DESA News Vol. 13, No. 05 May 2009

Publications and websites

Technical reports

Achieving Sustainable Development in an Age of Climate ChangeAchieving Sustainable Development in an Age of Climate Change

Adapting to climate change is critical for sustainable development. Steps must be taken to strengthen the adaptive capacity of all stakeholders and to mainstream adaptation into sectoral and national planning processes. Achieving the aims reflected in the international sustainable development agenda also requires mitigation efforts in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

Whereas among industrialized countries the approach to mitigation has focused on a cap-and-trade system, for developing countries such a strategy may not be ideal. For those countries, an investment-based approach, encouraging the use of renewable energy alternatives appears to be the most promising mitigation strategy. In support of such approach, large-scale global funds for technology transfer required for mitigation and for helping countries cover adaptation costs should be considered. United Nations Publication Sales No. E.08.II.A.16.

To order:

To download:

Statistical compilations

National Accounts Statistics: Analysis of Main Aggregates, 2007

The publication contains a complete and consistent set of time series of the main national accounts aggregates for 221 countries and areas of the world for the years 1970 to 2007. The national data for each country and area are presented in separate chapters using uniform table headings and classifications recommended in the United Nations System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA 1993).

The main aggregates include gross domestic product (GDP) by type of expenditure and value added by kind of economic activity, both at current and at constant market prices. The publication also contains analytical indicators and ratios that reflect the economic structure and trends of countries and areas such as annual per capita GDP, annual growth rates of GDP, annual shares in total GDP of its main expenditure and value added components, and price trends as defined by the implicit price deflators of GDP.

For more information:

To order:

Meeting records

Report of the 47th session of the Commission for Social Development

At its forty-seventh session, held on 22 February 2008 and from 4-13 February 2009, the Commission for Social Development considered “Social integration”, the priority theme for the 2009-2010 review cycle, and the review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups.

On the priority theme, the Commission held a panel discussion elaborating on social integration, taking into account the relationship with poverty eradication and full employment and decent work for all. The Commission adopted a resolution entitled “Promoting full employment and decent work for all” and decided to recommend to the Economic and Social Council the adoption of a draft resolution entitled “Social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development”. During the panel discussion, under the agenda item entitled “Emerging issues”, the Commission discussed the current global crises and their impact on social development.

For more information:

Report of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting: Commission on Sustainable Development

The meeting in preparation for the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development was held in New York from 23 to 27 February 2009. Interactive discussions on the themes of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa were held and the barriers and constraints facing small island developing States were addressed. Interlinkages and crosscutting issues, including means of implementation, relevant to the same themes were also the focus of the preparatory meeting.

For more information:

Report of the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus

The Conference held in Doha,Qatar, from 29 November - 2 December 2008, adopts the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development which is annexed to the this report. The Declaration highlights a new sense of solidarity and goodwill among Member States and is an important milestone in the struggle for development. In the midst of the ongoing financial and economic crisis of far-reaching but yet unknown consequences, Member States have not only strengthened commitments to innovative cooperation for financing for development, they have also taken the first steps to agree on major changes in the international financial governance.

A global conference at the highest level will assess the crisis that has devastated the world economy, from 1-3 June 2009 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The conference was mandated by world leaders at the Financing for Development Conference in December 2009 in Doha and will address the impact of the crisis on development as well as on the ongoing international discussion on reforming and strengthening the international financial and economic system and architecture.

For more information:

Sustainable Urbanization in the Information Age

This book summarizes the presentations and discussions held during the “Forum on Sustainable Urbanization in the Information Age” which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, in May 2008. The Forum condensed the views of various sectors, disciplines and municipalities from both developed and developing countries on how we might best engage the challenges and opportunities of sustainable urbanization, including economic, social, ethical and technical goals.

The book talks about sustainable urbanization as the key consideration in environment planning and management to improve living conditions for the 2.5 billion poor in the world. Millennium Development Goal number 7 aims to ensure environmental sustainability by integrating the principles of sustainable development into member states policies and programmes.

For more information:

Building Trust Through Civic EngagementBuilding Trust Through Civic Engagement

This publication is the result of the Workshop on Building Trust through Civic Engagement, held as part of the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government: Building Trust in Government, which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna from 26 to 29 June 2007.

DESA and its partners chose this topic in recognition of the need to explore the options and means to articulate and advocate the role that citizen engagement in public policy, services delivery and public accountability can have in bringing citizens closer to the government and government closer to the citizens. It is envisioned that addressing the issues of building trust through civic engagement will greatly help in instilling in public governance a sense of shared vision in development and help to produce a mutually re-enforcing mechanism of transparency and accountability.

To download:

Outreach material

World Economic Situation and Prospects, 2005-2009: On the Global Financial and Economic CrisisWorld Economic Situation and Prospects, 2005-2009: On the Global Financial and Economic Crisis

In recent years, from 2005, but also in earlier editions, WESP has warned against the dangers of the unsustainable pattern of global growth that emerged about a decade ago and which was characterized by strong consumer demand in the United States, funded by easy credit and booming house prices. Far-reaching financial deregulation facilitated a massive and unfettered expansion of new financial instruments, such as securitized sub-prime mortgage lending, sold on financial markets worldwide.

This pattern of growth enabled strong export growth and, eventually, high commodity prices benefiting many developing countries, but also led to mounting global financial imbalances and overleveraged financial institutions, businesses and households. In the context of a highly integrated global economy without adequate regulation and global governance structures, the breakdown in one part of the system thus easily leads to failure elsewhere, as we are witnessing today.

For more information:

Social Development Link NewsletterSocial Development Link Newsletter

DESA’s Division for Social Policy & Development has launched this quarterly newsletter, aiming to provide a sharp and synthetic summary of major activities carried out by the Division. The newsletter also intends to highlight some aspects of the work of the Division that do not fall under a specific cluster. As its title shows, this publication will serve as a link between DSPD and its major partners, from civil society actors to social development practitioners and scholars.

For more information:

Discussion papers

Population Division Policy Brief No. 2009/1, March 2009

The brief focuses on current fertility levels in the world's least developed countries - a group of 49 countries designated as such by the United Nations General Assembly. In 31 of them, fertility rates remain above 5 children per woman.

The Policy Brief discusses fertility trends and contraceptive use in the least developed countries based on the most recent data compiled by the Population Division. It asserts that expansion of access to family planning requires government commitment and that strengthening and expanding family planning services require adequate funding and access to supplies. It also emphasizes that investments in family planning are cost effective because of the strong synergistic effects of longer birth intervals and lower fertility with other development goals.

For more information:


Enhanced United Nations Public Administration Network websiteEnhanced United Nations Public Administration Network website

The United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) improved its RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds to better serve its users and partner organizations. UNPAN readers can now subscribe to news, documents, events and resources via RSS to stay informed about the latest updates on public administration and related matters. On the other hand, UNPAN partner organizations will be able to integrate the RSS feeds into their websites in order to display various content from the UNPAN portal including the ones submitted by them.

To browse:

Updated Committee for Development Policy websiteUpdated Committee for Development Policy website

The CDP Secretariat has updated its website to include the data used for the 2009 triennial review of the list of least developed countries (LDCs). The database gives users easy access to the indicators that were applied by the Committee in the identification of LDCs and to the documentation used under the established graduation procedure.

To browse: