Forests for People

On 9 February, DESA’s UN Forum on Forests Secretariat launched the Forests for People book as part of the special event marking the closing of the International Year of Forests 2011. It celebrates the interconnections between people and forests and promotes greater understanding of their economic, environmental and social values. The 300-page fully illustrated publication is a collaborative effort between the UNFF Secretariat and Tudor Rose publishing.

The book includes articles from 75 authors from 35 countries, showcasing best practices in sustainable forest management from governments, members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and stakeholders at the local, national and regional levels.

Forests for People features statements from Ministers, and the heads of Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and other international organizations. Their commentaries draw upon experiences around the world, reflecting how people are changing their interaction with forests to improve their sustainability. The book also features a foreword by Ms. Jan L. McAlpine, Director of the UNFF Secretariat, who also authored an article highlighting activities conducted during the International Year of Forests 2011 and its legacy. The informative publication features photos and graphics which help illustrate the multiple values of forests and present a snapshot of sustainable forest management in action.

Tudor Rose is a professional publishing and marketing company based in London, UK, that has collaborated on a variety of publications for the United Nations since 1999, including amongst others UNESCO, UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction and UN International Year of Freshwater.

For more information:
International Year of Forests 2011

Limited copies of the book are available upon request by contacting the UNFF Secretariat at

Technical reports

Disability and the Millennium Development Goals

Released in December 2011, the report Disability and the Millennium Development Goals: A Review of the MDG Process and Strategies for Inclusion of Disability Issues in Millennium Development Goal Efforts, examines the MDGs and its relation to disability issues with a view to impact the post-2015 development agenda.

The MDGs represent a concerted effort to address global poverty. Yet there is a striking gap in the current MDGs, where persons with disabilities – the 15 per cent of the global population, who live with one or more physical, sensory, intellectual or mental health impairments – are not mentioned in any of the 8 Goals or its 21 targets and indicators, nor in the Millennium Declaration, itself.

For more information: UN Enable

Global Survey of ICT in Parliaments 2012

In 2008 and 2010, UN DESA, through the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, jointly published the first and second edition of the World e-Parliament Report. Praised by many parliaments, organizations and research centres, these reports have helped to advance a shared knowledge base among the parliaments of the world, to guide parliaments in modernizing their processes and to promote international debate on ICT in Parliament.

The recommendations and findings presented in the World e-Parliament Reports were based on the results of surveys conducted by the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament. The first survey in 2007 received responses from 105 parliamentary assemblies. In 2009, the number of responses reached 134.

In preparation for the World e-Parliament Report 2012, the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament is conducting a new survey which will allow to measure progress of e-parliament including the changes due to recent technological developments. The results of the survey will be of significant benefit to the world community of parliaments, which is increasingly using technology to enhance transparency and reach out to the public at large.

For more information:
Global Survey of ICT in Parliaments

World e-Parliament Reports

Statistical compilations

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online

The Monthly Bulletin of Statistics 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 bimonthly, quarterly and annual 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. LXVI – No. 1, January 2012

This month, the following tables, which are featured in the MBS on a quarterly or bimonthly basis, are presented along with the regular recurrent monthly tables: Civil aviation traffic: passenger-km and cargo net ton-km; Total exports and imports by countries or areas: volume, unit value, terms of trade and purchasing power of exports, in US dollars.

For more information: Monthly Bulletin of Statistics Online

Demographic Yearbook 2009-2010

The Demographic Yearbook 2009-2010 is the sixty-first in a series published by the United Nations since 1948. It contains tables including a world summary of selected demographic statistics, statistics on the size, distribution and trends in national populations, fertility, foetal mortality, infant and maternal mortality, general mortality, nuptiality and divorce. Data are shown by urban/rural residence, as available. In addition, the volume provides Technical Notes, a synoptic table, a historical index and a listing of the issues of the Demographic Yearbook published to date.

The Demographic Yearbook 2009-2010 presents demographic statistics for two reference years: 2009 and 2010 in an effort to make it as up to date as possible. Consequently, for this issue the annual questionnaires were modified and extra worksheets were added, so that data for the latest two available reference years could be reported by the National Statistical Offices.

To accommodate the presentation of the statistics for two reference years, in population and vital statistics tables presenting time series, the available data for reference years 2009 and 2010 are presented side by side. As for the detailed population and vital statistics, two sets of tables, one referring to 2009 and the other referring to 2010, are displayed one after the other.

For more information: Publications of UN DESA’s Statistics Division

Publications in other languages

The following publication has been translated into Arabic:

Measuring the Economically Active in Population Censuses: A Handbook ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/102

For more information: Publications of UN DESA’s Statistics Division

Publications on international migration

The following publications are released by the Population Division of DESA:

Meeting records

Report of the Seminar on “Challenges and Opportunities of Participatory Governance in North African countries: Engaging Citizens and their Organizations in Public Development Affairs through Adequate Institutions”

The report on the seminar held on 20-21 October in Rabat, Morocco, is being released and it aims at disseminating information assisting governments, civil society and the private sector to further reflect on effective and viable participatory approaches and institutions that may contribute to further foster development in North Africa.

The seminar was organized by UN DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) in collaboration with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), with the support of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The report highlights the need for participatory governance as a key concept with specific and high value for the citizens and States of the North African region. Its prerequisites include: access to information and enhanced transparency; interactive processes of public administration to enhance participatory democracy; institutionalization of social accountability; fight against corruption; and capacity building for governments and citizens on interactive processes. The report also emphasizes the need for a greater awareness of the potential of ICT to spearhead a culture of openness, transparency and stronger citizen engagement.

The report finally reflects participants’ call to the United Nation to support participatory approaches, support and accompany the transition phase in North Africa.

For more information: DPADM seminar report

Documentation for the forty-fifth Commission on Population and Development

Documentation for the forty-fifth Commission on Population and Development is now available on the CPD website (including advance, unedited versions).

For more information:
Documentation for the forty-fifth Commission on Population

Outreach material

Rio+20 Newsletter Focuses on Jobs

On 14 February, the UNCSD newsletter Rio+20: Making It Happen released a special issue focusing on green and decent jobs, one of the seven emerging issues identified in the zero draft of the Rio+20 outcome document. Today nearly 200 million people are unemployed, however 1.3 billion do not earn enough to lift themselves and their dependents out of poverty. As job creation remains a vital part of economic recovery, green and decent jobs can play a critical role in protecting the environment, promoting social inclusion and aiding in a transition to a low-carbon economy. Also in this issue: important deadlines, the launch of the 2011 World Youth Report, an e-Discussion with ECOSOC, news from Major Groups, and upcoming events.

For more information: Rio+20: Making it Happen


The latest issue highlights the 2012 regular session of the Committee on NGOs, the ECOSOC E-Discussion on Jobs, the Commission for Social Development, Third Intersessional Meeting of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the 45th session of the Commission on Population and Development, the 11th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the 2012 Resumed Session of the Committee on NGOs and Rio+20 Conference.

The online monthly newsletter provides the most up-to-date information on news and upcoming events of interest to civil society at UN headquarters in New York, Geneva and elsewhere.

For more information: DESA NGO News

Working papers

Super-cycles of commodity prices since the mid-nineteenth century

Decomposition of real commodity prices suggests four super-cycles during 1865-2009 ranging between 30-40 years with amplitudes 20-40 percent higher or lower than the long-run trend. Non-oil price super-cycles follow world GDP, indicating they are essentially demand-determined; causality runs in the opposite direction for oil prices. The mean of each super-cycle of non-oil commodities is generally lower than for the previous cycle, supporting the Prebisch-Singer hypothesis. Tropical agriculture experienced the strongest and steepest long-term downward trend through the twentieth century, followed by non-tropical agriculture and metals, while real oil prices experienced a long-term upward trend, interrupted temporarily during the twentieth century.

To download: DESA Working Paper No. 110

Is the Distribution of Foreign Aid MDG-sensitive?

This paper examines whether Official Development Assistance (ODA) is disproportionately allocated to countries that need to make the most progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We expect MDG-sensitive distribution of foreign aid – or a good donor-recipient match – to be guided by the principles of the Global Partnership for Development. When we apply the MDG-sensitivity criteria for aid allocation, the results indicate that ODA allocation since the Millennium Declaration has become more MDG-sensitive – ODA is given to countries that need it most. While such trends in aid disbursements are commendable, total aid flows, however, fall short of promised levels.

To download: DESA Working Paper No. 111

Discussion papers

Monthly Briefing on the World Economic Situation and Prospects No. 39

This issue highlights several economic trends that developed in 2011. Over the course of the year, the momentum for economic growth faltered progressively, especially in developed countries, where unemployment remained elevated.

For more information:
Monthly Briefing on the World Economic Situation and Prospects No. 39

Monthly Briefing on the World Economic Situation and Prospects No. 40

The February issue covers recent events affecting the world economy such as the Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) by the European Central Bank (ECB). Conditions around the world remain mixed, with slower growth appearing in a variety of countries. Financial markets have regained some stability recently, but credit remains tight in the real sector. Also, EU leaders agreed to a new fiscal compact enhancing fiscal discipline which must be ratified by a two-thirds majority later this year.

For more information:
Monthly Briefing on the World Economic Situation and Prospects No. 40


Global Gender Statistics Programme

The new website of the Global Gender Statistics Programme provides a platform for the dissemination of materials and information in the field of gender statistics. It also provides a forum for the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Gender Statistics to access and share information on their various areas of activity.

To browse: Global Gender Statistics Programme