Vol. 9, no.5 September-October 2005

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

The Inequality Predicament, Report on the World Social Situation 2005: Mr. José Antonio Ocampo and Mr. Johan Scholvinck meet with the press on 25 August to discuss global imbalances

in this issue

The inequality predicament: Focusing exclusively on economic growth and income generation as a development strategy is perilous as it leads to the accumulation of wealth by a few and deepens the poverty of many

2005 World Summit: The Economic and Social Council must be able to deliver results on the UN development agenda commensurate with the expectations of the international community

Feature article

The Inequality Predicament

Focusing exclusively on economic growth and income generation as a development strategy is perilous as it leads to the accumulation of wealth by a few and deepens the poverty of many.

The global commitment to overcoming inequality, or redressing the imbalance between the wealthy and the poor, as clearly outlined at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen and endorsed in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, is fading. Eighty per cent of the world's gross domestic product belongs to the 1 billion people living in the developed world; the remaining 20 per cent is shared by the 5 billion people living in developing countries. Failure to address this inequality predicament will ensure that social justice and better living conditions for all people remain elusive, and that communities, countries and regions remain vulnerable to social, political and economic upheaval.

Ignoring inequality in the pursuit of development is perilous. Focusing exclusively on economic growth and income generation as a development strategy is ineffective, as it leads to the accumulation of wealth by a few and deepens the poverty of many; such an approach does not acknowledge the intergenerational transmission of poverty. A broader approach to poverty reduction includes social, economic and political dimensions, integrating improvements in health, education, economic development, and representation in legislative and judicial processes. It is the implementation of policies in these areas that contributes to the development of human capital, enabling the poor to realize their full productive potential. Addressing all aspects of poverty increases the odds that future generations will reap the benefits of today's policies rather than remaining trapped in a cycle of poverty.

Inequalities in income distribution and in access to productive resources, basic social services, opportunities, markets, and information can cause and exacerbate poverty. As emphasized in the recommendations of the World Summit for Social Development, it is crucial that policies and programmes for poverty reduction include socio-economic strategies to reduce inequality.

Addressing inequality requires efforts to achieve a balance between many complex, countervailing socio-economic forces. Although economic growth is necessary, it is not a suffi cient condition to reduce poverty. Reforms are required in a number of different areas to increase the opportunities for and capabilities of the poor and other marginalized groups in order to spur inclusive growth and development and thereby reduce inequality.

A healthy, well-educated, adequately employed and socially protected citizenry contributes to social cohesion. Improved access by the poor to public assets and services (especially in the education and health sectors) and income transfer programmes to sustain the poorest families are essential to changing the structure of opportunities and are key to reducing the intergenerational transmission of poverty and inequality. Breaking the intergenerational poverty cycle is a vital component of an integrated and equitable poverty reduction strategy.

The World Summit for Social Development emphasized the need to ensure the provision of universal and equitable access to education and primary health care. Recognition of the importance of culture and tolerance, a people-centred approach to sustainable development, and the full development of human resources is also essential.

In spite of the compelling case for redressing inequality, economic and non-economic inequalities have actually increased in many parts of the world, and many forms of inequality have become more profound and complex in recent decades.

Income differentials have narrowed among the high-income countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the exception of a few countries that have pursued liberalization and deregulation policies; among most other countries income inequalities have worsened since the 1980s, and the income gap between high- and low-income countries has widened.

In many parts of the world, persistently high levels of poverty are at least partly attributable to inadequate incomes. The proportion of the world's population living in extreme poverty declined from 40 to 21 per cent between 1981 and 2001. Nonetheless, many countries continue to experience high levels of poverty. China and India, which together account for close to 40 per cent of the global population, contribute greatly to the overall positive picture. Elsewhere, the levels and persistence of poverty are more pronounced.

The large and growing chasm between the formal and informal economies in many parts of the world strengthens the case for reducing inequality. Those who are part of the formal economy generally fall among the "haves" in society, as they are more likely to earn decent wages, receive job-related benefits,
have secure employment contracts, and be covered by labour laws and regulations. In contrast, those in the informal economy are typically among the "have nots"; they are often excluded from various legal protections and are unable to access the basic benefits or enjoy the fundamental rights granted to those in the formal economy. Since most poor people work informally, the recent expansion of the informal economy in many countries has major implications for reducing poverty and inequality.

Access to jobs is essential for overcoming inequality and reducing poverty. People who cannot secure adequate employment are unable to generate an income sufficient to cover their health, education and other basic needs and those of their families, or to accumulate savings to protect their households from the vicissitudes of the economy. The unemployed are among the most vulnerable in society and are therefore prone to poverty.

The global employment situation is characterized by extreme inequality. Some 186 million people were unemployed in 2003, accounting for 6.2 per cent of the total working population, up from 140 million a decade earlier, when the percentage was 5.6. Among developed countries unemployment has generally declined in recent years; however, much of the developing world has experienced high and even rising unemployment. This escalating unemployment within the latter group has several underlying causes, including high labour force growth rates and continued reliance on policies exclusively focused on macroeconomic stability.

Liberalization policies entail changes in labour laws and institutions and account for major changes in the labour market. The process of economic liberalization is typically marked by greater wage flexibility and the erosion of minimum wages, a reduction in public sector employment, declining employment protection, and the weakening of employment laws and regulations. The desire of developing countries to attract foreign investment and expand exports frequently leads to a "race to the bottom" with labour protection and environmental standards often ignored or compromised, ostensibly to make the countries more competitive in the international market. External competitive pressures therefore restrict the ability of developing countries to pursue key aspects of social policy.

In many countries, the failure to address the needs of poor people as part of a strategy for sustained growth has been a major obstacle to reducing poverty. High rates of fertility and population growth, large pools of unskilled labour, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic have also played a role in perpetuating poverty, especially in Africa. Internal and international migration are strongly linked to poverty as well; sending communities become poorer, as they tend to lose their most economically active members, and in receiving communities, migrants are likely to be poorly integrated and vulnerable to extreme poverty. The growing tendency for people to move in and out of poverty can mean that those who are not thought to be poor in a particular period may be overlooked by social assistance programmes. Deepening levels of rural poverty, along with the increasing urbanization of poverty, also pose new challenges to development.

Various non-economic inequalities also impinge on the progress of development in many countries. For example, though most countries have succeeded in expanding educational access in general, large disparities persist in access to both primary and higher-level education. Disparities in child health and mortality are pronounced and reflect underlying inequalities in access to quality care for mothers and their children. One area of concern is access to immunisation, which, despite significant increases in coverage in recent decades, remains highly differentiated by factors such as maternal education and place of residence. Malnutrition and hunger are at the root of global differentials in health and survival.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has deepened both economic and non-economic inequalities. The situation is particularly alarming in sub-Saharan Africa, which has been hardest hit by the epidemic. The region is performing poorly with respect to both economic and non-economic indicators, and Report on the World Social Situation 2005: The Inequality Predicament the gap between many countries in the region and the rest of the world is widening. Of special concern is the contribution of HIV/AIDS to the widening differentials in life expectancy across countries and world regions.

Gender dimensions are deeply embedded in observed inequalities. There are persistent gender gaps in access to education, decent employment, and fair and equal remuneration. In most countries, the increase in the numbers of women in the workforce over the past two decades masks the deterioration in the terms and conditions of employment, as women tend to secure jobs with lower pay. Women's poorer access to economic and non-economic opportunities is often at the root of their lower status in many societies; as a consequence, they may be subject to abuse and sexual exploitation and rendered voiceless in issues relating to their own welfare.

In the past decade, greater attention has been directed towards improving the status of various social groups, as demonstrated by the substantial efforts undertaken to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities and to address poverty among older persons and unemployment among youth. There appears to have been less of an interest in policies to equalize the distribution of income and wealth, however.

Providing social protection for the older members of society is especially important. Benefits for older persons often extend to the whole family, as the money and other resources they possess are invariably shared with their offspring and younger dependants, strengthening the family resource base and contributing to the welfare of current and future generations. Governments should therefore identify policy changes that may be needed to sustain and support older persons rather than looking for ways to cut costs.

Democracy and the rule of law are essential for the elimination of institutionalized inequalities that have prevented the successful integration of marginalized groups into society. Although the twentieth century saw a rise in the number of democratic governments globally, the pace and implementation of democratization have been uneven. The consolidation of democracy is a process, and it may take many years for the roots of democracy to take hold. During this transition it is necessary for a sovereign State, through its internal actions and institutions, to reinforce democratic principles by promoting human rights and encouraging the political participation of all groups. It is essential that democratic freedoms be enshrined in legislation and backed up by political will. Many policy prescriptions are designed without adequate analysis of how the poorest and most vulnerable (especially women) are likely to be affected; consequently, these groups remain marginalized in a number of countries. Achieving success and sustainability in the development process requires the engagement of all groups to ensure that the needs of all people are addressed, and ultimately to promote equality.

The recent explosive growth in international migration is a response to perceived inequalities of opportunity between sending and receiving countries. High migration streams engender and exacerbate inequalities. Many migrants encounter circumstances that leave them vulnerable to exploitation in their countries of destination. Inequalities between migrants and resident populations are even wider when migrants constitute a source of cheap labour. Migrant earnings account for a sizeable share of the increasing flows of remittances, especially to poor countries. These remittances constitute the second-largest source of financial flows into developing countries after foreign direct investment and have surpassed official development assistance (ODA) globally.

Conspicuously absent from the global development agenda are a number of issues of particular interest to developing countries, including international labour mobility, the facilitation of remittances, international taxation on financial flows, financing mechanisms to address the special needs of marginalized countries and social groups, and mechanisms to ensure macroeconomic policy coherence.

Asymmetric globalization is an important source of rising inequality. As rapid globalization is occurring in the economic realm, the international social agenda, for which there are very weak accountability and enforcement mechanisms, remains relatively marginalized. There is a compelling need to create the necessary space in the international system for the provision of political, social, economic and environmental "global public goods". Insufficient public oversight has hitherto contributed to a situation in which the costs and benefits of globalization are not equally shared among countries and peoples.

Even in settings in which institutions prove to be adequate, the shortage of financial resources can cripple social development efforts. There has been ample discussion of possible ways to finance social development, with many countries undertaking commitments to increase the amount and quality of ODA. High levels of military spending have impeded the progress of social development, as those countries that allocate a substantial share of total government expenditure to the defence sector also tend to reserve the lowest portion of the budget for the social sectors. Global insecurity resulting from the rise in international terrorism has contributed Report on the World Social Situation 2005: The Inequality Predicament Report on the World Social Situation 2005: The Inequality Predicament Produced by the United Nations Department of Public Information to increased national security spending in many countries, leading to a further diversion of resources from social development. The violence associated with national and international acts of terrorism should be viewed in the context of social inequality and disintegration. In situations in which inequalities are extreme and there is competition over scarce resources, the likelihood of social disintegration and violence increases. Violence is more common where inequalities are greater, and trends suggest that growing up in poverty often leads to social exclusion, which can contribute to crime. Countries with high rates of poverty and inequality generally have poorer social support and safety nets, more unequal access to education, and fewer opportunities for young people. The likelihood of armed conflict is also greater under such adverse social conditions.

The way forward: policies to reduce inequality

It is evident that inequalities jeopardize efforts to achieve social justice and development. The comprehensive vision of social development agreed upon at the World Summit for Social Development ought to dominate and shape the agendas of Governments and international organizations so that the strategic benchmarks identified in the Millennium Development Goals and the larger objectives of sustainable and equitable social and economic development can be achieved.

To create the conditions necessary for social development, urgent attention is required in four areas of particular importance. First, worldwide asymmetries deriving from globalization need to be redressed. Second, the goal of reducing inequality must be explicitly incorporated in policies and programmes aimed at poverty reduction; in particular, specific measures should be included to guarantee access by marginalized groups to assets and opportunities. In this context, the Millennium Development Goals should not be seen as a substitute for the larger United Nations development agenda, which provides a much broader development framework. Third, priority must be given to expanding and improving opportunities for employment. It is essential that employment strategies not only address job creation but also promote decent working conditions in which equality, security and dignity figure prominently. Finally, social integration and cohesion must be promoted as key to development, peace and security. Social integration requires the full participation of all groups in the social, economic, political and cultural spheres. Groups that tend to be subject to discrimination, including indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities, require particular attention in policymaking and implementation.

The persistence, and even deepening, of various forms of inequality worldwide should not be accepted with equanimity. With the unprecedented wealth and resources, technical expertise, and scientific and medical knowledge available in the world today, the most vulnerable in society cannot continue to be left so far behind.

Macroeconomic and trade liberalization policies, economic and financial globalization, and changes in labour market institutions cannot be disconnected from the struggle to achieve social development, equality and social justice. The failure to pursue a comprehensive, integrated approach to development will perpetuate the inequality predicament, for which everyone pays the price.

This article was drawn from an executive summary of the Report on the World Social Situation 2005: The Inequality Predicament, which was released on 25 August. A media kit is available online at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/rwss/media%2005/cd-docs/media.htm

A webcast of the press conference with Mr. Ocampo and Mr. Scholvinck can be viewed at http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/pressconference/pc050825am.rm

Global dialogue on development

General Assembly
60th session
New York, 13 September-December

High-level plenary meeting: The 2005 World Summit

14-16 September

The 2005 World Summit, to be held from 14 to 16 September, is expected to bring together more than 170 Heads of State and Government: the largest gathering of world leaders in history. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the United Nations. The agenda is based on an achievable set of proposals outlined in March by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his report In Larger Freedom (http://www.un.org/largerfreedom). These have since been reviewed by Governments in a series of informal consultations conducted by General Assembly President Jean Ping, who released on 5 August a third draft outcome document for the Summit. It was anticipated that another draft would be issued in late August. The latest version and additional details can be found at http://www.un.org/ga/59/hl60_plenarymeeting.

Proposals in the area of development call for breakthroughs in debt relief and trade liberalization, and increases in aid to revitalize infrastructure and improve health and education services, in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including cutting extreme poverty in half by 2015 (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals). Developing countries are being asked to devise national strategies to meet the MDG targets and to facilitate transparent and accountable governance, while developed countries are being urged to increase aid and reduce trade barriers, debt and other burdens that hamper development. It has been proposed to set up an International Financing Facility that would make official development assistance (ODA) more predictable and accessible. Many donors are on track to meet the target of dedicating 0.7 per cent of gross national income to ODA by the year 2015. Others have promised to make substantial increases in ODA over the next ten years. Leaders meeting at the Group of 8 Summit in early July agreed to increase annual aid flows by at least $50 billion as of 2010, with at least half of that increase to be directed at Africa, and to write off the debts of eighteen of the world's poorest countries.

An invigorated role for the Economic and Social Council is also envisioned among the reform proposals. ECOSOC would play a more active role in coordinating system-wide development policies and hold high-level ministerial meetings biennially to assess progress and make recommendations about how to achieve the MDGs.

The 2005 World Summit will feature plenary meetings continuing over the three days, where Heads of State or Government and other senior officials will make statements. There will be a special meeting on Financing for Development on the morning of 14 September. The plenary meetings will be presided over by the Heads of State or Government of the home countries of the Presidents of the 59th and 60th sessions of the General Assembly - Gabon and Sweden, respectively. Four closed, interactive roundtables will also be held over the three days, each one covering the broad Summit agenda and chaired by two Heads of State or Government selected by regional groupings. Summaries of the discussions will be presented during a closing plenary meeting on 16 September. Selected Observers and members of non-governmental and regional organizations may also address the plenary. Member States are expected to adopt a final outcome document containing a number of decisions and recommendations for action.

For more information, visit the Summit website at http://www.un.org/summit2005.

Second Committee

16 September-17 December

The Second Committee will focus on themes such as trade, external debt, energy, climate change, strategy for disaster reduction, the role of the private sector in meeting the MDGs, the institutional dimensions of globalization, follow-up to Monterrey, operational activities of the United Nations system, among others.

The Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination will organize several panel discussions and other events to support the work of the Assembly and its Second Committee. The panel discussions and keynote addresses will feature high-level experts including renowned academics, representatives of the United Nations system, civil society and private sector.

The events will include the following keynote addresses:

  • 7 October: "Economic policy and the challenges faced by developing countries to effectively integrate into the global economy" by Professor Dani Rodrik, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge.
  • 27 October: "Globalization and Interdependence" by Professor Ernesto Zedillo, Director, Center for the Study of Globalization, Yale University.

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

The following reports will be submitted to the Second Committee:

  • The Secretary-General's report on globalization and interdependence addresses the institutional dimension of the challenges of integrating in the world economy. The achievement of this integration depends on the attainment of maximum economic growth while at the same time promoting social cohesion and environmental protection, all complex interrelated questions that require strong institutional mediation. The report asserts that a central objective should be to ensure that institutional reforms respond to the needs of the poor as a key priority in poverty-reduction strategies, and in overall strategies to promote more rapid, broad-based and sustainable growth and development.
  • The Secretary-General's report on human resources development provides an overview of the need for promoting comprehensive and cross-sectoral approaches to human resources development. It emphasizes the increasing importance of human resources development for the realization of the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration and how this should be pursued in the context of national development strategies and makes a number of recommendations.

Economic and Social Council

Substantive session of 2005

New York, 29 June-27 July 2005

In his statement to delegates at the close of the session, Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, summarizes key elements of the message from ECOSOC to the 2005 World Summit.

Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have reached the end of four, remarkable weeks of high-level engagement, dialogue, deliberation, and decision in ECOSOC. From the new "Voices against poverty" session and high-level policy dialogue with financial and trade institutions, to roundtable discussions and panel presentations, we have witnessed renewed energy and commitment across an array of critical issues. The large number of high-level participants, including two Heads of State and Government, has provided an important indication of the Council's relevance and growing vigour. Mr. President, my congratulations to you, the entire Bureau, and all Council Members on producing such a successful substantive session. Your excellent summary of the Council's deliberations gives a good sense of the depth and richness of what the session has accomplished.

The Council used the timing of this session - in advance of the World Summit, this September - to distinct and positive effect. It constructed the whole session around the various aspects of a single, coherent theme: implementing the UN development agenda that has emerged from the summits and conferences, including the Millennium Development Goals. The result? The Council today sends a clear, coherent message to the Summit, whose outcome will bear greatly on the future effectiveness of international cooperation.

Mr. President, allow me to underscore what I see as the seven key elements of the message, from this ECOSOC session to the World Summit.

Element one. ECOSOC understands the UN Development Agenda as the comprehensive framework for pursuing poverty eradication and sustainable development - and as a powerful stepping stone in the path toward fair, equitable, and inclusive societies and a fair, equitable, and inclusive globalization. Better societies, and a better world, are built when all crucial aspects of development - economic growth, social development, and environmental protection - proceed in harmony, and not at cross purposes. The Agenda must be pursued in an integrated and coordinated way.

Element two. ECOSOC stressed the need to overcome quickly the so-called "implementation gap." Here, in this Chamber, Member States have repeatedly identified the gap's cause: a lack not of strategy, but of political will and commitment. This should be taken into account in the reform and future work of ECOSOC.

Element three. ECOSOC recognizes the need to continue to strengthen its links to its subsidiary bodies, as well as its role in system-wide coordination. Previous progress in these areas will not suffice for ECOSOC to serve the role envisioned for it - and expected of it.

This year's session gave unprecedented attention to the coordination segment, in which chairpersons of all the Council's functional commissions participated. We should vigorously pursue efforts to connect the work of the functional commissions more directly to that of ECOSOC: through closely linked, multi-year work programmes; or through an indicative list of substantive themes set by the Council.

The session also showed a much greater degree of engagement between the UN Chief Executives Board and ECOSOC. During the high-level segment, the report of the CEB, One United Nations: Catalyst for Progress and Change, was launched and received with great interest. During the coordination segment, the UN system organizations elaborated their efforts to support the achievement of the MDGs. In an important step forward, this "Accountability" report of the CEB has also helped to identify how ECOSOC can work better with the UN system around one, comprehensive development agenda. The Council needs to build on this and further strengthen its links to CEB - and thus its capacity to coordinate the work of the UN system.

Element four. The UN system should promote stronger linkages between its normative and operational work. This means, in the first instance, that the UN organizations should support the efforts of national governments to achieve the development goals set within the UN framework. This, in turn, requires sufficient resources. The lack of adequate funding - particularly of core resources - is the single most important constraint on the performance of the UN system's actors in development. This requires urgent attention and action from the world leaders who will meet here in September.

Element five. The session has stressed the importance of regional cooperation and the need better to integrate regional bodies in global processes. To this end, ECOSOC should fully exploit the potential of the regional commissions. The regional commissions could play a key role in the follow-up to the major conferences: through the mechanism of peer reviews; and through contributing to the proposed global development cooperation forum. In the area of linking development and security, ECOSOC should also draw on the broad-based experience of the regional commissions to enhance its own activities - and its work in relation to the proposed Peacebuilding Commission.

Element six. ECOSOC members have made a unanimous call for the Council to make every effort to enhance its capacity in humanitarian affairs. The session focused on this persistent challenge for the UN in the context of the recent tsunami. President Clinton's presentation, as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, energized the Council's deliberations. The timing and scale of the tsunami led to a proliferation of relief actions and actors and high levels of public, private and governmental assistance. While coordination generally went well, certain complications arose. It became more than evident that, in this critical area, ECOSOC can provide the arena to discuss policy issues, to promote coordination, and to develop an effective institutional response capacity.

Element seven. ECOSOC also provides the forum for addressing the security-development nexus. The immense challenge of long-term recovery, reconstruction, and reconciliation warrants a more institutionalized focus. The Council should reinforce its links to the Security Council and the proposed Peacebuilding Commission - and its capacity to promote an integrated approach to the various dimensions of development, conflict prevention, democracy, and human rights. As the Secretary-General emphasized in his report In Larger Freedom, this is the main challenge ahead for the UN. For, without such an approach, progress achieved in any one of these areas will not be secure.

Mr. President,

I am confident that the World Summit will welcome this multifaceted message from ECOSOC. Indeed, discussions on the Summit's draft outcome have paid considerable attention to strengthening ECOSOC. And the Summit seems likely to adopt a number of proposals made by the Secretary-General in his report on functions that ECOSOC should perform, which largely coincide with those made by the President of the Council. These include providing for peer reviews; serving as a development cooperation forum; convening emergency meetings; and engaging in peace-building.

Nonetheless, to perform these functions effectively, the Council will need to re-think - and change - its methods of work. The Council needs to introduce more flexibility in its work, to accord with its actual functions. Its coordination function has to respond to the diversity of the UN system - which includes agencies with normative, policy, and operational orientations, and with global, regional, and national focuses. The Council also needs to separate its management functions from its role in policy guidance. To best address topical and emerging issues, ECOSOC needs to meet as required during the year. And, across the board, its various functions should be linked to the relevant meetings held during the year. The Council needs to re-think how it organizes its substantive session and the various segments. You, Mr. President, have made a number of useful proposals in this regard. I urge Members to make the Council an agile and vibrant body, ready to respond flexibly and effectively to the challenges of our times.

We have many hopes and aspirations for the Council, for its future functions and role in driving the implementation of the UN Development Agenda. We need to ensure that the Council can deliver results commensurate with the expectations of the international community. We have concrete proposals at hand. What we need now are bold decisions and actions - at the Summit in September and in its follow-up in the months thereafter.

2005 resumed substantive session


The 2005 resumed substantive session of the Economic and Social Council will be held in September and October 2005. The exact date of the resumed session will be determined by the Bureau at a forthcoming meeting. The Council is expected to revert to a number of draft resolutions from its substantive session.

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

Informal high-level meeting

15 September

An informal high-level meeting will be organized to discuss the role ECOSOC could play in the follow up and implementation of the decisions adopted at the World Summit. Heads of State and Government of the ECOSOC Bureau members, heads of the Bretton Woods Institutions and United Nations organizations, heads of delegations and senior ministerial representatives of key groups of ECOSOC Member States will attend the meeting. The meeting will be chaired by the President of Pakistan who has the presidency of ECOSOC in 2005.

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

Second international expert meeting on a 10-year framework of programmes for sustainable consumption and production
San Jose, 5-8 September

The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation calls for the development of "a 10-year framework of programmes in support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production." In response, the Division for Sustainable Development, in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, is organizing the Second International Expert Meeting on a 10-Year Framework of Programmes for Sustainable Consumption and Production, to be hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica.

This meeting will serve to advance the work begun at the first international expert meeting on this issue held in Marrakech in June 2003. The participants will be experts from government agencies and international organizations concerned with policies to promote sustainable consumption and production, as well as a limited number of experts from industry, NGOs and academia.

Among others, the objectives of the meeting are to: (1) take stock of developments since the First International Expert Meeting, particularly with respect to regional processes; (2) review the conclusions of the regional consultations under the Marrakech process and determine how international activities on SCP can best support regional and national priorities; and (3) establish ways to improve international cooperation and assistance for developing countries on priority issues.

Contact: Mr. Tarcisio Alvarez-Rivero, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-5708

Consultation on the Secretary-General's study on violence against women
6-7 September

The Division for the Advancement of Women is organizing a consultation for Member States, UN entities and non-governmental organizations on the Secretary-General's study on violence against women. The consultation will highlight the linkages between violence against women and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the lead-up to the 2005 World Summit; and identify key issues to be addressed in the study. It will develop recommendations to inform discussions at the sixtieth session of the General Assembly; as well as for inclusion in the study on ways for eliminating violence against women.

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

United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force
High-level roundtable on innovation and investment: science and technology to meet the Millennium Development Goals
New York, 13 September

In cooperation with the United Nations Millennium Project and the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships, the United Nations ICT Task Force will organize a high-level roundtable at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York. The primary focus will be on the critical role of science, technology and innovation, especially information and communication technologies, in scaling-up grassroots, national and global responses to achieve the Millennium Development Goals within the agreed timeframe. The multi-stakeholder roundtable will gather together a variety of high-level representatives from governments, the private sector, civil society and academia and will include participants such as H.E. Mr. Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Ms. Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF, Mr. Vinton Cerf, Senior Vice-President of Technology Strategy for MCI, Mr. Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Mr. Muhammed Yunus, Chairman and CEO of the Grameen Bank.

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

Expert group meeting on the industrial statistics
New York, 19-23 September

The expert group will (a) critically review the International Recommendations on Industrial Statistics (Statistical Papers, Series M, No. 48, Rev. 1) and Index Numbers of Industrial Production (Statistical Papers, Series F, No. 1; (b) make proposals for updating these recommendations in view of the changes in the global economic environment and new developments in various statistical fields and economic accounting standards after the publication of the 1993 System of National Accounts, 1993; (c) review the treatment of statistical units (i.e. ancillary units, holding companies, special purpose entities, conduits, trust funds/investment funds, etc.) as part of the current work programme on the update the 1993 System of National Accounts; and (d) provide inputs in the statistical review of the international programme on industrial statistics undertaken under the mandate of the Statistical Commission.

