DESA News Vol. 13, No. 06 June 2009

Trends and analysis

Emerging world economic issues and trends

Project LINK meeting in St. Petersburg from 4-6 June to discuss the implications of the global financial crisis on growth

Project Link is a co-operative, non-governmental, international research activity, which integrates independently developed national econometric models into a global econometric model.  It provides a consistent framework for undertaking quantitative studies of the international economic transmission mechanisms and of the effects of international and national policies, developments and disturbances on the outlook for the world economy, and global economic integration in general.

The semi-annual expert group meeting of project LINK on the world economy will be held in Saint Petersburg from 4-6 June 2009 as a special session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Jointly organized by DESA, the University of Toronto and the Centre for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-term Forecasting, Moscow, the meeting will discuss the implications of the global financial crisis on growth and the prospects for the world economy in 2010. The discussions will be held at a special session where the global economic outlook prepared by DESA’s Development and Policy Analysis Division will be presented and will include the participation of a broader audience of investors, representatives of businesses and government officials, as well as international organizations and institutions.

Founded under the intellectual leadership of Nobel Laureate Lawrence Klein, LINK has expanded from a core of 11 researchers and 7 country models in the 1969 to more than 100 participants from 60 countries, with 79 country models, including 45 models of individual developing countries and regions. The national centers of the project include universities, private research organizations, government agencies, and central banks.

LINK organizes two meetings per year; one at the various United Nations offices, the other one at various locations around the world. Meeting participants discuss the forecasts prepared with the LINK model, emerging world economic issues and trends as well as methods of global economic analysis. LINK is also a platform through which technical cooperation can be carried out to assist developing countries in improving capacity of macroeconomic policy analysis and formulation.

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Measuring productions in national accounting

Workshop in Beijing from 8-10 June will focus on measuring production from appropriate basic economic data sources

The international workshop from data to accounts is jointly organized by DESA’s Statistics Division and the National Bureau of Statistics of China. It is the first in a series of events under the project on strengthening statistical capacity development in China and other developing countries in Asia funded by the Chinese Government.

With the objective to enhance the capacity of National Statistical Offices of Asian countries to produce reliable and high quality national accounts estimates, the workshop will give an overview on the production approach in the System of National Accounts and address the data and measurement issues of the agricultural, manufacturing and services sectors. The informal sector will also be discussed.

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Bringing information to the world

Data managers will meet in New York from 22 -24 June to further enhance the UNdata portal

As part of the effort by DESA’s Statistics Division to facilitate easy access to data resources of the UN System, UNdata (, a web-based data access system was recently launched for the public. It brings UN statistical databases within easy reach of users through a single entry point from which users can search and download a variety of statistical resources of the UN System. In this context, the Statistics Division is organizing a second Data Managers meeting.

The second UNdata—Data Managers' Meeting will gather experts from international agencies to exchange ideas on data and metadata dissemination. The meeting will cover several topics including: recent and future developments in the UNdata portal in terms of content and functionalities; current initiatives in data dissemination practices in UNdata partner agencies; and possible ways to strengthen cooperation and formalize agreements for collaboration.

Since its foundation, the United Nations System has been collecting statistical information from Member States on a variety of topics. The information thus collected constitutes a considerable information asset of the organization. However, since these statistical data are often stored in proprietary databases - each with unique dissemination and access policies - as a result, users are often unaware of the full array of statistical information that the UN System has in its data libraries.

The current arrangement also means that users are required to move from one database to another to access different types of information. UNdata addresses this problem by pooling major UN databases and those of several international organizations into a single internet environment. The innovative design allows users to access a large number of UN databases either by browsing the data series or through a keyword search.

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Effective innovations in public administration

EGM and Capacity Development Workshop on Innovations in Governance and Public Administration for the Achievement of the Development Goals in New York from 23-24 June

This meeting, organized within the framework of the United Public Service Day by DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management, will provide a platform for experts and government officials from around the world to present and discuss significant innovations in public administration that have won the 2009 United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA), to discuss practical challenges and opportunities in innovation in the public sector, as well as to provide policy recommendations on how to promote a culture of innovation in the public sector.

The meeting will be conducted in a plenary session, divided into five groups, one for each specific theme, and will be devoted to the presentation of innovative experiences in public administration that have won the 2009 UNPSA, as well as discussions among international experts on how to promote a culture of innovation in the public sector for improved performance.

The purpose of these presentations will be to enhance knowledge about effective innovative solutions to governance challenges in all corners of the globe, as well as to highlight the factors that lead to innovation in public administration for drawing useful lessons learned. Time will also be devoted for discussion and interactive participation of participants.

At the end of each session, the keynote speaker will provide conclusions and recommendations on how to develop a culture of innovation in public administration based on the lessons learned from the cases presented. The speaker will also discuss how successful practices presented can be replicated and tailored to the specific circumstances of other countries, as well as provide feed-back to the UN Secretariat on how to further share and adapt innovative practices to achieve the UN Development Goals.

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Reviewing environmental-economic policies

UNCEEA will meet in New York from 24-26 June to measure the nexus between economic growth, development and environment

The United Nations Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting (UNCEEA) is an intergovernmental body providing strategic vision and direction to environmental-economic accounting and related statistics. The 4th Meeting of the UNCEEA will discuss the policy relevance of environmental-economic accounting and environment statistics framework to measure the nexus between economic growth, development and the environment including climate change.

In particular, it will discuss the contribution of these frameworks and more broadly of the statistical community to global initiatives related to climate change, the green economy, sustainable consumption and production, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Senior experts from academia and the policy and scientific community will be invited to participate in the meetings.

The UNCEEA will also review progress made in the revision of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), the implementation of the SEEAW and monitor the progress of work of various technical groups and city groups working under its auspices.

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Civic values for social justice

World Civic Forum 2009 on Building Our Humanitarian Planet was held in Seoul, from 5 - 8 May

The Forum, organized by Kyung Hee University and DESA, gathered during four days with about 2000 participants from 75 countries, including representatives from the academia, civil society organizations, private sector, as well as government and international organizations. A total of 350 presentations were made in plenary sessions, roundtables, thematic sessions, workshops and expert meetings, all on a variety of issues related with the Forum’s central theme: Building our humanitarian planet.

Among the most relevant topics were the role of civil society in facilitating inclusive and equitable development by partnership with public and private organizations, the contribution of universities to this process (capacity building, values, leadership, knowledge sharing, etc.), and the need of citizens engagement to better meet the challenges for sustainability coming from climate change.

The Forum was opened by Mr. Inwon Choue, President of Kyung Hee University; DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Mr. Sha Zukang on behalf of the Secretary-General; and Mr. Han Seung-soo, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, among other high level participants. Mr. Sha also participated in a roundtable on the contribution of universities to equitable, inclusive and sustainable development, together with the Assistant Director General of UNESCO, Mr. Hans d’Orville, and presidents from top universities of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The Forum concluded with a joint declaration from participants of the World Civic Forum, including representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and academic institutions.

The Declaration highlights civic values for social justice, social inclusion and equity as well as civic engagement in public, global governance and civic action to foster the global agenda, including climate change. This Declaration is intended to favor mobilization of the global community to foster enhanced citizen participation to address present and future challenges for development and governance worldwide.

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Role of infrastructure in metropolitan development

Conference on Sustainable Urbanization in the Information Age was held on 13 May in New York

The conference was jointly organized by the Global Alliance on ICT for Development (GAID/DPADM) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), with sponsorship from the American Institute of Architects, the Regional Planning Association and several private firms and social organization.

The conference was opened by Ms. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra, and, representing DESA, Mr. Roberto Villarreal, Chief of the Socio-Economic Governance and Management Branch of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management.

During the conference, 200 participants from diverse countries (US, UK, Australia, Spain, Canada, South Africa, etc.), associated with CSOs, academic institutions, professional associations and private sector firms participated in lively discussions about the challenges of harnessing urbanization in sustainable ways, addressing issues of infrastructure, urban planning, governance, citizens engagement and applications of ICT.

Three ambassadors to the United Nations (Estonia, Germany and Indonesia) chaired the corresponding sessions of the Conference. Presentations made by panelists and analyzed by discussants helped raise the key issues. It was agreed by consensus at the conclusion of the conference that a similar one will be held again next year, with explicit attention to follow up related developments in represented countries.

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