policy development, the second generation of conferences has focused more on policy implementation, and the question now is how to integrate that implementation. One goal is to strengthen the link between financing for development and attaining the internationally agreed development goals and objectives.The text of Mr. Desai’ s opening remarks to the Second Committee is included in the annex.
A working group has been set up to rationalize the agendas of the Plenary, Second and Third (Social and Humanitarian) committees of the General Assembly to enable a more coherent approach to crosscutting themes in conference follow-up and related reporting requirements. It is expected to produce a report for consideration at the July session of ECOSOC in 2003.
Contact: Nikhil Seth, DESC, Tel. (212) 963-1811, E-mal: firstname.lastname@example.org
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General Assembly action on Africa
High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
The General Assembly met in a high-level plenary session on 16 September 2002 to consider how to support the priorities and objectives of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). There was also an informal panel discussion on the theme of “International community’s partnership with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, held in parallel with the High-level meeting of the General Assembly on NEPAD. President Mbeki presented a summary report of the informal panel discussion to the General Assembly. The High-level Plenary Meeting culminated in the adoption of the General Assembly Declaration on NEPAD (GA57/2).
Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF)
The United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF) went through a final review and appraisal by the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole of the General Assembly, which met in its first substantive session from 24-26 September 2002. It considered the report on the independent evaluation of the implementation of UN-NADAF. The second substantive session was held from 7-11 October 2002 to debate and negotiate a draft resolution. The outcome of the final review was the General Assembly resolution relating to support to NEPAD (GA 57/7), adopted on 4 November 2002.
General Assembly Debate on AfricaThe Plenary debate on Africa on 17 October 2002 was the result of the Africa-related events at the 57th session of the General Assembly. This included debate on items relating to the status of implementation of the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report on the “Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa”; the Secretary-General’s report on the modalities of the United Nations future engagement with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, which is now a successor programme to UN-NADAF; and the industrialization decade for Africa. In the future, the focus of UN support for Africa will be in the framework of NEPAD. A booklet on UN technical cooperation in support of NEPAD has been issued by the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries (OSCAL).
Contact: Yvette Stevens, OSCAL, Tel. (212) 963-5084, E-mail: email@example.com
(Back to top )In July the Economic and Social Council, on the basis of the report of the newly established Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of a support secretariat for the new Forum, within existing resources. The new secretariat unit is to be established in New York within the Department of Economic and Social Affairs to assist the new Forum in carrying out its mandate: to provide expert advice and recommendations on indigenous issues to the ECOSOC, as well as to programmes, funds and agencies of the United Nations, through the Council; to raise awareness and promote the integration and coordination of activities related to indigenous issues within the UN system; and to prepare and disseminate information on indigenous issues. The new Forum is composed of sixteen members who will serve in their personal capacities.
Contact: Johan Scholvinck, DSPD, Tel. (212) 963-4667, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
ommittee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
At this forthcoming session, the Committee will review the reports of seven States parties to the Convention. They are the fifth periodic report of Canada (CE DAW/C/CAN/5 ) , the combined initial, second, third, fourth and fifth periodic report of Republic of Congo (CEDAW/C/COG/1-5 ) , the combined third and fourth, and the fifth periodic reports of El Salvador (CEDAW/C/S LV/3-4 and CEDAW/C/SLV/5 ) , the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Kenya (CEDAW/C/KEN/3-4 ) , the fourth periodic report of Luxembourg (CEDAW/C /LUX/4 ) , the fifth and sixth periodic reports of Norway (CEDAW/C/NOR/5 , CEDAW/C/NOR/6 ) , the combined initial and second periodic reports of Switzerland (CEDAW/C/CHE/1-2).
Contact: Philomena Kintu, Tel. (212) 963-3153, Fax: (212) 963-3463, E-mail: email@example.com
High upon the agenda of the meeting was a review and follow up of the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Discussion on this issue centered upon the linkages of forests to other sections of CPF objectives, such as biodiversity, climate change, desertification and poverty. It was suggested that the CPF Framework could review how CPF’s activities are linked to poverty in light of the outcome of the WSSD and the Millennium Development Goals.
Other issues treated included the focal agency system, in which the new members, IUCN and ICRAF, agreed to undertake the responsibility of being focal agencies and collaborating agencies for certain UNFF elements. CPF members were briefed on the establishment of the CPF Task Force on Harmonizing and Streamlining Forest-Related Reporting, the outcome of COP 6 CBD was reviewed, and progress on the CPF Sourcebook was touched upon.
The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) is an interagency partnership of thirteen international organization members including the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Secretariat of the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Secretariat of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), World Bank and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The CPF has two main objectives: 1) to support the work of the UNFF and its member countries and 2) to foster increased cooperation and coordination on forests.
Contact: Mia Soderlund, FfD, Tel. (212) 963-3262, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Economic and Social Council held a resumed session at UN headquarters in New York. During the day-long session the Council had a number of items on its agenda, including deciding on the themes for its 2003 High-Level and Coordination Segments (E/2002/49). Following the Council’s consideration during its 2002 substantive session of the report of the Secretary-General on the establishment of an Ad Hoc Advisory Group on African Countries Emerging from Conflict (E/2002/12), the adoption of the framework resolution in which the Council decided to establish such Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on the request of a country concerned (E/2002/L.12) and the request from the Government of Guinea Bissau to the Council (E/2002/83) for the creation of an Advisory Group on the country, the Council identified the membership of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea Bissau and the Group’s terms of reference.
On the Council’s agenda were also the participation of the intergovernmental organization of the Intergovernmental Institution for the Use of Micro-alga Spirulina against Malnutrition (Spirulina Programme) (E/2002/3) in the work of the Council and a number of reports: Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to major UN conferences and summits (E/2002/57), Progress report on basic indicators (A/2002/53), Follow-up efforts to the International Conference on Financing for Development (E/2002/85), Implementation of General Assembly resolutions 50/227 and 52/12B (E/2002/73), the Report of the Statistical Commission at its 33rd Session (E/2002/24), and the Report of the Expert Group on Public Administration (to be issued). Furthermore, a note by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the question of observance by the Government of Myanmar of the ILO Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (NO. 29) (E/2002/81) was also circulated.
Contact: Lotta Tahtinen, DESC, Tel. (917) 367-2212, Fax: (212) 963-7454, E-mail: email@example.com
Following an open debate on women, peace and security on 28-29 October 2002, the Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2002/32), which calls for integration of gender perspectives into the mandates of all peacekeeping missions and requests the Secretary-General to prepare a follow-up report on the full implementation of resolution 1325 to be presented to Security Council in October 2004.
Quality of Life
and Community Support Networks for Older Persons in Latin America
In preparation for the Latin America Ministerial Meeting on Ageing scheduled for November 2003, there will be a series of expert group meetings on each of the priority directions of the Plan of Action on Ageing. This meeting is the first and will focus in the role of the family and community in creating an enabling environment for older persons.
Contact: Ignacio Tornel, DSPD, Tel. (212) 367-2106, Fax: (212) 963-0111, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jobs for Youth:
National Strategies for Employment Promotion
In an effort to explore various policy options for youth employment creation, the Division for Social Policy and Development is organizing an Expert Group Meeting on Jobs for Youth: National Strategies for Employment Promotion, to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, 15-16 January 2003. A broad cross-section of participants is expected to take part, including experts in the field of youth employment, representatives of employers’ and workers’ organizations, major regional and international youth NGOs, and representatives of United Nations agencies, the World Bank and the ILO.
