DESA News Vol. 13, No. 08 August 2009

Trends and analysis

Cartography for the Americas

Experts on cartography to meet from 10-14 August in New York to discuss disaster prevention and management

Taking note of the success of the regional cartographic conferences held in the region of Asia and the Pacific since 1955 and the region of Africa since 1963, and recognizing the need to hold similar conferences in other regions in which they have not yet been held, the Economic and Social Council, at its fifty-sixth session, from 22 April to 17 May 1974, adopted resolution 1839 (LVI) which "Requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary arrangements to convene the First United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for the Americas during the first quarter of 1976". The first meeting of the committee was held in 1976 to stimulate surveying and mapping of national territories and study the problem and advise upon the means of its implementation.

The ninth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for the Americas (UNRCC-A) will be held in New York from 10-14 August on the theme “Building Geospatial Infrastructure in Support of Disaster Prevention and Management”. UNRCC-A is convened every four years.

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Transport for sustainable development

Analysis of trends, issues and policy option will be the focus of a meeting from 27-28 August in New York

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established in 1992 to periodically review progress in the implementation of the commitments and goals articulated in Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPoI), and to develop further global consensus on sustainable development in the various sectors.

The review and policy debate of the Commission focuses each time on a thematic cluster of selected topics. At its up-coming 18th session to be held in New York in May 2010, the Commission will review the progress in implementation with regard to the thematic cluster including transport, chemicals, waste management, mining, and the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production. The review session will focus on the analysis of trends, issues and policy options. It will identify success stories, best practices, achievements as well as essential barriers and constraints faced in implementation. The review session will be followed by a policy debate in the following year (CSD-19, May 2011).

As a part of the secretariat’s preparations for this global review and policy debate on the topic of transport for sustainable development, the Division for Sustainable Development is convening an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Transport for Sustainable Development from 27-28 August in New York with a view to initiate an open dialogue and a global information exchange with international experts to share their specialist expertise on selected aspects of transport for sustainable development, including the various economic, social and environmental aspects.

The review is expected to include, globalization, transport and their inter-linkages; land transport infrastructure and lack of access to transport services, in particular in developing countries; transport and air quality, public health, safety and climate change concerns; transport technologies, their development and their transfer to developing countries; and integrated planning for sustainable transport development.

The review of emerging trends, issues and policy options will assess the status of transport in the context of volatile energy prices, unfolding impacts of the financial and economic crisis, and the growing urgency of enhancing a global transition towards low-carbon transport systems. The presentations and deliberations of the invited experts will inform the secretariat in its preparation of the background information materials for the CSD sessions.

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Promoting environmental indicators

Statisticians and environmental experts from Europe and Asia will meet in Geneva from 31 August – 2 September

Environmental indicators are a key tool for environmental assessment, reporting and policymaking. The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment for Europe in Belgrade, 2007, endorsed the UNECE Recommendations on environmental indicators and indicator-based assessments and invited the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, South-Eastern Europe and other interested countries to implement the Guidelines for the Application of Environmental Indicators prepared by the Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Assessment in close cooperation with the European Environment Agency and other international organizations.

To promote the implementation of these recommendations, a joint meeting will be organized by DESA’s Statistics Division and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on Environmental Indicators from 31 August – 2 September in Geneva.

The meeting will bring together statisticians and environmental experts from the countries of the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) region and South-Eastern Europe as well as from other European countries and international/regional organizations.

The objectives of the meeting are to discuss priorities and modalities of cooperation on methodological issues of environmental indicators in 2009-2010; review in detail selected indicators covered by the UNECE Indicator Guidelines to provide practical recommendations on the use of statistical classifications, data collection methods and procedures for the production of indicators; exchange information on international developments related to environmental indicators that may be important but are currently not included in the Guidelines and provide references to available guidance materials; and initiate discussions on modern presentation formats and tools for effective dissemination of environmental indicators including the use of modern information technologies.

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ICT and innovation for education

Online discussion in preparation for the annual meetings of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) and Global Forum

In preparation for the annual meetings of GAID and the Global Forum on ICT and Innovation for Education from 2-4 September in Monterrey, Mexico, GAID has launched online discussions on themes that the Alliance may address in the coming year: financial and economic crisis and poverty eradication; health and education; climate change; gender; network development and outreach.

The results of these discussions will be presented at the Strategy Council meeting on 2 September. GAID aims at developing an agenda for action in each of the themes listed above, in order to align its work with the broader UN Development Agenda and address emerging issues.

The annual meetings will be jointly organized by GAID, the Government of Mexico, Indigo Brainmedia and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The event in Monterrey will bring together the ICT and development communities for a focused dialogue on emerging issues and challenges with an emphasis on innovation in education. The meetings are also intended to foster cooperation among governments, private sector and civil society. 500 to 600 policymakers, business leaders, and innovators in the field of information and communication technologies for development from around the world are expected to attend.

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