Contact: Gulab Singh, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-3904

Inter-agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues
Annual meeting
Panama City, 19-21 September

The Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues was established in 2001 as mechanism to promote indigenous related work within the UN system. The IASG is composed of 23 UN entities and Council of Europe as well as the Inter-American Development Bank.

Since its establishment, the participating agencies host the annual meeting on the rotation basis. As the host institution, UNDP convened the annual meeting of 2004 with the focus on indigenous peoples and the MDGs. The report and technical position adopted at the meeting was submitted to the Fourth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (May 2004).

The 2005 annual meeting will be hosted by the UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. The focus of 2005 annual meeting will be on the strengthening the link between the PFII and the work of the UN system at country and regional level and on how to implement the UNFPII's recommendations at regional and national levels.

Contact: Ms. Hui Lu, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 212/963-8378

Technical workshop on traditional knowledge and indigenous peoples
Panama City, 21-23 September

The workshop is a follow up to the recommendation made by the UNPFII at its Fourth Session in last May. It requested that the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues convene a technical workshop on indigenous traditional knowledge as to address the various traditional knowledge related activities being undertaken by agencies and to seek how to better integrate indigenous peoples' perspectives in these activities.

The Secretariat of the UNFPII is coordinating, in cooperation with IASG, the organization of this workshop to be hosted by UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and Caribbean. The participants will include three members of the UNFPII, representatives from relevant UN agencies and eight indigenous experts.

Contact: Ms. Hui Lu, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 212/963-8378

On-line discussion on violence against women
25 September-15 October

The Division for the Advancement of Women will host a three week on-line discussion on violence against women to facilitate inputs and feedback from interested stakeholders for the Secretary-General's in-depth study on violence against women. Issues for discussion will include availability of data on violence against women; and good practices in addressing such violence. Participants' suggestions will serve as input for the study.

Contact: Monique Widyono, WRS/DAW/DESA, +1 917/367-9030

Meeting on establishing the capacity of national machineries through the effective use of information and communication technologies
Addis Ababa, 28-30 September

The Division for the Advancement of Women is organizing a meeting on establishing the capacity of national machineries through the effective use of information and communication technologies, in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa. The meeting will draw on lessons learned from four sub-regional workshops organized for all national machineries in Africa as well as progress made in establishing sub-regional e-networks and national websites and integrating gender perspectives into national ICT policies and activities.

Contact persons: Ms. Roselyn Odera, +1 917/367/4352, and Ms. Anna Falth Modersitzki, +1 917/367-3124

Expert group meeting on equal participation of men and women in decision-making
Addis Ababa, 3-7 October

The Division for the Advancement of Women is organizing an expert group meeting on equal participation of men and women in decision-making, with particular emphasis on political participation and leadership. The meeting will be hosted by the Economic Commission for Africa.

Contact persons: Ms. Natalia Zakharova, +1 212/963-8134, and Ms. Andrea Volfova, +1 917/367-3197

EROPA conference on the role of public administration and governance stakeholders in attaining the millennium development goals
Hanoi, 9-14 October

DPADM will collaborate with the Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration (EROPA) in organizing a high-level panel at the EROPA twentieth general assembly and conference on the role of public administration and governance stakeholders in attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

The conference objectives are to: advocate the importance of the United Nations MDGs and their realization; promote and encourage further research, discussion and exchange of experiences on the MDGs; strengthen the commitment and participation of EROPA's state, institutional and individual members from the Asia-Pacific region in pursuing and attaining the MDGs.

Contact: Mr. Shabbir Cheema, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, +1 212/963-4533

Expert group meeting on reviewing National Sustainable Development Strategies
New York, 10-11 October

While some States continue to develop their first National Sustainable Development Strategy, many others are undergoing their second and third iterations. This experience has led to a number of different approaches to reviewing the strategies, from internal reviews to engaging international peers.

To share these experiences and to further methodological development, the Division for Sustainable Development, with support from the Government of France, will convene an expert group meeting on Reviewing National Sustainable Development Strategies. The Meeting will present and discuss methodologies to review and assess national sustainable development strategies, including the process of their development, their content and their implementation. Participants will discuss the challenges, potential and critical areas of such reviews, and how these can contribute to existing national efforts towards integrated sustainable development planning.

Contact: Ms. Birgitte Alvarez-Rivero, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-8400

Joint Panel on the Secretary-General's study on violence against women and the Secretary-General's study on violence against children
New York, 11-13 October (tentative)

The Division for the Advancement of Women is organizing a lunchtime joint panel with the Secretariat of the Secretary-General's study on violence against children to coincide with the dates the General Assembly will consider the item on the advancement of women.

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

Inter-agency and expert group meeting on Millennium Development Goals Indicators
Rome, 24-27 October 2005

First part: 24-15 October. It will cover the modalities of the MDG monitoring process; the methodological and procedural issues raised by CCSA, including their request for a better documentation on the methodologies used for the calculation of regional aggregates and the imputation of missing values; and the revision of the outputs of the discussion of the thematic sub-groups.

Second part: 26- 27 October. It will include participants from national statistical offices with the objectives of improving understanding of countries' needs in building capacity for the production and analysis of MDG and development indicators; facilitating the coordination of technical assistance activities; and strengthening the link between the global and national monitoring.

Contact: Francesca Perucci, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-0212, and Francesca Coullare, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4950

Expert group meeting on reinventing public sector enterprises
New York, 27-28 October

DPADM is organizing an expert group meeting on reinventing public sector enterprises. The meeting will focus on: factors leading to privatization, experience and lessons; the role and capacity of public enterprises in development; public enterprises' possible contributions to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals; the role of foreign companies; building institutional capacity; and particular cases of least developed countries in relation to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

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

Expert group meeting on the world economy - Project LINK
Geneva, 31 October-2 November

Some 80 participants from about 50 countries and several international organizations are expected to attend the expert group meeting on the world economy (Project LINK). The meeting will examine the short-term economic outlook for the world economy and for all the main geographic regions and major analytical country groups. DESA will present the LINK Global Economic Outlook, which is prepared by using the LINK global econometric modelling system with inputs from LINK national forecasting centres as well as assessments by DESA staff. Other international organizations, such as the IMF and the World Bank, will also present their views on the prospects for the world economy. The regional commissions will lead the discussion on the respective regional and country perspectives. A few sessions will be devoted to discussing special economic issues in the world economy, such as the global macroeconomic imbalances, the macroeconomic implications of the latest rise in oil prices, and the key policy challenges for developed and developing countries. The LINK meeting will also be the platform for preparing the UN flagship publication of the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2006, to be released in January 2006, a joint product by DESA, UNCTAD and the regional commissions.

Contact: Mr. Pingfan Hong, Division for Policy Analysis and Development, +1 212/963-4701

Technical cooperation

Global initiatives

Follow-up to the Mauritius conference: regional meetings

The international meeting to review Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held in Mauritius in January 2005, was very successful. It provided a timely opportunity for more than 100 Heads of State and Ministers to address critical issues facing SIDS, including their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change, the economic challenges they face, particularly in their efforts to compete in international trade, as well as new and emerging issues including the threat posed by security concerns and HIV/AIDS to the well-being of their peoples.

General Assembly Resolution 59/331 endorsing the meeting's outcome mandates the convening of regional meetings of SIDS for following-up the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation. Three regional meetings will be held during October 2005, in St Kitts for the Caribbean, Seychelles for the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea region and Samoa for the Pacific region. The regional meetings will provide the opportunity for review of regional priorities and for an exchange of views on areas for indicative programming, based on the priority areas identified and the mandates articulated at Mauritius. This will serve to guide the agencies of the UN system in offering critical support for the sustainable development of SIDS.

Contact: Ms. Diane Quarless, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-8563

Africa south of the Sahara

Workshop on the Compilation of International Merchandise Trade Statistics
Abuja, 30 August-2 September 2005

Joint UNSD/ECOWAS regional workshop on the Compilation of International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) for ECOWAS member countries (plus Mauritania) will be held at the ECOWAS conference centre in Abuja. Customs officers and statisticians of the National Statistical Offices will be brought together to solve local problems in producing trade data. Experts from ECOWAS, UNSD, UNCTAD and FAO will lead the discussions which will focus on methodological issues, the use of ASYCUDA at the customs offices and the use EUROTRACE at the statistical offices.

Contact: Mr. Ronald Jansen, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-5860

Expert group meeting on mainstreaming environment into development processes
Accra, 3-6 October

The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, in calling on all States to being implementation of National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS) by 2005, notes that "such strategies, where applicable, could be formulated as poverty reduction strategies that integrate economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development."

To assist countries that have been developing poverty reduction strategies (PRS) to make the transition to NSDS, the Division for Sustainable Development (DESA) is jointly organizing an Expert group meeting with UNDP, UNEP and the Government of Ghana on Integrating Environment into the Development Process: Practical experiences in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The expert group meeting is targeting senior government staff working in Ministries of Planning, Finance and Environment, and members of civil society organizations working in the field of environment and development.

Contact: Ms. Maria Mercedes Sanchez, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-9421

Tackling poverty together: The role of young people in poverty reduction

DESA's Programme on Youth, together with the National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations, has initiated a technical assistance project called Tackling Poverty Together: The Role of Young People in Poverty Reduction Strategies. The project includes the organization of two interactive workshops to examine strengthening the role of young people in poverty reduction strategies in Africa. The first workshop, to be held 27-30 of October 2005 in Ndola, Zambia, will provide participants with a thorough introduction to poverty reduction processes, including an overview of their historic development, as well as the current process for their implementation and review. During this time, participants will share the information they have gathered prior to attending the workshop and develop strategic plans for greater inclusion in their country-specific poverty reduction processes.

The project will recruit a team of 28 youth participants from the following countries: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Participants are expected to dedicate time to working on the project before, between, and after the two workshops. Expected outcomes include: (1) The implementation of a series of strategic plans, developed through the support of the workshops and the country-specific research and analysis of youth participants, which will contain a number of small-scale actions to be implemented and reviewed as part of the project; (2) Contributions in support of the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth; (3) Contributions in support of achieving the MDG to eradicate poverty by 2015; and (4) A final project report incorporating the strategic plans and associated research undertaken by youth participants, the papers commissioned from academic and policy experts and the results of the two workshops.

The Tackling Poverty Together project is made possible through the support of the Government of Sweden.

Contact: Julie Larsen, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917/367-6036

Latin America and the Caribbean

Workshop on the Compilation of Statistics on International Trade in Services
Panama City, 13-16 September

Joint UNSD/ECLAC regional workshop on Statistics of International Trade in Services, September 2005, will bring participants from Central Banks and National Statistical Offices of the ECLAC/CARICOM region together to share their experiences in the compilation of international trade in services and in the implementation of the Manual on Statistics of international trade in services. Twenty countries will be represented (including Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru) and will be asked to present case studies on specific compilation issues. Resource persons from UNSD, ECLAC, OAS and WTO/OMT will be available to support the learning experience.

Contact: Mr. Matthias Reister, Statistics Division, +1 917/367-7098

Workshop on 1993 SNA Update
Caracas, 23-29 October

The Statistics Division will hold a workshop for 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to discuss the 1993 System of National Accounts update programme and issues in cooperation with ECLAC.

Contact: Mr. Viet Vu, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4862

Publications and websites


Report of the World Social Situation 2005: The Inequality Predicament

The Report of the World Social Situation, launched on August 25 sounds the alarm over persistent and deepening inequality worldwide. The Report focuses on the chasm between the formal and informal economies, the widening gap between skilled and unskilled workers, the growing disparities in health, education and opportunities for social, economic and political participation. Departing from approaches that have focused on economic growth as a panacea to development problems, the Report notes that a focus on growth and income generation neither sufficiently captures nor addresses the inter-generational transmission of poverty; it can lead to the accumulation of wealth by a few and deepen the poverty of many. In fact, despite considerable economic growth in many regions, the world is more unequal than it was 10 years ago. See feature article, page 1

Contact: Mr. Roberto Guimaraes,Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917/367-2190

World Youth Report 2005
October - Forthcoming

On 4 October DESA's Programme on Youth will release the World Youth Report 2005. The second edition of this report examines the situation of young people in relation to the priority areas identified in the World Programme of Action for Youth adopted by Member States in 1995. These issues are grouped into three cluster areas, namely young people in a global economy, young in civil society, and young people at risk. For each of these clusters, the report also presents an in-depth analysis on a related topic, specifically youth and poverty, the emergence of a global media-driven youth culture, and the effects of conflict on the lives of young people.

Contact: Ms. Charlotte Van Hees, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917/367-4053

Technical reports

Funding for United Nations Development Cooperation: Challenges and Options
October - Forthcoming

This publication explores the various funding options for increasing financing for operational activities of the United Nations development system. The analysis presented in the publication, together with comprehensive statistical data on funding, is intended to stimulate debate on funding modalities for the operational activities of the United Nations system, as a whole. Activities of the system are key components of efforts to implement the global development agenda emerging from United Nations conferences and summits, including from the Millennium Declaration. The analysis highlights the need for a strong commitment to mobilize the "critical mass" of resources to let the United Nations system exert its function in the development arena to its fullest extent.

The publication makes reference to the evolving architecture of international development cooperation, alternative forms of development cooperation and new patterns of ODA allocation. These important elements have oriented the debate at the 2005 ECOSOC session on the funding for United Nations development cooperation and its role in the new international context, a debate that Member States should be encouraged to continue with renewed determination and commitment, in the follow-up to the September Summit on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration.

Contact: Mr. Massimo D'Angelo, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, +1 212/963-4731

DESA-UNDP joint publication on youth in the Arab States
October - Forthcoming

Between May and July of this year, the Regional Bureau for Arab States of UNDP and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs organized three workshops in the Arab region. In meetings in Bahrain, Sana'a (Yemen) and Rabat (Morocco), participants focused on four main broad themes under the MDG umbrella, which have particular relevance to young men and women in the Arab world. These four themes were: globalization and inclusion; employment and the labour market; governance and freedoms; and gender and family. A publication with the conclusions and recommendations of the discussions is scheduled to be launched in New York in early October.

Contact: Mr. Joop Theunissen, Division for Social Policy and Development, + 1 212/963-7763

Meeting records

Achieving the Internationally Agreed Development Goals
September - Forthcoming

This publication 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 2005 "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" The book is an outcome of the sessions which took place during the preparatory process and the 2005 high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council. It brings together the proceedings of the ECSOCOC session as well as its preparatory meetings of the High-Level Segment. The book provides information on the: (1) High-Level Policy Dialogue on current developments in the world economy and international economic cooperation in the context of achieving the Millennium Development Goals; (2) Eradication of Poverty and Hunger; (3) Nexus of Health and Development; (4) Global Partnerships and Financing of the MDGs; (5) Building State Capacity to Meet the MDGs: Human Rights, Governance, Institutions and Human Resources; (6) Education and Literacy; (7) Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women; (8) Environmental Sustainability; (8) National Strategies to Achieve the MDGs; and the (9) NGO Contribution

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

Development challenges in sub-Saharan Africa and post-conflict countries: report of the Committee for Development Policy on its seventh session, 14-18 March 2005
October - Forthcoming

The report contains the contribution of the Committee to the high-level segment of the 2005 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (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), with a particular focus on an African perspective: from scepticism to leadership and hope. The publication also examines the concept of reconstruction, development and sustainable peace in post-conflict countries and discusses the improvement of criteria for identifying the least development countries.

Contact: Mr. Anatoly Smyshlyaev, Division for Policy Analysis and Development, +1 212/963-4687

Statistical compilations

Population and Vital Statistics Report
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.A/232-233, Series A, Vol.LVII, No.1
Data available as of 1 January 2005

The latest available population census and estimates are presented quarterly for over 200 countries or areas. National statistics of live births, deaths and infant deaths for the most recent year are also shown.

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

National Accounts Statistics: Main Aggregates and Detailed Tables, 2002-2003 Part I and II
Sales No. E.04.XVII.14

Contains detailed national accounts estimates for 169 countries and areas. The national data for each country and area are presented in separate chapters using uniform table headings and classifications recommended in the United Nations System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA 1993). For the first time, the yearbook publishes integrated accounts for institutional sectors, as well as the cross-classification of value added by institutional sector and economic activity. A summary of the conceptual framework of the SNA 1993 and definitions of important terms are also included.

Contact: Mr. Herman Smith, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4679

2002 Energy Statistics Yearbook
Sales No. E/F.05.XVII.4

The 2002 Energy Statistics Yearbook is the forty-sixth in an internationally comparable series of commercial energy statistics summarizing world energy trends and presents annual data for 215 countries and areas for the period 1999 to 2002 on production, trade and consumption of energy: solids, liquids, gaseous fuels and electricity. In addition, per capita consumption series are also provided for all energy products. Special tables of interest include international trade tables for coal, crude petroleum and natural gas by partner countries, providing information on direction of trade, selected series of statistics on fuelwood, charcoal and bagasse, refinery distillation capacity as well as a table on selected energy resources.

Contact: Mr. Karoly Kovacs, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4748

International Trade Statistics Yearbook, 2003
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.G/52, Vol. I and II
Sales No. E/F.05.XVII.2
Volume I. Trade by Country

Volume I provides historical information on the external trade performance of individual countries in terms of current values. Information showing important commodities traded by an individual country (latest 4 years) and the country's trade with its major trading partners and regions (latest 5 years) are also shown. Summary tables for each country show imports by broad economic categories, exports by industrial origin and the percentage share of the country's trading partners and regions in relation to its total trade. This volume contains data for 182 countries or reporting customs areas.

Volume II. Trade by Commodity

Volume II contains selected commodity tables showing total world trade of those commodities analyzed by regions and countries, as well as various specialized tables.

Contact: Mr. Ronald Jansen, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-5980

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online

This monthly compilation presents current economic and social statistics on over 50 subjects for more than 200 countries and territories of the world. Monthly and/or annual and quarterly data on various topics illustrate important economic trends and developments in fields such as population, prices, employment and earnings, energy, manufacturing, transport, construction, international merchandise trade and finance.

Vol. LIX - No. 3
March 2005

In addition to the regular monthly tables, this issue includes the following tables which are published on a quarterly basis: Retail price indices relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials; Fuel imports of developed economies (unit value indices, volume indices and value); Indicators on fuel imports of developed economies; Registration of new motor vehicles; External trade conversion factors; Manufactured goods exports (unit value indices, volume indices and value); and Selected series of world statistics.

Vol. LIX - No. 4
April 2005

In addition to the regular monthly tables, this issue includes the following tables which are published each January, April, July and October: World shipbuilding; Civil aviation traffic (passenger-km, cargo net ton-km); and Total exports and imports by countries or areas (volume, unit value, terms of trade and purchasing power of exports, in US dollars).

Vol. LIX - No. 5
May 2005

In addition to the regular monthly tables, this issue includes the following tables which are published each February, May, August and November: 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; Total exports and imports by regions (volume and unit value indices and terms of trade).

Contact: Mr.Keith Tong, Statistics Division, +1 212/963-4568


Consolidated List of Products Whose Consumption and/or Sale Have Been Banned, Withdrawn, Severely Restricted or not Approved by Governments: Pharmaceuticals

This publication presents a unique list of restrictive regulatory actions taken by one hundred fifteen Governments on over eleven hundred pharmaceuticals, agricultural and industrial chemicals, as well as consumer products. This comprehensive and informative book was produced in response to General Assembly resolutions aimed at protecting the world against products harmful to health and the environment. The current issue is entirely devoted to Pharmaceuticals.

Consolidated List of Products Whose Consumption and/or Sale Have Been Banned, Withdrawn, Severely Restricted or not Approved by Governments: Chemicals

This publication presents a unique list of restrictive regulatory actions taken by one hundred fifteen Governments on over eleven hundred pharmaceuticals, agricultural and industrial chemicals, as well as consumer products. This comprehensive and informative book was produced in response to General Assembly resolutions aimed at protecting the world against products harmful to health and the environment. The current issue is entirely devoted to chemicals.

IFAC issues new guidance on environmental management accounting

Recognizing the increasing importance to business of environmental issues and of costing financially environmental aspects of their operations, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has issued new guidance on environmental management accounting (EMA). The document was commissioned by IFAC and supported by the Division for Sustainable Development (DESA).

Although the guidance is aimed primarily at professional accountants within organizations, it will also be of interest to accountants and auditors who are becoming more involved in tracking or verifying environment-related information in financial and other reports.

"Our goal in issuing this document is to reduce confusion on this important topic and to provide a framework and set of definitions that is comprehensive, yet as consistent as possible with other existing environmental accounting frameworks with which EMA must coexist," says IFAC President Graham Ward. "We believe this document will achieve this goal."

The International Guidance Document on Environmental Management Accounting may be downloaded free of charge from IFAC's online bookstore.

Contact: Mr. Tarcisio Alvarez-Rivero, Division for Sustainable Development, +1 212/963-5708

United Nations ICT Task Force series 9: "Village Phone Book"

One of the greatest success stories in international development has been Grameen's Village Phone program in Bangladesh. In rural villages where no telecommunications service has previously existed, mobile phones are provided to very poor women who use the phone to operate a business. The benefits to both the operator and the community have been tremendous and The Grameen Technology Center, an initiative of Grameen Foundation USA, later launched an initiative to replicate the success of the Village Phone program in Uganda. The Village Phone Book is a guideline for replicating the Village Phone program in a new country and draws on Grameen's experience in both Bangladesh and Uganda. The document establishes a template for creating sustainable initiatives that simultaneously bring telecommunications to the rural poor, create viable new businesses for micro-entrepreneurs, and expand the customer base of telecommunications companies in a profitable way.

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

Discussion papers

United Nations ICT Task Force series 8: "WSIS: Moving from the past into the future"

This book is a collection of short papers, providing interested readers with first hand insights from key players who participated in the making of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Declaration of Principles and the WSIS Plan of Action, adopted during the first phase of the WSIS in Geneva, December 2003. The contributors represent a broad variety of individuals and institutions, from major stakeholder groups, and thus showcase a diversity of perspectives. The first part of the book, "Politics and Diplomacy", describes the relations at the Summit between the international agencies, national governments, and the private and non-governmental public sectors whereas the second part, "Principles and Actions", delves into the core issues, from the perspectives of mainly non-governmental stakeholders. The concluding part, "Looking Ahead", faces the hopes and challenges of the second phase of the Summit, to be held in Tunis in November 2005.

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


Redesigned economic and social affairs website
The redesigned Economic and Social Affairs website, including a new departmental page, was launched on 26 August in the six official UN languages.

Contact: Mr. Patrick Spearing, Communications and Information Management Service, +1 212/963-3352

Comings and goings


Mr. Robert Peter Vos has been appointed Director of Development Policy Analysis Division. Mr. Vos obtained his doctorate from Free University, Amsterdam. He is currently Professor of Development Economics at the Free University, and Professor of Finance and Development, at the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands. He is the author of several books and articles on, among other things, international macroeconomic policy, economic and human development and computable general equilibrium modelling. Mr. Vos is expected to join DESA on 1 October.


Mr. Jerzy Szeremeta, Chief of the Knowledge Management Branch of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, retired on 30 June after twenty-one years with the organization. Mr. Szeremeta came to DESA from UNDP in 2000 as a senior-level specialist in human development, governance, capacity-building, technology transfer, and information technology. Mr. Szeremeta obtained his doctorate in international economic relations from the University of Warsaw in 1977, and held various positions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland before joining the UN.


The following staff members also retired from the organization between 1 June and 31 July.

Ms. Gracia De Leon-Dizengoff, Technical Cooperation Assistant, Division for Public Administration and Development Management

Ms. Marisol Garcia-Cordon, Technical Cooperation Assistant, Division for Public Administration and Development Management

Mr. Ian Kinniburgh, Director, Development Policy Analysis Division

Ms. Milagros Uyguanco, Secretary, Statistics Division

Mr. Igor Volkov, Senior Officer, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination


The following staff members were promoted between 1 June and 31 July.

Ms. Phillipia Arthurs, Administrative Assistant, Executive Office

Ms. Michele Fedoroff, Senior Programme Officer, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination

Mrs. Indrakanthi Jayawickrema, Staff Assistant, Division for Sustainable Development

Mr. Mohan John, Statistics Assistant, Statistics Division

Mr. Alberto Padova, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Office of the Under-Secretary-General

Mr. Matthias Reister, Statistician, Statistics Division

Mr. Friedrich Leonard Soltau, Sustainable Development Officer, Division for Sustainable Development

Mr. Patrick Spearing, Senior Information Systems Officer, Communications and Information Management Service

Ms. Sylvia Tower , Staff Assistant, Division for Sustainable Development

Mr. Keping Yao, Statistician, Statistics Division



Second international meeting on sustainable consumption and production under the Marrakech process

San Jose, 5-8 September

General Assembly

60th session
New York, 13 September-December

2005 World Summit
New York, 14-16 September

Interactive roundtable on financing for development
New York, 14 September

Arab expert meeting on sustainable consumption and production

Beirut, 15-16 September

Expert group meeting on industrial statistics

New York, 19-23 September 2005


Parliamentarian forum on energy legislation and sustainable development

Cape Town, 5-7 October

Expert group meeting on linking poverty reduction strategies and national sustainable development strategies

New York, 6-7 October

Expert group meeting on reviewing national sustainable development strategies

New York, 10-11 October

Small island development States: Indian Ocean regional meeting

Seychelles, 10-14 October

International workshop on climate change and sustainable development

New Delhi, 18-19 October


International Day of Older Person

1 October

This year's theme is "Ageing in the new millennium: focus on poverty, older women and development."

World Rural Women's Day

15 October

This year's theme is "What rights for women as rural citizens?"

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

17 October

The thirteenth observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty will be jointly organized by the ATD Fourth World Movement and DESA. The day seeks to promote increased awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and serves to remind all people that sustained and concerted effort is vital to achieve the millennium development goal of halving the number of people living in poverty by 2015.

To commemorate the day, a set of activities has been programmed, including a statement by the Secretary General, testimonies by people living in extreme poverty from international and local delegates and the reading of the text of the commemorative stone in the UN's six official languages to honour victims of extreme poverty. The theme for this year is "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals - empowering the poorest of the poor."

DESA and DPI will hold a briefing for NGOs accredited to the UN that will include a video projection on microfinance activities for poor people, followed by a panel discussion on the same subject.

Contact: Ms.Victoria Saiz-Omenaca, Division for Social Policy and Development, +1 917/367-3088

World Development Information Day

24 October

The General Assembly in 1972 instituted World Development Information Day to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them. The Assembly felt that improving the dissemination of information and the mobilization of public opinion, particularly among young people, would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, thus, promoting efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development.

United Nations Day

24 October

The anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter on 24 October 1945 has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. It has traditionally been marked throughout the world by meetings, discussions and exhibits on the achievements and goals of the Organization.

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