DESA News Vol. 11, No. 7 July 2007

Trends and analysis

Open online forum addresses financing for gender equality

Groundwork is being laid for next year’s Commission on the Status of Women

World leaders have made numerous pledges on financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women, for example at the Millennium Summit, at the 2002 Monterrey Conference and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in 2005. Progress in allocating resources to turn rhetoric into reality has, however, been limited.

The Division for the Advancement of Women is holding an online discussion intended to deepen understanding of the existing mechanisms of financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women at the national, regional and global levels. The discussion, which began on 18 June and will continue through 15 July, seeks to identify good practices and highlight gaps requiring further action. This discussion is part of the preparatory process for next year’s Commission on the Status of Women, which will devote its priority theme to financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Consideration of the financing for gender equality is timely. Many governments have taken steps to integrate gender perspectives into their national budgets to mirror the differentiated needs of women and men. Yet despite these efforts, resources to back policies that encourage the advancement of women are insufficient.

DESA’s online discussion looks at this challenge from different angles. On its first week, the discussion focused on the use of public budgets for promoting gender equality. The second week was dedicated to bilateral and multilateral assistance. The week from 2 to 15 July will be devoted to mobilization of private and public resources for gender equality, and the last week will cover recommendations for future action.

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Elimination of discrimination against women

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the human rights treaty body in charge of monitoring implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, will hold its thirty-ninth session in New York from 23 July to 10 August. Under article 18 of the Convention, States parties are requested to report periodically on the legislative, judicial, administrative, and programmatic measures they have taken to put the Convention into practice, and on tangible progress achieved in the elimination of discrimination.

During the upcoming session, the Committee will examine the reports of the following 15 States parties: Belize, Brazil, Cook Islands, Estonia, Guinea, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, and Singapore. The Committee consists of 23 independent experts elected for a four-year term and welcomes country-specific information from NGOs in the form of alternative or shadow reports which can be submitted prior to or during the session concerned.

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Recommendations on industrial statistics

Expert group reviews recommendations and country practices in data collection and dissemination

The UN has published international recommendations for industrial statistics since the 1950s. The goal is to achieve coherent and uniform measurement of industrial activities for national and international dissemination. With this idea in mind, the second meeting of the expert group on industrial statistics will meet in New York from 16 to 19 July to review, amend, and endorse the latest draft of the International Recommendations for Industrial Statistics, which will be submitted to next year’s session of the Statistical Commission. The meeting will also review country practices on collection, compilation and dissemination of industrial statistics.

The International Recommendations for Industrial Statistics were first issued in 1953 and were last revised in 1983. Since then, significant developments have taken place both in the area of the economic accounting – in particular in relation to the 1993 System of National accounts – and in the approach of countries to industrial statistics. A draft of the revised recommendations, prepared by the Statistics Division of DESA and based on an annotated outline agreed in 2005, reflects changes in the approach to industrial statistics since that time. The revision also incorporates new concepts, definitions and terminology that have cropped up in statistical publications and regulations of other international organizations.

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Moving ahead in environmental-economic accounting

The second meeting of the Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting that takes place between 5 and 6 July in New York will be discussing the programme of work for the elevation of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting to an international statistical standard. Participants will also address a project management framework for revision of the system, coordination of effort among different groups, and implementation of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water recently adopted by the Statistical Commission as an interim international statistical standard. All items will be submitted to the 39th session of the Statistical Commission.

The Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting provides overall vision, coordination and direction in the field of environmental-economic accounting. It brings to the attention of the DESA Statistics Division and the Statistical Commission new developments that affect the compilation of environmental-economic accounting and work on developing standards as well as information on best practices.

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Distributive trade statistics

Review and endorsement of the provisional draft of International Recommendations on Distributive Trade Statistics is the expected outcome of the second meeting of an expert group on distributive trade statistics, which will be held in from 16 to 19 July in New York. The recommendations will be submitted to the Statistical Commission at its next session for approval. The assembled experts will also review an outline of the Distributive Trade Statistics: Compilers Manual and Indices of Distributive Trade: A Handbook of Good Practices, which addresses data compilation strategies for distributive trade statistics, and provides practical advice on the implementation of recommendations.

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Global migration

The first meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, organized by the Government of Belgium, will be held in Brussels from 10 to 11 July. Secretary-General Ban will make an opening statement, while Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, will address the Forum in his capacity as chair of the Global Migration Group. The Brussels meeting marks the start of a new global process designed to enhance the positive impact of migration on development (and vice versa) by adopting a more consistent approach to policy, identifying best practices, exchanging know-how and experience with innovative methods, and establishing links between the various actors.

The governmental discussions will be preceded by a meeting of civil society representatives on 9 July. In connection with the Forum, DESA is also responsible for organizing an online marketplace on international migration and development services.

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