Volume 7, No. 1, February-March 2003

  In this issue:
 

UN Reform

Global dialogue on development

Follow-up to Conferences

Functional Commissions

Trends and analysis
Development, Health and Education
Technical cooperation
Triennial Policy Review
Current and forthcoming publication
Gender web site

Forests web sites

Current and upcoming meetings
 


World Economic Situation and Prospects 2003  

            DESA has recently released its World Economic Situation and Prospects 2003.  The report, prepared in collaboration with UNCTAD, concludes that the gradual world economic recovery that is underway is held up by a number of imminent risks, and policy makers have limited room for manoeuvre in response.  Despite the 2001-2002 shakeout in equities and tech investment, impediments to a decisive return to strong world economic growth in 2003 and beyond remain, in the form of overcapacity, overvalued asset prices, shaky investor confidence and macroeconomic imbalances.

            Following a slow start, the world economy is expected to pick up steam in the second half of 2003.  After an expansion of only 1.7 per cent in 2002, the world economy is projected to grow by 2 3/4 per cent this year.

           But in the developed countries, falling equity values and weak business spending are constraining economic recovery, with weak and volatile equity prices contributing to the erosion of consumer and business confidence.  Despite two years of historically large corrections, stock prices remain overvalued according to traditional bench marks .A prolonged depression in major equity markets could trap the global economy in a protracted period of low growth or even send it into a tailspin.

DESA economic analysis

            Because the United States remains the main engine of the global economy, limits to the sustainability of the US trade deficit and the value of the dollar pose another major downside risk of global proportions. The recent addition of a government deficit to the trade deficit in the US "may render the adjustment process more complicated than anticipated previously", the report says.

            An added complication comes from rising geopolitical tensions in West Asia, which have already pushed up oil prices and dampened business and consumer confidence. If military action were to take place in West Asia, it "would be a further brake on world economic growth".

            "The United States will continue to lead the global recovery, but without significant momentum", the report says. "With domestic demand lacking vigour, economic recovery in Japan and Western Europe continues to rely chiefly on external demand and will remain fragile."

            Most other countries continue to be afflicted by the overall weakness in the world economy. But in contrast, domestic demand in China has been important not only in sustaining the country ’s own high growth during the global slow down but also in providing some stimulus to exports from other countries, particularly in East Asia.  Domestic demand has also provided many of the economies in transition with some cushion against weak global markets, and growth in these countries is projected to remain firm in the year ahead.

Uneven trade recovery and reduced FDI

            World trade is forecast to grow by a modest (relative to expansion in the 1990s) 6 per cent in 2003, following less than 2 per cent in 2002 and a decline in 2001. Key to the prospects of several developing countries, the weakness of global demand has exerted downward pressure on the prices of non-oil commodities, although many dollar-denominated prices rose because of the depreciation of that currency. In addition, low investor confidence has reduced inflows of private capital, making 2002 the sixth consecutive year in which developing countries made a net outward transfer of financial resources.

            Flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to developing countries are estimated to have declined by about one-fifth in 2002, to some $165 billion, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This marks a level of barely one-third of the peak attained in 2000. Once again, the noteworthy exception was China, which surpassed the United States as the largest recipient of FDI in 2002.

            There is some hope that financial flows to developing countries will increase if the rich countries deliver on the promises of additional aid that were made in the context of the Financing for Development Conference in March 2002 and as a result of the on-going efforts to resolve developing countries’ debt problems.  The report is less sanguine about immediate prospects for fundamental improvements in the international trading system, because several 2002 deadlines in the Doha work programme were not met.

Policy squeeze

            Accommodative national macroeconomic policies in many of the leading economies over the past year have been helpful in preventing the world from falling further into a widespread downturn, but most other countries have been constrained in their ability to adopt policy stimuli and the measures implemented have proven insufficient for activating a strong global recovery.

            In particular, many developing countries faced a deteriorating fiscal situation and increased balance-of-payments pressures born of falling non-oil commodity prices and slackening investor flows.  This in turn severely limited their ability to adopt countercyclical policies.  "A number of economies in Latin America were mired in such a vicious cycle in 2002, and remain vulnerable to a further deterioration", the report says.  "The sluggish economic recovery suggests the need for more fiscal stimuli, but the majority of economies are facing growing difficulties in adopting such measures because the global slowdown has worsened budget balances due to a fall in tax revenues, or a rise in government expenditures, or both."

            The UN report calls for greater macroeconomic policy coordination among the major economies, with a varying mix of stimulatory monetary and fiscal policy measures within countries, as a means to revive global growth.  Thus, countries with high fiscal deficits could rely more on monetary measures, while those with constraints on interest rates could exercise more flexibility in stimulative spending. In either case, short-term measures to revive world economic growth and improve prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals should not undermine fiscal responsibility in the medium and long term.

            World Economic Situation and Prospects 2003 is prepared jointly by the UN Division for Development Policy Analysis of DESA and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTA D).  It is published annually as a companion volume to the United Nations flagship economic publication, World Economic and Social Survey , issued by the United Nations each year in July.

            Contact Ian Kinniburgh, DPAD, Tel. (212) 963-4838, E-mail: kinniburgh@un.org

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UN Reform

The General Assembly concluded the main part of its fifty-seventh session in late December with the adoption of resolution 57/300 supporting the Secretary-General’s proposals for strengthening the United Nations. Many of the proposed actions would strengthen the impact of the Organization’s economic and social fields, through a shorter and more strategic 2004-2005 programme budget to better reflect the Organization’s new priorities, through rationalization of work in the intergovernmental process, streamlined management, and clarification of the roles and responsibilities in technical cooperation. They would reinforce the implementation of the development agenda and reaffirm the United Nations’ strong focus on Africa.

DESA is supporting the reform with actions along several tracks. As convener of the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs, which includes UNCTAD, the Regional Commissions and others, the Department is leading a joint review of the work proposed by the group for 2004-05 in ten thematic clusters linked to the Millennium Development Goals, with the purpose to coordinate work, address gaps and combine activities towards the achievement of the goals.

As part of its support for restructuring the intergovernmental process, DESA is providing substantive input to the ad hoc group set up by the General Assembly to structure the follow-up to the global conferences of the 90s, the Millennium Assembly, Monterrey and Johannesburg.

The restructuring process poses a three-fold challenge: to give the platform of meetings in the GA and ECOSOC visible coherence; to improve the connection between the intergovernmental standing processes and Civil Society; and to rationalize the architecture of reports, including the flagship reports. DESA would contribute to meeting the first challenge by providing suggestions on strategic linkages among high-level meetings in ECOSOC, the GA and the financing for Development follow-up process.

On the relations with civil society within the scope of the intergovernmental process, DESA will do an internal evaluation of experiences working with civil society which will serve as an input to the work of the panel of eminent persons established on the issue by the Secretary-General. The evaluation will tap the wealth of experience and knowledge the Department has accumulated over ten years of evolving, increasing interaction in the global conferences and the functional commissions.  The evaluation would look not only at accreditation issues, but other interactions, such as substantive inputs from NGOs and academia, and recent technical cooperation “partnerships” with the private sector. It would explore both how and to what end (i.e. impact on conference outcomes) civil society engages with DESA, as well as how we are engaging in the work of civil society.

On rationalizing the architecture of reports, an initial proposal was developed by DESA in the Fall, dealing particularly with parliamentary documentation. A further paper, focusing on flagship reports, is in preparation.

The structure of DESA itself is being aligned to the new mandates and priorities. With the Secretary-General’s green light, an Office on Financing for Development was established last week with resources drawn from within the Department. Additional resources are proposed for that subprogramme in the next budget. The office is charged with preparing reports for the high level meetings with the Bretton Woods institutions in the Spring and for the General Assembly in the Fall on follow-up to the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development.

            Also established is a Development Policy and Planning Office, which will provide strategic policy coordination within DESA and act as counterpart to the policy units on the 38th Floor. An   Economic Assessment and Prospects Unit has been created too.

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Intergovernmental Meetings

Working Group on Integrated Follow-up to Conferences
Economic and Social Council, Organizational session 
Economic and Social Council, Dialogues
Commission on Sustainable Development  
Commission for Social Development  
Commission on the Status of Women  
Statistical Commission  
Commission on Population and Development  
Meetings on Forests, Spring 2003  
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Task Force  
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
Expert Group Meetings
Expert Group Meeting on the Review of the List of Least Developed Countries

Inter-Agency Meetings

Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality

Intergovernmental Meetings  

Working Group on Integrated Follow-up to Conferences
New York, 27 January

            The General Assembly decided in December to establish under the chairmanship of the President an open-ended ad hoc working group of the General Assembly on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields.

            The main task of that group will be to produce concrete recommendations to ensure a holistic and comprehensive approach.  The group will examine the work of the General Assembly and its Second and Third Committees relevant to conference follow-up, as well as the modalities of the reports presented threon to the General Assembly.  It will also make proposals on how best to address the review of the implementation of the outcomes bearing in mind the need to recognize the active role of all relevant stakeholders in the implementation of conference outcomes.  It will seek to ensure that the outcomes are integrated in the programmes of work of the United Nations system and are taken fully into account for the operational work and country frameworks of United Nations system organizations.

            The working group commenced its work on 27 January 2003 and will submit its report before 27 June 2003, for consideration by the General Assembly and action before the end of the 57th session in 2003.

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Economic and Social Council
Organizational session for 2003
New York, January

            ECOSOC elected Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala) as its President for 2003.  It also elected its four Vice-Presidents for the following regional groups:  Marjatta Rasi (Finland) from the Western European and Other States, Murari Raj Sharma (Nepal) from the Asian States, Abdul Mejid Hussein (Ethiopia) from the African States, and Valery P. Kuchinsky (Ukraine) from the Eastern European States.

            In his opening statement, incoming President Gert Rosenthal said the role of ECOSOC was to function as a forum of joint reflection on development issues; and to introduce greater coherence and coordination to the activities of the United Nations system and the non-governmental world that surrounded it.  It  had a permanent role of monitoring and follow-up of the activities of the United Nations system in the economic and social spheres.  The Council and the General Assembly are working closely together in promoting coherence in the implementation of conference outcomes with the Council to focus on coordination aspects, while the Assembly focuses on policy issues.

             In the area of conference follow-up, the Council has entered the phase of implementation of the complex and interrelated commitments and goals established at the major conferences of the 90s, the Millennium Summit, the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development.

           The Council has chosen as the theme for the High-Level Segment of this year's substan­tive session in July in Geneva "Promoting an integrated approach to rural development in developing countries for poverty eradication and sustainable development", and as the theme for the Coordination Segment "The role of ECOSOC in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major UN conferences and summits".

            As part of the preparations for the high-level segment, a number of roundtable meetings have been planned for March-April 2003. The preparatory roundtables will promote an integrated, holistic and multisectoral approach to rural development that reflects the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development recognized at UN conferences and summits, while encouraging innovative partnerships. Such an integrated approach will consist of advancing the MDGs and goals and outcomes of major UN conferences and summits in relation to rural development; and aims at promoting integrated conference follow-up in the rural context. It is hoped that such an approach will serve to strengthen the Council’s policy development and programmatic approach.

            Contact: Sarbuland Khan, DESC, Tel. (212)963-4628, E-mail: khan2@un.org

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Economic and Social Council
Dialogues with NGOs and the business sectors
New York, 20-21 March

            The ECOSOC dialogues with NGOs on 20 March 2003 and with the business sector on 21 March 2003 will be in preparation for the April high-level meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods Institutions and WTO, which in turns follows the Spring meeting of those institutions.

            The Monterrey Consensus (para. 69) and resolution E/2002/34 assign specific new tasks to the Spring meeting, including addressing issues of coherence, coordination and cooperation, as a follow-up to the Monterrey Conference. In addition, they encourage the continuation of the innovative and participatory process that characterized the Conference by ensuring the active participation of civil society, including representatives of NGOs and the private sector. The dialogues will provide a mechanism for this.

            Contact: Sarbuland Khan, DESC, Tel. (212) 963-4628, E-mail: khan2@un.org

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Functional Commissions

Commission on Sustainable Development
Eleventh session, Organizational meeting
New York, 27 January
http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd.htm

            The Commission on Sustainable Development  (CSD) elected the following CSD Bureau Members: H.E. Minister Valli Moosa of South Africa as Chairman of the Commission, and Mr. Hossein Moeini Meybodi of the Islamic Repubic of Iran, Ms. Irena Zubcevic of the Republic of Croatia,  H.E. Mr. Bruno  Stagno Ugarte, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica, and Ms. Nadine Gouzée of Belgium, as Vice-Chairpersons.

            There are sixteen new members of the Commission for its eleventh session, as follows:  Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, Gabon, Lesotho, Nepal, Norway, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,  Turkey and Uzbekistan.

              The session, from 28 April to 9 May, will address the future work and methods of operation of the CSD in the follow-up to Johannesburg.   The Secretary General's report  on  these issues is in preparation and is scheduled to be released around mid-February.

            Contact: Andrey Vasilyev, DSD, Tel. (212) 963-5949, E-mail: vasilyev@un.org

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Commission for Social Development
Forty-first session
New York, 10-21 Feb
ruary
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/csd/2003.htm 

            The priority theme of the 41st session of the Commission for Social Development is “National and International Cooperation for Social Development” (See the Report of the Secretary-General E/CN.5/2003/5).  Under this priority theme the following five sub-themes will also be considered:

  • Sharing of experiences and practices in social development;
  • Forging partnerships for social development;
  • Social responsibility of the private sector;
  • Impact of employment strategies on social development;
  • Policies and role of international financial institutions and their effect on national social development strategies.

            The Commission will also review the relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups, including:

  • Review of the global situation of youth (See Report of the Secretary-General E/CN.5/2003/4);
  • Preparations for and observance of the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family (See Report of the Secretary-General E/CN.5/2003/6);
  • World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons (See Report of the Secretary-General A/58/ 61 - E/2003/5); and
  • Modalities for review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (See Report of the Secretary-General E/CN.5/2003/7).

          A number of side-events will take place.  See listing under Trends and Analysis.

          The Provisional annoted agenda (E/CN.5/2003/1) and the Organization of work of the session (E/CN.5/2003/L.1), as well as the text of the reports and other information can be found at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/csd/2003.htm

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

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Commission on the Status of Women
Forty-seventh session
New York, 3-14 March

http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/47sess.htm

The Commission will consider media and ICT  in terms of access by women and impact on women's advancement.  It will also consider women’s human rights and the elimination of all forms of violence against them.  A panel discussion on the first thematic issue will be held on 3 March and on the second on 4 March.  The Commission will hold for the first time a high-level round table on national experiences in institutional capacity building, in particular in relation to the two thematic issues.

            Contact: Christina Brautigam, DAW/Gender Analysis Section, Tel. (212) 963-0535, Fax: (212) 963-34 63, E-mail: brautigamc@un.org

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Statistical Commission
Thirty-fourth session
New York, 4-7 March
http://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/sc2003.htm/

            The main issues to be covered by the Commission are: preparations for the 2010 censuses; health statistics (in particular, WHO’s methodology); statistics on services (Australia report on the world system of statistics in this field); indicators and the MDGs; coordination mechanisms in the post-ACC era, and the problem of fundamental principles of statistics.

            Other topics include: social statistics, national accounts, measuring the new economy, agriculture statistics, trade statistics, environmental statistics and accounting, economic and social classifications, and statistical capacity building. The agenda, organization of work as well as the complete documentation for the Commission session can be found at the above mentioned web site.

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

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Commission on Population and Development
Thirty-sixth session
New York, 31 Mar-4 April
http://www.un.org/esa/population/cpd/comm2003.htm

            This year’s theme will be population, education and development. The Commission will review the interrelationships among population, education and development taking into account the recent work done at UNESCO’s Conference on Education for All. In light of the work of the open-ended ad hoc working group of the GA on the implementation of the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits (see above ), it is unlikely that the Commission will make any decisions regarding follow-up to Cario+10. At this time, a review and appraisal is envisioned for the 2004 Commission.

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Meetings on Forests, Spring 2003

            Slew of forests-related meetings will take place in the next two months, some organized by the Secretariat of the UN Forum on Forest in DESA which deals with policy issues related to forests, and some organized by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), supported by FAO, which deals with the technical and scientific issues at an expert level.  The meetings are:

UNFF Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Consultation
Rome, 9 March

http://www.un.org/esa/forests/participation.html

UNFF Intersessional Expert Meeting on the Role of Planted Forests in Sustainable Forest Management
Wellington, New Zealand, 24-30 March

http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/unff-planted-forestry-meeting

            Sponsored by the governments of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America and ITTO, and with the technical co-operation of CIFOR, FAO and IUFRO.

Collaborative Partnership on Forests Meeting
Rome, 9 March

http://www.fao.org/forestry/cpf

Country Led Initiative on Transfer of Environmentally sound Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Mangrove Forests
Managua, 3-5 March

            Sponsored by the Government of Nicaragua, with support of the Secretariats of the Cartagena (Wider Caribbean) and Antigua (Northeast Pacific) Conventions (UNEP); COCATRAM; UNFF Secretariat; ITTO; FAO; Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Country Led Initiative Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting on Lesson Learned in the Assessment of Implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action
Viterbo, Italy, 17-20 March

            Co-sponsored by the Governments of Brazil, China, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA, with support of FAO and the UNFF Secretariat.

Contact: Pekka Patosaari, UNFF, E-mail: patosaari@un.org

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Task Force
Fourth meeting
Geneva, 20-22 February
http://www.unicttaskforce.org/

           The ICT Task Force will discuss:

  • How the Task Force can provide a valuable contribution to the Millennium Development Campaign by bringing ICT-for-development into the development equation and spelling out how ICT can help advance development and promote the Millennium Development Goals;

  • How the Task Force can contribute to the World Summit on the Information Society;

  • ICT-for-development in Africa (follow-up to the third meeting of the Task Force);

  • How the Task Force can best assist in developing an ICT strategy for the United Nations system and help promote public-private partnerships.

          The meeting will be preceded by a Private Sector Forum, which will provide an occasion to identify strategies and modalities for ensuring an effective involvement of the private sector in the preparatory process of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

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

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Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
Twenty-eighth session
New York, 13-31 January
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/28sess.htm

            CEDAW reviewed the initial reports of three countries and periodic reports of another three. This session had the largest number ever of new members (nine out of the Committee’s 23).   The 23 experts of the Committee, who served in their personal capacities, reviewed the compliance reports of Albania, Switzerland, Canada, Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Kenya, Luxembourg and Norway.

            Since the Committee's inception and throughout the 1990s, there has been a steady evolution in its relationship with the intergovernmental process toward the promotion of gender equality. And today, when the international community and national governments are focused on the Millennium Development Goals, the organic link between the legal framework for the protection and promotion of women's rights and the policy process is even more crucial.

            Ms. Carolyn Hannan, Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women, which services the Committee, remarked that it is important to ensure that gender equality remains a critical priority and is pursued not only as a goal in its own right, but also as a means to achieve poverty eradication and sustainable development goals.  The interaction between the Committee, the Commission on the Status of Women and the UN General Assembly had become more important than ever.

            Contact: Helga Klein, DAW, Tel. (212) 963-3162, E-mail: kleinh@un.org

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Expert Group Meetings

Expert Group Meeting on the Review of the List of Least Developed Countries
New York, 23-24 January

            In order to facilitate the triennial review of the list of least developed countries (LDCs) – to be carried out during the fifth session of the Committee for Development Policy in April 2003 – an expert group meeting on the methodology for the identification of the least developed countries was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 23-24 January 2003.

            The Expert Group discussed the validity of the specific data to be used by the CDP in its review of the list, in particular data on gross national income (GNI) per capita, gross secondary enrolment (as an indicator of the level of education) and indicators of the level of nutrition. The experts also considered the inclusion of countries with economies in transition in the review of the list. In addition, the Expert Group discussed actions that might be taken by the international community to ensure a smooth transition for countries that succeed in graduating from the list of LDCs.

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

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Inter-Agency Meetings

Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality
Second session
New York, 24 - 27 February
http:// www.un.org/womenwatch/ianwge
http://w ww.un.org/womenwatch/osagi

            The Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) will meet from 24 to 27 February 2003 in New York. The session will discuss interagency aspects of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action,  the Millennium Declaration Goals and the UN reform process.  It will also discuss the issue of the improvement of the status of women in the UN system.  More specifically, the Network will follow up on such inter-sessional activities as:

  • Women, peace and security;
  • Gender mainstreaming in programme budgets;
  • Gender and financing for development;
  • Mainstreaming of a gender perspective in Common Country Assessments and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework;
  • Database activities;
  • Working methods and the link between CEB and the Network; and
  • Report on progress of the Regional Commissions’ project on tools and indicators.

          The agenda of the Network also includes a workshop on strategies for incorporating gender perspectives into the preparatory process of major international conferences, summits and special sessions, as well as their follow-up.

          Ms. Angela E.V. King, the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women chairs the Network.

          Documentation: Report of the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE/2002/11).

            Contact: Michio Sarumida, DAW/OSAGI, Tel. (212) 963-5253, Fax: (212) 963-3463), E-mail: sarumida@un.org

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Panels, symposia and events

Commission for Social Development, Side-events - Panels
Informal Consultations of Youth NGOs  
International Conference on Caring communities for the 21st Century: Imagining the Possible  
International Women's Day

Panels, symposia and events

Commission for Social Development
F orty-first session
Side-events - Panels
New York, 10-21 February

           The following paels and side-events will be held in conjunction with the forty-first session of the Commission

9 February

Civil Society Forum.  Organized by: International Council on Social Welfare and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

10 February

Employment & Income Security in an Ageing World: Perspectives on Trends and Strategies
(AARP, International Labour Organization (ILO), UN/DESA)

Madrid to Berlin: Challenges for Implementation in an Ageing Society.  ( International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW))

12 February

Civil Society approaches to policy monitoring.  ( HelpAge International, Department for International Development (DFID) UK, Initiative for Policy Dialogue and UN/DESA)

The Moral Dimensions of International Cooperation for Social Development.  ( Triglav Circle)

13 February

Seminar on Evidence-based Social Welfare and Sustainable Social Development.  ( Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs)

A Call to Action, Implementation of the Madrid Plan of Action.  ( NGO Committee on Ageing, New York)

14 February

Briefing on the Expert Group Meeting on Jobs for Youth: National Strategies for Employment Promotion.  ( UN/DESA and ILO)

Briefing announcing partnership on youth crime prevention in Africa.  ( Habitat/NCPC/ICPC

18 February

Protection in Crisis Situations: Challenges and Issues facing Children, Older People, and Women.  ( Help Age International and UNICEF)

Achievements in the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Year of the Family (IYF) Since 1994.  ( Baha'i International Community)

            Contact: Yao N’Goran, DSPD, Tel. (212) 963-0500, Fax: (212) 963-3175, E-mail: ngoran@un.org

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Informal Consultations of Youth NGOs
New York, 11-12 February
http://www.un.org/youth

           Informal Consultations of Youth NGOs will be held in New York on 11 and 12 February 2003 and will coincide with the 41st session of the Commission for Social Development , to be held from 10 to 21 February 2003. The consultations are being held in cooperation with CONGO, the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.

           A main objective of the consultations is to form an Interim Committee aiming towards the establishment of a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) to CONGO.

           The Youth Advisory Council will consider the problems facing young people, recruit youth representatives for CONGO Committees, provide perspectives on youth issues and a youth perspective on other issues, and make recommendations to CONGO on how to provide meaningful access, participation and a voice to young people at the UN.

            Contact: Joop Theunissen, DSPD, Tel. (212) 963-7763, Fax: (212) 963-0111, E-mail: theunissen@un.org

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International Conference on Caring communities for the 21st Century: Imagining the Possible
New York, 12 February

            Caring Communities for the 21st Century is organized by the International Council for Caring Communities in coordination with the United Nations Programme for Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT), Programme on Ageing, UN ICT Task Force, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Department of Public Information, International Telecommunications Union, NGO's and the private sector.

             This conference is being held in support of the 41st session of the UN Commission for Social Development and the World Summit on the Information Society, December 2003, Geneva, Switzerland, and "examines the role of information and connection technology in influencing the quality of life of older persons in the world; it stipulates a framework of how to think about ICT as an agent of change."

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International Women's Day
New York, 7 March

           The theme of this year's event is "Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals".  DPI, OSAGI/DAW (Co-chairs) and UNICEF, UNIFEM and UNFPA are organizing this event.

           Contact: Amina Adam, DAW/COU, Tel. (212) 963-3169, Fax: (212) 963-3463), E-mail: adama@un.org

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Africa South of the Sahara
Latin America and the Caribbean

Operational activities for development

            In preparation for the upcoming ECOSOC session this July and, more broadly, in view of the next Triennial Policy Review of the UN system operational activities for development in 2004, DESA, through the Development Cooperation Policy Branch (DCPB) of the Division for ECOSOC Support and Coordination has initiated a number of activities aimed at enhancing system-wide consultation and stimulating a broader debate on the issues of aid effectiveness and the role of evaluation activities in shaping development cooperation policies and operations. The latter, in particular, will be considered by the operational activities segment of the ECOSOC this year along with the issue of funding.

            Lessons learned at the country level by the UN system organizations through their evaluation activities is the subject of a specific assessment requested by the General Assembly, for which DESA, in collaboration with the Inter-Agency Working Group on Evaluation, has established since last October an ad hoc inter-agency task force, with the intent to involve all interested evaluation offices and other relevant stakeholders within the UN system.  This followed an initial survey promoted by DESA with all the organizations of the system.   The assessment involves the activation of a discussion forum in the web site of the Inter-Agency Working Group and a number of country consultations through missions fielded by DCPB and other agencies of the system.

           Four initial missions have already been launched in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ethiopia and the Philippines during the month of January.  The mission in the Philippines was recently concluded with the participation of the Branch and an evaluation officer of UNICEF, involving extensive consultations with all members of the UN country team.  The mission could also conduct a specific visit to the Multi-donor Programme on “Strengthening the foundations of lasting peace and development in Southern Philippines”, through a visit to the island of Mindanao.  The other three missions are currently under way.

