DESA News Vol. 13, No. 01 January 2009

Publications and websites

Technical reports

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009

The world economy is mired in the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. Recent issues of the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) had already warned of this risk. The underlying factors analyzed in these reports have now played out and have pushed the world economy into recession.

Growth in world gross product is expected to slow to 1.0 per cent in 2009, a sharp deceleration from the 2.5 per cent rate estimated for 2008, and well below the more robust pace of previous years. While most developed economies are expected to be in a deep recession, a vast majority of developing countries are experiencing a sharp reversal in the robust growth registered during the period 2002-2007, indicating a significant setback in the progress made in poverty reduction by many developing countries over the past few years. The prospects for the least developed countries, which had done so well on average over the past several years, are also deteriorating rapidly. Income per capita for the world as whole is expected to decline in 2009.

The report, released in early January, presents a detailed analysis of the evolution of the global financial crisis during 2008 and the more fundamental factors that led to its build-up. It further assesses its impact on global economic activity, particularly in developing countries. The synchronized slowdown in both rich and poor countries is further evidence that the belief, widely held until recently, that developing country growth would be ‘decoupled’ from that in the United States and Europe was dangerously misleading. The report also reviews the policy actions so far taken worldwide in response to the global financial crisis.

The report recommends more forceful fiscal policy stimuli in an internationally concerted manner in order to prevent the world economy from falling into a much deeper and more prolonged recession. The WESP further details a number of more fundamental reforms to the international financial system that are needed to reduce risks of a recurrence of such a devastating crisis in the future.

The publication is a joint product of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the five United Nations regional commissions.

For more information: http://www/esa/policy/wess/wesp.html


Handbook on the Least Developed Country Category: Inclusion, Graduation and Special Support MeasuresHandbook on the Least Developed Country Category: Inclusion, Graduation and Special Support Measures

This Handbook aims at promoting a better understanding of the LDC category and the benefits derived from membership therein. It contains a comprehensive explanation of the criteria, procedures and methodology used by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) for establishing which countries are eligible for inclusion in, or recommended for graduation from, the LDC category. It also provides an overview of the international support measures that can be derived from having least developed country status and the implications of graduating from the list in terms of the potential loss of such measures.

The Handbook will be formally launched on 29 January with the participation of selected CDP members.

For more information: and its companion website .

Designing Household Survey Samples: Practical GuidelinesDesigning Household Survey Samples: Practical Guidelines

The Handbook provides practical guidelines to survey sample design, data processing and analysis of large-scale household surveys. It also underscores the important role a good implementation strategy of surveys significantly contributes to the generation of accurate survey results by minimizing non-sampling errors. In addition, the Handbook provides the basics of survey sample design in Annex I.

To order:

Statistical compilations

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

The Monthly Bulletin of Statistics presents current economic and social statistics for more than 200 countries and territories of the world. It contains over 50 tables of monthly and/or annual and quarterly data on a variety of subjects illustrating important economic trends and developments, including population, prices, employment and earnings, energy, manufacturing, transport, construction, international merchandise trade and finance.

Vol. LXII – No. 11, November 2008

Indices of world industrial production by branches of industry and by regions; Producer price indices; Earnings in manufacturing, by sex; Construction of new buildings; Total exports and imports by regions (volume and unit value indices and terms of trade); World exports by commodity classes and by regions. Publication symbol is ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/431.

For more information:

Outreach material

DESA’s Policy Brief on MicrofinanceDESA’s Policy Brief on Microfinance

The 10th issue identifies microfinance as “no panacea” but as a useful instrument in the fight against poverty. The brief focuses on lessons that can be learned from the experience of microfinance in building economic security and achieving poverty reduction. The issue also discusses the explosive growth as well as criticism of microfinance, recent trends in the evolution of microfinance and how microfinance can become part of the wider development strategy.

United Nations Public Service Awards NewsletterUnited Nations Public Service Awards Newsletter

The United Nations Public Service Awards Programme (UNPSA) is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions to development in countries around the world. Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards Programme promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service.

The fall issue of this newsletter contains success stories from the winners of the 2008 UNPSA and information about the positive impact of winning the UNPSA at the national level. Note that 15 January is the deadline for applying to the next cycle of the Public Service Awards competition.

For more information: or


Integrated Civil Society Organizations SystemIntegrated Civil Society Organizations System

This consolidated database of civil society information in economic and social affairs provides online participation and facilitates the application procedure for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Accredited NGOs with ECOSOC can also submit their quadrennial reports and designate representatives to international conferences convened by the United Nations.

Users can search and browse more than 12.000 organizations to find out more about their activities, meeting participation and accreditation status in the areas of sustainable and social development, advancement of women, financing for development, forests and public administration.

To browse: