Vol. 9, no.4 July-August 2005

Dialogue on development | Trends and analysis | Technical cooperation | Publications | Comings and goings | Calendar

Ambassador Munir Akram, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan and President of the Economic and Social Council, briefs the press on the High-level segment of the Economic and Social Council: daily live web coverage will be available from 29 June-27 July beginning 10am New York time (GMT - 4 hours)

in this issue

UN development agenda: addressing the implementation gap

Financing for development: the vision of partnership between developing and developed countries is very much alive

Feature article

UN development agenda: addressing the implementation gap

Starting with a high-level segment to address proposals for achieving internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, the Economic and Social Council is expected to provide major input to the 2005 World Summit in September.

With the 2005 World Summit and the Secretary-General’s latest reform proposals clearly in view, Heads of State, Ministers, and other key government officials are gathering in New York to review progress made in achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. Participants, both from the North and the South, will together identify key elements of a global strategy to achieve the MDGs and to identify specific areas where further action is most urgently needed. With the MDGs and the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits of the last fifteen years in mind, the Council is expected to recommend its own proposals for reform to enhance the capacity of the UN system to support the coordinated implementation of such a global plan.

Aspirations must become targets to bridge the implementation gap

Progress in the implementation of the development agenda has been made in several areas, but on a global level is slow and uneven. Given the current pace, neither the Millennium Goals nor the broader United Nations development agenda, of which they are a part, will be achieved. That lag between implementation and commitments must be bridged. First and foremost, the United Nations development agenda and its components, particularly the Millennium Goals, must be truly embraced at the national and international levels. Its goals and objectives should be acted on as achievable targets and not approached merely as aspirations or mechanical indicators. They should be backed by practical strategies and long-term commitments.

Secondly, existing sectoral approaches to development must be replaced by a more integrated, synergistic and holistic framework, which the United Nations development agenda provides. Thirdly, the necessary resources must be invested in the pursuit of that agenda. The realization of those goals must be considered a priority by all. Fourthly, the institutional impediments at the national and international levels that have contributed to the slow pace of progress must be urgently addressed. Finally, constant monitoring and evaluation are essential to ensure that the process of implementation remains on track. And that must be a truly integrated process to ensure that the pace of progress is even and that one goal is not being pursued at the expense of others or by ignoring other equally important sectors.

The state of the world economy remains robust, and growth was widespread among developing countries and economies in transition, but the biggest challenge is to translate growth into development for all. In most developing countries, there are still high rates of unemployment and under-employment. In Africa, the current and projected rate of growth is insufficient to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. If economic growth is to make greater inroads against poverty, there is a need for smarter policies, more resources and closer partnerships.

Hopefully, other donors will follow the European Union, which has agreed to substantially increase official development assistance over the next decade to reach 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product by 2015. Another promising step is the commitment of the Group of Eight countries to reach agreement on debt relief. Developing countries must also do their part by promoting accountable and transparent governance, stimulating the private sector and investing in human capital. Development, however, will be neither meaningful nor sustainable unless the international community also ensured respect for human rights. Developing countries still suffer disproportionately from armed conflict, the proliferation of small arms and denials of human rights.

The 2005 World Summit is an opportunity to fortify ECOSOC itself, which has unique strengths as a central body for articulating development policy and ensuring policy coherence. It is the only organ mandated to coordinate the activities of the United Nations system and to engage with non-governmental organizations, which are increasingly vital partners. The Council’s overriding task now is to follow through on development commitments that have emerged from United Nations conferences and summits of the past decade and a half. In his report entitled Towards achieving internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration (E/2005/56), the Secretary-General suggests, among other things, a number of institutional reforms to enhance the development effort.

State of the world economy

According to Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, José Antonio Ocampo, global economic growth has slowed, with gross world product expected to expand at a rate of 3.25 per cent in 2005 and 3.5 per cent in 2006, following 4.1 per cent in 2004. The anticipated growth of the world economy for 2004-2006 is unusually widespread among developing countries. Developing countries as a group are expected to grow at a rate approaching 6 per cent in 2005-2006. Long-standing disparities in growth among developing regions, however, remains, but there are less than on previous occasions.

Higher economic growth in many developing countries is partially attributable to improvements in economic policies within the countries themselves. Also, domestic demand is playing a more important role because of those countries’ more stable economic conditions. However, the outcome is also a result of a more favourable international economic environment. International trade has grown by some 11 per cent in 2004 and is forecast to increase by a further 8 per cent in 2005. At the same time, the international prices of many of the exports of developing countries, notably oil, has risen in the past couple of years, which has yielded a short-run benefit.

Financial flows to developing countries are increasing and their costs are low by historical standards. Non-debt creating flows are assuming greater importance. For countries without access to international financial markets, ODA has reversed its decline. There has also been some further progress towards reducing the debt burden of some of the heavily indebted poor countries. Despite those improvements, the net transfer of financial resources from developing countries continues to increase. That net transfer reflects a build-up of foreign exchange reserves by a number of countries with trade surpluses, but the extensive accumulation of reserves raises the question of reform of the international financial system.

At the present, a greater risk of a disruptive shock to the world economy seems likely to stem from the large and widening global imbalances: the current account deficit of the United States is expected to rise to over $700 billion in 2005. Reflecting that deficit, the United States dollar has depreciated, but that depreciation does not appear to have had much of a corrective effect on the imbalances. There are dangers of increasing protectionism. In financial markets, there is the persistent possibility of further weakening of the dollar. Disorderly adjustments would have severely disruptive effects on world trade, global financial markets and, ultimately, global economic growth.

Both analysis and evidence to date suggest that the depreciation of the United States dollar is not sufficient to reduce the imbalances to sustainable levels. A more comprehensive and long-term set of measures is required. Those measures should involve both deficit and surplus countries and avoid contractionary effects on developing countries. To achieve those objectives, there is a need for more concrete international economic coordination specifically aimed at rectifying the imbalances.

The present economic strength of many developing countries demonstrated that substantial progress is possible under the right domestic and global economic conditions. Deterioration in the external environment stemming from the global imbalances could have an untoward effect on both the immediate prospects of developing countries and their longer-term development. It is from that perspective that addressing the global imbalances should be seen as part of the long-term global development agenda that is the theme of the ECOSOC session. Even the current improvement achieved by many developing countries is unlikely to be sufficient to enable them all to achieve the development goals. Further improvement in growth is necessary, and any loss of momentum will be critical. At the same time, in many smaller countries, notably in Africa, economic growth itself continues to languish and an even more substantial improvement is required for such countries to achieve the longer-term objectives.

Voices against poverty

An innovation this year is an item called “Voices against Poverty”, which features keynote speeches by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor of Economics and Finance at Columbia University, New York, and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics; Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization; and Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Mr. Stiglitz has drawn attention to the concern of global financial stability. Developing countries disproportionally carry the risks of fluctuating exchange and interest rates, creating unbearable debt levels, according to Mr. Stiglitz. The IMF should design ways of shifting risks from the developing countries to the developed ones. A high level of instability forced all countries to put aside substantial amounts of reserves. Those reserves amounted to lending to the richest countries vast amount of money at low rates. It is a net transfer from developing countries to the developed countries, with amounts exceeding those of foreign aid. If the global reserve system could be changed, the money necessary for achieving the Millennium Goals would be available.

Regarding the need for innovative financing, developing countries are providing enormous services to the world for which they were not compensated, such as the environmental services in the area of greenhouse gases and preservation of biodiversity. Developing countries now propose that they would submit themselves voluntarily to the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol if they receive compensation for environment services.

A comprehensive and coherent approach is required.

Major progress has been made towards the Millennium Goals in several areas, including poverty reduction in East and South Asia, advances in gender equality in developing country educational systems, and reduction in child mortality in northern Africa. However, overall progress has been uneven, and absolute poverty has continued to grow in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as other regions. A lack of adequate clean drinking water and sanitation has left many people vulnerable to disease, HIV/AIDS has continued to reverse strides made in development, and climate change has made the ecosystem increasingly vulnerable.

According to Mr. Ocampo, efforts to achieve the Goals should be closely linked to implementing the comprehensive development agenda produced by United Nations global conferences since the 1990s. That agenda addresses broad issues not fully covered by the Goals – namely, fair and equitable globalization, growing inequalities, global economic governance, unemployment and human resource development, and technological advancement. Internationally agreed development goals cannot be achieved in isolation. A comprehensive and coherent approach is required, from the local to global level.

The primary responsibility for implementation lies with governments, but ECOSOC has an important role to play in coordination, consensus building, policy dialogue and review, and in coordinating the activities of specialized agencies and consulting with non-governmental organizations. Yet, monitoring and evaluation of implementation of the development agenda still appears rather fragmented, mainly due to the United Nations highly decentralized structure, which hinders strategic and operation coherence.

The ECOSOC could strengthen its development capacity by holding annual ministerial-level assessments of progress on development objectives, using peer reviews of progress reports prepared by Member States, with assistance from United Nations agencies. It should also seek to serve as a high-level forum for development cooperation by reviewing trends in international development cooperation, promoting greater coherence among development activities of all actors, and strengthening links between the United Nations operational work and its normative and analytical work. Finally, the Council should hold timely meetings to assess and promote coordinated action against threats to development. A major threat to development is conflict, and ECOSOC should monitor its economic and social dimensions.

Complete coverage of the 2005 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council is available online at http://www.un.org/docs/ecosoc/. The Council meets in New York from 29 June-27 July 2005.

Global dialogue on development

General Assembly hearings with civil society
New York, 23-24 June 2005

The first-ever two-day General Assembly interactive dialogue with non-governmental organizations, civil society participants and private sector members was held in New York. Over 200 civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector entities took part in the dialogues, along with some 1,000 observers. The basis for their discussion with Member States centred on reform proposals the Secretary-General had made in “clusters” of issues to be considered in preparation for the September Summit at Headquarters: freedom from want; freedom from fear; freedom to live in dignity; and strengthening the United Nations.

Secretary-General’s Statement

In his closing remarks to the interactive dialogue, the Secretary-General noted the large number of States participating and called on civil society participants to keep making their voices heard in the lead-up to the September Summit, as well as to hold governments to the promises they made at the Summit afterwards. He said he hoped the interactive format would continue. On every issue that would be taken up at the Summit, whether it was the fight against HIV/AIDS or preventing armed conflict, a close relationship between civil society and the United Nations would be required to carry out the decisions of Summit participants.

“You’re essential partners”, he said to the civil society participants, NGO representatives and private sector members, while also commending the States who participated in the dialogue. “Together we can make poverty history”, he added.

He said a large number of issues had been raised, including gender, human rights, conflict prevention, trade and debt, and he had heard the messages coming through. Support had been expressed for a Human Rights Council and a Peacebuilding Commission. Speakers had asked for environmental issues to be integrated into strategies. They had asked for action, for stronger language in the outcome document and for bold action by Member States at the Summit. As the Deputy Secretary-General had noted at the opening of the session, the hearings represented a new step in the way the United Nations related to civil society. With the leadership of the Assembly President and that of the Task Force that had assisted him, the two days had been a success.

High-level dialogue of the General Assembly on financing for development
New York, 27-28 June 2005

Interventions in the second High Level Dialogue of the General Assembly on Financing for Development, held in New York from 27-28 June, showed that the “spirit of Monterrey” is very much alive. The Monterrey Consensus was a landmark in elaborating a new approach to development cooperation. Its comprehensive agenda, and its new vision of cooperation as a partnership between developing and developed countries, are its fundamental strengths. The Monterrey Consensus has thus rightfully won its place as the essential framework for international cooperation for development.

DESA’s own studies— particularly the 2005 World Economic and Social Survey — suggest that much has been achieved since 2002. But the Monterrey Consensus identified a broader and comprehensive agenda. The international community has not yet tackled that agenda adequately. New challenges that have emerged since 2002 need to be addressed.

Drawing from the General Assembly’s discussions, recent hearings with civil society, and DESA’s analysis, Mr. Ocampo highlighted seven areas where advances are needed. First, it has long been known that mobilizing domestic savings and investment, and having deep domestic financial sectors, are of primary importance for development. But only slowly has the equal importance of equitable access to financial services been acknowledged. Therefore, designing inclusive financial sectors should be at the center of development efforts.

Mobilizing human resources is a prior requirement. Human resources are commonly the most underutilized domestic resources. Consequently, policies to encourage investment in human capital, and to ensure adequate employment opportunities, should be at the center of any investment strategy. High levels of employment are essential for rising domestic savings and for expanding opportunities for domestic investment, from which private sector firms can profit.

Second, one must approach trade as an essential ingredient of financing for development. The Monterrey Consensus envisions trade, development, and finance as mutually supporting. An equitable, developmentally oriented and prompt conclusion of the Doha Round is of particular importance to achieving international development goals. This requires that the round conclude no later than 2006, as the Secretary-General has urged.

Trade issues not included in the Doha agenda must not be overlooked, however, particularly the special concerns of commodity-dependent developing countries. These countries need support to diversify their exports—and thus to enhance their productive capacities—in manufacturing and services. Adequate official compensatory financing must be provided to mitigate the adverse impacts of cyclical falls in the prices of their exports.

Third, increased and more effective official development assistance are essential. Several countries, and the European Union as a Group, have already announced timetables for reaching the target of 0.7% ODA. It is also essential to reach the ODA target for LDCs. Moreover, the quality of aid should improve, through speedy and effective implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Three basic criteria should guide advancement in this area: full respect for ownership of development strategies; alignment of donor support with those strategies; and increasing use of the budgetary processes of recipient countries.

Multilateral development banks have a key role to play in scaling up official assistance. They will continue to play a central role in channeling funds to poor countries. Regarding middle-income countries, these banks play a critical counter-cyclical role. Because crises hit the poor so badly, this role accords well with their work in poverty reduction. Of course, during crises, the counter-cyclical effect lies at the root of IMF lending. Although much has advanced in this area since the Asian crisis, still more remains to be done to design appropriate compensatory and contingency credit lines.

Innovative sources have a role to play as sources of additional financing. These include: the International Finance Facility: different voluntary contributions and taxes: Special Drawing Rights; and the better use of remittances for development purposes. It is time to move from debate to political agreement on the specific mechanisms to pursue.

Fourth, stable sources of private external financing must be encouraged. With the exception of Foreign Direct Investment, private capital flows to developing countries have tended to follow a boom-bust pattern. A major challenge in development financing is thus to help smooth private flows. This can be done partly by designing market instruments that protect developing countries from such volatility and reversibility. For example, commodity-linked bonds and GDP linked bonds can reduce the likelihood of debt crises and defaults. Similarly, developing deep markets for local currency bonds can help reduce currency mismatches. As our Survey points out, multilateral development banks should seek to become “market makers” for all these new forms of financing. Foreign investment funds can also become a major instrument of development of local currency debt. Capital account regulations can also play a useful counter-cyclical role and support counter-cyclical macro-economic policies—even though they cannot substitute for those policies.

Fifth, debt sustainability must be addressed. The recent G8 agreement to provide resources for full relief of the debt of HIPC countries to the IMF, the World Bank, IDA, and the African Development Bank is a most welcome development. It is essential that this agreement be speedily and fully implemented.

Nonetheless, the issue of over-indebtedness also affects some non-HIPC poor and middle income countries. New mechanisms, such as the Paris Club "Evian approach,” should be put to productive use. This is needed particularly to overcome the sequential debt restructuring that has characterized Paris Club negotiations. Explorations of debt workout mechanisms—including voluntary codes and international mediation or arbitration mechanisms—should continue, with the full support of all stakeholders.

In assessing debt sustainability in all of these cases, consideration should be given to the level of debt that allows a country to achieve its national development goals, including the MDGs, and to reach 2015 without an unsustainable debt ratio. Proposed in the Secretary-General’s report In Larger Freedom, this definition of debt sustainability should be fully adopted by the international community.

Sixth, South-South cooperation must achieve new levels. South-South cooperation is ready for a quantum leap. Technical cooperation among developing countries may be appropriate to the particular conditions of these nations. The recent Special Development Fund for developing countries created by the South Summit is welcome as a clear sign of solidarity among developing countries.

Trade integration mechanisms can also play an essential role for developing countries. And trade among developing country regions can be enhanced by completing a new round of negotiations of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries.

Several financial arrangements—including the Arab financial institutions and the Andean Development Corporation—show that effective multilateral development banks can work with capital that comes exclusively from developing countries. The Latin American Reserve Fund and the Chiang Mai Initiative show the promise of more active cooperation among developing countries in facing balance of payments crises. These and other institutions can also provide mechanisms for macroeconomic consultations and peer reviews.

Last, the voice of developing countries in international decision-making and norm-setting must be heard. Developing countries have significantly increased their share in the world economy. But this is not reflected in the voice and participation that they have in international decision-making. Therefore, Monterrey had a clear mandate to improve the participation of developing countries in global economic governance. This issue is already on the table at the Bretton Woods institutions—and it is important that it leads to political decisions. In contrast, little progress has been made in other bodies. The principle of voice and participation of developing countries should get priority attention—particularly in other policy making and standard setting bodies where developing countries have no representation, such as the Basle Committee on banking supervision and the Financial Stability Forum.

The foregoing contains the substance of remakrs made by the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. José Antonio Ocampo,to dialogue participants on 28 June. The text of this an other recent statements by the USG are available online at http://www.un.org/esa/usgstats.htm.

Programme of work

The President of the General Assembly opened the meeting followed by a statement of the Secretary-General and the President of ECOSOC. A total of 28 ministers and many high-level officials made statements at plenary sessions on the first day. The senior managers of the major institutional stakeholders (World Bank, IMF, WTO, UNCTAD, UNDP) also spoke. The second day was devoted to six interactive multi-stakeholder round tables followed by an informal interactive dialogue.

The six interactive multi-stakeholder round tables focused on individual chapters of the Monterrey Consensus, namely: mobilizing domestic financial resources for development; mobilizing international resources for development: foreign direct investment and other private flows; international trade as an engine for development; increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development; external debt, and; addressing systemic issues: enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development. Participants included ministers and other high-level representatives of governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. The round tables featured highly interactive discussions and generated many proposals.

At the opening of the informal interactive dialogue, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, made a presentation on the main findings and recommendations of the World Economic and Social Survey 2005: Financing for Development (see above).

In his closing statement, the President of the General Assembly summarized the key issues. These include: (1) a sense of urgency to implement the Monterrey Consensus through a global partnership for development; (2) the need for national ownership of and responsibility for development strategies; (3) the need for countercyclical policies at national and international levels; (4) the important role of the private sector in reducing poverty; (5) the need to implement the Doha Development Agenda; (6) a call for increasing Official Development Assistance to implement the Millennium Development Goals, with a special focus on Africa, and the importance of improving aid effectiveness; (7) support for advancing innovative financing mechanisms such as the International Finance Facility; (8) the importance of regional financial arrangements; (9) support for recent measures by the G8 on debt relief for highly indebted poor countries and the need to extend these measures to address debt problems of other low-income and middle-income countries; (10) a call for improving cooperation between the UN, the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO and enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development; (11) the need to strengthen the participation of developing countries in the international financial and economic decision-making fora, and to promote the UN leadership role in development through, inter alia, ECOSOC reform.

Mr. Jean-Louis Schiltz, Luxembourg Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Louis Michel, European Union Development and Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner, and Peter Mandelson, European Union Trade Commissioner, discuss Financing for Development .

Contact: Mr. Oscar de Rojas, Financing for Development Office, +1 212/963-2587

Economic and Social Council
Substantive session of 2005
New York, 29 June-27 July 2005

Programme of work

The 2005 ECOSOC substantive session will open with a high-level segment which will bring together Ministers and key government officials from capitals, including two Heads of State, with heads of principal UN agencies and trade institutions from 29 June to 1 July at UN Headquarters in New York.

In the run-up to September’s 2005 World Summit, the segment, which will take place under the theme “Achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, as well as implementing the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits: progress made, challenges and opportunities", will provide an opportunity to provide concrete recommendations on issues that are central to negotiations of the September outcome document. Participants, both from the North and the South, will together be able to identify key elements of a global strategy to achieve the MDGs and to identify specific areas where further action is most urgently needed. The high-level segment will also provide an opportunity for the Council to make specific reform proposals on how to enhance the capacity of the UN system, and in particular ECOSOC, to support the co-ordinated implementation of such a global plan for the achievement of the MDGs as well as the commitments made in the major summits and conferences of the past 15 years.

High-level participants

Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivered the keynote address at the opening of the high-level Segment, at 10 a.m., 29 June, in the Economic and Social Council Chamber at UN Headquarters. Statements was also made by Ambassador Munir Akram (Pakistan), President of the Council, and Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics (2001), Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization, and António Guterres, the new High Commissioner for Refugees, who spoke as “Voices against Poverty”. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, and Carlos Fortín, Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, led a high-level policy dialogue on current developments in the world economy and international economic cooperation, in the context of achieving the MDGs. On Thursday, President Tarja Halonen of Finland and Prime Minister Gérard Latortue of Haiti gave keynote addresses, at the morning and afternoon sessions respectively. A signficant number of other heads of agencies and programmes participated in the three days of ministerial breakfasts, roundtables and panels.

A series of roundtable dialogues were held on 29 June covering: eradication of poverty and hunger; health; global partnerships and financing of the MDGs; building state capacity to meet the MDGs: human rights, governance, institutions and human resources; education and literacy; gender equality and the empowerment of women; environmental sustainability, and; national strategies to achieve the MDGs.

The following Ministerial roundtable breakfasts took place on 30 June and 1 July:

  • Science, Technology and Innovation to meet the MDGs, including the ICTs;
  • Land and Conflict, International Land Coalition;
  • The role of microcredit/microfinance in achieving the goal of the reduction of poverty and hunger;
  • The Impact of Commodities on Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development in Least Developed Countries and other Vulnerable Economies;
  • Human Resources and the MDGs;
  • Working out of poverty;
  • The Role of Volunteerism in Achieving the MDGs;
  • Forging powerful partnerships: Political, Public and Private;
  • Migration and the MDGs;
  • Synergies between Brussels Programme of Action and NEPAD in Achieving the MDGs;
  • The MDGs as a tool for comprehensive local development in Albania;
  • The centrality of gender in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

A Ministerial Declaration is to be adopted on 1 July. The Declaration will address key development issues including sources of financing for development; strategies for people-centred development; effective macroeconomic policies; the role of science and technology and the private sector; social integration and empowerment of vulnerable groups; pervasive gender bias; HIV/AIDS; natural disasters and integrating African economies into the mainstream.

Contact: Ms. Aliye Celik, +1 212/963-4201 or Mr. Navid Hanif, +1 212/963-8415, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination.

Coordination segment
5-7 July 2005

Theme: “Towards achieving internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration”.

Objective: The coordination segment will provide an opportunity to review the contribution of the United Nations system, at all levels, towards agreed development goals.

Special events: To enrich the discussions of the coordination segment, the following panel discussions will be organized which will focus on the various aspects of the work of the UN system at the inter-agency, intergovernmental and country level as well as the work of the UN functional commissions.

Panel on "Achieving the internationally agreed development goals : improving the way the United Nations systems works";

Panel on "Implementing the internationally agreed development goals; including those contained in the Millennium Declaration: perspectives and strategies".

Contact: Mr. Navid Hanif, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 212/963-8415

Operational activities segment 
8-12 July 2005

Objective: The General Assembly concluded its 2004 Triennial Comprehensive Policy review (TCPR) of the operational activities for development of the United Nations system, stressing that (i) operational activities should be increasingly integrated into national processes, (ii) all the capacities of the UN system should be mobilized to provide a comprehensive and flexible response to the needs of developing countries, and (iii) the UN reform should result in simplified and more coherent delivery of development assistance. During its Operational Activities Segment, ECOSOC will review how the UN system intends to achieve progress on these issues by 2007. The Council will also explore the various funding options for increasing financing for the UN system operational activities for development and enhance their long-term stability and adequacy. Several reports have been prepared by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and one Paper by the UN Development Group to facilitate debate by the Council (consult the ECOSOC website for this documentation).

Special events: Senior government representatives, senior officials of the UN system and experts from developing and developed countries and research institutions will participate in one interactive dialogue on “UN reform and the pursuit of the internationally agreed development goals” on 8 July, all day; one panel discussion on funding options for the UN development system, on 11 July, morning, followed by dialogue with the Executive Heads of the UN Funds and Programmes in the afternoon.

Contact: Massimo D’Angelo, Office forEcononmc and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 212/963- 4731.

Humanitarian affairs segment
13-18 July 2005

Theme: “Strengthening of the coordination of United Nations humanitarian assistance, including capacity and organizational aspects”.

Objective: This year the humanitarian affairs segment will focus on lessons learned from the recent earthquake/tsunami Indian Ocean disaster.

Special events: There will be an informal panel to discuss the issue of the transition from relief to development.

General segment
18-25 July 2005

Objective: The aim of the general segment is to strengthen coherence in the United Nations through the Council's review of the reports of its subsidiary bodies. Some of the resolutions contained in the reports of its subsidiary bodies require action by ECOSOC.

Complete documentation for the session is available online at http://www.un.org/docs/ecosoc/meetings/2005/

Contact: Ms. Aliye Celik, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 212/963-4201.

DPADM adds:

DPADM and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights organized a roundtable in the ECOSOC Chamber on 29 June. This roundtable explored issues concerning the role of governance, institutions and human rights and of public sector management processes that have the potential to contribute to public policies, particularly in implementing the MDGs.

H.E. Ms. Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, chaired and delivered the opening remarks, and Mr. José Antonio Ocampo served as moderator for this Roundtable. Hon. Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Minister of Planning and National Development, Kenya, served as lead discussant. Other discussants included Ms. Mehr Khan Williams, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh.

Contact: Mr. Jacinto de Vera, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-0525

DAW adds:

The Bureau of ECOSOC has organized a discussion of the chairpersons of the functional commissions and other subsidiary bodies of the ECOSOC to take place on 7 July. The discussions will focus on how these intergovernmental bodies are contributing to the implementation of the internationally agreed development goals and to the work of ECOSOC in promoting integrated and coordinated implementation. The panel discussion will provide an opportunity to: (1) review the contribution of the Commissions and the other subsidiary bodies to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration; (2) strengthen the contributions of the subsidiary bodies in advancing the Council’s efforts to promote a coordinated and integrated follow up and implementation of the conferences' outcomes; (3) ways to promote thematic coherence in the work of the Council and Commissions; and (4) improvements in the methods of work of the Commissions as requested in the UN General Assembly resolution 57/270B.

Contact: Ms. Anna Modersitzki, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 917/367-3124

The Bureau of the Commission on the Status of Women is organizing a panel discussion on 21 July to mark the adoption by the Economic and Social Council of the Declaration adopted by the 49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in Conference Room 6. The panel will be organized as a parallel event during the General Segment of the ECOSOC. It provides an opportunity for the various stakeholders to discuss all aspects of the Declaration and the actions required by each of them for follow up. The panel also provides an occasion for ECOSOC to discuss ways and means of linking the outcome of the functional commissions to the review of the Millennium Declaration to be carried out during the 2005 World Summit in September 2005.

Contact: Ms. Sharon J. Taylor, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 212/ 963-5226

The UN/ICT Task Force Secretariat adds:

As part of the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council, the United Nations ICT Task Force organized a Ministerial roundtable breakfast on 30 June. The roundtable breakfast, co-hosted by the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, was opened by Under-Secretary-General José Antonio Ocampo and Mr. Carlos Fortin, Officer-in-Charge of UNCTAD. Mr. Atta-ur-Rahman, Federal Minister and Chairman of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and Mr. Art Reilly, Senior Director of Cisco Systems, are the co-chairs. High-level participants such as Mr. Amir Dossal, Executive Director of UNFIP, Mr. Valery Loschinin, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, and Mr. Sorajak Kasemsuvan, Vice-Minister, Office of the Prime Minister of Thailand were expected to attend.

Contact: UN ICT Task Force Secretariat, +1 212/963-5796

Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities
6th Session
New York, 1-12 August 2005

Contact: Mr. Jean-Pierre Gonnot, Division for Social Policy and Development, + 1 212/963- 3256

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Working group on communications under the Optional Protocol
New York, 29 June-1 July 2005

The working group on communications under the optional protocol will have a closed meeting to review communications received under the optional protocol.

Contact: Ms. Eleanor Solo, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 212/963-1524

33rd session
New York, 5-22 July 2005

At this forthcoming session, the CEDAW Committee will review the reports of eight States parties to the Convention: Benin, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Gambia, Lebanon, Burkina Faso, Guyana, Ireland, and Israel.

Contact: Ms. Philomena Kintu, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 212/963-3153

Pre-sessional working group
34th Session
New York, 25-29 July 2005

The pre-sessional working group will have a closed meeting during which lists of issues and questions will be prepared in consideration of the following 8 reports: Cambodia, Eritrea, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Australia, Mali, Thailand, Venezuela.

Representatives from the United Nations system and from non-governmental organizations may present their reports to the working group in a closed meeting on the morning of 25 July.

Contact: Ms. Philomena Kintu, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 212/963-3153

The Millennium Development Goals and Small-Scale Mining
Washington D.C., 16-17 June 2005

The Millennium Development Goals and Small-Scale Mining: A Conference for Forging Partnerships for Action was held in Washington D.C. The purpose of the Conference was to consider how investment in the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) sector can help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) amongst other key donor priorities. Participants also considered the key issues confronting ASM-affected communities and identified where greater attention, and thus resources, needs to be placed within the sector to achieve more significant results.

This Conference was an important event for ASM and for global development generally. During the Conference, participants improved the understanding that ASM is not just an economic sector, but a space of opportunity for tackling some of the fundamental aspects of poverty. A growing number of countries, especially in Africa, are now including ASM in their country poverty reduction strategies. Coherent, integrated, multi-disciplinary responses to the complex social and environmental challenges facing ASM communities are required. These must be more explicitly linked to the achievement of higher level development objectives, especially poverty reduction and other key MDGs. About 100 participants from governments, international, regional organizations, NGO’s, the private sector and inter-governmental organizations, including World Bank, UNECA, UNIDO, UNEP and UN Global Compact, attended the Conference.

Contact: Mr. Vladimir Servianov, Division for Sustainable Development, + 1 212/963-8777

Consultation on development of a youth development index
London, 11-12 July 2005

The UN programme on youth within DSPD will participate in an inter-agency meeting, hosted by the Commonwealth Youth Programme, to discuss an action plan for the development and implementation of a Youth Development Index. The meeting follows on previous inter-agency meetings and consultations with youth organizations in which the need was identified for a comparative instrument to monitor youth development over time. The meeting will build on the experience gained by UNESCO Brazil and the Commonwealth Youth Programme in developing a youth development index.

Contact: Division for Social Policy and Development, email: youth@un.org.

Briefing on the Secretary-General's in-depth study on violence against women
22 July 2005, 1:15 pm - 2:45 pm

The Division for the Advancement of Women will hold a briefing on the Secretary-General's in-depth study on violence against women. Member States and other interested stakeholders will be updated on the status of preparations as well as upcoming activities. Two participants from the expert group meetings on data and statistics on violence against women, and on good practices in addressing such violence, will give a synopsis of the conclusions and recommendations that emanated from the meetings.

Contact: Ms. Monique Widyono, Division for the Advancement of Women, +1 917/367-9030

United Nations expert group meeting on the 2010 world programme on population and housing censuses
New York, 22-26 August 2005

The purpose of the United Nations expert group meeting on the 2010 world programme on population and housing censuses is to review in detail proposals by experts regarding the revision and update of the United Nations principles and recommendations for population and housing censuses, revision 1. The expert group meeting will also consider how to take into consideration regional recommendations in the review and update of the global principles and recommendations for population and housing censuses. The outcome of the expert group m meeting will form the basis for a work programme and concrete proposals for the revision and updating of the Principles and Recommendations for 2010 round of population and housing censuses.

Contact: Mr. Srdjan Mrkic, Statsitics Division, +1 212/963-4940

Technical cooperation

Global initiatives

International Conference on Engaging Communities
Brisbane, 14-17 August 2005

The International Conference on Engaging Communities is being organized by the Government of the State of Queensland, Australia with the support of DPADM.

The Conference will include plenary sessions and parallel capacity development workshops on different aspects of community engagements, people participation, social equity and social capital. The plenary sessions and workshops will be organized by the Government of Queensland, Australia and the entities of the UN system, in cooperation with global and regional institutions that include the UN Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the UN Centre for Regional Development, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the Asian Development Bank, the University of Technology, Sydney, and the Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration. The workshops are intended to provide participants with a forum for sharing of best practices, for training tools, techniques and methodologies for economic and social development, particularly for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The workshops will focus on the following themes:

  • Decentralization: Poverty Reduction, Empowerment and Participation;
  • Community Engagement in Public Finance at the Subnational Governments;
  • Platform for E-Participation;
  • Interregional Information Exchange on Poverty-Environment Nexus Initiative in Central Asian & Southeast Asian Regions;
  • Engaging the Marginalized - Partnership between Indigenous People, Governments and Civil Society;
  • Partnerships and Civil Society Organization Capacity-Building for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals; and
  • Engaging Communities: IFAD's Experience, Lessons Learned and Policy Implications.

A panel of world leaders and experts will put democracy under the spotlight through a televised panel discussion which will feature Mr. Peter Beattie, Premier of Queensland, Australia, Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta, Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste, Ms. Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, UNDESA, Ms. Erna Witoelar, UN Special Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals for Asia and the Pacific, Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh and Ms. Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Contact: Mr. Jacinto de Vera, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-0525

Africa south of the Sahara

Seminar on African Electrical Interconnection
Cairo, 19-21 June 2005

DESA, together with the Ministry of Electricity and Energy of the Government of Egypt and the e7 Network of Expertise for the Global Environment, organized a Seminar on African Electrical Interconnection. The objective of the seminar was to facilitate regional interconnection of electricity grids in Africa, in support of the goals of NEPAD. The invited participants were managers and technical personnel from government ministries, regional organizations, and utilities in Africa. The seminar is the second joint project undertaken by DESA and the e7 pursuant to an agreement, signed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, aimed at cooperation in the area of energy and sustainable development

Contact: Fried Soltau,DSD/DESA, Tel +1 212/963-4337

Arab States

Arab Youth Strategize for the MDGs
Rabat, 6-8 July 2005

Third in a series of three workshops jointly organized by the UNDP Regional Bureau of Arab States and DESA, this workshop will focus on a number of important topics for Arab youth today, namely youth and globalization, youth, gender issues and the family; youth employment and the labour market; as well as participation of young people in decision-making.

Contact: Division for Social Policy and Development, email: youth@un.org.

Asia and the Pacific

International Conference on Regional Cooperation in Transboundary River Basins
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
30 May-1 June 2005

An International Conference on “Regional Cooperation in Transboundary River Basins” was organized by the Government of Tajikistan, and supported by various UN agencies including DSD/DESA. The event was meant to reaffirm the importance of regional cooperation in the management of transboundary river basins, with the following specific objectives.

  • Strengthening regional cooperation among countries of the Central Asian region for efficient management of transboundary water resources.
  • Learning from the knowledge and experience of various regional and international river basin organizations.
  • Planning the implementation of concrete actions and activities in water resources management for the Decade on “Water for Life”.
  • Developing partnerships with organizations and networks that will contribute to and support sustained dialogue among countries of the Central Asian region on transboundary water issues.

The conference was attended by more than 200 international participants representing various governments, UN agencies, bi-lateral development agencies, civil society groups, private sector and individual scientists and academicians. The conference program consisted of an opening session, two plenary sessions, six thematic sessions covering various aspects of transboundary water resources management, an exhibition and field trips to various project sites. In addition to funding participation of 8 national experts from developing countries, DESA contributed to the conference by: providing technical assistance in developing conference’s program and agenda, identifying and lining-up some speakers; making presentations in various thematic sessions and side events; and serving as co-chair and rapporteur of the first plenary session

Contact person: M. Aslam Chaudhry, DSD/DESA, Tel:+1 212/963-8558

Publications and websites


World Economic and Social Survey 2005

The World Economic and Social Survey 2005, on the subject of Financing for Development, was issued for the High-level Dialogue of the General Assembly on Financing for Development. This year’s Survey (sales no. E.05.II.C.1) focuses on the Monterrey Consensus as the current framework for international cooperation for development. The report examines the correspondingly broad agenda for action reflected in the six “chapters” of the Consensus, namely, mobilizing domestic resources for development, international trade, international private capital flows, official development financing, external debt and systemic issues. The Survey recognizes the numerous accomplishments to date in each of these areas but, with a view to maintaining the existing momentum, it draws attention to the further actions that need to be undertaken in the years ahead to fulfil the broader United Nations Development Agenda, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

World Economic Situation and Prospects: mid-2005 update

The continued recovery of the world economy resulted in unusually widespread growth in 2004, but a modest slowdown in all regions is expected in 2005, according to projections contained in this report. Overall, prospects continue to be good, but the global imbalances pose a potential threat, to which a global response is required. This latest update to the World Economic Situation and Prospects offers an authoritative and reliable insight into current trends and policies in the world economy and is an essential resource to both academia and the private sector.

Technical reports

Population, Development and HIV/AIDS with Particular Emphasis on Poverty: The Concise Report

The AIDS pandemic has gained momentum during the past quarter century, expanding to all regions of the world. AIDS affects both the rich and the poor, but the hardest-hit countries are among the poorest in the world. Unless more vigorous actions are undertaken to combat the disease and its effects, the HIV/AIDS epidemic portends a grim future for many countries, especially the poorest countries. The present report concludes that the most effective approach to thwarting the HIV/AIDS epidemic is to implement a combination of strategies that reduce risks, diminish vulnerability and mitigate impact.

Understanding Knowledge Societies

DPADM has issued a new publication, “Understanding Knowledge Societies: In twenty questions and answers with the Index of Knowledge Societies”. The report tries to answer the question, “How can a society adjust to the challenge of mass-produced knowledge?” This study puts forth the idea that if societies desire to follow the path of knowledge-based growth and development, a very thorough reconstruction of their institutions must occur. It also contains an Index of Knowledge Societies which is a summary measure of the performance that countries register in assets, advancement and the foresightedness a country displays in its quest to become a Knowledge Society. The report is a UN Sales Publication (No. E.05.II.H.2), is also available from the DPADM Reference Library, and is available (for reading only) on UNPAN.

Contact: Ms. Tanima Bossart, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-4224.

United Nations ICT Task Force series 7: WTO, eCommerce and Information Technology

The WTO has in recent years emerged as a key player in information technology governance, primarily through the application of the rules-based trading system to e-commerce. This book, to be released in July, aims to stimulate further understanding of the WTO’s role in IT governance, and, in doing so, lead to a more efficient, and ultimately equitable, system of governance for existing and emerging technologies that will underpin and drive much of the global economy. The publication was commissioned by the Markle Foundation, a member of the ICT Task Force that has been working on issues of Internet governance, with special emphasis on developing countries.

Contact: UN ICT Task Force Secretariat, + 1 212/963-5796

UN ICT Task Force series 8: World Summit on the Information Society: Moving from the past into the future

The book, to be released in July, provides a general overview of the World Summit on the Information Society process and aims to further the understanding of the challenges and issues of the Information Society. It is not meant to provide a comprehensive and systematic academic analysis but to offer the perspectives and views of some of the WSIS key players including representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, private sector and civil society.

Contact: UN ICT Task Force Secretariat, +1 212/963-5796

United Nations reports on E-Government

DPADM has produced a new CD-ROM, “United Nations Reports on E-Government”, which contains the following five reports: (1) Overview of Knowledge Management Activities; (2) E-Government at the Crossroads (World Public Sector Report 2003); (3) Global E-Government Readiness Report 2004: Towards Access for Opportunity; (4) Understanding Knowledge Societies (7-page Executive Summary), and; (5) Report of the Expert Ad Hoc Group Meeting on E-Governance and Changes in Administrative Structures and Processes. The CD-ROM is available from the DPADM Reference Library and also on the UNPAN website.

Contact: Tanima Bossart, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-4224.

Information and Communication Technologies for African Development: An Assessment of Progress and Challenges Ahead

Nowhere is the digital divide more pronounced than in countries of the African continent. Africa is the most unconnected, in an increasingly connected world. Yet, given the broad spectrum of development challenges, including fighting diseases, famine and poverty while striving for socioeconomic, technological and industrial development and the promotion of its vast material and intellectual resource and cultural heritage for global competitiveness, ICTs offer a remarkable opportunity and set of tools for achieving substantive progress.

Discussion papers

Connected for Development: Information Kiosks and Sustainability

This publication suggests that Information kiosks can be a timely model based on lessons learned from Internet Cafes, placing the focus on using the technology as a tool to deliver information and services to the underserved. Thus, the rural and disenfranchised of the world are given a voice and the prospect for expanded self-determination and the pursuit of a better life, as well as the possibility for a power shift from an elite few to a broadly engaged majority.

Internet Governance: A Grand Collaboration

This publication is an edited collection of papers contributed to the United Nations ICT Task Force Global Forum on Internet Governance (New York, 25 - 26 March 2004). The papers provides useful information on how many different organizations are already governing the Internet and its effects on society. They suggest that a number of important issues are not being addressed effectively, and that in some areas there is an urgent need to put in place new arrangements to counter real and present threats to the stability and utility of the Internet. It includes the Forum's Opening Statement by Kofi Annan.

Meeting records

Poverty Reduction and Good Governance: Report of the Committee for Development Policy on the Sixth Session (29 March - 4 April 2004)

Within the overall global objective of reducing poverty by half by 2015, a central challenge remains that of improving the economic and social conditions of the more than 600 million inhabitants of the Least Developed Countries. Good governance can be instrumental in achieving poverty reduction. The challenge is to build capable governments that can guarantee peace and security, provide an enabling political and legal environment for development and promote equitable distribution. The present volume contains the report that the Committee submitted to the United Nations Economic and Social Council on these matters, as well as two papers, each prepared by a member of the Committee, that were used to assist the Committee in its deliberations.

Report of the International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States

The Barbados Programme of Action, which was adopted in 1994 sets forth specific actions and measures at the national, regional, and international levels in support of the sustainable development of the small island developing States. In 2005, the International community convened in Mauritius to discuss recommendations for its further and successful implementation. This is the report of the proceedings of that meeting.

Resources Mobilization and the Creation of an Enabling Environment for Poverty Eradication in the Least Developed Countries

This book aims to present the key debates that took place in the Economic and Social Council meetings on the theme of the High-Level Segment of 2004, “Resources Mobilization and Enabling Environment for Poverty Eradication in the context of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010”

Statistical compilations

World Statistics Pocketbook
Sales No. E.05.XVII.3

This handy pocketbook provides an easy-to-use international compilation of basic economic, social and environmental indicators for 208 countries and area worldwide. It covers 57 key indicators in the areas of population, economic activity, agriculture, industry, energy, international trade, transport, communications, gender, education and environment, drawn from over 20 international statistical sources. The layout provides an easy-to-view statistical profile of each country or area and the notes on sources and definition provide a valuable guide for further research by the interested users.

Contact: Virgilio Castillo, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4867

Educational material

Wall chart on population and HIV/AIDS 2005

This wall chart presents the latest available data and information on HIV/AIDS for all countries and regions of the world, with emphasis on government policies and programmes for the prevention of the disease, and the treatment, care and support of persons affected by it.

Wall chart on World Fertility Patterns 2004

The data presented in this chart are from territories or areas, irrespective of their legal status or the delimitation of their frontiers or boundaries, whose population in 2000 was greater than 100,000. The total fertility rate is the average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to the age-specific fertility rates observed in a given period.


UNPAN portal training and orientation

A CD-ROM has been produced by DPADM on training and orientation for the UNPAN website portal. The CD-ROM is an audio-visual guide to this one-window access to worldwide multi-lingual resources on public administration and public sector policy. The CD-ROM is available from the DPADM reference library and also on the UNPAN website at:

Contact: Tanima Bossart, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-4224.

New UN Guide on Energy Indicators for Sustainable Development

A publication outlining key indicators for energy use in line with sustainable development goals, jointly prepared by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Energy Agency, Eurostat and the European Environment Agency, was published by the IAEA in Vienna last month.

The report addresses the concern that much of the world’s current energy supply and use, which is based largely on limited fossil fuel resources, is associated with harmful environmental and health impacts including air pollution and climate change. Moreover, some 1.7 billion people have no access to electricity, and many areas in the world are without reliable and secure energy supplies, severely limiting opportunities for economic development -- an integral part of sustainable development.

The report, called Energy Indicators for Sustainable Development: Guidelines and Methodologies, outlines a core set of 30 indicators across the three major dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. The thematic framework, guidelines, methodologies and energy indicators presented in this publication reflect the expertise of five international agencies and organizations recognized as leaders in energy and environmental statistics and analysis.

To order copies of the report, contact the IAEA Publishing Office www.iaea.org/worldatom/books or via e-mail: sales.publications@iaea.org. The report is also available in bookstores worldwide, including the UN bookstore in New York.

Handbook on the Collection of Fertility and Mortality Data (Arabic language)

Information Insecurity: A Survival Guide to the Uncharted Territories of Cyber-threats and Cyber-security

This book attempts to create greater awareness about the growing dangers of cyber-hooliganism, cyber-crime, cyber-terrorism and cyber-war, inherent in the new opportunities for good and evil that have been opened up in Information Technology.


Monitoring progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, 1990-2005

To help track progress, the United Nations Secretariat and the specialized agencies of the UN system, as well as representatives of IMF, the World Bank and OECD defined a set of time-bound and measurable goals and targets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. This site shows the progress of MDG from 1990-2005.

Energy Statistics

View the latest Energy site updates, including the most recent energy statistics flagship publications, Energy Statistics Yearbook and Energy Balances and Electricity Profiles now available in electronic format.

Comings and goings


Nikhil Chandavarkar has been appointed the Chief of the Communication and Information Management Service effective 1 July 2005. Mr. Chandavarkar, a native of India, received his PhD in economics from Georgetown University. Since joining DESA in 2001, he has served as senior interregional adviser in the department’s technical cooperation programme. 


Ian Kinniburgh, Director of the Development Policy Analysis Division, retired on 30 June 2005 after more than 20 years of service to the Organization. Mr. Kinniburgh was appointed Director of DPAD in 1997.



Economic and Social Council
Substantive session
New York, 29 Jun-27 Jul 2005

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
33rd session
New York, 5-22 Jul 2005

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women - Pre-sessional Working Group
34th session
New York, 25-29 Jul 2005


Ad Hoc Committee to elaborate a convention on the rights of persons with disabilities
New York, 1-12 August 2005


International Day of Cooperatives: Microfinance is Our Business
2 July 2005

This year’s theme is “microfinance is our business: cooperating out of poverty” inspired by the United Nations International Year of Microcredit.

Access to finance and to financial services is essential to reduce poverty. Poor people need easily accessible, trustworthy, sustainable and economically viable institutions to which they can entrust their savings, which offer loans at affordable conditions, and which provide a safety net through basic insurance services.

Amongst the most successful micro-finance institutions worldwide are member-owned institutions and in particular savings and credit cooperatives, insurance cooperative and cooperative banks. Savings and credit cooperatives (or credit unions) were pioneered by local leaders such as Friedrich Raiffeisen and Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch in the 19th century as a means to reduce poverty and over-indebtedness among small farmers and craftsmen in urban and rural areas. Today, they exist and strive in every region of the world, and have been able to adapt to very different socio-economic environments. Some cooperative banks in the industrialized world have become powerful financial institutions. In fact in many high income countries cooperative banks are often the only banking type with a broad branch network ensuring proximity to clients. Despite their commercial success they managed to stay close and committed to their original client base. Cooperative banks are also involved in the promotion of credit unions in the South. Credit unions and similar financial cooperatives have demonstrated that micro-finance services can be delivered to the poor in a sustainable way. Being rooted in local communities and managed by local people, such cooperatives can take advantage of social capital in situations where financial capital is scarce. Capacity-building for the poor in money management, saving approaches and enterprise planning have proven to be essential building blocks for effective and sustainable cooperatively managed microfinance.

Cooperatively managed micro-finance institutions enable the poor to pool their resources so that they can be used for productive investments and job creation. The social control and democratic management style that is proper to cooperatives generally secure savings and ensures repayment of loans. Cooperatives thus provide the poor with appropriate financial solutions that enable them to collectively work themselves out of poverty.

World Population Day: Equality Empowers
11 July 2005

In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme recommended that 11 July be observed as World Population Day. An outgrowth of the Day of Five Billion, celebrated on 11 July 1987, the Day seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, particularly in the context of overall development plans and programmes, and the need to find solutions for these issues. According to the Population Division of the United Nations, world population totalled 6.5 billion in 2005, and was growing by some 76 million a year. The United Nations estimates that there will be between 7.7 billion and 10.6 billion people in 2050, with 9.1 billion the most likely projection.

This year’s theme is “equality empowers”. Equality benefits everyone. Where girls have equal opportunity to education, societies become more prosperous. Where women have equal access to income, assets and services, families become healthier. When both men and women are able to participate equally and exercise their full human rights, the world benefits.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
9 August 2005

In 1994, the General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (resolution 29/214 of 23 December). By its resolution 59/174 of 20 December 2004, in which the Assembly proclaimed the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (2005-2014), it also decided to continue observing the International Day of Indigenous People every year during the Second Decade, in New York, Geneva and other offices of the United Nations. The Assembly asked the Secretary-General to support observance of the Day from within existing resources, and to encourage Governments to observe the Day at the national level.

International Youth Day: WPAY+ 10 and Making Commitments Matter
12 August 2005

The General Assembly on 17 December 1999 (resolution 54/120 I) endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day. It recommended that public information activities be organized to support the Day as a way to promote better awareness of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, adopted by the Assembly in 1995 (resolution 50/81).


DESA News is an insider's look at the United Nations in the area of coordination of economic and social development policies. The newsletter is produced by the Communications and Information Management Service of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with DESA Divisions, and is issued every two months.

Contact: Communications and Information Management Service, + 1 212/963-5874