            In the occasion of the evaluation mission to the Philippines, the Branch also participated in the International Symposium on Capacity Development and Aid Effectiveness organized by the World Bank Institute, UNDP, CIDA and JICA in Manila between 14 and 16 January 2003.  The symposium brought together bilateral and multilateral donors, OECD/DAC, United Nations system organizations, recipient countries, NGOs, research institutes and other development practitioners. It was the last of a series of consultations launched by the four promoting organizations on this subject, and was a remarkable opportunity to exchange views on a variety of approaches to capacity development and their potential evolution and challenges in the near future.

           This initiative followed the inter-agency workshop on the same subject organized by UNDP and DESA in Geneva, in collaboration with the High-Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) of CEB last November, which brought together the experience of a large variety of funds, programmes and specialized agencies on the front of capacity building.  The November inter-agency meeting put also the basis for closer collaboration and exchange of information within the system on experience accumulated in this area and ways to make progress also through the introduction of benchmarks and possible indicators that will support the evaluation of future achievements in capacity building. The findings of all these discussions will provide an input to this year’s ECOSOC operational activities segment, which will continue to serve as an international forum on development cooperation and aid effectiveness.

            The Branch will also continue to represent DESA in the UNDG Support Group, as well in its Programme Group and Management Group, as part of the its responsibilities to monitor the implementation of the General Assembly resolution on the triennial policy review on operational activities for development and related resolutions of the Assembly and ECOSOC, acting as a focal point within DESA on issues concerning the development work of the UN system at the country level.

            Contact: Massimo D’Angelo, DESC, Tel. (212) 963-4731, Fax: (212) 963-2812, E-mail: dangelo@un.org

Africa South of the Sahara  

            The Development Account funded project “Research Network for Development Policy Analysis”, implemented by DPAD jointly with the University of Pretoria, was successfully completed as scheduled in December 2002. The project involved a strong component of South-South cooperation with participation of teams from 15 African countries: Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal, the Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The participants were selected from research departments of either Central Banks or the Ministries of Finance. The University of Pretoria served as the Executive Coordinating Center for the project. The training programme consisted of five workshops in Pretoria and ad hoc assistance by international consultants designed to accommodate the vastly different levels of knowledge and expertise. All participating teams achieved a level of competence that allows them to productively participate in the new African LINK consortium. The knowledge and experience gained positioned the countries to acquire the level of expertise for future development policy analysis with the view of more advantageous African integration into the global economy. Three volumes of documents related to the project have been compiled.

            Contact: Ada Samuelsson, DPAD, Tel. (212) 963-3819, E-mail: Samuelsson@un.org

Latin America and the Caribbean

Meeting on Bridging the Digital Divide for the Caribbean
New York, 24 January

            As part of its effort to mobilize key stakeholders for ICT-for-development, the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (UN ICT TF), in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Fund for International Partnership (UNFIP) organized a Meeting on “Bridging the Digital Divide for the Caribbean”.

            The event, supported by the CARICOM Permanent Missions to the United Nations and the CARICOM Secretariat and facilitated by the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce, took place in New York at the United Nations Headquarters.

The Caribbean Digital Diaspora initiative was launched at the meeting. This initiative aims at mobilizing the technological, entrepreneurial and professional capacities of skilled and qualified members of the Caribbean Diaspora in North America into a network with their counterparts in the Caribbean that harnesses the knowledge, experiences and resources of the group in service of the region.

International Colloquium on Improving the Quality of Public Administration Education and Training in Transitional Countries:  New Needs, New Approaches
Rio de Janeiro, 1
0-11 February
http://www.unpan.org/directory/conference/guest/browseoneconference.asp?conference_id=1402

            This is the second activity under the joint UN-International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA) initiative to enhance leadership skills in the public sector. At the UN expert group meeting in Turin on the same subject last September 2002, it was recommended that the UN, jointly with IASIA, organize a meeting to discuss the strategy to develop a training programme for leadership in the public sector. The meeting will bring together trainers of trainers from every region of the world to update their knowledge on new methods and approaches to education and training, especially regarding top leadership development.  It is anticipated that the outcome will result in the upgrading of the skills and techniques of these trainers so that they will be able to transfer to their region new ideas and techniques that are appropriate for the education and training of the next generation of governmental leadership.

            Contact:  Yolande Jemiai, DPEPA, Tel. (212) 963-8395, E-mail: jemiai@un.org

Innovations in Governance and Public Administration for Poverty Reduction
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, 13-14 February
http://www.unpan.org/directory/conference/guest/browseoneconference.asp?conference_id=1429

            DPEPA is organizing an ad-hoc expert group meeting on the theme: Innovations in Governance and Public Administration for Poverty Reduction.”    Experts from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America will meet to (a) share experiences regarding the various initiatives used to alleviate poverty in different subregions and assess the results achieved through those strategies while identifying constraints in the poverty reduction process, and note successful strategies developed to overcome those constraints; (b) highlight the necessary partnerships to develop and the processes to use in order to involve and galvanize all the various development partners; and (c) formulate practical recommendations for possible actions at the national, subregional and regional levels. The experts will examine several case studies of innovations from several parts of the world, draw lessons learned and formulate guidelines for increasing innovations in governance and public administration that especially increase effectiveness in reaching and facilitating development for underserved populations.

            Contact:  Jeanne Marie Col, DPEPA, Tel. (212) 963-8377, E-mail: col@un.org

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Statistics
Advancement of Women
Economic and Social Policy 
Forests
Policy Analysis
Population
Public Administration

Statistics

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
http://esa.un.org/unsd/mbs/

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/358
Vol. LVI – No. 10
October 2002

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

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/359
Vol. LVI – No. 11
November 2002

            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; World exports by commodity classes and by regions.

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

Population and Vital Statistics Report
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.A/223
Series A Vol. LIV, No.4
Data available as of 1 October 2002

            This issue of the Population and Vital Statistics Report presents 2001 and 2002 estimates of world and continental population, as well as corresponding 2001 estimates for 234 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.

            Contact: Yacob Zewoldi, SD, Tel. (212) 963-0445, E-mail:    zewoldi@un.org

Statistics Yearbook 46th issue
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.S/22
Sales No. E/F.01.XVII.

            This annual compilation of 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.  The latest issue of the Yearbook presents 81 tables in the fields of demographic and social statistics, national accounts, finance, labour force, wages and prices, agriculture, manufacturing, transport and communications, energy, environment science and technology, intellectual property, international merchandise trade, international tourism, balance of payments, and development assistance.  In general, the data presented are those which were available as of the end of November 2001, and cover the ten-year period from 1990 to 1999 or 1991 to 2000

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

Advancement of Women

OSAGI web site
http://www.un.org/osagi

            The web site of the UN programme on women has been expanded by the addition of extensive information on efforts to realize gender equality in the UN and advances in policy developments and on the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI).  That office developed and maintains the site.

            Contact: Arlene Sciancalepore, OSAGI, Tel. (212) 963- 7477, E-mail: sciancalepore@un.org

Economic and Social Policy 

E-book on Development, Health and Education
http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ecosoc/

            The Department of Economic and Social Affairs will release in February 2003 a new book on “Development, Health and Education”, which is the outcome of the sessions which took place during the preparatory process and the 2002 High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council.

            Chapter one reflects the political discussions during the Economic and Social Council High-Level Segment and the resulting Ministerial Declaration and includes the statements by the Secretary-General, the President of the Economic and Social Council and the Secretary of Treasury of the United States, the High-Level Policy Dialogue with the heads of International Financial and Trade Institutions and key background documents and summaries of Ministerial Roundtables organized during the segment.  Chapter two gives an overview of key issues in health and development.  Chapter three gives an overview of main issues related to education and development.  Chapter four examines synergies between health and education for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, underlining that human development and poverty reduction are multifaceted and require cross-sectoral processes.  Chapter five presents the outcome of the NGO forum organized on 14 June 2002 to allow for non-governmental organizations the opportunity to contribute to the debate of the Council, and contains contributions made by non-governmental organizations during the forum.  Chapter six consists of the Secretary-General’s report on the theme of the High-Level Segment of ECOSOC.  The Secretary-General’s report was based on the inputs by the funds, programmes and agencies and reflects the conclusions and the consensus built during the three preparatory roundtables on health, education and the synergies on health and education.

            Further information is in the ECOSOC Newsletter , Vol.2, No.1

Report on Guinea-Bissau 
E/2003/8

            The report on Guinea-Bissau of the First Advisory Group on African Countries Emerging from Conflict shows how this least developed country is still emerging from a period of internal conflict that ended in 1999.  The recent downturn in the international market price for cashew nuts, its main commodity, coupled with downturn in official development assistance and suspension by the International Monetary Fund of its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility has greatly affected the country.  Recent political instability is worsening the situation.

            Recommendations are based on a two-pronged approach.  The Government would have to demonstrate strong commitment to stability, good governance and sound financial management. It would also need to formulate a long-term strategy for development. Those actions would then create the conditions for the international community to re-engage in the process of development.

            The Group’s recommendations were based on the need for a new development paradigm for Guinea-Bissau, based on a partnership between the Government and the international community.  The longer term recommendations called for a more active involvement of the international community in the development of Guinea-Bissau, and for actions to be taken by the Government to reinforce economic growth and strengthen national infrastructures.

            Mandated by ECOSOC to prepare recommendations for a long-term programme of support for Guinea-Bissau, which had requested to be the first country for consideration by the new body, the Advisory Group visited the country from 9-16 November 2002. It met with a wide range of actors in the country and participated in the Tripartite Consultations, organized by the United Nations and which included representatives of the Bretton Woods Institutions and the donor community. The Group also visited Gabu, one of the main towns in the interior of the country, for a first-hand look at two integrated projects being implemented by the United Nations system. During the visit it became clear that the country is facing many short-term challenges that need immediate consideration and that addressing the short-term needs would have an impact on the long-term development plans for Guinea Bissau. The Group's report was introduced at the organizational session of the Economic and Social Council .

 Forests

UNFF and CPF web site Launching

            Two new forest web site s were launched recently: the official web site of the United Nations Forum on Forest (UNFF) which can be accessed at http://www.un.org/esa/forests/index.html and the web site of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), accessible at http://www.fao.org/forestry/foris/webview/cpf .

            The web site of the Forum covers primarily the intergovernmental policy process; it is supported by the Forest s Secretariat in DESA. The web site of the Collaborative Partnership promotes the activities of the countries that sponsor joint projects on technical and scientific issues.

Policy Analysis

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2003
Sales No. E.03.II.C.

            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.

