DESA News Vol. 12, No. 05 May 2008

Global dialogue on development

ECOSOC to take up emerging food crisis

The President of the Economic and Social Council has announced plans to hold a special meeting next month to sharpen the UN response to the growing food crisis. The meeting, scheduled to take place on 20 May in New York, is being organized by DESA’s Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination in close collaboration with FAO, IFAD, WFP and other key stakeholders. Council President , Léo Mérorès, has indicated his intention to issue a ten-point action plan to minimize the impact of rising food prices around the world.

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other executive heads of UN agencies brief the press in Geneva on 30 April on the global food crisis.
(46 minutes)

Sustainable development spotlight on agriculture, land resources

Commission on Sustainable Development gets underway in New York on 5 May with a focus on land matters

The Commission on Sustainable will hold its sixteenth session in New York from 5-16 May. This year, the Commission will work toward identifying the barriers and constraints, as well as the lessons learned and best practices, in six thematic issues: agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification, and Africa. Close to 1,000 representatives from 95 major groups have registered for the session, and the high-level segment is expected to be attended by a large number of ministers.

Two parallel plenary sessions will be held during the first week, including expert panels, regional discussions and thematic discussions focusing on linkages among issues. The high-level segment promotes ministerial interactive dialogue focusing on how to make a difference in the context of the given themes and to make the way forward.

A day for small island developing States will be convened on 12 May to consider progress towards sustainable development of island nations within the framework of this year’s thematic cluster. A general debate on the review of Mauritius Strategy of Implementation as well as two panel discussions will be held. Sessions for the review of previous Commission decisions on water and sanitation will be organized on 12 and 13 May, which will include interactive discussions led by panelists.

In addition, the popular partnerships fair and learning centre will return for another year. The partnership fair will include interactive discussions as well as presentations and information desks. The learning centre will continue to offer a wide selection of courses related to the current Commission themes. Nineteen courses have been scheduled covering such issues as agriculture financing in Africa, capacity building for sustainable rural development, linking sustainable land management and climate change and innovative technologies for water resources management.

There are also many requests for side events sponsored by governments, United Nations agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

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Doha review session on international trade

Last thematic review session on the Monterrey Consensus to unfold 19-20 May in New York

The General Assembly will hold its sixth and final review session in preparation for the Doha review conference on the Monterrey Consensus in November. On 19 and 20 May, the theme of international trade as an engine of development will be covered. International trade was also an important subject of discussion at the recent high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and UNCTAD, held in New York on 14 April.

In his statement to delegates, the Secretary-General noted that it was particularly important for middle-income countries to be integrated into the world trade system.  As for the least developed countries, trade could best benefit development if they diversified their exports, particularly given the high volatility of prices for primary products.  Diversification and capacity-building required increased investment and technology transfer from donors and, for that reason, support for aid-for-trade schemes should be bolstered.  In addition, innovative and robust regulation was needed to keep up with and sustain the enormous economic growth of recent years.

Léo Mérorès, President of the Council, said new initiatives on financing for development could play a crucial role in increasing and complementing existing official development assistance.  “In a true partnership for development, developed and developing countries have come together to explore further innovative ways of financing for development,” he said, adding that the Council could play an important role in strengthening that international cooperation.

Despite the progress already achieved, many middle-income countries continued to face challenges to the alleviation of poverty and inequality, the improvement of trade competitiveness and the building of solid infrastructures. Greater international cooperation could help resolve some of those issues in the future.

Describing trade as one of the most important factors in the development process, Petko Draganov, President of UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Board, stressed that in order to make trade work to finance development, countries needed to put the right policies in place as they built their productive capacities and competitiveness.

Based on UN press release ECOSOC/6328. For more information:

Urban growth tops population agenda

The Commission on Population and Development held its forty-first session from 7 to 11 April. The theme for this session was population distribution, urbanization, internal migration and development.

The Commission adopted a resolution on the theme of the session, which called upon governments to address the challenges and opportunities of urban growth and internal migration. The resolution also called upon the international community to support the efforts of developing countries in this regard, including through capacity building.

The Commission adopted the provisional agenda for the forty-second session, which would be devoted to the contribution of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development to the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. The Commission also adopted a decision on the special theme for the forty-third session in 2010, which will be health, morbidity, mortality and development.

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