DESA News Vol. 13, No. 09 September 2009

Publications and websites

Technical reports

World Economic and Social Survey 2009: Promoting Development, Saving the PlanetWorld Economic and Social Survey 2009: Promoting Development, Saving the Planet

The central message of this flagship survey, published on 1 September, is that an integrated approach based on the concept of sustainable development is urgently needed if climate and development objectives are to be met together. The key to such an approach is a low-carbon, high-growth transformation of the global economy — a transformation that can keep temperature increases consistent with environmental stability as identified by the scientific community, while at the same time fostering the strong growth and economic diversification in developing countries that would allow convergence of incomes worldwide.

The Survey seeks argues that a massive global investment programme is needed to ensure that mitigation and adaptation efforts can move as part of a consistent development strategy. While acknowledging that a variety of market and non-market institutional mechanisms will be needed if advances are to be made along those paths, the Survey contends at the same time that a critical role must be played by developmental States able to mobilize public finance and build appropriate technological capacity.

This potentially win-win strategy will require the readiness of the international community to step up to the plate with multilateral financing on a much larger scale than has been forthcoming to date and new approaches to transferring technology from rich to poor countries.

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To read the overview:

Overview of the 2009 Report on the World Social Situation

The report to be published later this year notes that although considerable progress has been made in reducing levels of absolute poverty, overall, the world is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals of halving levels of extreme poverty by 2015. According to the World Bank, the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day in developing countries declined from 1.9 billion to 1.4 billion between 1981 and 2005 at 2005 purchasing power parity.

Improvements in overall poverty levels have depended, to a large extent, on growth. Countries or regions that have experienced strong growth during the last two decades have managed to reduce poverty levels, particularly in urban areas. This includes countries such as China and India. It is the success of these countries that has largely driven global poverty trends downward. However, not every region or country has recorded such remarkable progress. The absolute number of poor people has gone up in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in Central Asia.

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Reports on Social Policy and Development for the 64th session of the General Assembly

DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development has prepared reports for the General Assembly on the following topics:

  • Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing
  • Cooperatives in social development
  • Legal Empowerment of the poor and eradication of poverty
  • Follow-up to the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family
  • Follow-up to the implementation of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
  • Realizing the Millennium Development Goals for Persons with Disabilities through the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto.
  • Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth: progress and constraints with respect to the well-being of youth and their role in civil society

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Statistical compilations

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

The bulletin 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. LXIII – No. 8, August 2009

Quarterly and bimonthly tables included in this issue: Indices of world industrial production by branches of industry and by regions, Producer price indices, Retail price indices relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials, Earnings in manufacturing, by sex, Construction of new buildings, and Total exports and imports by regions: volume and unit value indices and terms of trade.

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Discussion papers

World Economic Situation and Prospects – Monthly Briefing, August 2009

This 11th issue indicates that the global recession is moderating, with trade and industrial production stabilizing and financial markets partially improving. However, the prospects for a true global recovery are highly uncertain as demand continues to depend to a great extent on fiscal stimuli, as unemployment rates continue to rise and as global imbalances remain large. Several economies, mostly in Asia, rebounded in the second quarter of 2009, but many other economies remain mired in recession.

This issue of the Monthly Briefing includes a new feature designed to assess the impact of the global financial crisis on the vulnerability of countries based on the “Integrated Monitoring and Analytical System for Crisis Response by DESA”, work which is still in progress. The tentative results show that the economic crisis has triggered a prodigious global trade shock, equivalent to about 4 per cent of world output. Countries with a strong concentration of exports in the energy sector have proved to be the most vulnerable to such shocks, followed by manufacturing and mineral exporters.

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Launch of ‘RSS’ online news for gender equality and women’s empowerment

WomenWatch, the UN portal on gender equality and women’s empowerment, launched a new online service to provide a "one-stop" hub of RSS-based gender equality news from participating UN entities. It displays these news items on a single web page, with a view to publicizing the work of the UN on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The newsfeed is a collaborative effort of staff from the DESA, DPI as well as UNIFEM, UNFPA and INSTRAW. It is based on RSS ("Really Simple Syndication") technology, an emerging way of publishing information on the internet that is increasingly subscribed to by internet users. It currently compiles gender equality-specific RSS news items from over 140 individual RSS feeds.

To browse: