DESA News Vol. 12, No. 10 October 2008

Technical cooperation

Addressing increased oil and food costs in Guinea

DESA governance experts lead advisory mission to Conakry in October to study poverty, prices, and public policy

DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management is planning an advisory mission to Guinea at the end of the month to supervise a study of the impact of oil and food prices on the economy and the lives of people. The study group, led by DPADM and consisting of a team of national and international consultants, will evaluate the effects of recent price increases on poverty in particular, and propose measures to mitigate their effects.

For some, the 2008 food crisis reflects both a long unheeded problem of low agricultural productivity in developing countries and the poor’s lack of access to affordable food. Increasing productivity through investments in water supply, infrastructure, improved seeds and fertilizers, education and agricultural research and development are some of the ideas in circulation for dealing with food insecurity while at the same time allaying persistent and widespread rural poverty.

According to the UN World Food Programme, some forty percent of Guineans are food insecure, while the majority of the population relies on subsistence agriculture without any financial safety net. The estimated forty-nine percent of the country’s inhabitants living in poverty are considered to be especially vulnerable to economic shocks, and to small-scale natural disasters such as localized flood and drought.

For more information:

CIS statisticians review international trade in services

Kiev workshop from 7 to 9 October intended to advance statistical know-how in Eastern Europe

The DESA Statistics Division, in collaboration with the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine and the Interstate Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States, is organizing a workshop on statistics of international trade in services in the CIS countries. The workshop is being hosted by the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine from 7 to 9 October in Kiev.

The workshop aims to train representatives from national statistical offices and central banks from the CIS countries on methodological development of the statistics of trade in services as well as the current country-practices in compiling trade in services statistics. The training will focus on both interpretation of conceptual issues and options for implementation of the international recommendations in country specific circumstances. The gathering of experts is also expected to facilitate the establishment of a network of statisticians in the CIS countries working on service trade statistics.

For more information:

Housing earthquake safety initiative

Training in Banda Aceh from 13 to 16 October teaches basics of building safety in shaky landscapes

As part of a housing earthquake safety initiative led by DESA’s Regional Centre for Development office in Hyogo, Japan, a workshop will be held from 13 to 16 October in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The training session is intended to help communities in Aceh improve the structural safety of houses through effective implementation of building safety regulations. Workshop participants will gain practical knowledge of construction of earthquake-resistant buildings in compliance with provisions of the Indonesian building code and other safe practices. Simple retrofitting techniques will be explained, along with materials testing and vulnerability assessment methods.

For more information:

Raising the bar in public administration education

Directors of public sector training from the Mediterranean region will descend on Rome from 13 t o14 October for a workshop on excellence

In recognition of the need for international norms in public administration education, DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management, and the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, have recently completed a document describing standards of excellence against which public administration programmes can be compared. At the core of the standards is the idea that public sector leaders must be capable of meeting the challenges of public service a multi-faceted, globalized world.

From 13 to 14 October in Rome, DESA and partners will follow up with a workshop on public administration training for directors of public administration programmes from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The forum will also provide an opportunity to discuss methodologies for evaluating and reforming educational curricula. The initiative was inspired by the Government of Italy which attaches great importance to having high-quality public administration training available to senior civil servants in the Mediterranean region.

For more information: