DESA News Vol. 11, No. 12 December 2007

Publications and websites

Technical reports

World Youth Report 2007World Youth Report 2007

Progress and challenges in young people’s transition to adulthood is the theme of the 2007 World Youth Report to be launched on 19 December. The report stresses the need to enhance youth participation in all areas of social and economic development for the sake of young people and the communities in which they live. While youth face different challenges in different regions, a common thread is the lack of opportunity to become involved in development.

The report presents a regional approach to challenges and opportunities in the areas of employment, education, poverty, health and HIV/AIDS, and these issues interact with broader socioeconomic phenomena. While some of the obstacles and opportunities that young people face are the same around the world, required policy interventions differ. This report explains how and why.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/wyr07.htm


Statistical compilations

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online

MBS provides monthly statistics on more than 50 indicators from over 200 countries and areas, together with special tables illustrating important economic developments. Quarterly data for significant world and regional aggregates are included regularly.

Vol. LXI, no. 9, September 2007

In this issue: Retail price indices relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials; fuel imports of developed economies; indicators on fuel imports of developed economies; registration of new motor vehicles; external trade conversion factors; manufactured goods exports; exports by commodity classes and by regions of developed economies; selected series of world statistics. Publication symbol ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/417.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mbs


Working papers

Decent Workplaces, Self-Regulation and CSR: From Puff to Stuff?

The growth of voluntary initiatives to promote socially responsible business practices has been accompanied by a chorus of criticisms, including claim that much of the activity has been public relations and attempt to deter governments from implementing effective regulations. This paper reviews various types of self-regulating initiative and campaigns that have grown up alongside to assess their effect on labour practices and employment. It concludes by proposing how there could be greater emphasis on market incentives coupled with more effective public measures to induce medium- and small-scale firms to improve their labour practices, including radical overhaul in labour inspectorates functions.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp62_2007.pdf

Debt Sustainability in Emerging Markets: A Critical Appraisal

This paper critically assesses the standard IMF analytical framework for debt sustainability in emerging markets. It focuses on complementarities and trade-offs between fiscal and external sustainability, and interactions and feedbacks among policy and endogenous variables affecting debt ratios. It examines current fragilities in emerging markets and notes that domestic debt is of concern. Despite favourable conditions, many governments are unable to generate a large enough primary surplus to stabilize public debt ratios. Worsening global financial conditions may create difficulties for budgetary transfers, posing greater challenges to government debt management since restructuring often is more difficult for domestic than external debt.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp61_2007.pdf

What Does Excess Bank Liquidity Say about the Loan Market in Less Developed Countries?

Evidence about developing countries' commercial banks' liquidity preference suggests the following about their loan markets: the loan interest rate is a minimum mark-up rate; the loan market is characterized by oligopoly power; and indirect monetary policy, a cornerstone of financial liberalization, can only be effective at very high interest rates that are likely to be deflationary. The minimum rate is a mark-up over a foreign interest rate, marginal transaction costs and a risk premium. A calibration exercise demonstrates that the hypothesis of a minimum mark-up loan rate is consistent with the observed stylized facts.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp60_2007.pdf

The Instability and Inequities of the Global Reserve System

This paper argues that the current global reserve system is inherently unstable due to the use of a national currency as the major international reserve currency, and the high demand for "self-insurance" by developing countries. The latter is due to the mix of highly pro-cyclical capital flows and the limited room to maneuver that developing countries have to manage counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies. Both features imply that the system is also inequitable. An important insight of the paper is that such inequities feed into the instability of current arrangements. Any meaningful reform of the system must therefore address these two interlinked features.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp59_2007.pdf


Websites

New financing for development siteNew financing for development site

In preparation for the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Doha in 2008, the DESA Financing for Development Office has revamped and expanded its website. The new site is more accessible, easier to navigate, and includes a printer-friendly option on all pages. All documents and information related to the 2008 Doha conference will be made available here. Visitors are invited to submit feedback and suggestions.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/ffd

Directory of economic and social councils

Directory of economic and social councilsDirectory of economic and social councils

The DESA Division for Public Administration and Development Management has compiled a directory of national economic and social councils and similar institutions as part of its work on participatory governance. The site consists of a global directory of institutions and other bodies or arrangements within government structures.

For more information: http://www.unpan.org/countryprofiles_Economic&SocialCouncils.asp

Main environmental indicatorsMain environmental indicators

The DESA Statistics Division has launched a new website of official statistics on water and waste supplied by national statistical offices and/or ministries of environment, or equivalent institutions, in countries in response to the biennial DESA/UNEP questionnaire, complemented by data from the Food and Agriculture Organization on water resources. Data on European Union and OECD member and partner countries are from OECD and Eurostat. The site includes illustrated maps showing trends.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/qindicators.htm

Non-governmental organizationsNon-governmental organizations

The NGO Section in DESA’s Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination has launched a revamped web site improved search tools and improved features for NGOs in, or applying for, consultative status. Information on how to participate in the new functions of the Council is included, along with a blog on the Annual Ministerial Review Innovation Fair. Authorized visitors can also connect to the Department’s paperless NGO committee.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo/