DESA News Vol. 11, No. 11 November 2007

Publications and websites

Technical reports

Demographic Yearbook 2004Report on the World Social Situation 2007: The Employment Imperative

The 2007 edition of the Report on the World Social Situation, which will be launched in November, covers the crucial role of productive employment and decent work in reducing poverty and promoting social development. The report examines global trends in employment and work, as well as the socio-economic environment that has formed a backdrop for the world of work over the last twenty years. It also casts a spotlight on the issues of jobless growth, global informalization of the labour market, economic and social liberalization, and migration.

The conclusion is that socio-economic trends have for the most part resulted in greater insecurity for workers with notable impact on various social groups. The report urges governments to place productive employment at the heart of economic and social policy-making, with due consideration given to demographic and social adjustments. It also stresses that legal provisions are required to prevent work-related discrimination and that, as more workers find themselves in casual or informal employment, the need for some form of universal social protection increases.

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Meeting records

Report of the Expert Group Meeting on Current Issues in the Estimation of Adult MortalityReport of the Expert Group Meeting on Current Issues in the Estimation of Adult Mortality

The DESA Population Division convened an expert group meeting on 26 and 27 October 2006 to discuss current issues in estimation of adult mortality, including the effect of increased longevity and the AIDS epidemic on estimation models. Since 2004, significant attention has been devoted to mortality estimation methods and the development of flexible models that allow derivation of life tables from partial information. UN work in this area benefits from a dialogue with experts both within and outside the international system.

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Working papers

How Cash Transfers Boost Work and Economic Security

There has long been a minority view that providing people with cash is an effective way of combating poverty and economic insecurity while promoting livelihoods and work. The mainstream view has been that giving people money, without conditions or obligations, promotes idleness and dependency, while being unnecessarily costly. Better, they contend, would be to allocate the available money to schemes that create jobs and/or human capital and that produce infrastructure. This paper reviews recent evidence on various types of scheme and on several pilot cash transfer schemes, assessing them by reference to principles of social justice.

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The Relationship between Rainfall and Human Density and its Implications for Future Water Stress in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper uses geographic information system data on population density, rainfall and climate change scenarios in order to identify areas that will be subject to increased water stress due to insufficient precipitation to support their projected population levels in 2050. Density increases across the continent should lead to a significant increase in the extent of water stressed zones, especially around the Sahel belt and in Eastern Africa. Changes in rainfall, the pattern of which remains uncertain today, could mitigate or compound those effects. Consequences of unsustainably high local densities such as migrations are bound to become more prevalent.

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Climate Change and Sustainable Development

In the future the primary focus of policy research and global agreements should be the de-carbonization of economic development. Consequently, this paper argues, instead of treating climate stabilization and economic development as separate and equal, the strategy should be to re-integrate the two global policy goals, in part by separating responsibility – and funding – from action. This will require an approach that goes beyond Kyoto. The paper invokes the example of the Manhattan Project to argue for a massive, globally funded public investment program for the deployment of renewable energy technologies in developing countries.

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Strengthening the International Partnership for Effective Poverty Reduction

Important progress has been made towards developing a global partnership in support of national poverty reduction strategies. Nonetheless, the existing framework of that global partnership, the use of poverty reduction strategy papers as its main instrument, appears to be neither adequate nor effective. Aid recipient countries need to gain more ownership of their poverty reduction strategies. Aid and other international support should be provided under conditions that enhance, rather than restrict, domestic policy space in recipient countries. Multilateral trade negotiations need to be consistent with poverty reduction objectives and do not conflict with development assistance priorities.

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The International Development Agenda and the Climate Change Challenge

Focusing international cooperation on climate change solely on the establishment of emission targets is not adequate: it does not properly address developmental challenges or help achieve internationally agreed goals. The international development agenda needs to specify the actions and approaches required for ensuring economic behaviour that is compatible with environmental constraints in a way that minimizes aggregate costs, protects the vulnerable and maximizes economic growth. Integration of climate change and development goals will require a fundamental reorientation of the current developmental trajectory so that the carbon intensity of production is reduced while economic growth is still maintained. It will also require a more effective partnership between developed and developing countries.

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2010 World Population and Housing Census Programme2010 World Population and Housing Census Programme

The recently launched website of the 2010 world population and housing census programme facilitates the exchange of information on census-taking, provides methodological and other resources for countries implementing censuses, and helps visitors monitor implementation of programme activities. The site includes a searchable census knowledge database.

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Global Development Trends, Issues and PoliciesGlobal Development Trends, Issues and Policies

The DESA Division for Development Policy and Analysis has reorganized its website on global development trends, issues and policies. Among other things, DPAD produces the annual World Economic and Social Survey as well as the Report on World Economic Situation and Prospects, and provides support to the UN Committee for Development Policy. The site features events and publications sections, as well as details on development account projects, and Project LINK.

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