 of which are in Africa. Africa was also the focus of a Summit of the Security Council, held at the level of Heads of State and Government, which met on the second day of the wider Summit to debate how to ensure an effective role for the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security, particularly in Africa.

The General Assembly

The Summit was notable for its endorsement of the principles laid out in the Secretary General's report on "The Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa", presented to the Security Council in April 1998 and the General Assembly in October 1998 (A/52/871-S/1998/318) .

The Millennium Declaration (A/RES/55/2) committed all member states to the following:

  • To give full support to the political and institutional structures of emerging democracies in Africa.
  • To encourage and sustain regional and subregional mechanisms for preventing conflict and promoting political stability, and to ensure a reliable flow of resources for peacekeeping operations on the continent.
  • To take special measures to address the challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa, including debt cancellation, improved market access, enhanced official development assistance (ODA), and increased flows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as well as transfer of technologies.
  • To help Africa build up its capacity to tackle the spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic and other infectious diseases.

The Security Council

The main document before the Security Council was the report of the high level Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (Brahimi Report) (A/55/305-S/2000/809) , commissioned by the Secretary General in March 2000. In its debate, the Council urged the United Nations system to develop "comprehensive and integrated strategies to address the root causes of conflicts, including their economic and social dimensions."

As the Security Council has now clearly established its interest in the economic and social causes of conflicts, it will have to turn increasingly to ECOSOC to follow-up its decisions. Indeed, during the debate, President Kuchma of the Ukraine urged "the appropriate implementation of Article 65 of the Charter which regulates cooperation with the Economic and Social Council." A model for this type of relationship/interaction already exists, in the long-term programme of support for Haiti.

The proceedings of the recently concluded Millennium Summit reaffirm that Africa remains at the top of the agenda of the international community. Expressions of concern and support for the future of the region bode well for the preparatory process of the Final Review and Appraisal of UN-NADAF. The consensus in the Security Council on the need for an integrated approach to peace and development underscores that the message of the Secretary General's report on Africa is being heeded. The evidence will be the political will shown by African leaders and their development partners to transform words into action.

The complete note on Africa at the Millenium Summit, prepared by the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries (OSCAL) can be obtained from Leslie Wade, Tel. (212) 963-4420, E-mail: wade@un.org

The complete texts of all statements made at the Millennium Summit, as well as that of the Millennium Declaration can be found at: http://www.un.org/millennium/index.html

Hearings on Financing for Development

Preparations for the UN High-Level Event on Financing for Development are under way in the coordinating secretariat, hosted by DESA. Part of this process involves two sets of hearings with civil society (6-7 November) and the private sector (11-12 December). The hearings will be an opportunity for Member States to solicit the views of civil society representatives (both NGOs and business) on a range of key economic, financial and development issues. Principal areas of discussion will include:

  • Mobilizing domestic financial resources for development;
  • Mobilizing international resources for development: foreign direct investment and other private flows and trade;
  • Increasing international financial cooperation for development through, amongst other things ODA and debt;
  • Addressing systemic issues: enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development.

In connection with the Civil Society hearings, NGOs are currently planning a "Financing for Development Week" from 5-9 November with events and meetings to complement the official hearings.

The website of Financing for Development is at: http://www.un.org/esa/ffd

- for NGO hearings: Federica Pietracci, Tel. (212) 963-8497, E-mail: pietracci@un.org ;
- for private sector hearings: Krishnan Sharma, Tel. (212) 963-4451, E-mail: sharma@un.org

United Nations Forum on Forests to be established

The resumed session of ECOSOC on 18 October is expected to adopt the draft Resolution entitled "Report of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests", and thus take the decision to establish the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). The process was begun during the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), which adopted the report of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) and forwarded it to ECOSOC for further action, in particular as it related to the establishment of the new international arrangement on forests, including its permanent policy forum, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). To negotiate the placement of the UNFF within the UN system, CSD8 called for informal consultations to be held before the substantive session of ECOSOC. After intense negotiations, consensus was reached on 22 September and delegates agreed on a clean text for the draft ECOSOC Resolution.

According to the draft text, the UNFF is to be set up as a subsidiary body of the ECOSOC consisting of all States Members of the United Nations and members of the specialized agencies. The UNFF shall operate under the rules and procedures of the functional commission of ECOSOC. At the behest of Governments, a collaborative partnership on forests (CPF) is to be formed to support the work of the UNFF and to enhance cooperation and coordination among its members. This partnership will be built on the current Inter-agency Task Force on Forests (ITFF) that consists of eight international organizations.

After the ECOSOC, and subsequently, the General Assembly decisions, it is expected that the UNFF will hold its organizational meeting in early 2001 to elect its Bureau and to consider the location of its secretariat, as well as engage in informal consultations regarding its multi-year programme of work. The so-called "8-country initiative" has been launched by the Governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Iran, Malaysia and Nigeria in order to assist the international community in developing a multi-year programme of work for the UNFF. This initiative will have an expert meeting on 27 November-1 December in Bonn, Germany.

The first substantive session of the UNFF will also be held in 2001 to, inter alia , adopt its multi-year programme of work and to develop a plan of action for the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action.

Further information, including the report of the IFF, is available on the website of the IFF Secretariat at http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/forests.htm

Contact: Tiina Vähänen, Tel. (212) 963-3262, E-mail: vahanen@un.org

Optional Protocol on Discrimination against Women to come into force in December 2000

Following its tenth ratification, by Italy on 22 September 2000, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women will enter into force on 22 December 2000.

States which ratify the Optional Protocol recognize the Women in 2001of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to consider petitions from individual women or groups of women who have exhausted all national remedies. The Optional Protocol also entitles the Committee to conduct inquiries into grave or systematic violations of the Convention. The Committee is the body established under the Convention to monitor its implementation.

On 6 October 1999, in a landmark decision for women, the United Nations General Assembly (acting without a vote) adopted the 21-article Optional Protocol to the Convention, and called on all States parties to the Convention to become party to the new instrument as soon as possible. The Protocol, which was opened for signature, ratification and accession on 10 December 1999, includes an "opt-out clause", allowing States upon ratification or accession to declare that they do not accept the inquiry procedure. Article 17 of the Protocol explicitly provides that no reservations may be entered to its terms. Only States parties to the Convention may accept the Optional Protocol. With the ratification of Saudi Arabia on 7 September, the Convention has 166 States parties.

After Italy's ratification, Bolivia followed on 27 September, bringing the total number of ratifications to eleven. During the Millennium Summit of the United Nations (New York, 6-8 September 2000), ratifications to the Optional Protocol were received from Austria, Bangladesh, Ireland and New Zealand. Other States parties to the Protocol are Denmark, France, Namibia, Senegal and Thailand. There are a total of 62 signatories to the Optional Protocol.

Substantive secretariat services for CEDAW are provided by the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW).

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

The website of the Optional Protocol is at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/protocol/index.html

World Summit on Sustainable Development

In 2002, the world takes a critical look back at the historic United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that was held in Rio de Janeiro ten years ago. The Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) is starting now to make the ten-year review comprehensive, frank and useful.

World Summit on Sustainable Development will be a summit gathering in 2002 of world governments, concerned citizens, United Nations agencies, multilateral financial institutions and other major actors to assess global change since the Earth Summit of 1992. A focused agenda to be decided by the current session of the General Assembly will foster discussion on priority issues of concern in sustainable development, both sectoral and cross-sectoral.

The summit gathering will not reopen for revision Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted in Rio, but it will seek consensus on the general assessment of current conditions, and priorities for further action in new areas or issues. Decisions will aim to strengthen commitment of all parties to achieving the goals of Agenda 21.

All types of citizens' groups from business and industry to scientists, from indigenous people to young people, from community leaders to trade unions are urged to take part in the preparatory processes of assessment and review of ten-year's achievements and challenges that are now being launched in every nation. Broad participation and shared responsibility are critical for joint ownership of the outcome and follow-up actions in achieving the ultimate goal of sustainability. The critical analysis must begin now at national and regional levels if the findings are to be ready in time for the global Prep Com scheduled for January 2002, leading to World Summit on Sustainable Development at a place and date in 2002 to be decided by the GA.

The Commission on Sustainable Development will start the inter-governmental work on the global assessment in early 2002. In each step of the regional and global assessment exercises, special round tables or multi-stakeholder dialogue segments will be included to reflect views from stakeholder groups based on their experience and aspirations.

The culminating step in the World Summit on Sustainable Development process will be a Summit Conference in which Heads of State or Government will explore and agree on future courses of action based on the outcomes of the assessment process finalized at CSD-10.

Contact: Dirk Pilari, Tel. (212) 963-6757, E-mail: pilari@un.org

The website of the Division for Sustainable Development is at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/

Competence Development Programme on Gender Mainstreaming

The Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women is collaborating with each of the divisions within DESA and the Office of Human Resource Management in the organization of a competence development programme on gender mainstreaming for all divisions in DESA. The first phase of the programme commences this month, with the Sustainable Development Division and the Population Division being the first divisions to participate. The programme, which aims to document how divisions have incorporated gender perspectives into their substantive programmes and provide guidance on how to improve attention to gender perspectives, will involve smaller working group sessions and a one-day workshop in each division.

The Office of the Special Adviser continues to collaborate with departments within the Secretariat on mainstreaming gender perspectives into their work. Within DPKO work is currently underway to influence the arrangements being put in place for the implementation of the recommendations of the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (A/55/305) . Collaboration with DDA has resulted in the development of briefing notes to guide the integration of gender perspectives in the work of department. These cover gender perspectives in the work on weapons of mass destruction, landmines, small arms, DDR (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration) and disarmament for development initiatives. DDA is considering building on this work to produce a booklet on gender and disarmament for distribution to Member Countries and the general public, and present this work in conjunction with meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2001.

Contact: Carolyn Hannan, Tel. (212) 963-3104, E-mail: hannan@un.org


General Assembly
55th session - The Millennium Assembly of the United Nations
New York, 5 September-23 December

See lead article.

TICAD Steering Committee
New York, 12 October

The Government of Japan, OSCAL/DESA, UNDP and GCA (Global Coalition for Africa) are members of the Steering Committee of TICAD. The main agenda item is to discuss the overall TICAD strategy focusing on the implementation of the Tokyo Agenda for Action. Also, the role of the OSCAL and other Steering Committee members is being redefined.

A discussion note in the above regard was circulated entitled "Toward an overall strategy for the implementation of the Tokyo Agenda for Action".

Contact: Abraham Joseph, Tel. (212) 963-4839, Fax (212) 963-3892, E-mail: josepha@un.org

DESA/US National Institute on Aging - Expert Group Meeting on "Policy Responses to Population Ageing and Population Decline"
New York, 16-18 October

The meeting is a follow-up to the report Replacement Migration: Is it a Solution to Declining and Ageing Populations? , issued by the Population Division in March 2000. It is funded in part by a grant from the United States National Institute on Aging.

For complete coverage, see DESA News , Vol. 4, No.4 of August-September.

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

ACC - Information Systems Coordination Committee
8th session
Geneva, 16-20 October

Contact: Karina Gerlach, Tel. (212) 963-5858

ACC - Subcommittee on Water Resources
21st session
Bangkok, 16-20 October

Contact: Manuel Dengo, Tel. (212) 963-4208, E-mail: dengo@un.org

Panel Discussion to mark the World March of Women 2000
New York, 17 October

A panel discussion will be held in Conference Room 1 on 17 October 2000 from 1.30 p.m. to 2.45 p.m. to mark one part of the World March of Women 2000 which will culminate in Union Square, and also in commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Panellists will include six participants of the March from Canada, India, Morocco, Mozambique, Peru and Romania. An international delegation, made up of 250 participants of the March from all regions of the world, will attend the panel discussion which will be addressed by United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette.

Initiated by the Fédération des femmes du Québec , a Canadian non-governmental organization, the World March of Women 2000 is a global initiative involving approximately 5,000 NGOs from 159 countries from all regions of the world. Participants in each country have conducted grassroots activities to bring attention to, and develop proposals for addressing, the issues of poverty and violence against women. Through the March and their signed petitions, the women of the world have been drawing attention to the need to take concrete measures to eliminate poverty, to ensure an equitable distribution of the world's wealth, to eradicate violence against women, and to ensure equality between women and men. The world rally for the March, organized by the Fédération des femmes du Québec , will be held in New York on 17 October 2000. These women from all over the globe will demonstrate to make their demands heard and to celebrate their solidarity. The marchers, who will congregate at a rally to be held in Dag Hamarskjöld Plaza at about 12.00 noon, will deliver millions of signatures collected in support of the March to the UN building.

Through the March and their signatures, the women of the world demand that the UN and its Member States take concrete measures to eliminate poverty and ensure an equitable distribution of the world's wealth, and to do away with violence against women and ensure equality between women and men. The World March of Women is a huge undertaking in which over 5000 groups in 157 countries and territories are taking part. Launched on 8 March 2000 (International Women's Day), it will be crowned by mass rallies throughout the month of October in many countries.

For more information on the World March of Women, please visit their website: http://www.FFQ.QC.CA/marche2000/en/index.html

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

Economic and Social Council, Resumed Session
New York, 18 October

See lead article above on Forum on Forests .

Meeting of the 2nd Technical Committee to gather input for the revision of the International Plan of Action on Ageing
New York, 24-27 October

DESA - Panel on "Globalization and Interdependence"
(In conjunction with the Work of the Second Committee)
New York, 25 October

Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC)
2nd regular session
New York, 27-28 October

The Secretary-General will host the Fall session of ACC in New York on 27-28 October, 2000. The second day of this Fall meeting will be a retreat, in keeping with the ACC's recently established practice of holding a retreat at one of the two meetings held each year. The Organizational Committee of ACC met from 2-4 October to prepare for the ACC session and will meet on 30-31 October to finalize the summary conclusions.

The draft agenda for the ACC meetings includes Financing for Development, Health and other social implications of globalization, follow-up to ECOSOC and ACC conclusions on Information and Communications Technology, Security and Safety of Staff, as well as the results of the ACC review.

Contact: Eric Lacanlale, Tel. (212) 963-6889, E-mail: lacanlale@un.org

ACC - Organizational Committee
2nd regular session (Part II)
New York, 30-31 October

See item above .

