DESA News Vol. 11, No. 6 June 2007

Technical cooperation

Policy notes for policy shapers

National development strategy notes present alternatives to standard policy solutions

The outcome document of the 2005 United Nations World Summit called on countries to prepare national development strategies, taking into account the international development goals agreed in the various UN summits and conferences of the past two decades.

In order to assist countries in this task, DESA commissioned six notes for policy-makers and policy-shapers both in the government and civil society, in major areas relevant to national development strategies: macroeconomic and growth policy, trade policy, investment and technology policy, financing development, social policy, and state-owned enterprise reform. The policy notes, authored by experts in these fields, draw on the experience and dialogues of the United Nations in the economic and social areas, complemented by outside knowledge. The views expressed in the policy notes are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations.

The NDS policy notes, explains Nikhil Chandavarkar, Chief of the Communications and Information Service of DESA, are intended to provide those at the country level who shape and set policies, with a range of “possible alternatives to the standard policy solutions that have prevailed over the past two decades, rather than to prescribe any single course of action.” The notes, says Mr. Chandavarkar, serve to help countries “expand their policy space, their effective room for maneuver” in formulating national economic, social, and environmental policies.

Tailored versions of the notes have been prepared in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Additional translations will be posted as they become available. An electronic discussion board is being used to gather feedback, and is open to all.

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Improving management of public water utilities

Workshop promotes partnerships among water operators in Latin America and the Caribbean

World leaders committed themselves in the Millennium Declaration to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who are unable to reach or afford drinking water. To that end, many of the water-related meetings and conferences in the last years have stressed the need for capacity-building of public water utilities to meet the development goals on water and sanitation. The workshop on partnerships for improving the performance of water utilities in Latin America and the Caribbean that is taking place in Recife, Brazil, from 11 to 13 June is a significant link in the chain towards the achievement of the goals.

The Division for Sustainable Development in DESA is the organizer of the workshop, which will focus on the following four themes: managing water and sanitation services in urban areas, strengthening institutional governance and accountability, financing water and sanitation services, and promoting partnerships among water operators.

The workshop aims to serve as a forum for sharing knowledge and experiences gained in improving the governance of public water utilities, especially from the regional perspective. As such, it will help foster the technical capacities of water utility managers in developing and implementing institutional and policy reforms that will make these utilities more efficient.

The workshop programme is also intended to strengthen South-South cooperation, especially among water operators. The dialogue between water operators and experts will focus on sharing practices, coupled with finding solutions that will help these utilities to become more responsive to their clients, commercially astute and financially sustainable. In summary, the meeting will be an important step forward towards speeding up the implementation of global water and sanitation agenda.

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Managing conflict in Central America and the Caribbean

A consultation in Santo Domingo from 6 to 8 June seeks to link governance and crisis prevention

How can governance lead to crisis prevention? The subregional consultation on capacity-building for the peaceful management of conflict in Central America and the Caribbean will seek responses to this and other questions, from 6 to 8 June in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It will explore the relationship between conflict management and building sustainable peace and seek to shed light on the special challenges and needs of the subregion.

The consultation will provide a forum for a regional sharing of experiences between governmental and civil society institutions that have the potential to support crisis and conflict prevention. About forty government officials, civil society representatives, experts and practitioners with experience in the strengthening of governance and the management of conflict from Central America and the Caribbean are expected to attend.

Participants will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge, skills and networks, and ultimately strengthen the capacity of national actors and governance institutions for managing conflict and sustaining peace. An array of case studies will be presented, through which participants will be introduced to the skills-building and institutional-strengthening elements of conflict prevention such as conflict-sensitive development.

A new UN peacebuilding portal for Central America and the Caribbean will be shown as a potential tool for enhancing knowledge-sharing and networking in the region. The portal links peacebuilding NGOs, researchers, multilateral organizations, national, regional and local governments, helping them expand their capacity to respond to social change and conflict situations.

This consultation has been organized by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management in DESA in collaboration with UNDP, and with the support of Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the Association of Caribbean States.

For more information on the peacebuilding portal:

International economic and social classifications

Latin American and Caribbean workshop discusses measures to encourage cooperation in classifications

As part of the worldwide implementation of the International Standard Industrial Classification and the Central Product Classification, approved by the Statistical Commission last March, DESA’s Statistics Division is organizing a workshop on international economic and social classifications for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting will take place in Panama City from 4 to 8 June.

The workshop is intended to focus attention on the current revision processes of economic and social classifications and builds upon previous classifications workshops in the region. It will review the current implementation and use of national activity and product classifications and their relationship to International Standard Industrial Classification and the Central Product Classification in the region. It will provide an up-to-date account of the final versions of the revised activity and product classifications as well as information on methodological changes related to the application of the classification.

The workshop will collect additional input from countries in the region on open questions in the International Standard Industrial Classification and the Central Product Classification revision, and will address implementation issues in connection with the revised classifications. Lastly, it will discuss measures to facilitate cooperation in the field of classifications, including coordination of work on regional/sub regional cooperation in classifications.

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Standards of excellence in public administration education

Heads of education to explore challenges faced by public administration schools

A meeting of the heads of schools and officials of public administration and management development along with their regional networks will take place on 25 June in conjunction with the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government in Vienna. The meeting is organized by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, in close collaboration with the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration and other relevant actors.

The purpose of the meeting is to examine the administrative and substantive needs and challenges that public administration schools and institutes are facing, to develop a plan of action and clarify the next steps for regional and subregional cooperation. It will also consider the role of DESA in capacity-building and within the process of implementing the plan of action.

Innovators in governance in the Mediterranean

The Division for Public Administration and Development Management is organizing the Second Meeting of the Network of Innovators in Governance in the Mediterranean Region, which will take place on 25 June in Vienna, Austria, one day before the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government on Building Trust in Government convenes. About forty to forty-five participants will take part in this event to discuss the activities for 2007-2008 of the working groups that were established during the Steering Committee of the Network in Rabat in March 2007. The Network of Innovators in Governance in the Mediterranean Region is a DESA-led activity, undertaken within the framework of the Programme for Innovation in Public Administration in the Mediterranean Region, which was launched in June 2006 in Marseille, France.

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7th UNPAN interregional consultative meeting

Eleven institutions have joined the United Nations Public Administration Network in the last three years. Those new members will introduce themselves to the network during the 7th interregional consultative meeting to take place on 25 June in Vienna. Participants will report on various UNPAN activities including those of the Online Regional Center and Online International Center, on the newly upgraded UNPAN portal.

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Funding sought for social development projects in Senegal

The DESA Division for Social Policy and Development supported the finalization by the Ministry of Women, Family and Social Development of Senegal of a ten-year plan for social development during a workshop held in Dakar from 1 to 4 May. This ambitious plan was developed over a one-year period, and will now be submitted to prospective donors who may be interested in some or all of the projects identified by the Ministry as priorities.