DESA News Vol. 13, No. 11 November 2009

Publications and websites

Technical reports

2009 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development2009 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development

This flagship publication of DESA’s Division for the Advancement of Women addresses the important theme of “Women’s control over economic resources and access to financial resources, including microfinance”. It illustrates the importance of examining women’s access to economic and financial resources in a broad sense. The scope covers resources generated at national level through budgets, trade, and development assistance; financial services, such as savings, credit, remittance transfers and insurance; employment and social protection; and land, property and other productive resources. The World Survey also points to the inter-linkages between different types of economic and financial resources.

The publication is presented to the Second Committee of the General Assembly at five-yearly intervals. The 1999 World Survey focused on globalization, gender and work and the 2004 World Survey addressed women and international migration.

For more information: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/flagship.htm

Implementing the Millennium Development Goals: Health Inequality and the Role of Global Health PartnershipsImplementing the Millennium Development Goals: Health Inequality and the Role of Global Health Partnerships

This publication examines the extent of health inequalities within and between countries and analyses ways in which global health partnerships (GHPs) – an innovative and important vehicle for international cooperation – can alleviate health inequality so as to support developing countries in achieving internationally agreed goals in health, including the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

New approaches for international cooperation such as GHPs have contributed to the strides developing countries have made in achieving health-related MDGs, health inequalities still persist between rich and poor countries and within countries among different socio-economic, ethnic, racial and cultural groups. Tackling health inequalities requires an integrated approach, that is to say giving priority to primary health care and the strengthening of the institutional and technical capacities of the health system in recipient countries.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/policy/devplan/cdppublications/publications.htm .

Technical Report on Methods of Census Data Capture

This report has been prepared to help countries in planning their next population and housing census. It is intended to give the reader an insight into the various technical options available for data capture and how they apply to each method. It should be pointed out that the methods are not necessarily totally independent of one another as some countries have successfully used combinations of these methods. The choice of what method(s) to use is dependant to a large degree on the circumstances and needs of each country.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/census2010.htm http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/sources/census/census3.htm


Statistical compilations

2006 Energy Statistics Yearbook2006 Energy Statistics Yearbook

The 2006 Energy Statistics Yearbook is the fiftieth issue in a series of annual compilations of energy statistics summarizing world energy trends. Annual data for 215 countries and areas are presented for the period from 2003 to 2006 on the production, trade and consumption of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels and electricity. Per capita consumption series are provided for all energy products.

The selection of graphs presented shows historic trends and/or changes in the composition of the production and/or consumption of major energy products. The Energy Statistics Yearbook contains 38 tables. Special tables of interest include: international trade of coal, crude petroleum and natural gas by partner countries; selected statistics for renewables and wastes; refinery distillation capacity and throughput; and energy reserves and resources.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/pubs/gesgrid.asp?id=410

Global Consultation of the Draft International Recommendations for Water Statistics

The latest draft of the International Recommendations for Water Statistics (IRWS) has been released for global consultation. The IRWS is designed to assist countries in the establishment and strengthening of an information system for water in support of integrated water resources management.

In particular, the draft IRWS supports the collection, compilation and dissemination of internationally comparable water statistics in countries; supports the implementation of System of Environmental and Economic Accounts for Water (SEEAW); and provides the necessary information for deriving coherent and consistent indicators over time and across countries. The IRWS presents a list of recommended and supplementary data items covering a broad range of water statistics needed to populate the standard tables of the SEEAW and to meet other user demands.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/envaccounting/irws/gc.asp

2006 Industrial Commodity Statistics Yearbook (PDF)

The 2006 Industrial Commodity Statistics Yearbook is the fortieth in a series of annual compilations of statistics on world industry designed to meet both the general demand for information of this kind and the special requirements of the United Nations and related international bodies.

The present Yearbook contains data in physical quantities, as well as in monetary value of production. It is therefore organized in two volumes, namely Volume I: Physical Quantity Data and Volume II: Monetary Value Data.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/industry/icsy_intro.asp


Meeting records

Report of the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on DevelopmentReport of the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development

This report includes information on resolutions adopted by the Conference, held in New York from 24-30 June 2009, attendance and organization of work, general debate interactive round-tables, report of the Credentials Committee, adoption of the outcome document and of the report of the Conference. Annexes include list of documents and summaries of round-table discussions.

For more information: https://unp.un.org/Details.aspx?pid=19723


Working papers

The Bottom of the Pyramid Strategy for Reducing Poverty: A Failed Promise

The movement emphasizing free markets to reduce poverty has found strong expression in the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ approach in recent years. It views the poor as “resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value-conscious consumers”. This romanticized view of the poor harms the poor in two ways. First, it results in too little emphasis on legal, regulatory and social mechanisms to protect the poor who are vulnerable consumers. Second, it overemphasizes microcredit and underemphasizes fostering modern enterprises that would provide employment opportunities for the poor. More importantly, it grossly underemphasizes the critical role and responsibility of the state in poverty reduction.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/
To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2009/wp80_2009.pdf

Insurance, Credit and Safety Nets for the Poor in a World of Risk

This paper asks how insurance can be more effectively delivered to the poor, and what its role should be relative to other microfinance programmes, safety nets and informal insurance systems. We focus on the various interactions, including how insurance may crowd out credit and informal insurance, and implications for the design of insurance schemes. We argue that well-designed insurance schemes, building on existing informal systems, and focusing on catastrophic and serious covariate risks, could offer protection against risk and contribute to poverty reduction beyond the combined impact of microcredit programmes, safety nets and existing informal mutual support systems.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/
To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2009/wp81_2009.pdf

Can Microfinance Reduce Economic Insecurity and Poverty? By How Much and How?

The paper suggests that, rather than through its narrow, direct financial impact, microfinance may prove to be more potent in reducing insecurity and poverty through its indirect, broader impact conducing to a more egalitarian initial endowment distribution that is necessary for the “take-off” of an equitable growth process. The paper begins by examining the distinctive roles of micro credit, micro savings, and micro insurance programs in dealing with poverty and insecurity, and highlights the complementariness that exists among these programs and how this complementariness can be used to overcome the weaknesses of the individual programs.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/
To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2009/wp82_2009.pdf

Assessing the insurance role of microsavings

The paper contends that more attention should be paid to micro savings in view of multiple ways in which it can help poor to deal with economic insecurity. The paper presents information to show that while microsaving programs have spread, their full potential is far from being realized. It presents a detailed analysis on the basis of data from a selection of micro savings programs to show how savings help the poor to smooth consumption and undertake investment. The paper urges for a strong campaign to popularise micro saving programs.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/
To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2009/wp83_2009.pdf

Assessing the success of microinsurance programmes in meeting the insurance needs of the poor

The paper reviews attempts to provide insurance against risks afflicting the poorest. It presents empirical evidence on the impact of different types of microinsurance, and recommends the idea of ‘quasi-insurance’—the provision of insurance functions through a non-insurance route—where institutional or regulatory constraints prevent insurance proper from being offered. The paper argues that microinsurance so far has been somewhat supply-driven rather than driven by effective demand, especially from the poorest, and thus the insurance products which would benefit the poorest are still at a limited stage of development. Institutional innovations and new insurance products therefore deserve promotion.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/
To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2009/wp84_2009.pdf

Insurance against Losses from Natural Disasters in Developing Countries

This paper examines the recent experience with insurance and other risk-financing instruments in developing countries in order to gain insights into their effectiveness in reducing economic insecurity. Insurance and other risk financing strategies are viewed as efforts to recover from negative income shocks through risk pooling and transfer. Specific examples of public-private insurance programs for households, business-firms, and governments are described, highlighting their limitations, especially in light of the post-Katrina experience in the United States. It examines arguments both in support of and in opposition to donor and public involvement in provision of subsidized insurance in developing countries.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/
To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2009/wp85_2009.pdf