In the Millennium Declaration, Heads of State and Government resolved to “develop and implement strategies that give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work.” The Secretary-General, together with the heads of the World Bank and the ILO, convened a high-level policy network to tackle the youth employment problem. The high-level panel came up with a set of recommendations, and identified four top priorities for youth employment: employability; equal opportunity; entrepreneurship; and employment creation. The United Nations is currently focusing its efforts on the fourth priority, employment creation, which aims to place job creation for youth at the center of macroeconomic and other policymaking.
Contact: Peggy Kelly, DSPD, Tel. (212) 963-1806, Fax: (212) 963-3062, E-mail: email@example.com
Expert Group Meeting on the Review
of the List of Least Developed Countries
As requested at the fourth session of the Committee for Development Policy, this meeting will make recommendations on the revised criteria for identification of the least developed countries.
Contact: Anatoly Smyshlyaev, DPAD, Tel. (212) 963 4687, E-mail: Smyshlyaev@un.org
Outcome of the Expert Group
Meeting on I
nformation and Communication Technologies
and their Impact on and use as an Instrument for the Advancement and Empowerment of Women
The Division for the Advancement of Women conducted an expert group meeting (EGM) in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on “information and communication technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women” from 11 to 14 November 2002. Experts presented a coherent case for including gender equality in the ICT area, supporting this with analysis, evidence and case studies of efforts that have worked, and investigated the challenges for mainstreaming gender perspectives in the ICT area. The experts addressed recommendations for action to different actors, including the private sector, at national, regional and international level. These range from steps to integrate gender perspectives in the development and implementation of national ICT policies and strategies, create an enabling environment so that women can benefit from ICT for development, empower women through the use of ICT, promote women’s participation in the information society, promote partnerships among all stakeholders in the ICT area, mobilise resources to promote gender equality in ICT, and ensure inclusiveness and participation in promoting gender equality in the information society.
Contact: Santiago Martinez de Orense, DAW, Tel. (212) 963-4526, Fax: (212) 963-3463, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Launch of the International Year of Freshwater, 2003
Launch of the International Year of Freshwater, 2003
The event, co-hosted by DESA's Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) and the Department of Public Information, will feature: a video presentation (excerpts from PBS Special "Water: A Drop of Life"); a keynote address by the Deputy-Secretary-General; a panel discussion, including Mr. Desai, Ambassadors from key countries, the Executive Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, and other senior water resources advocates; and other activities.
The year 2003 was proclaimed the International Year of Freshwater by the General Assembly in its resolution 56/192. Activities for "WaterYear2003" are being coordinated by the UN/DESA, UNESCO and UNEP. The Year seeks to raise awareness and promote action regarding the vital importance of freshwater issues in today's world. Issues such as access to water and the improvement of water management are directly linked to preservation of the ecosystem, biodiversity, agricultural productivity, poverty eradication, and full community participation, including involvement of women and girls. Water is a critical element that ties together all areas of sustainable development.
The issue of access to water resources was widely discussed at the World Summit for Sustainable Development, and was regarded as one of the success stories of the Summit. There is much to be done on disseminating the important messages surrounding wise water use and conservation of the resources. Through the establishment of partnerships with specialized agencies, civil society actors and private sector participants the Year aims to raise awareness for water issues through educational materials, media kits, public service announcement, an interactive website and country-based projects.Contact: Marcia Brewster, DSD, Tel. (212) 963-8590, E-mail: email@example.com
Panel on Improving Resource Mobilization
and Tax Administration
The Division for Public Economic and Public Administration (DPEPA) of DESA is organizing a one-day panel on “Improving Resource Mobilization and Tax Administration” during the course of the Fourth Global Forum on Reinventing Government (see below ). The Road Map towards the implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration and the Monterrey Consensus pointed out the importance of domestic resource mobilization for self-sustaining development. The Panel will discuss how to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition to set up effective, efficient, transparent, and accountable tax systems and administrations to secure fiscal sustainability.
Contact: Olivier Munyaneza, DPEPA, Tel. (212) 963-8801, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Collaboration with the South Asia Center for Policy Studies
DESA , through its Socio-Economic Policy Advisory Services Branch of the Division of Social Policy and Development, has been requested by the South Asia Center for Policy Studies (SACEPS) to support the South Asia Citizens’ Social Charter (SACSC) process initiated by SACEPS and to co-sponsor the launching of the Social Charter in Colombo, Sri Lanka in February 2003.
The SACEPS is a recent initiative of advocates of citizen-based social development initiatives in the South Asian countries. Its headquarters, currently based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has focal points in all the countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). SACEPS is presently preparing the SACSC, to be completed this month. Once finalized, SACEPS would launch the SACSC document to a major civil society advocacy initiative to mobilize support. The ultimate goal is to dialogue with the South Asian Association of Regional Countries (SAARC) Summit to endorse its provisions within the official SAARC Charter and then to ensure that the commitments at the Summit are subsequently enforced on the ground. The SACEPS concept and its citizens’ initiative can also be important to replicate in regions such as Africa where the participation of civil society organizations in social development is relatively weak.
Contact: Adil Khan, DSPD, Tel. (212) 963-6168, Fax (212) 963-1265, E-mail: email@example.com
Seminar on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in Africa: Identifying Best Practices and Building the Sustainable Livelihoods of Communities
Small-scale and artisanal mining are widely practiced in a significant number of African countries. Because artisanal mining is largely poverty-driven, it has grown as an economic activity, which commonly complements more traditional forms of rural subsistence earnings. In Africa, it is estimated that some 20 million people depend on this activity for their subsistence. The Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) Southern Africa report (2002) acknowledges that Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) is "typically practiced in the poorest and most remote rural areas by a largely itinerant, poorly educated populace, men, and women with few employment alternatives". This observation is also relevant to other Sub-Saharan African regions. The great majority of artisanal miners are involved in gold, diamond and gemstone mining, usually in the poorest and most remote rural areas by a large itinerant, poorly educated populace, men, women with few employment alternatives.
A seminar on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Africa has been organized to identify the best practices and to build sustainable livelihoods of communities in Africa. The seminar, held in Yaounde, Cameroon from 19-22 November 2002, has been jointly organised by the Water, Natural Resources & SIDS Branch, Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) of DESA and the UN Economic Commission for Africa and hosted by the Central Africa Sub-regional Development Centre.
The objectives of this seminar mirror the aims of many African governments and their development partners, namely:
The organizers brought together participants from several African countries, where small-scale and artisanal mining is a serious development issue. By bringing together key stakeholders from a broad development spectrum, the goal was to encourage a fresh exchange of views and experiences around some of the key development policy challenges of ASM with a view to better harnessing its economic dynamism, and identifying sustainable alternative economic opportunities for poverty reduction and sustainable development.Contact: Vladimir Servianov, DSD, Tel. (212) 963-8777, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Back to "Technical cooperation" ) (Back to top )
Renewable Energy Development in Syria
At the request of the Government of Syria, a project was undertaken by the Division for Sustainable Development, Energy and Transport Branch (ETB) of DESA, with the financial support of UNDP through its Syria Country Office, to formulate a comprehensive national master plan for the development of renewable energy sources and relevant applications. Progressively increasing the contribution from these sources to the total energy mix can help in addressing the goals of sustainable development. Proposals that have been developed include a 10-year development plan, as well as several accompanying measures covering policies and institutional arrangements for strengthening the capacities needed to translate these plans into concrete actions.
Syria is well endowed with fossil fuel as well as renewable energy resources. There are significant reserves of natural gas and a large reserve of oil. Currently oil makes the largest contribution to the primary energy supply, followed by gaseous fuels. The share of oil in the energy mix has been declining steadily, which is being replaced by gaseous fuels as a result of a national strategy. Although Syrian energy consumption is not large, it is higher than the regional and continental average in per capita and GDP terms. The same can be said about Syrian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are higher than the regional and global levels in terms of GDP. These GHG emissions especially from energy use are projected to increase significantly in the coming years. For Syria to move towards greater sustainability, future energy developments must reduce expected GHG emissions, some of which may be achieved through the use of renewable energy technologies.
The purpose of the Syria National Renewable Energy Master Plan is to induce an increasing contribution from renewable sources of energy in the national energy balance thereby reducing dependence on conventional energy sources and leading to environmentally sound, sustainable development. The Syrian renewable energy industry is in the early stages of development but capacity exists in solar hot water, photovoltaics and wind energy manufacturing.
The draft master plan identifies application areas where renewable energy can make a significant contribution. Renewable energy activities currently underway in Syria are on a small scale and therefore are unable to make an impact. Proposals have therefore been worked out, based on existing data and information, for a realistically achievable level of development of renewable energy resources through planned efforts. The master plan reviews the institutional arrangements in the country to set the stage for new institutional arrangements that are proposed.
The master plan consists of two main components: the Energy Development Plan and Accompanying Measures Plan. While the energy development plan consists of developments in wind, bioenergy, solar, hydro and hybrid energy systems that directly contribute to increasing the share of renewable energy in the primary energy supply, accompanying measures consist of studies, capacity building, promotional and institutional development efforts that facilitate the energy developments. The planning horizon is from 2002 to 2011 and activity descriptions, plans, cost implications, sources of finance, benefits and alternatives are provided.
Plans and proposals are based on scenarios that rely on a set of assumptions regarding levels of the renewable energy contribution to the total energy supply that can be aimed for in a period of 10 years. These proposals cover research and development and demonstration and operational projects. An estimate of the resources required to accomplish the tasks involved and to achieve the objectives of the proposals is also given. Various barriers in the policy, institutional and financing areas that will have to be removed for achieving the goals are also identified.
The proposals concerning institutional development comprise the establishment of:
Contact: Walter Shearer, DSD, Tel. (212) 963-8444, E-mail: email@example.com
Energy Efficiency in Egypt
The Energy Efficiency Improvement and Greenhouse Gases Reduction (EIGR) project was designed to maximize the potential of the Egyptian energy market and address some of the barriers to energy efficiency. The project is being executed and partially financed by the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC). Technical support for the project is provided by the Energy and Transport Branch of the Division for Sustainable Development of DESA. It is also partially financed and technically supported by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The project started in January 1999 and is expected continue for a period of four and half years.
Most Egyptian industries have a higher rate of energy consumption than the international norm. Electricity use in Egypt is 1.6 kWh per US$ of the gross national product, four times that of OECD countries in Europe and double that of some other developing countries. On the other hand, electricity consumption per capita is around one fifth of that in OECD countries in Europe. Unless action is taken to improve energy efficiency, the potential increase in energy demand with growth in the national product will be excessive.
Reforms in the energy sector in Egypt have focused on: encouraging private sector involvement in power generation; reforming generation, transmission and distribution companies; and establishing an electric utility and consumer protection regulatory agency. The regulatory agency has a mandate to establish a benchmarking scheme for electricity companies which takes into consideration energy conservation efforts and demand-side management. Environmental legislation (adopted in 1994) established limits for emissions from industrial and commercial enterprises. Egypt has also developed its national action plan for the mitigation of greenhouse gases. The action plan has adopted the following seven energy conservation measures: switching to natural gas, cogeneration, high efficiency lighting, combustion improvement, waste heat recovery, condensate return and use of wind energy as technologies for clean development.
Egypt began its economic reform programme focused on liberalization and deregulation, in the 1990s. The programme concentrated on privatization of industrial and commercial sectors and higher private sector involvement in the telecommunications and electricity sectors. Following the recession in 1998, privatization and deregulation programmes were accelerated.
The energy efficiency market is estimated at US$ 1.1 billion, and cogeneration, process control and power factor correction present the highest opportunities for efficiency measures. When cost per unit is taken into account, power factor correction and lighting have a higher potential for implementation of energy efficiency measures. The industrial sector accounts for 95 % of the total market opportunities, while the commercial sector accounts for the remaining 5%.
Regardless of the high potential for energy efficiency, the market also suffers from many negative forces. While efforts have been made to improve awareness on these issues, further efforts are still needed. A lack of operating and calibrated energy measuring instruments, as well as an absence of records for energy consumption add to the problem. The absence of national codes and standards for energy consumption as well as limits for the efficiencies of industrial processes, create limits in the market. There is no incentive or rebate policy for energy conservation projects, except bonuses offered for power factor correction. The electricity tariff has not been changed since 1993 and prices of fuels such as #2 oil and LPG are subsidized.
In terms of economic barriers, the exchange rate has increased by 37 %, which has affected the appeal of energy conservation projects. Public sector companies in the process or waiting for privatization, are prevented from making new investments. These companies include several large industrial complexes where energy conservation opportunities are available. Regarding project financing, the financial sector lacks alternative financial instruments while the legal structure makes it very difficult and risky to do asset-backing lending. Financial institutions lack knowledge and experience on the true risks of financing energy conservation projects. All these factors limit the amount of debt and equity, which can be generated for energy-saving projects at the present time.
One of the major components of the DESA project is energy efficiency business development through which the project has helped establish eight energy service companies (ESCOs). These companies include energy efficiency equipment suppliers, electro-mechanical contractors, utilities and consultants. Through the project, technical as well as business training was provided to these companies, which were supported and promoted through a programme for 200 partially financed energy audits. By the end of May 2002, more than 75 % of these audits had been conducted, covering industrial and commercial sectors in all geographical regions of Egypt.
The audits were used to develop business opportunities for the companies, as well as an awareness campaign among the companies for energy efficiency. Of the completed 154 audits, 19 projects have been implemented and four other projects are in the implementation phase. The implemented projects are mainly related to power factor correction and high efficiency lighting. However, ongoing projects also include two cogeneration projects, a demand side management project, a peak shaving project, and an energy conservation project.
Implemented projects have been conducted using the Guaranteed Saving Model of performance contracting. The Shared Saving Model has not proved attractive to most of the ESCOs in Egypt. To encourage implementation a loan guarantee programme, which provides performance contracting-guarantees for the ESCOs was established.
Several techniques to increase the number of energy service companies and to strengthen their capacity were developed under the project. These mechanisms include targeting specific companies to help them establish their energy efficiency department as well as encouraging public-private partnerships. Under the project, a memorandum of understanding was signed with one of the largest contracting companies in Egypt, offering the company both office and hands-on training. Ten sites within the company have been identified for conducting energy audits. A public-private partnership between a private sector ESCO and a utility company was also successfully established. Five energy audits have been conducted through this partnership.
Technology verification services were provided under the project through contracts with professional centres to conduct assessments for energy conservation equipment. The project has also encouraged the energy service companies to provide services such as furnace and boiler tune up. A comprehensive study for customs duty reduction on selected energy conservation equipment, namely compact fluorescent lamps and high efficiency motors, has been forwarded to customs authorities for approval and implementation. Energy codes (currently under revision) for both commercial and residential buildings were also developed.
In spite of the many project initiatives, challenges remain. Most ESCOs are under-capitalized and lack trained personnel. The market will be more promising once economic reforms are completed and the recession period is bridged. While indicators for the EIGR project are promising, continuing efforts at both the institutional and business levels are still needed.
Contact: Walter Shearer, DSD, Tel. (212) 963-8444, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marshall Islands: Solar Energy for Health Centres
The Energy and Transport Branch (ETB) of the Division for Sustainable Development of DESA, is currently engaged in a technical cooperation project with the Government of the Marshall Islands, begun in 1999, to provide solar photovoltaic power units for electrification of designated health centres in the Marshall Islands. The project is financed by the United Nations Trust Fund for New and Renewable Sources of Energy and implemented by the ETB in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Environment and Ministry of Resource and Development Works of the Marshall Islands.
Only a few of the more populated islands in the country have access to electricity. The Government expressed a desire to provide electricity to the non-electrified areas using a suitable form of renewable energy instead of relying on diesel fuel. Considering the remoteness of these islands, their unique ecosystems and limited power demands, solar photovoltaic systems seem to be the most viable options for providing electricity.
This turnkey project envisages the supply and installation of solar power equipment in twelve non-electrified health centres in the Marshall Islands. Of the twelve health centres, all except one belong to the "small category" and the same type of electrical load has been adopted for specifying the needed systems. The eleven small health centres will be provided with:
All the devices will operate in standalone mode with a 12-V DC system.
In the case of the Rong Rong Island health centre, a different approach has been adopted where a "centralized" solar power unit will provide grid quality electricity not only to the health centre but also to the small community on a commercial basis. This unit is intended to demonstrate the usefulness of solar power plants for the overall development of the village.
Rong Rong Island is located near the Majuro atoll. It is a small island comprising a church, a few houses, a health centre, a school and boys’ and a girls’ hostel. All are located within 300 m of each other and therefore construction of a solar PV micro-power plant can provide grid quality power to all the consumers. The solar power plant will provide electricity to the health centre, church, school, hostels and houses on a sustainable commercial basis. At present, expensive kerosene is being used in Rong Rong for lighting. The operation and maintenance of the power plant will be the responsibility of the local authorities. The equipment supplier has provided the necessary training and manuals for operation and maintenance. If the Rong Rong pilot project is successful, similar solar power plants will be installed on other small islands in the Marshall Islands.
Contact: Walter Shearer, DSD, Tel. (212) 963-8444, E-mail: email@example.com
Project IND/02/012: Corporate Social Responsibility in India
DESA (through the Socio-Economic Policy Advisory Services Branch of the Division for Social Policy and Development) in conjunction with the UNDP and the Confederation of Indian Industry, has been collaborating on the project, IND/02/012 on “Partnership for Corporate Social Responsibility and Development" in India. Within the framework of the project and under the aegis of the India Partnership Forum, a nationwide survey involving 1000 companies was launched to obtain corporate insights on corporate social responsibility and allied issues. Price Waterhouse Coopers and the British Council collaborated with UNDP and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in this initiative.
The Survey Report was released by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, at the CII Annual Social Summit at Hyderabad in November this year, who noted the on-going transition from a philanthropic approach to a stakeholder-based model of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in India. There was extensive press coverage, print and electronic, on the Report. The Report will be available on the websites of the CII, the British Council, Price Waterhouse Coopers and the Division for Social Policy and Development.
The United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme (UN/UNDP) have been invited to chair the roundtable on public-private partnership in social issues during the forthcoming India Economic Summit (the Indian chapter of the World Economic Forum).
Contact: Adil Khan, DSPD,Tel. (212) 963-6168, Fax (212) 963-1265, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Monterrey Consensus has encouraged, amongst others, s trengthened international tax cooperation through enhanced dialogue among national tax authorities. In pursuance of this, the Division for Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA) will organize the Third Regional Training Workshop on Taxation, in association with the Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAT) and the Government of Brazil.
The objective of the Training Workshop, whose main focus is resource mobilization through taxation, is primarily to upgrade the technical skills of tax administrators from developing countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, and will include training on practical methods and strategies for combating tax avoidance and tax evasion. The Training Workshop will utilize the case study method, and lectures will be given by experts specializing in fiscal policy and revenue administration from international financial organizations and prominent academic institutions. The Training Workshop will also present an opportunity for participants to share experiences and points of view on methods of resource mobilization and improving efficiency and effectiveness of tax administration.Contact: Jay De Vera, DPEPA, Tel. (212) 963-0525, E-mail: email@example.com OR Masa Ohyama, Tel. (212) 963-4695, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Development Dividend Projects : 2004-2005
The following project proposals by members of the Executive Committee for Economic and Social Affairs (EC-ESA) of the UN have been submitted to the General Assembly for approval. They are to be funded from efficiency savings on UN operations. Project figures range from $300,000 to over a million with the mean at about $600,000
Capacity Development Workshops
, Marrakech, Morocco, 11-10 December
Eleven Capacity Development Workshops will be held with conjunction with the Fourth Global Forum on Reinventing Government: Citizens, Businesses, and Governments: Dialogue and Partnerships for the Promotion of Democracy and Development. They are organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DPEPA/DESA), with the support of the Government of Italy and in partnership with UN agencies and international institutions, including the World Bank, UNCTAD, UNIFEM, UNDP, Transparency International, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance-IDEA, Formez, Bocconi University, the Italian School of Public Administration, and the Canadian Association of Fiscal and Financial Planning.
The Capacity Development Workshops will provide a platform to exchange views and practical experiences. More than 200 participants are expected.
The Global Forum on Reinventing Government is an annual high-level event whose objective is to provide a platform for heads of Government and senior policy makers from around the world to exchange views and experiences in areas related to governance and public administration.
Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
Special features in this issue: Indices of world industrial production by branches of industry and by regions; Producers’ or wholesale price indices; Earnings in manufacturing, by sex; Construction of new buildings.
Special features in this issue: Retail price indices relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials; Fuel imports, developed economies: unit value indices, quantum indices and value; Indicators on fuel imports, developed economies; Registration of new motor vehicles; External trade conversion factors; Manufactured goods exports: unit value indices, quantum indices and value; Exports by commodity classes and by regions: developed economies; Selected series of world statistics.
Contact: Gloria Cuaycong, SD, Tel. (212) 963-4865, E-mail: email@example.com
Handbook on Training in Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems
The Handbook on Training in Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems provides guidance for developing national capability to operate and maintain, in a coordinated manner, the fundamental systems of civil registration and vital statistics. It contains course material, consisting of 23 modules, which can be adapted to conduct an effective and comprehensive training on the essentials for civil registration and vital statistics systems. The modules addresses a range of issues related to the establishment, operation and maintenance of reliable civil registration and vital statistics systems. The Handbook is based on the United Nations Principles and Recommendations, Revision 2 (ST/ESA/STAT/SER.M/19/Rev.2) and the related five preceding handbooks on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems (see: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/vital_statistics/publications.htm
Contact: Francesca Coullare, SD, Tel. (212) 963-4950, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2000 International Trade Statistics Yearbook
The forty-ninth edition of the International Trade Statistics Yearbook provides the basic information for individual countries’ external trade performances in terms of value, as well as in volume and price, the importance of trading partners and the significance of individual commodities imported and exported. This edition shows annual statistics for 179 countries or reporting customs areas. It is published in two volumes.
Contact: Ronald Jansen, SD, Tel. (212) 963-5980, E-mail: email@example.com
National Accounts Statistics:
Analysis of Main Aggregates, 1998-1999
The publication contains detailed national accounts estimates for most countries or areas of the World for the period 1970 to 1999. It presents in the form of analytical tables a summary of the principal national accounting aggregates based on official detailed national accounts data for some 180 countries and areas of the world. The publication contains statistics on national accounts aggregates such as gross domestic product, per capita gross domestic product, shares of gross domestic product by expenditure and by kind of industry, average rate of growth of gross domestic product and implicit price deflators. It is a valuable source of information on the economic situation of countries.
Contact: Julia Santander, SD, Tel. (212) 963-4864, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Technical Cooperation in Support of NEPAD
Progress report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa
Report of the independent evaluation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s
Report of the Secretary-General on the independent evaluation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s
Contact: Yvette Stevens, Special Coordinator, OSCAL, Tel. (212) 963 5084, E-mail: email@example.com
New web site developments
OSCAL has developed a new web page "Africa at the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2002)", which can be accessed at: http://www.un.org/ga/57/document57.htm (original url no longer valid) . This webpage contains background documentation, summaries and outcome (e.g., Declaration of the General Assembly High-Level Plenary Meeting - United Nations Declaration on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, A/RES/57/2) on various meetings on Africa.Contact: S. Ran Kim, OSCAL, Tel. ( 212) 963-2692, Fax: (212) 963-3892, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women
The Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women is launching its website in December 2002. The Office's main objective is to promote and strengthen the effective implementation of the Millennium Declaration, the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) held in Beijing in 1995 and the Outcome Document of the special session of the General Assembly on follow-up to the Platform for Action (June 2000). The website would comprise of three sections: gender mainstreaming, improvement of the status of women in the United Nations system (Office of the Focal Point for Women) and women, peace and security (under construction). The mandate of the Special Adviser on gender mainstreaming covers the whole of the United Nations. Under the guidance of the Special Ad`viser, the Office of the Focal Point assists the Secretary-General to monitor the status of women in the United Nations’ system. The issue of women, peace and security is prominently on the agenda of the Security Council, which adopted in 2000 its resolution 1325, in which it recognised a vital role of women in peace processes.Contact: Arlene Sciancalepore, DAW, Tel. (212) 963-7477, Fax (212) 963-3463, E-mail: Sciancalepore@un.org
United Nations Forum on Forests Reporting Guidelines
The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) agreed that voluntary national reporting would be done at each session of UNFF, beginning at UNFF2 this year. It further agreed that the reports would focus on the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. National reports are recognized as a useful planning tool for countries as well as a valuable source of information for the Reports of the Secretary General to UNFF sessions. In support of this decision, the UNFF Secretariat is circulating to all UNFF National Focal Points a voluntary national reporting format and guidelines. Developed in consultation with several government representatives and with the input of several harmonization and reporting studies previously undertaken, the format will hopefully allow better comparability and utility of information received by the UNFF Secretariat on the issues to be discussed at UNFF3 in 2003, namely Forest Health and Productivity, Economic Aspects of Forests and Maintaining Forest Cover for Present and Future Needs. The format is available on the UNFF Secretariat website: http://www.un.org/esa/forests
Contact: Susan Braatz, FfD, Tel. (212) 963-4219, E-mail: email@example.com
World Economic Situation and Prospects
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2003 is a joint publication of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It analyzes the recent performance and short-term prospects of the world economy and presents some of the key issues and developments in the international economic policy agenda. An overview chapter examines the global economic outlook and presents short-term forecasts for regions and major economies. Separate chapters deal with international trade and finance and major economic developments in each region of the world. The report includes charts and statistical tables, which give the latest available data, estimates and forecasts of some key economic variables.
Contact : Ian Kinniburgh, DPAD, Tel. (212) 963-4838, E-mail: Kinniburgh@un.orghttp://www.un.org/esa/esa02dp24.pdf
Multisectoral Global Funds (MGFs) are emerging as important new mechanisms for development financing. MGFs like the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are distinctive because they are governed and financed by multisectoral coalitions of national governments, multilateral agencies, the private sector and civil society, they operate independently of any one institution and are tied to issues or policy areas. This study considers the desirability of MGFs as instruments for international financial mobilization and resource allocation. MGFs hold considerable promise as focal points for generating additional public and private resources to address urgent global problems and to finance global public goods. They are partnership-based and may be more operationally nimble than traditional mechanisms. However, MGFs may also result in a less coherent response to global problems, duplicate existing structures and lack democratic accountability.
I nformal Money Transfer System s: Opportunity and Challenges for Development Finance
Leonides Buencamino and Sergei Gorbunov
http://www.un.org/esa/papers.htm This paper reviews the main types of informal money transfer systems (IMTS). Developed centuries ago as a way to settle financial obligations, IMTS remain today the preferred remittance vehicle among migrant communities. Characteristics, such as low transactions costs, speed, and little paperwork, render them more attractive than banking institutions. After September 11, IMTS were suspected of being used for terrorist purposes, leading some to call for their prohibition. The authors think such a response is too drastic and instead propose measures to make IMTS less prone to possible abuse by criminal elements and encourage the development of formal sector alternatives.
Global Economic Outlook
A report following the Fall Project Link meeting will be available on the web by the end of December.
Contact: Pingfan Hong, DPAD, Tel. (212) 963-4701, E-mail: Hong@un.org
Governance World Watch
DPEPA has been issuing the Governance World Watch on a monthly basis since January 1999, and it has been on the UNPAN website since March 1999. The publication provides a collection of news articles by various international media on the most recent major trends and developments in the areas of: public policy and globalization, governance systems and institutions, ICT for development, civil service and ethics in the public sector, human resources development, mobilization of financial resources for development, and private sector development. The most recent issue and all back issues can be found at: http://www.unpan.org/major_development.aspContact: Ms. Haiyan Qian, DPEPA, Tel. 212-963-3393, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Report of the Secretary-General:
Review of the Global Situation of Young People
This report has been prepared for the 41st session of the Commission for Social Development in February 2003. The report combines requests of ECOSOC and the General Assembly to review the current global situation of young people. The first part of the report presents a review of the current global youth situation, based on the findings of the Expert Group Meeting on Global Priorities for Youth, held at Helsinki from 6 to10 October 2002. DESA organized this meeting in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of the Government of Finland. On the basis of discussions held, a separate, more elaborate study, tentatively called the “World Youth Report 2003" will be published in 2003. The second part of the report presents an evaluation of the World Youth Forum of the United Nations System, lastly held at Dakar, Senegal, from 6 to 10 August 2001. The findings are based on a questionnaire circulated to all Member States and on surveys sent to all Forum participants in early 2002.
Contact: Joop Theunissen, DSPD, Tel. (212) 963-7763, Fax: (212) 963-0111, E-mail: email@example.com
Report of the Secretary-General: Preparations for the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2004
This report has been prepared for the 41st session of the Commission for Social Development in February 2003. It describes the state of preparations for the observance of the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2004 at the global, regional and national levels. It provides information on salient activities and experiences of the UN system, Member States and the NGO sector. It also includes recommendations for the successful observance of the anniversary. The report was prepared in response to General Assembly resolution 56/113 of 19 December 2001.
Contact: Amr Ghaleb, DSPD, Tel. (212) 963-3238, Fax: (212) 963-3062, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Programme on the Family of the Division for Social Policy and Development will issue a publication entitled Family Indicators in the spring of 2003. Designing effective family policies has to be based on the accurate provision of data. Relying on a system of elaborate family indicators is of crucial importance for the interpretation of data. The study looks critically at current practices regarding indicators as well as the basic conditions necessary for the establishment of a comprehensive array of family indicators. In such a conceptual approach, indicators can provide policy makers with quantitative forms for an approximate view of social reality. Static, dynamic and functional indicators are discussed to illuminate the changes that have altered families in recent decades.
Contact: Amr Ghaleb, DSPD, Tel. (212) 963-3238, Fax: (212) 963-3062, E-mail: email@example.com
Africa/Asia Parliamentary Forum on Human Security and Gender: The Role of the Legislature
Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
Economic and Social Council
Economic and Social Council
Expert Group Meeting on the Review of the List of Least Developed Countries
Third Regional Training Workshop on Taxation
Panel on Improving Resource Mobilization and Tax Administration
Quality of Life and Community Support Networks for Older Persons in Latin America
Jobs for Youth: National Strategies for Employment Promotion
Launch of International Year of Freshwater, 2003
to the General Assembly Second Committee (Economic and Financial)
May I begin by congratulating you on your assumption of this veryimportant office in a year when the Second Committee has some particularlyimportant items on its agenda. Iwould also take this opportunity of congratulating all of the other members ofthe Bureau who clearly have a lot of work ahead.
When we met in the Second Committee a year ago it was in the shadow ofthe events of 9/11. Let me beginwith a sense of where we are this year. Asfar as the world economy is concerned, in many ways things have not turned outas well as we were expecting about a year ago. While a process of economic recovery has started in the industrialeconomies, it is a very weak process, very prone to accidents, to reversal. There is a serious deficiency of domestic demand in key areas like Japanand the United States. We have alsohad the financial crisis in Latin America, which has really set back theprospects for growth in that region. Overall,the prospects as this point look far more uncertain than they did a year ago. Most assessments of growth in 2002 have been revised downwards. Most assessments also do suggest some revival of growth in 2003, but onehas to recognize that we are today functioning in a situation where the downsiderisk for the global economy is very substantial.
First, there are geo-political tensions and uncertainties with verypossibly grave effects on the economies of all countries, particularly thedeveloping countries. Second, wehave probably not seen fully the consequences of the fall in asset prices. While we have seen the fall in equity prices, there is still a propertyprice bubble in many parts of the world and if that bursts, it could have a verysevere effect on consumer spending. Athird element of downside risk is the continuing large trade imbalances, thefragility of financial and banking systems in many parts of the world and theissues of corporate governance and accounting which have emerged recently. We continue to have problems of debt and certain fiscal difficulties inmany developing countries and the year has also seen an unusually large numberof major natural disasters with serious adverse economic effects.
So essentially today, a year later, the prospects for the world economylook significantly more bleak than they did a year ago and the risks we look atare basically all downside risks. Imention this because I think it is important that when we do our work we keep inmind that we are operating in an environment of very substantial economicuncertainty.
The past year has also been a very important year in policy development.When the events of 9/11 took place, many people felt that we should perhapsreconsider having all the major events that were scheduled for the followingtwelve months. People felt that theworld would not have time for developmental issues because the main focus wouldbe on the fight against terrorism. Butthere were others who argued that it is really a continuum; that there would bein fact a greater and more substantial interest in addressing development issuesfor a variety of reasons, not the least because you cannot really expectinvolvement and participation in one set of agendas if you also do not see areverse sense of cooperation and participation in the other set of agendas. And that I think has been borne out.
The events that were scheduled were held and in great measure achievedwhat they were meant to achieve, though there will always be questions as towhether we could have accomplished more.
I believe that over the past year, Doha, Monterrey, Johannesburg, theWorld Food Summit and other processes, have set in train a “newmultilateralism”. This is notsimply a product of what has happened over the past year. And it is not a finished job as yet; it is only a beginning. The focus of my statement today is on the nature of this newmultilateralism and what is it that we can do here in the Second Committee, inthe General Assembly, to strengthen it, and what are the tasks ahead.
Before I go on, let me take up one issue which has sometimes cropped up. A distinction is sometimes drawn between multilateralism andinternational economic and development cooperation. Multilateralism is seen as essentially procedural – establishingcertain rules that should constrain national policy as it affects othercountries. For example, the rule on non-discrimination between potentialsuppliers in international trade or, in setting exchange rates, as in the nowdefunct fixed-rate system which prevailed until the early seventies.International economic cooperation, on the other hand, deals with substantivegoals and programmes, such as the system of ODA and technical assistance. Butthe distinction is a very fuzzy one. The international trade regime presumescertain substantive goals, e.g., that trade liberalization is necessarily a goodthing. Moreover, in recent trade negotiations which have covered areas likeinvestment, intellectual property and so on, the distinction between proceduraland substantive goals is not very clear.
Inthe reverse direction, international economic cooperation has moved beyond avoluntaristic framework into something akin to global rules – hard ones wheretreaty obligations are involved as in the case of the environment and humanrights, and soft ones where a globally agreed programme is accepted as a basisfor national and international action. Agood example of the latter are the Millennium Development Goals.
The UN conferences of the past decade must be seen in this context. They have provided a substantive framework not just for internationaleconomic cooperation, but also for the multilateral system of trade and finance.Today, the goals of international trade negotiation cannot be framed simply interms of liberalization and constraints on unilateral actions, but also in termsof their contribution to promoting development and reducing disparities amongnations. Equally, the obligations of a country with regard to exchange rate andfinancial policies cannot be defined simply in terms of the provisions in theIMF Articles of Agreement, but also in terms of the impact on the global flowsof concessional and market-based finance. In many ways the outcomes of Doha andMonterrey crystallize this fusion of procedural and substantive goals.
It is no accident that today we call the mandate for trade which emergedfrom the Doha round a “development round”. Monterrey, for its part, sought to change the way in which we look at theglobal financial system so that our focus is on the impact of this system on theprocesses of savings, investment, development, and on how it could contribute tothe reduction of disparities, the opening up of opportunities for poorer peopleand poorer countries.
Let me say a little more about the task before you when it comes toMonterrey. I believe that becauseof Monterrey and the processes which led up to Monterrey, there has been a seachange on the macro-economic policy front, in particular with respect to therelationship between the United Nations, the international financialinstitutions, the World Trade Organisations and the regional development bank. As recently as four years ago, the whole issue of macro-economic policycoordination was seen as something largely within the remit of the institutionsoutside the UN proper -- the WTO, IMF and the World Bank. Even three years ago, very few people thought that it would be possibleto hold a major conference on finance for development under UN auspices withextensive high-level participation not just from these financial institutionsbut also from presidents, prime ministers and the financial industry. But this did take place and it was a first. And today it is recognized that the United Nations is a crucial part ofthis whole process of macro-economic policy coordination. Our key contribution in this area is that we keep the development agendaat the forefront of macro-economic policy development and that we provide aplatform for looking at issues of policy coherence.
