DESA News Vol. 13, No. 10 October 2009

Trends and analysis

Implementing sustainable development in regions

Regional Implementation Meetings (RIMs) will take place from 4-6 October in Cairo, and from 27-30 October in Addis Ababa

Organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in collaboration with DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development, the RIMs will contribute to the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) during the implementation cycle focused on transport, chemicals, waste management, mining, and the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production.

The meetings will be held in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (JPOI), and will be organized in collaboration with other regional and sub-regional organizations, as well as the regional offices of funds, programmes and international finance and trade institutions and other bodies of the United Nations system.

The Regional Implementation Meetings will contribute to the advancement of the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and JPOI. The meeting will also provide inputs to the Secretary-General’s reports and contribute to the 18th session of CSD by identifying region-specific challenges and opportunities as well as lessons learned and best practices. The RIMs will also provide for contributions from major groups.

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Discussing the relationship between population ageing and social protection systems

The Population Division of DESA, in collaboration with the Population Division of ECLAC will hold an Expert Group Meeting on Population Ageing, International Transfers and Social Protection

The meeting, held at ECLAC, Santiago de Chile, on 20 and 21 October, will bring together specialists from various regions of the world to discuss the relationship between population ageing and social protection systems, in particular the role played by intergenerational reallocations in different parts of the world. The impact of the present financial and economic crisis on economic security over the life cycle, especially in old age, will also be addressed.

The Expert Group Meeting will hold expert consultations, including standing expert bodies, for the Economic and Social Council, among them the Committee of Experts on Public Administration, Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, and Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

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Discussing global MDG monitoring

Sixteenth Inter-Agency and Expert Group Meeting on MDG Indicators will take place in Geneva from 20 to 22 October

This Inter-Agency and Expert Group meeting is part of the yearly consultation with both national experts and international agencies to review and discuss issues related to the global Millennium Development Goals (MDG) monitoring, including the production of the MDG global monitoring outputs, reporting systems on MDG indicators, country capacity building as well as the coordination of technical cooperation activities in countries.

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Exchanging data and metadata on MDG Indicators

Expert Group Meeting on SDMX for MDG Indicators will be held in Geneva on 23 October

DESA’s Statistics Division is organizing an Expert Group Meeting on Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) for Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Indicators. The meeting, hosted by the International Labour Organization, will share experiences on the use of the SDMX standards for the exchange of data and metadata on MDG Indicators.

The SDMX is a platform for data and metadata exchange that will greatly facilitate the exchange of MDG data among countries and between countries and international agencies. The event will also be an opportunity to review, with national and international experts, the necessary steps to implement the SDMX platform at the national level, including identifying key areas in which international agencies could provide technical assistance.

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Geographic information and responses to climate change

Eighteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific (UNRCC-AP) will take place in Bangkok from 26 to 29 October

In February 1948, the Economic and Social Council recommended that Governments of Member States stimulate surveying and mapping of their national territories and that the Secretary-General of the United Nations take appropriate action to further such efforts. A Committee of Experts on Cartography was appointed by the Secretary General to study the problem and advise upon the means of its implementation. The first meeting of the committee of experts on cartography was held in 1955.

The theme of this eighteenth conference is “Spatial Enablement and the Response to Climate Change and the Millennium Development Goals”. It will bring together specialists from Asia and the Pacific and other parts of the world, and provide an opportunity to review and assess how well geographic information can be used in dealing with critical issues such as spatial enablement and responses to climate change. It would also give an opportunity to identify the impediments and barriers that still exist, with a view to suggesting appropriate solutions in order to overcome them.

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Opening nominations for 2010 Public Service Awards

In continuing efforts to promote and support innovations in public service delivery worldwide, the United Nations is calling for nominations to its 2010 Public Service Awards

The 7th annual United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) is opened to local or national public organizations, and to public-private partnerships involved in essential service delivery to citizens. “The United Nations has long recognized that effective governance and efficient public administration are central to the global development agenda and particularly in achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” said the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon while addressing the 2009 Awards finalists and winners. He reminded them that public services can be delivered more efficiently, effectively and equitably all over the world. “The ingredients are simple: commitment, hard work, innovation, talent and technological know-how”, he added.

Contestant from public institutions cannot nominate themselves. Instead, interested institutions will have to be nominated by Governments and civil society organizations for their achievements and performance. Nominations can be made online until 31 December 2009. The 2010 UNPSA Awards are given in 4 categories: improving the delivery of public services, improving accountability and transparency, fostering participation in decision-making process through innovative mechanisms, advancing knowledge management in government.

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Better and more affordable access to ICT

Over 500 specialists from the field of ICT for Education joined forces for the UNDESA-GAID Annual Meetings as well as the “Global Forum 2009: ICT & Innovation for Education”

The conference, which took place in Monterrey, Mexico, from 2 to 4 September, was jointly organized by the Monterrey Institute of Technology, the Government of Mexico, Indigo Brainmedia, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), with partners including the Intel Corporation, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Cisneros Foundation, Ericsson, Siemens, Francophonie, and NComputing.

The main aspects that were being discussed, in order to integrate ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) successfully into the education systems across the globe, were to provide better and more affordable access to ICT; to train teachers to use ICT effectively in the classrooms; to integrate ICT into the policies at all levels; and to monitor and evaluate the process made in order to take advantage of already learned lessons.

Participants of the Global Forum, such as Ministers, policy-makers, CEOs and senior business leaders, academics, civil society and youth leaders from around the world, engaged in an active dialogue about ICT access, connectivity, content development and education. Under the umbrella of UNDESA-GAID (UNDESA Global Alliance for ICT and Development) they took part in interactive, multi-stakeholder panel discussions, workshops and brainstorming sessions, showcased their ICT-for-development projects, and had the opportunity to network for possible future collaboration.

A highlight of the conference was the launch of the UNDESA-GAID Global Partnership “Monterrey Consensus on Education in the Digital Age”, an initiative for the achievement of the MDGs through ICT integration and innovations in education. The purpose of this document is to present a framework for Education for All in the Digital Age, and to reflect the dynamics of cultural, social and institutional changes. It also takes into consideration the principles of sustainability in environmental, social, economic and cultural contexts, and the readiness of each particular country. It should be a blueprint for tangible impact for any developing county.

Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General of DESA, participated in the conference, and indicated that UNDESA-GAID is at a turning point. There are strong expectations that through its growing networks, the Alliance can increasingly focus on actions and results, and can make tangible impact by helping advance the UN Development Agenda through the use of ICT as a strategic tool. In concrete, UNDESA-GAID will prepare a matrix relating to all eight MDGs and catalogue specific ICT actions that can contribute to achieving them.

Additionally, going forward, UNDESA-GAID calls for global and regional partners from the field of ICT for education, to organize a series of workshops during the upcoming year. Their purpose will be to help form new joint ventures, to improve capacity building for program development, and to progress in the implementation of programs into the Ministries of Education and the Ministries of ICT in developing countries. During these forums participants will share best practices, case studies, resources, and insights that they have come across. Furthermore partners are encouraged to get actively involved in the planning, funding and launching of programs in participating countries.

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