DESA News Vol. 11, No. 5 May 2007

Technical cooperation

Integration of older persons in development

Capacity-building project trains Senegalese officials

Training government officials to implement the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing is the goal of a capacity-building project that the Division for Social Policy and Development in DESA will be carrying out from 2 to 12 May in Senegal. Integrating older persons in development goals through implementation of the Plan of Action requires technical skills that a number of countries, among them Senegal, sometimes lack.

The Madrid plan was adopted by member states in 2002 but there is no coherent UN system strategy to assist member states in implementing its provisions. DESA is trying to fill out that gap by working with governments to identify national policy issues on ageing that need to be addressed, provide the technical skills to design, develop and implement policies and programmes. Later, a training-of-trainers methodology will be used to expand national capacity in the sub-region.

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Tackling gender discrimination in Haiti

DESA consultation mission seeks to integrate women’s rights into rehabilitation efforts

Haiti is taking steps to tackle the many challenges it faces as it emerges from conflict. Its reconstruction efforts are bringing about a measurable degree of political stability and basic security. In the drive for reconstruction and stability, however, it is important that the gender dimension not be overlooked. The DESA Division for the Advancement of Women organized a high-level consultation mission to Haiti from 16 to 20 April to help ensure that the rights of women and implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are an integral part of all activities undertaken in the country’s rehabilitation efforts.

The consultation cast a spotlight on particular aspects and articles of the Convention, such as constitutional and legislative frameworks including marriage and family relations, trafficking of children and girls, violence against women, participation in decision-making, as well as education, employment, health and rural women. There is a need to advance the Convention in Haiti to address such issues as gender-based violence and discriminatory legislation. Poverty is also of concern, and has very real effects on women, particularly in a country with high maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS rates.

The consultation was designed to raise awareness and visibility of the Convention at the highest political levels, and to provide recommendations for priority action by government and NGOs that would strengthen implementation of the Convention's provisions. Three experts on the Convention, Francoise Gaspard, Regina Tavares da Silva and Arlette Gautier, held consultations with high-level officials from ministries, members of Parliament, NGOs and the UN country team.

The Division will now formulate a follow-up programme for Haiti that includes training of government officials in the Ministry for the Status of Women in particular to improve implementation of the Convention in that country.

Since 2003, the Division has offered a programme of support to countries emerging from conflict to enhance their capacity for implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action. Similar consultations have taken place in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Afghanistan.

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Country practices in compiling international merchandise trade statistics

Latin American workshop in Lima aims to improve the quality and availability of data

The regional workshop on country practices in compilation of international merchandise trade statistics, organized by the Statistics Division of DESA with the cooperation of the Andean Community and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, is part of a special effort to improve the quality and availability of international merchandise trade statistics data of countries of the region.

Presentations and discussions will centre on the compilation of international merchandise trade statistics, and in particular export processing zones, re-exports, CIF and FOB valuation of imports, and calculation of export and import price indices. The workshop will also cover the results of the Questionnaire on National Compilation and Dissemination Practices, which was sent out in July 2006 and which deals with the full scope of issues related to IMTS, including institutional arrangements, basic concepts and definitions, and data reporting practices.

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Financing for innovative development

Panel discussions spotlight microfinance as a means to strengthen micro-entrepreneurship

The Financing for Development Office in DESA, in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Europe, is organizing two panel discussions on microfinance for innovative enterprises and on rethinking the role of national and regional development banks in transition economies, both covering the Eastern European and Commonwealth of Independent States areas. The discussions will unfold within the context of the meeting of experts on financing for innovative development that takes place in Geneva from 3 to 4 May.

The discussion on microfinance for innovative enterprises will elaborate on serious constraints faced by micro-enterprises accessing external financing and on the importance of microfinance for fostering micro-entrepreneurship and innovation. The debate on rethinking the role of national and regional development banks in transition economies will focus on how to enhance the role of development finance institutions in addressing key development challenges.

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Laying the groundwork for the Global Forum on Reinventing Government

Preparatory meetings in Latin America, the Caribbean and Western Europe set the stage for the June forum in Vienna

The Division for Public Administration and Development Management is starting it engines for the seventh Global Forum on Reinventing Government on Building trust in Government which will take place in Vienna from 26 and 29 June. Three preparatory regional forums will be held in May, in Brasilia, Bridgetown and Rome.

Organized in cooperation with UNDP and the Government of Brazil, the Regional Forum on Reinventing Government in Latin America will be opened by President Lula Da Silva in Brasilia on 2 May. The objective of the forum is to assist governments to strengthen their public sector and governance capacities, take greater advantage of the potential of globalization, and play its part in the achievement of development objectives. The Latin America Regional Forum will cover citizen expectations and trust in the state, transparent governance, civic participation and access to Information.

In the Caribbean region from 7 to 18 May in Bridgetown, Barbados, the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration and the Government of Barbados, together with DESA and UNDP, will examine the issue of trust in government including improved public management through civic engagement. The Caribbean forum will stress the introduction and application of innovations in public management for better policy development, service delivery and public accountability.

Discussions in Western Europe will revolve around the notion of transformational government and the public administration of the future. The meeting, which is organized in collaboration with the Government of Italy, will take place on 21 May in Rome. An ultimate goal is to figure out how trust in government can be built through innovations in the public sector, and to facilitate the design of national innovation strategies in Europe with an emphasis on the use of information and communication technology for development.

Government ministers, high-level officials, representatives of international organizations and civil society organizations from the three regions will take part in the forums.

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E-governance training for senior managers

At the invitation of the Ecole Polytechnique Fꥩrale de Lausanne, DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management will offer a training session on e-governance for senior managers from developing countries in New York on 14 May. The focus of the training will cover e-governance strategy development, improvement of government online service delivery, and knowledge management and networking.

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