Preparatory Committee for the High-level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development
Hearing with Civil Society
New York, 6- 8 November

See lead article .

DESA - Panel on "Beyond Beijing+5"
(In conjunction with the Work of the Third Committee)
New York, 9 November

Preparatory Committee for the High-level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development
Regional Consultative Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean
Colombia, 9-10 November

See also lead article.

Expert Group Meeting on "The HIV/AIDS Pandemic and its Gender Implications"
Windhoek, 13-17 November

The Division for the Advancement of Women is organizing jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) an Expert Group Meeting on "The HIV/AIDS Pandemic and its Gender Implications" at Windhoek (Namibia).

The Expert Group Meeting's objective is to contribute to a better understanding of the interplay between gender and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The meeting will discuss issues related to human rights and HIV/AIDS and the economic, health, social and security impact of HIV/AIDS in various regions. This will include consideration of women's subordination and vulnerability to discrimination which increase their risk of HIV infection. The meeting will give particular attention to the situation of women both "infected" and "affected". The role of men vis a vis HIV/AIDS will also be discussed.

The Expert Group Meeting will develop policy recommendations to be forwarded to the forty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women being held in March 2001 when the issue of women and HIV/AIDS will be considered as a priority theme.

Contact: Dorota Gierycz, Tel. (212) 963-5913, E-mail: gierycz@un.org

Preparatory Committee for the High-level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development
Regional Consultative Meeting for Africa
Addis Ababa, 21-22 November

See also lead article .

Expert Group Meeting on Gender and Racial Discrimination
Zagreb, 21-24 November

The Division for the Advancement of Women, in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), will convene an expert group meeting on the theme of "Gender and racial discrimination". The meeting will be hosted by the Government of Croatia in Zagreb.

The results of the meeting will be made available to the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-fifth session which meets in March 2001 where it will take up, inter alia, the thematic issue of gender and all forms of discrimination, in particular racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It is also anticipated that the recommendations of the expert group meeting will be integrated into the preparations for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, as well as the World Conference itself which will be convened in Durban, South Africa from 31 August to 7 September 2001.

Contact: Jane Connors, Tel. (212) 963-3162, E-mail: connorsj@un.org OR Natalya Zakharova, Tel. (212) 963-8134, E-mail: zakharova@un.org

Preparatory Committee for the High-level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development Regional Consultative Meeting for Western Asia
Beirut, 23-24 November

See also lead article .

Meeting on the Proposed Rules of Procedures of the Optional Protocol to Women's Convention
Berlin, 27-30 November

With the financial support of the Government of Germany, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) will meet in Berlin to discuss proposed rules of procedure for the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Participants will include current and recently elected members of the Committee, as well as a number of invited experts. The Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) will provide substantive servicing for the meeting and the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the DAW Director will attend.

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

DESA - Panel on Emerging Technologies
(In conjunction with the Work of the Second Committee)
New York, November

Preparatory Committee for the High-level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development
Regional Consultative Meeting for Europe
Geneva, 7-8 December

See also lead article .

Preparatory Committee for the High-level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development
Hearing with Business Community
New York, 10-12 December

See lead article .

Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Public Sector Indicators
New York, 13-14 December

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and assess current methodologies for measuring the size of the public sector in developed and developing countries, as well as in economies in transition. An expanded version of the report "Public Sector Indicators" (ST/SG/AC.6/2000/L.2 of 22 March 2000), prepared by the Division for Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA), will serve as the main background document of the meeting. Apart from concerned staff of DESA Statistics Division, Development Policy Analysis Division and DPEPA (convenor), experts from the IMF, OECD, and the academic community are being invited to attend.

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

National Experts on Postal Savings for Development in Asia
Tokyo, December 2000

Although it has been a traditional mechanism for domestic savings mobilization and for extending financial services to the poor, there has been renewed interest recently in enhancing postal savings services in many countries. This meeting of national experts from 11 developing Asian countries to review draft case studies of postal savings operations is part of a project supported by Keio University, with funds from the Japanese Ministry of Education and Culture and in cooperation with the Universal Postal Union, which will produce a volume of country experiences and overall assessments of the prospective role of postal savings in financing for development.

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

(http://esa.un.org/techcoop/ )

We are pleased to include the following item which was sent by the office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Nicaragua.

Compilation of Human Development Report

The Human Development Report of Nicaragua 2000 -- Equity to overcome Vulnerability -- has been published by the UNDP and the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic (SETEC) with the contribution of DESA and the Embassies of Spain and The Netherlands in Nicaragua. This first report aspires to become a useful instrument to Nicaraguan society by providing valuable information about the various dimensions of human development.

To download the complete document and obtain more information, pictures and powerpoint presentations, please visit our website at www.undp.org.ni .

Contact: Communication Office, PNUD/Nicaragua, arturo.zamora@undp.org (Communication Officer) OR oskar.hernando@undp.org

Assessment of the situation and status of women and girls in Somalia Somalia, August 2000

Ms. Fatiha Serour, Chief, Gender Advisory Services Unit, DAW, visited Somalia in August 2000 to assess the gender implications of conducting a household budget survey. The objectives of the mission were to carry out a rapid assessment of the situation and status of women and girls in Somalia and to determine the need for a household sample survey which may possibly be carried out under DESA's supervision.

Contact: Fatiha Serour, Tel. (212) 963-8379, E-mail: serour@un.org

Support to the Transition to Good Governance (IVC/00/004)
Abidjan, 9-17 August

Mr. Mohamed Sall Sao, Interregional Adviser in DPEPA, was in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, where he provided the Government and UNDP office with technical support for the formulation of a capacity-building programme (IVC/00/004) which is aimed, at the end of the current transitional period, towards the promotion of sound governance (budget: $1.7 million).

Support to Governance (GBS/00/002)
Guinea-Bissau, 31 August-7 September

From 31 August to 7 September Mr. Sall Sao was in Guinea-Bissau where he finalized, as part of preparatory assistance, a programme support document for the formulation of a national governance programme (GBS/00/002) (budget: $2.3 million). Both this and the above programme will be nationally executed, and DESA will be the major cooperating agency.

Contact: Mohamed Sall Sao, Tel. (212) 963-4503, E-mail: sallsaom@un.org

Support to Country Reviews (RLA/00/012)

The project is aimed at providing technical support to the undertaking of Country Reviews--the mandatory reviews of UNDP Country Cooperation Frameworks--in 10 to 12 programme countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region. The project is funded through UNDP's SPPD facility (Support Services for Policy and Programme Development) with a budget of US$199,000.

Contact: Angela Capati-Caruso, Tel. (212) 963-5318, E-mail: capati-caruso@un.org

Possible future project on "Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening of UNDP Country Offices in the English-Speaking Caribbean"

A new SPPD project is being negotiated with UNDP's Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean: RLA/00/005 "Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening of UNDP Country Offices in the English-Speaking Caribbean", with a total budget of US$757,000.

Contact: Angela Capati-Caruso, Tel. (212) 963-5318, E-mail: capati-caruso@un.org

DESA - Regional Training Workshop on Implementation and Follow-up of Commitments and Plan of Action of WSSD, Post-UNGASS 2000
Guatemala City, 30 November-8 December

As part of DESA's follow-up activities to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session held in Geneva in June 2000 on the outcome of the World Social Summit for Development (WSSD), DSPD will organize in Guatemala a workshop with aim to build national capacity in the Central American and Caribbean sub region.

The Workshop will be held in collaboration with the Government of Guatemala and include participants from Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

With the Workshop, DESA expects to strengthen the sub regional and national mechanisms to collect, exchange and analyse information and to apply knowledge and expertise to social themes directly related to the commitments made at WSSD 1995 and reaffirmed by UNGASS 2000.

Contact: Daniel Olden, Tel. (212) 963-5319. E-mail: olden@un.org

DESA/UN Centre for Regional Development (Africa Office)
Workshop on "Regional Cooperation to Promote Effective Social Development Policy and Procedure: A Forum for the Exchange of Asia-Africa Experience"
Gaborone, 5-7 December

DESA - Workshop on "Human Development Concept for CIS with Emphasis on Social Development, Social Integration and Poverty Eradication"
Moscow, 13-20 December

DESA/Korea Development Institute - Training Workshop on "Mobilization of Resources for Social Development"
Seoul, 25-27 October



Report on assessment of gender mainstreaming for Sub-Saharan African programmes

The Division for the Advancement of Women, in collaboration with UNDP Africa Division, will present a report on the assessment of gender mainstreaming in UNDP-funded governance and poverty alleviation programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study covered 18 countries, 74 programmes and 115 projects. The Report will be launched on 1 November 2000.

Contact: Tsu-Wei Chang, Tel. (212) 963-8370, E-mail: changt@un.org

Report on the First Regional Review Meeting of the Tokyo Agenda for Action: Mutual Learning and Capacity Building

OSCAL has finalized the report of the "First Regional Review Meeting of the Tokyo Agenda for Action: Mutual Learning and Capacity Building", which is currently under publication. The report contains the summary and conclusions and the proceedings of the Review Meeting which was held in Lusaka, Zambia from 23 to 25 November 1999.

The report specifically points out the constraints and shares experiences in the implementation of the Tokyo Agenda for Action in the priority areas of education, health and population.

Contact: Abraham Joseph, Tel: (212) 963-4839; Fax: (212) 963-3892; E-mail: josepha@un.org

Just Issued

Policy Analysis

World Economic and Social Survey 2000
(E/2000/50/Rev.1, Sales No. E.00.II.A.4)

The World Economic and Social Survey 2000 was published in September. The first part analyzes the state of the world economy and was released in part to ECOSOC in July. The theme of the second part is "Escaping the Poverty Trap", and its main message is that countries need to make a critical effort in areas of agricultural productivity, primary education, technological capabilities and institutional development in order to achieve sustained growth.

A strengthened farm sector can bring down food prices and improve nutrition and labour productivity in the entire country; generate employment and heighten demand for manufactured goods and services; channel labour and capital into the development of other sectors; and earn foreign exchange. The Survey also suggests that improving income distribution and land reform could play a part in a strategy to improve the agricultural sector.

Another chapter examines how a poverty trap can be created when, at low levels of income, parents do not have the incentive or the means to invest in their own education or the education of their children. The Government must ensure that, at a minimum, high quality universal primary education is provided free at the point of distribution. The Survey shows how the formation of an educated labour force is required before a country can expect to achieve sustained growth. In order to take advantage of the opportunities opened up by rapid advances in technology, countries need to build up technological capabilities. This requires, above all, the provision of high quality education at all levels, but also the formation of a network of supporting institutions, such as research facilities. The Survey describes how India has profited from the creativity of those trained in its universities and technical institutes; the success of its software industry has demonstrated the very high returns to public and private investment in higher education. In a very short period of time, a new industry was created which had helped transform the country's economic prospects.

Finally, the Survey shows that institutional change can be vital for transforming growth possibilities. However, the complementarities among institutions and their need to reflect and respond to domestic realities make institutional change a delicate process. Domestic consensus is essential for any change to be successful, and institutions can rarely be imposed from outside.

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

"The underlying constraints in corporate bond market development in Southeast Asia"
DESA Discussion Paper No. 14 (ST/ESA/2000/DP.14)

Written by Krishnan Sharma, the paper No. 14 (September 2000) was prepared with financial support from the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Based in part on interviews in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong undertaken by the author in the summer of 1999, this paper investigates some questions about bond-market development that arose in the course of preparing the World Economic and Social Survey 1999. This document is available on the DESA Website at http://www.un.org/esa/papers.htm .


Microfinance and Poverty Eradication: Strengthening Africa's Microfinance Institutions

This OSCAL publication is based on the first phase of the OSCAL-UNDP project on Women, Microcredit and Poverty Eradication. The publication highlights the potential contribution of microfinance initiatives to poverty eradication in Africa.

The publication compiles over 85 microfinance factsheets examining successful and unsuccessful microfinance initiatives in Africa, as well as non-African and international initiatives. Emphasis is placed on identifying strategies for a microfinance model responding to Africa's realities. By showing how microfinance institutions can be strengthened, OSCAL hopes that this publication will contribute towards an enabling environment for the effective implementation of anti-poverty strategies in Africa. It is expected that Governments and operational agencies will integrate these findings into field project activities.

The publication reflects the ongoing United Nations commitment towards poverty eradication, expressed in the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF, GA res.46/151) , the World Summit for Social development in Copenhagen (A/CONF.166/9) , and United Nations resolution A/RES/50/107 proclaiming 1997-2006 the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty. It also takes into account and builds upon United Nations documents A/50/490 of 6 October 1995 on Advancing Financial Intermediation in Africa, and the final report of the Africa Recovery Forum: Microcredit and Poverty Eradication.

Contact: Ruth Engo, Tel. (212) 963-4780, Fax (212) 963-3892, E-mail: engo@un.org OR Herta Kaschitz, Tel. (212) 963-2692, Fax (212) 963-3892, E-mail: kaschitz@un.org

Promoting value-added activities in the informal sector in Africa: Moving from trading to more productive activities

The publication is based on an expert group meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 1999. The report discusses various factors that have hindered informal sector operators in Africa from carrying out value-added activities in the informal sector. The meeting was attended by 49 experts drawn from the public, parastatal and private sectors, including Chambers of Commerce and NGOs, in African and Asian countries; as well as representatives of African regional and sub-regional organizations and the United Nations system organizations. Policy recommendations were proposed for promoting value-added activities in the informal sector in Africa, including effective resource mobilization for expanding and diversifying business activities. Asian experience in this regard was also shared.

Contact: Raj Bardouille, Tel. (212) 963-2645, Fax (212) 963-3892, E-mail: bardouille@un.org

The Successor Arrangement to the Lome IV Convention: Implication of Development Cooperation for African Countries in the ACP Group of Countries

This study examines the implications of this new arrangement for African countries in the ACP group of countries. It considers the key differences between the SA vis-à-vis the Lomé IV and situates them in the context of globalization, liberalization and emphasis on private capital flows as opposed to official development assistance. It also examines the implications of the new approach to development cooperation; and considers how the SA can help implement the goals of major United Nations conferences. Finally, some consideration is given to the trade opportunities and financial resources that the SA provides and the benefits as well as costs of the new approach to development cooperation for African countries in the ACP group of countries.

