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Workshop on International Merchandise Trade Statistics

UN Photo/Jerry Frank

Economic globalization, advancement in technology and the emergence of Big Data present many new challenges and opportunities for International Trade statistics. In order to meet these challenges and measure Trade more accurately, new recommendations for International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) were adopted by all United Nations Member States through the UN Statistical Commission in 2010 (called IMTS 2010). Countries have been implementing the elements of these new recommendations, notably trade by mode of transport, trade by country of consignment, trade by inward and outward processing, reporting of customs procedure codes, and imports valuation on a Free On Board (FOB) basis.

In addition to these methodological challenges, the expectation and demand of Trade statistics users have increased. Data producers are now expected to offer modern dissemination platforms, relevant analyses and informative visualizations. Trade data producers are also encouraged to implement international standards for Data Exchange (SDMX) and share their data to be published in the global repository of official international trade statistics, the UN Comtrade database maintained by the UN Statistics Division.

Finally, in order to support the sustainable development agenda, Trade statistics need to be properly understood in conjunction with other Economic statistics and macro-economic frameworks, such as National Accounts statistics (see the System of National Accounts 2008), Balance of Payments statistics (see BPM6), and statistics of the International Trade in Services (see MSITS 2010). Linking Trade statistics with Business statistics, and alignment across all Economic statistics are essential for measuring the Global Value Chain and for informing policy. The 2012 Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics are useful in this regard.

The workshop is organized jointly by African Union Commission (AUC) and UN DESA and will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24 to 28 June 2019.

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Workshop on Measuring Population Ageing and Assessing its Economic and Fiscal Consequences

Integrating population and development strategies into planning and decision-making is a key objective of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). It is also an important area of work of the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in support of Member States.

Achievement of an inclusive economic development that leaves no one behind requires good investment and good planning. Because achieving the SDGs by 2030 also means insuring their sustainability beyond 2030, training in the use of long-run population, economic, and fiscal forecasts is an important component of capacity development as envisioned by Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.

In this context, the Population Division of UN DESA and ESCAP are organizing the Asia-Pacific Workshop on Measuring Population Ageing and Assessing its Economic and Fiscal Consequences, to be held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok from 24 to 27 June 2019.

The Workshop recognizes that population ageing will be one of the most important forces shaping the outcome of social and economic policy in the coming decades in the Asian and Pacific region, yet it is not always explicitly included in policy discussions. Because its influence is difficult to discern in the short-run, a myopic policy focus inevitably results in delays in addressing mounting challenges such as population ageing, climate change, non-communicable disease and environmental degradation.

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The United Nations Public Service Awards is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service.

The UN Public Service Day intends to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community; highlight the contribution of public service in the development process; recognize the work of public servants, and encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector. Since the first Awards Ceremony in 2003, the United Nations has received an increasing number of submissions from all around the world.

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Workshop on Reporting on Global Forest Goals and targets of the UN Strategic Plan on Forests 2030

UN Photo/Kibae Park

UN DESA in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is organising a three-day workshop in Rome on 14-16 November, on reporting on progress made towards the achievement of the Global Forests Goals (GFGs) and targets of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2030 (UNSPF). The workshop will provide an opportunity to review and clarify terms used in the Global Forest Goals and targets and develop explanatory notes for national reporting to the Forum.

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Workshop on Environment Statistics and Information for Sustainable Development in the Arab Region

UN DESA’s Statistics Division, in collaboration with the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the United Nations Environment Programme, and the European Environment Agency (EEA) is organizing a Workshop on Environment Statistics and Information for Sustainable Development in the Arab Region. The Workshop will be held from 12 to 16 November 2018 at the ESCWA Headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon and will gather participants from the National Statistical Offices (NSOs) and Ministries of Environment of 19 countries of the Arab region. Several other international and inter-governmental organizations are expected to participate in the Workshop, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations University (UNU), the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), and the European Topic Centre for Inland, Coastal and Marine Water (ETC/ICM).

The Workshop is part of a series of events of DESA/SD’s regular programme of technical cooperation to support the implementation of the Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES 2013) in member states. It follows the United Nations Statistical Commission’s endorsement in 2013 of the revised FDES 2013 as the framework for strengthening environment statistics programmes in countries. The Workshop will focus on, inter alia, building national capacities for the implementation of the FDES 2013 and introduce participants to the Environment Statistics Self-Assessment Tool (ESSAT). The Workshop will also provide training on selected topics of environment statistics, in particular on waste and water statistics, as well on environmentally-related SDG indicators. Climate change statistics will also be addressed at the Workshop given the mandate from the 47th session of the Statistical Commission that DESA/SD develop a global set of climate change statistics and indicators.

The Workshop aims at providing statisticians from NSOs and experts from Ministries of Environment (or equivalent institutions) in the region with detailed knowledge and understanding of approaches to environment statistics, thus allowing them to identify gaps and deficiencies in environmental data, and contribute to the production of regular, accurate and reliable environment statistics that can allow developing environmental indicators and accounts relevant to policy making and SDGs monitoring. The Workshop content is very relevant to the SDGs since many of the environment statistics to be discussed are necessary for the measurement of countries’ progress toward achieving the Goals. The implementation of the FDES 2013 will help countries address the increasing demand for integrated information in support of integrated policies in the follow-up to Rio+20 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through the strengthening of environmental statistics and indicators.

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New tool smooths path out of least developed country category

As many as 14 of the world’s 47 least developed countries (LDCs) may leave this category in the coming years thanks to their rapid economic and human development. While certainly a cause for celebration, graduation also entails the loss of certain privileges. A new tool, to premiere on 26 October in Geneva, will help governments better understand and adapt to these implications.

Gradjet, a new online platform developed by the UN DESA-hosted Committee for Development Policy (CDP) Secretariat, will help officials in LDCs understand what it means to leave the LDC category and to plan a course for the future.

“The purpose of this exciting new tool is to make LDC graduation as smooth and painless as possible,” said Roland Mollerus, Chief of the UN CDP Secretariat. “Its innovative format has allowed us to gather all the relevant information and contacts in one place, while customizing it for each individual country. I am convinced that Gradjet will benefit the graduating countries in the years ahead,” he added.

Its innovative format has allowed us to gather all the relevant information and contacts in one place, while customizing it for each individual country. I am convinced that Gradjet will benefit the graduating countries in the years ahead.

While some expect the graduation to boost their international position and attract investments, they are also concerned about their ability to navigate the post‑LDC landscape. Their main challenge will be adapting to the loss of benefits reserved for least developed countries, such as trade preferences, a certain proportion of official development assistance, dedicated climate financing, travel assistance and smaller contributions to the UN budget.

With valuable contacts, a wealth of information and suggestions for actions all in one place, Gradjet will help LDCs at every step of the process. Tailored to each country, the platform will show what graduation means in their specific context and what they can expect before, during and after leaving the LDC category. A drop-down menu allows Gradjet users to see information relevant to each country, including a snapshot of its LDC status and where it stands in the graduation process. A series of activities is suggested for each stage of graduation, and users are directed to relevant UN contacts if they need help. They can also access the wealth of statistical sources provided by the website.

An innovative feature known as the suitcase allows designated users to log in, save information, and download it when needed. For example, a government officer can quickly and easily create a policy brief for her minister by saving everything from the country snapshot, to an overview of the expected international support implications, to the export composition and advice on how to consult stakeholders. This information can be downloaded as a Word document and edited as required.

A series of videos has been created specifically for Gradjet, including explainers on the LDC category, the Committee for Development Policy, and expert views.

The tool was developed in a series of consultative meetings with a select working group of concerned countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Lesotho, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. In addition to UN DESA, other UN entities and international organizations contributed to the platform, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN OHRLLS), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The website, endorsed by the new United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on LDC graduation and smooth transition, represents a strong example of inter-agency collaboration on an important goal – and one which is central to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.