            See also Feature above

            Contact : Ian Kinniburgh, Tel. (212) 963-4838, E-mail : Kinniburgh@un.or g

Capital Markets Financing for Developing-Country Infrastructure Projects
by Robert Sheppard
ST/ESA/2003/DP/28

http://www.un.org/esa/papers.htm

            This paper reviews  risk-mitigating structures to improve the ratings of debt securities issued by developing-country infrastructure projects with an emphasis on electric power projects.  Its reports on the opinions of several important constituencies which were interviewed as part of this study: fixed-income investors, monoline insurers, investment bankers, rating agencies, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and private political risk insurers.  Finally, the paper reviews three new approaches for promoting increased access to the capital markets for infrastructure projects: structure to encourage local capital markets financing, new uses of partial risk guarantees, and expended use of expropriation coverage.

Education by the State
by Larry Willmore
ST/ESA/2002/DP. 27
http://www.un.org/esa/papers.htm

            The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises free elementary education and free choice of schools. Why, then, do governments limit parents’ choice of free education, often to schools owned and operated by the state? Defendants argue that this is necessary to transmit common values of society to the next generation, correct market failures of public goods, protect children from poor choices their parents might make, or promote equality of opportunity. This essay examines each of these arguments.

Population

International Migration Wall Chart
http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/ittmig2002/ittmig2002.htm

            The DESA Population Division has recently produced a wall chart which shows that with some 175 million people currently residing in a country that they were not born in, the number of migrants in the world has more than doubled since 1975.  The chart shows that 56 million migrants live Europe, 50 million in Asia, and 41 million in Northern America. Some 40 per cent of all migrants live in the less developed regions.

            Almost one of every 10 persons living in the developed countries is a migrant, while nearly one of every 70 persons in developing countries is a migrant.  Despite this disparity, developed and developing countries are strikingly similar in their views and policies concerning levels of emigration, according to the chart. About three quarters of both developed and developing countries view their level of emigration as satisfactory.  In contrast, one in five countries have policies in place to lower levels of emigration.

            Joseph Chamie, the Director of the Population Division, said governments are putting out two fundamental and often conflicting messages.   “The first is ‘Help Wanted,’ asking for migrants to come in… from computer programmers and nurses to janitors and fruit pickers,” he said. “The second message that comes across is ‘Keep Out.’ Societies are increasingly concerned about the number and proportion of migrants – who’s coming in, what are they doing, how are they affecting my job, what languages are they speaking, what faiths are they professing?”

            Three decades ago, 6 or 7 per cent of all governments had policies to restrict emigration. “That per cent today is 40 per cent,” he noted.  Stressing the financial component of international migration, he said through the movement of workers across borders, “enormous amounts of money are being transferred.”   The annual amount of remittances to developing countries from foreign workers is estimated at $50 billion.

 Public Administration 

Governance World Watch
http://ww.unpan.org/major_development.asp

            DPEPA has issued nos. 44, 45 and 46 of the Governance World Watch .  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, information communication technology (ICT) for development, civil service and ethics in the public sector, human resources development, mobilization of financial resources for development, and private sector development.

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

African Institutes of Public Administration: New Challenges, New Role, New Perspectives
ST/ESA/PAD/SER.E/33

          This is a report of the Third Biennial Pan-African Conference of Ministers of Civil Service, held in Windhoek, Namibia, 5-6 February 2001.  The report covers the proceedings of the Conference as well as the Charter for the Public Service of Africa, which sets out the principles for the public service and establishes standards for professionalism and ethics.  Included are technical papers analysing the changing environment that the public service must respond to and the role of African institutes of training in public administration.

            Contact: Dawne Gautier, DPEPA, Tel. (212) 963-2306, E-mail: gautier@un.org

The Turning World: Globalisation and Governance at the Start of the 21st Century
ST/ESA/PAD/SER.E/40

          Based on a joint meeting held in New York in 2001 by UNDESA and the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS), this publication presents an overview of two debates on public administration and globalization.  The first debate by IIAS entitled, “Challenges and Changes in Public Administration around the World” looks at the progress and deficiencies of public administration around the world.  The second debate by UNDESA, “G lobalization and the State”, looks at the role of the State in a globalized world.  Reports presented to the debates are included in the publication.

            Contact: Dawne Gautier, DPEPA, Tel. (212) 963-2306, E-mail: gautier@un.org

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Advancement of Women
Economic and Social Policy 
Population
Public Administration   
Social Development  
Statistics

Advancement of Women

Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality
Second session
New York, 24 - 27 February

            See news item above

Commission on the Status of Women
Forty-seventh session
New York, 3-14 March

          See news item above

Economic and Social Policy 

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Task Force
Fourth meeting
Geneva, 20-22 February

          See news item above

Economic and Social Council
Dialogues with NGOs and the business sectors
New York, 20-21 March

          See news item above

Population

Commission on Population and Development
Thirty-sixth session
New York, 31 Mar-4 April

          See news item above

 

Public Administration 

International Colloquium on Improving the Quality of Public Administration Education and Training in Transitional Countries:  New Needs, New Approaches
Rio de Janeiro, 1 0-11 February

          See news item above

Innovations in Governance and Public Administration for Poverty Reduction
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, 13-14 February

          See news item above

Social Development

Commission for Social Development
Forty-first session
New York, 10-21 Feb
ruary

          See news item above

Statistics

Statistical Commission
Thirty-fourt h session
New York, 4-7 Mar 2003

          See news item above


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

Luciana Marulli-Koenig, Editor 
Room DC2-1436, Tel. (212) 963-0060, E-mail: esa@un.org