The challenge before you in the Second Committee is to see how we aregoing to follow-up on Monterrey. Monterreyhas recognized a certain role for the General Assembly, and for the Economic andSocial Council. In light of all theissues on your agenda, how will this role work? Traditionally we have looked at these issues in a segmentedmanner: trade issues, ODA issues,debt issues, etc. Is this the bestway of proceeding? Should we not,in response to Monterrey, find ways of bringing these issues together into amuch more holistic consideration of what was agreed in Monterrey, and inject theconcerns of development into financial policy?
Over the next few years, the implementation of the negotiations under theDoha round are going to have profound consequences for macro-economic issues. How will the Second Committee address this? Of course the negotiations take place in the WTO, but if we are talkingin terms of policy coherence, say regarding foreign direct investment (FDI), howare you going to influence this process? ActuallyFDI is a very telling case. In how many different places is this beingdiscussed? In how many differentcontexts are policy frameworks for this being set? How are we going to bring this together? You have a real challenge here. Itis not possible to simply continue to do our work on finance the way we havebeen doing it for the past forty or fifty years. The situation is qualitatively different. Today you have a position, a mandate, to contribute to this,which is in some ways unique, and which requires follow-up.
New issues have come up on the macro-economic side. There is discussion now on the whole question of sovereign debtrestructuring. There is a growing interest in the clarification of therelationship between trade and investment. We are all painfully aware of the developmental consequences of financialinstability and financial crashes which have taken place only too frequently. Recently, issues of international corporate governance and accountinghave also surfaced. These are newissues which impinge on many different areas. Yes, there are technical fora where norms and standard setting on theseissues will take place. But fromthe perspective of injecting the concerns of development, from the perspectiveof ensuring policy coherence across different areas, I believe that the GeneralAssembly and the Second Committee have an important role to play.
In the report that we have prepared, at your request, on the follow-up toMonterrey, there are several suggestions which address these issues, both fromthe perspective of how this could be handled at the intergovernmental level andfrom the perspective of how the Secretariat can better support this type ofprocess. I hope you will look atthese proposals and decide on a structure and a mandate which will truly allowus to follow-up on that conference effectively.
The Johannesburg Summit onSustainable Development was a different sort of conference. Its primary purposewas to focus on implementation, and the real test of its success is whether itwill in fact expedite actions in the critical areas identified in the outcome.But there are several areas where the WSSD also helped to advance a policyconsensus substantially beyond what was achieved in Rio.
One such area is that of sustainable consumption and production, wherethe Johannesburg outcome is more elaborate and more specific in terms of actionand timetables than the rather general exhortation in Agenda 21. TheJohannesburg plan calls for a ten-year programme on sustainable consumption. It refers to other areas, such as energy, biodiversity, and chemicals in a far more focussed way than what we haveseen in the past. This is very important because we have successfully injectedan important concept into our work on development: that our work is not justsetting up policy frameworks for developing countries, but also setting uppolicy frameworks that cover how development, including consumption andproduction, is pursued in the richer countries.
There are other areas where there were important forward developments inpolicy. I mentioned, for instance,energy, water and sanitation. But Iwould stress that a main contribution of Johannesburg was the specificity oftargets and timetables in critical areas. Iknow that one or two which people wanted are not there, but a very large numberare there, and later when we introduce the report from Johannesburg and I willsay a little bit more about these. Asecond main contribution was the recognition that fulfilling target these willrequire new and additional financial resources. The third contribution was thespecific programmatic initiatives which were announced in Johannesburg, often aspartnership projects.
I need to say a word on partnerships. Let me first explain why this concept arose. One element of this concept was to recognize that sustainable developmentinvolves a degree of innovation in the way in which development is practiced atthe ground level. Much of thisinnovation was taking place in local projects, in local authorities. There were a large number of successful examples of sustainabledevelopment in different areas. Oneof our challenges was: How dowe make this go to scale? How do weensure that something very useful that is happening in a dozen places happensnot just in a dozen places but in thousands of places? And one of the motivations behind the idea of partnership was really totap into this dynamism and innovation which existed in the local Agenda 21s andin the work which many community-based NGOs were doing.
The second motivation in the notion of partnerships was to move away froma donor-defined policy framework into something where donors and programmecountries would actually sit together, not at the time the money has to flow,but prior to that when the programmes are being put together and designed.
This is important. Those ofus who have worked in development and finance departments in developingcountries know that you are always at the receiving end of, if you like, policyprescriptions, even policy conditionalities. Often different ones from different donors. Part of the answer lies in providing a shared programmatic and policyframework which is what the UN conferences have done. But they are fairly general. Hence part of the answer also lies in creating a structured frameworkwhere it is accepted that when something specific has to be done with donorsupport, then it is not just donors but also the programme countries which mustalso sit together at the conceptual and design stage.
A third point which led to partnership is that if this was to be aconference about implementation we had to come away with a sense of concretecommitments. Yes, the generalcommitments in terms of programmes and in terms of the commitment to provideresources for them would be there. Butwe felt this would not be enough because we have had a lot of that in otherconferences. It had to be morespecific and that is the reason why the idea of partnerships was promoted.
Many people have seen this notion of partnerships essentially assomething which was corporate-led. Thatis not true. Most of thepartnerships which have been registered with us actually involvenon-governmental organizations and inter-governmental organizations. Yes, there are some which involve corporations, but the majority arebasically from these other sectors. Evenif there are corporations, I believe it is not a bad thing if you can getcorporations to work on our agenda, and areas like energy, it is essential. We are not going to be credible in terms of our programmatic framework onenergy if we say that we are only going to focus attention on what the UN isgoing to do or on what the public sector is going to do. We have to bring the energy companies into our agenda and I believe wehave made very good progress in doing this.
I would stress here that none of these partnerships can be a substitutefor the commitments which exist in the inter-governmentally agreed programme ofaction. None of these can be asubstitute for the resources which need to be provided for that. But these are important as an adjunct to them, as a way of deepening andimproving the quality of implementation. Ifour policy frameworks are global, are comprehensive, they must influence notjust what public authorities do, they must influence the actions of the allthose actors who have an impact on sustainable development, whether they bebusinesses, local authorities, cooperatives, trade unions, or activist groups.
At this point, let me emphasize the importance of what has been done overthese ten years on the UN conference process. A big difference is the credibility and the visibility of the economicand social work of the UN. Think ofwhat the work was like in the ‘80s and what it is like now. How many people focussed on what was being done and discussed in theSecond Committee resolutions in the ‘80s? How many more are focussing on what is coming out of this process and whydid this happen? It happenedbecause you engaged capitals; people from capitals started participating inthese processes. Now, a lot offinance and trade ministers worry as much about what their peers in othercountries think of them as they do of what their fellow cabinet members think ofthem, which has happened because of these global processes. But besides capitals, during the ‘90s the UN engaged civilsociety, activist groups, business, cooperatives, trade unions and others on anunprecedented scale. Because ofthis, you had huge media exposure and a tremendous impact in terms of raisingawareness and in terms of changing the mind-set of key decision makers.
It is this which has given outcomes like Agenda 21 the type of weight andinfluence which even the most bold resolution negotiated by a limited group ofpeople would not have had. Take theexample of low-income country debt. Yes,what you did in the Second Committee was very valuable in keeping these issueson the agenda. But we got actionwhen this got combined with the sorts of initiatives which were launched by theNGO movement like the Jubilee 2000 initiative on debt. That is why I believe it is in the interest of the intergovernmentalprocess in the UN to make common cause with activist groups and to draw ininfluential civil society actors.
Basically, international relations today are much more complex than inthe past. Yes, we are essentiallyfocussed on a system of relations between states. But today these relations are influenced as much by a different structureof global (not international) relations set by networks of like-minded people -what people call a global civil society. Thisglobal civil society has played a profound role in shaping the orientation andoutcome of the work that we have done in the UN, particularly in theconferences. We in the UN exist atthe hinge of this old world of international relations and the new world ofglobal relations. I stress thispoint because when we switch our focus from policy development to implementationwe must keep this mind. In someways partnerships are also an effort to take this into account as we switch frompolicy development to implementation. Wemust recognize the critical role that our relationship with civil society hasplayed in strengthening the visibility and the impact of the work that we dohere in the intergovernmental process.
I have spoken of the past but what of the future? Will the same structure of standing political processes and greatconferences work as we switch our emphasis more and more to issues ofimplementation? A word first. Let’s not assume that all tasks of policy development are over and donewith. There are still manyunresolved issues. Yes, the globalconferences of the past have provided us with a very comprehensive framework forglobal cooperation in development. Butthere are many issues where we require further work for building a consensus –a true consensus which reflects a genuine meeting of minds rather than simply atextual fix that papers over the cracks. TheSecretary-General’s report on reforms has highlighted some of these. Let me touch on just a few.
Globalisation is one such issue. Thereare a variety of issues under this head on which there is as yet no realconsensus, and let me just list a few:
All of these are issues on which there is as yet a consensus. We still have to do work in this area.
Yet another area is science and technology. The prospects both for equity and sustainability depend critically on thedirection of research and development and the terms on which poor people andpoor countries will have access to technology. Some of this gets discussed piecemeal, as in the case of medicines forAIDS. But where, how and when canwe develop a global consensus on generic issues like intellectual propertyregimes? There are unresolvedissues here, as was highlighted very recently in a report on the subject whichwas commissioned by the government of the United Kingdom which has beenextensively reported in the press over the past few weeks.
Yet, another issue on which we clearly do not have a global consensusrelates to migration. A worldeconomy in which commodities and capital are free to move but labour is not willbe subject to tensions and pressures which we cannot ignore. A policy regime in which domestic and foreign capital has to be treatedin a non-discriminatory manner, but where domestic and foreign labour can betreated differently needs more justification than is apparent. One understands the political, social and cultural concerns that exist inthis area. My point simply is thatthere are unresolved differences here on what is the appropriate degree ofdifferentiation and discrimination which we have not as yet addressed.
I stress this aspect because I don’t think we should go away with anotion that somehow all our work on policy development is over. We have a great deal still to do in policy development if for no otherreason than because the world keeps changing in unpredictable ways.
Nevertheless our focus is on implementation. I said a word on the whole question of implementation of Johannesburg andon the implementation of Monterrey. Athird theme which is part of your work here is the integration of allconferences. Let me just flag theissues here.
First, when it comes to implementation of conferences, we have the issueof monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals, of the goals which arespecific to the conferences, and monitoring at the global level, and at thenational level. We need anarchitecture for this monitoring so that we have a certain coherence and wedon’t repeat our work in different places. Perhaps the architecture has to be provided by the framework that we aresetting in place for the Millennium Development Goals and then we imbed theother things in that, like a series of Russian dolls. The biggest, the most visible one of course is the Millennium DevelopmentGoals. But there may be other onesin between.
Second, a review of barriers to implementation will have to take place. How much of this will be conference-specific in the processes mandated todo this, the functional commissions? Howmuch review of crosscutting issues needs to be done in ECOSOC and the GeneralAssembly? This latter aspect willreally tie in a great deal with what we do about policy coherence. Clearly we cannot talk of policy coherence globally and continue to dealwith crosscutting issues like trade, finance, poverty, science and technology ina fragmented way in our own processes.
The third issue is how we ensure that this follow-up really influencesthe operational activities of the UN system, both in the UN funds and programmesas well as in the international financial institutions. I would argue that we should also ask ourselves: How is it going to influence the activities of bilaterals?
I also believe that we have to ask questions, think out of the box, interms of the processes of implementation. Ialluded earlier to the question of partnerships, but are we going to keep these partnerships at an arms length? How are we going to ensure that they get folded better into our work? How do we review these partnership activities? I believe that these are some of the things that you will have toconsider as part of your agenda item on integrated follow-up to conferences, andmore particularly when you consider the follow-up to WSSD.
I am hopeful that at the end of your work in the Second Committee you aregoing to come up with bold and far-reaching proposals in this area. Howare we to assess the adequacy of the arrangements that we set in place for thefollow-up of Monterrey, Johannesburg and other conferences? At one level, we will judge them in procedural terms: simplification of the agenda, reduction in the volume of documentation,the number of meetings, harmonization of reporting. This is important because with limited resources, proceduralimprovements can help improve the quality of our work. That is why the Secretary-General’s report on reform rightly stressesthis aspect.
But we also need to assess the adequacy of what we do in terms ofeffectiveness. Will thesearrangements help to connect the programming and funding sources better? Will they be able to involve and influence all the key actors who canmake a difference at the ground level? Will they be able to enforce a measure of accountability in all areas –national and international, public and private? I believe this issue of effectiveness is crucial as we shiftour focus to implementation.
The exhortations and promises are in place. If only we could ensure that these exhortations are heard, these promisesfulfilled. Then on the basis of thedecisions that have already been taken in the conferences of the past decade, itis perfectly possible to predict that our successors meeting here in 2015 willbe able to say, amongst other things:
All of this is possible on the basis of the decisions we have taken, ifonly we ensure that we do what we have said we are going to do. This to me is the real challenge before the Second Committee. The institutional challenge is to see how this gap between performanceand promise can be closed. We havehad a decade of promises. We nowneed a decade of performance.
This is the tenth and perhaps the last time I will be opening the generaldebate in the Second Committee. Overthis decade a great deal has been achieved. The UN General Assembly, through its Second and Third Committees andthrough the conferences mandated by these Committees has reasserted its role inguiding global cooperation in economic, social and environmental matters. The goals and objectives and the policy approaches and frameworks setthrough these processes are increasingly accepted as the basis for globalcooperation. The most obviousexample of this is the status of the MDGs. Those of you who were in Washington this weekend, know the sort of rolethat the outcome of these conferences has played in shaping the discussions inthe Fund/Bank. This is the newmultilateralism which is coming into being, a multilateralism which is guidednot just by procedural goals of setting the rules of the game but amultilateralism which is also guided by substantive concerns about equity, aboutjustice, about fairness, about sustainability. That is because through the UN process we have been able to amplify thevoices of the weak, the marginalized and the oppressed much more so than wecould do a decade earlier.
In all of this, you the delegates of the Second Committee have played acrucial role as you have set up these processes and as you negotiatedrelentlessly into the middle of the night. Let me just say that on my side, it was an honour and a privilege to havebeen a part of this work. I thankyou for it and I greatly value the honour and support that you have always givenme. But the work is unfinished andI wish you all strength as you strive to complete the task of making this worldmore just and more sustainable.
DESA News is an insider's look at the United Nations in the area of coordination of economic and social development policies. This issue was produced by the Information Support Unit of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in collaboration with DESA Divisions. DESA News is issued every two months