DESA News Vol. 12, No. 09 September 2008

Trends and analysis

Migration experts assess trends in Asia-Pacific

Leading demographers will meet in Bangkok from 20 to 21 September to debate causes and consequences of international migration in the region

DESA’s Population Division is convening an expert group meeting on international migration and development in Asia and the Pacific in collaboration with ESCAP, to be held in Bangkok from 20 to 21 September. Representatives of governments and international organizations will convene to discuss international migration trends in the region in the global context, regional policies and cooperation mechanisms, labour migration, and the relationship between migration and development. The discussions will serve as input to the Asia-Pacific high-level meeting on international migration and development, to be held in Bangkok on 22 and 23 September immediately following the expert consultations.

According to ESCAP, out of an estimated 190 million international migrants worldwide in 2007, the region accounted for one-third or about 58 million – 53 million in Asia and 5 million in the Pacific. Cross-border movement of people in search of better opportunity or human security is a long standing characteristic of societies in the region. It is estimated that Asian and Pacific countries received about $85 billion in remittances in 2004 with remittances playing essential roles in sustaining local and national economies.

The September meeting is being organized under the umbrella of the population cluster of the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs, a secretariat working group established in 1997 to coordinate UN activities in this field.

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Social statisticians wary of gaps

DESA expert group meeting from 9 to 12 September in New York intended to reveal gaps in international social statistics standards

Informed analysis of social development issues requires good statistical data, and good statistical data depends on valid methodologies. In an effort to provide researchers and decision-makers with comparable, reliable information on a global scale, the DESA Statistics Division has invited world experts to examine the scope and content of social statistics in New York from 9 to 12 September.

Participants in the expert group meeting will be invited to consider concepts and definitions, sources, tabulations, periodicity, classifications, and other methodological challenges in statistical data collection. Discussion of an international action plan, including inter-agency coordination requirements, will also be on the agenda. The proposed plan would be used by DESA as the framework for an assessment of further developmental work on international norms. Finally, the statistical experts will prepare draft terms of reference for a proposed new ‘city group’ to replace the Siena City Group on Social Statistics, which disbanded in 2005.

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Merchandise trade statistics under review

DESA-ESCAP workshop starting 9 September attempts to engage Asia-Pacific countries in standard-setting.

The DESA Statistics Division is organizing a workshop for developing countries on the revision of the Recommendations for International Merchandise Trade Statistics, commonly known as IMTS, rev.2, in cooperation with ESCAP. The session will take place from 9 to 12 September in Bangkok.

Earlier this year, the Statistical Commission endorsed the DESA Statistics Division initiative and strategy to revise the existing recommendations for international merchandise trade statistics and requested that the draft revised recommendations be submitted to the Commission for adoption at its forty-first session in 2010. One key element of DESA’s revision strategy is a worldwide consultation process with national trade statistics compilers. This workshop is part of a special effort on the part of DESA and ESCAP to involve developing countries in the region in the design and application of the relevant technical standards.

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Data sharing, capacity building central to statistical development

Inter-agency coordination committee meets in Tunis starting 11 September with a spotlight on standards and methods of work

The 12th session of the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities will be held in Tunis from 11 to 12 September with an agenda ranging from population estimates to modalities of data sharing, coordination of statistical capacity-building, and revised terms of reference for the Committee itself. This session of the Committee is the first to be held in Africa, hosted by the African Development Bank.

The Committee, an inter-agency working group, was established in 2002 to promote coordination and integration of the statistical activities of international organizations. The members of the Committee are the chief statisticians of UN agencies, and of other international organizations with significant statistical programmes. It meets twice a year and its conclusions are presented to the Statistical Commission of the Economic and Social Council.

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All views welcome in world internet governance

Informal consultations in Geneva from 16 to 18 September to help shape the internet management agenda

The secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum is organizing a series of consultations in Geneva, from 16 to 18 September in preparation for the third meeting of principals in Hyderabad in December this year. The first day, open to all stakeholders, will be devoted to informal consultations on the programme of work of the December session. Representatives of government, the private sector, civil society, academia, and technical communities will participate as equals to set the agenda. They are also expected to discuss the review process called for by the Tunis Agenda on the Information Society.

The second and third days will taken up by an assembly of the fifty-member IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group, which will finalize the programme for December taking into account the views expressed at the open consultations. Mr. Nitin Desai, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for Internet Governance, will preside over all three days. The Forum is supported by a special trust fund administered by DESA.

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UN private sector forum on MDGs and food sustainability

The Global Alliance for ICT and Development, UN Global Compact Office, UNDP, and OCHA are co-organizing a forum for private sector executives to discuss the Millennium Development Goals and food sustainability on the afternoon of 24 September in New York. A series of roundtable discussions will cover technological innovations, water management, agricultural inputs and infrastructure, finance and risk management, food safety and nutrition, energy and biofuels, and job creation for low-income people. Overcoming long-term development challenges associated with the global food crisis will be an important point of discussion.

Governments have long recognized that business and civil society are important partners in the achievement of development goals, and closer collaboration is needed. Aside from being an opportunity for the private sector to mingle with world leaders, NGOs, and UN agencies in the expectation that new partnerships will form, participants will be providing formal input to the Secretary-General’s high-level meeting on the MDGs taking place the following day, on 25 September. The UN, for its part, would like to advance the internationally agreed development goals and will invite participants to commit to new action on MDG implementation.

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