The report will be used for a briefing meeting, proposed for this year, with the African Permanent Missions to the United Nations in New York.

Contact: Raj Bardouille, Tel. (212) 963-2645, Fax (212) 963-3892, E-mail: bardouille@un.org


Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/330- Vol. LIV - No. 6
June 2000

Special features in this issue: Selected series of world statistics; Petroleum products: production; External trade conversion factors; Manufactured goods exports: unit value index, quantum index, and 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//331-Vol. LIV - No. 7
July 2000

Special features in this issue: World shipbuilding; World exports by provenance and destination; 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.

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/332-Vol. LIV - No.8
August 2000

Special features in this issue: Index numbers of world industrial production, by branches of industry and by regions; Construction of new buildings; Earnings in manufacturing; Index numbers of producer prices and wholesale prices.

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

Population and Vital Statistics Report
Series A Vol.LII, No.3
Data available as of 1 July 2000

This issue of the Population and Vital Statistics Report presents 1999 and 2000 estimates of world and continental population, as well as corresponding 1999 estimates for 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.

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

1997 Industrial Commodity Statistics Yearbook
Sales No. E/F.00.XVII.5

The Yearbook provides statistics on the production of major industrial commodities (about 530 industrial commodities and about 590 statistical series) by country, geographical region, economic grouping and for the world. Data are provided for a ten-year period and for approximately 200 countries. The commodities have been selected on the basis of their importance in world production and trade. At the end of the publication are two Annexes: annex I is an index of commodities in alphabetical order; annex II is a table of correspondence between the ISIC-based commodity codes, the SITC Rev.2, SITC Rev.3 and Harmonized System (HS) codes.

Contact: Grace Hu, Tel. (212) 963-4604, E-mail: hu@un.org

World Statistics Pocketbook
Sales No. E.00.XVII.7

The World Statistics Pocketbook provides a compilation of basic economic, social and environmental indicators for 208 countries and areas world-wide. It covers 57 key indicators in the areas of population, economic activity, agriculture, industry, energy, international trade, transport, communications, gender, education and environment, based on over 20 international statistical sources. The layout provides an easy-to-view comprehensive statistical profile of each country or area; and the notes on sources and definitions on indicators provide a valuable guide for further research by the in-depth user of these statistics.

Contact: Robert Mayo, Tel. (212) 963-4559, E-mail: mayo@un.org

Handbook of National Accounting - Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting - An Operational Manual
Sales No. E.00XVII.17

The United Nations Statistics Division and the United Nations Environment Programme have jointly published this manual. It provides, on the basis of country experiences, hands-on guidance for the implementation of the more practical modules of the System of integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA). It is accompanied by user-friendly software consisting of a sequence of worksheets. The manual is the result of collaboration with the "Nairobi Group", a group of experts from developed and developing countries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations.

Contact: Alessandra Alfieri, Tel. (212) 963-4590, E-mail: alfieri@un.org

Statistical Yearbook, Forty-Fourth Issue
Sales No. E/F.99.XVII.1

This annual international compilation of social and economic statistics for over 200 countries and areas of the world is organized in four parts: world and region summary, population and social statistics, economic activity, and international economic relations. This issue of the Yearbook presents 85 tables in the field of demographic and social statistics, national accounts, finance, labour force, wages and prices, agriculture and manufacturing, transport and communications, environment, science and technology, intellectual property, international trade and tourism, balance of payments, and development assistance.

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

Social Development

The Social Summit Digital Library

A new CD-ROM, produced jointly by the United Nations Secretariat and ILO, was made available to the delegates attending the Special Session of the General Assembly on social development in Geneva in June 2000.

Highlights of the disk:

  • All agreements reached and the speeches of 400 world leaders at the Copenhagen Summit
  • Key annual reports of the Secretary-General on progress achieved in particular areas of social development
  • Assessments of various labour and employment aspects of the Summit by the ILO
  • Case studies on implementing the goals of the Summit at the country level
  • New ideas to be presented in Geneva on reaching social development goals
  • Resources and links to databases, websites and other reference tools.

Copies of the Social Summit Digital Library disk are available:
- by E-mail: geneva2000@un.org
- online: www.un.org/socialsummit
- by writing to: United Nations, DSPD, 2 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017


Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Strategies for Improving Resource Mobilization in Developing Countries and Countries with Economies in Transition
Montreal, 2- 6 October

The Public Finance and Private Sector Development Branch of DPEPA organized the meeting in association with APFF (Association de la Planification Fiscale et Financière). Senior tax administrators from developed and developing countries and economies in transition, representatives of regional tax organizations and international financial organizations participated in the meeting. The agenda items focused on Resource Mobilization for Economic Development: The Role of Tax Administration, Efficiency and Effectiveness of Revenue Administration, Tax Policy, Administration and Reform and Electronic Commerce and Taxation. A publication will be issued containing the proceedings of the meeting and the articles presented by consultants, participants and the UN staff.

Contact: Abdelhamid Bouab, Tel. (212) 963-8406, E-mail: bouab@un.org OR Suresh Shende, Tel. (212) 963-4189, E-mail: shendes@un.org

Fall Project LINK meeting
Oslo, 2- 6 October

The staff of the Economic Assessment and Outlook Branch have prepared an updated assessment of short-term trends in the global economic situation, focusing on economic performance in major regions and countries as well as on basic shifts in global trade, using the LINK modelling system. The report with forecasts for 2000-2002 was presented at the Project LINK meeting in Oslo.

The report, as well as all other LINK-related materials, is available on the DPAD website (http://www.un.org/esa/analysis/link ). A brief press release on the basic findings, including a summary table of the new outlook, was made available to the press corps on 2 October.

Contact: Jozef van Brabant, Tel. (212) 963-4752, E-mail: brabant@un.org OR Pingfan Hong, Tel. (212) 963-4701, E-mail: hong@un.org .

Meeting on Information for Decision Making and Participation
Ottawa, 25-28 September

The meeting was jointly organized by the Canadian Government, DSD/DESA and UNEP. Sixty-six participants, representing governments, United Nations Organizations and affiliates, non-governmental organizations and academia, attended the meeting.

The purpose of the meting was to analyze and identify solutions as well as make recommendations to the CSD for its Ninth Session in 2001, regarding Chapter 40 of Agenda 21 on Information for decision-making. Chapter 40 specifically calls for implementation of two programme areas: (a) bridging the data gap and (b) improving the availability of information. It has been evident in recent years that access to information is essential in the planning, design and monitoring of policies to support sustainable development at the regional, national and international levels. At the Government level, a growing number of countries are carrying out national data inventories, organizing the collection and dissemination of data, and developing information systems and indicators of sustainable development.

The meeting recognized that Chapter 40 lays the foundation for the transition to the new knowledge based economy of the 21st century. The new knowledge economy has the potential to enhance our value as individuals, facilitate greater resource efficiency and promote technological advances to help reduce the gap between developed and developing countries and between rich and poor. The new knowledge economy presents both opportunities and challenges. We can take advantage of this opportunity only if we increase our investment in human beings, recognize the value of diverse views, and appreciate the power of stakeholder participation. We can meet the challenge by building information infrastructures, adopting conducive policy and regulatory frameworks, fostering an open business climate with improved services and financing, and generally supporting measures to ensure that people everywhere can benefit from the information revolution.

Contact: JoAnne DiSano, Tel. (212) 963-0902, E-mail: disano@un.org

16th Meeting of the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development
Geneva, 18-19 September

The Committee held extensive discussions regarding the preparations for the ten-year review of UNCED which is due to take place in 2002. The proposed format for the preparation of documentation was reviewed and a draft ACC statement was discussed. It was emphasized throughout these discussions that an important challenge of the preparatory work would be to bring the issues of sustainable development back on the political agenda at the highest levels. The Committee also discussed matters related to the outcomes of ACC, ECOSOC, CSD 8 and preparations for CSD 9. The report of the ACC Subcommittee on Oceans and Coastal Areas was considered. The Committee was briefed on the outcome of the Fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, on developments in the area of Common Core Data Sets and in the Global Harmonization of Chemical Classification and Labelling Systems (GHS) and on preparations for the International Year of Mountains. The next meeting of the IACSD will be held in March 2001. The report as adopted by the Committee has the symbol ACC/2000/12.

The website of IACSD is at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/iacsd.htm or http://acc.unsystem.org/-subsidiary.bodies/iacsd.htm .

Contact: Karina Gerlach, Tel. (212) 963-5858

11th Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
New York, 31 August

The main purpose of the meeting was the election of 11 Members of CEDAW to replace those members whose terms were expiring on 31 December 2000. The terms of the other 12 Members of the Committee will expire on 31 December 2002. Committee members serve in their personal capacities.

One hundred and fifty-eight of the one hundred and sixty-five States parties to the Convention cast valid votes. Four existing members with terms expected to expire on 31 December were re-elected:

  1. Ms. Feride Acar (Turkey);
  2. Ms. Yolanda Ferrer Gomez (Cuba);
  3. Ms. Aida Gonzalez Martinez (Mexico); and
  4. Ms. Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling (Germany).

The remaining seven individuals elected for the first time are:

  1. Ms. Sjiamsiah Achmad (Indonesia);
  2. Ms. Françoise Gaspard (France);
  3. Ms. Fatima Kwaku (Nigeria);
  4. Mr. Göran Melander (Sweden);
  5. Ms. Asha Rose Mtengeti Migiro (United Republic of Tanzania);
  6. Ms. Heisoo Shin (Republic of Korea); and
  7. Ms. Regina Tavares de Silva (Portugal).

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