Technical reports

Launch on 7 June of the World Economic Situation and Prospects, Mid-2012


The latest report shows that despite some signs of improvement, the world economic situation and prospects continue to be challenging. After a slowdown in 2011, global economic growth will likely remain moderate in 2012, with most regions expanding at a below-potential pace. Due to restrained growth, the jobs crisis continues, with global unemployment still above its pre-crisis level and unemployment in the euro area rising rapidly.

The euro area debt crisis remains the biggest threat to the world economy. A worsening of the crisis would likely be associated with serious turmoil on financial markets and a sharp rise in global risk aversion, leading to a decrease in economic activity in developed countries, which would impact upon developing countries and economies in transition. 

A further sharp rise in global energy prices may also have a negative impact upon global growth. National and international concerted policies should be put in place on many issues to break out of the vicious cycle of deleveraging, rising unemployment, fiscal austerity and financial sector fragility in developed economies. Breaking this cycle requires policy shifts away from fiscal austerity and towards more counter-cyclical fiscal stances oriented to job creation, which are better coordinated across the major economies and concentrated with continued expansionary monetary policies in developed countries, financial sector reforms and improved development assistance for low-income countries. 

For more information: 

Statistical compilations 


Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online 

The Monthly Bulletin of Statistics has been released and presents current economic and social statistics for more than 200 countries and territories around the world.  The Bulletin contains over 50 tables of monthly and/or bimonthly, quarterly and annual data on a variety of subjects showing important economic trends and developments, including population, prices, employment and earnings, energy, manufacturing, transport, construction, international merchandise trade and finance.

Vol. LXVI – No. 4, April 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: Retail price indices relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials, 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:

System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for WaterST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/100


The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water, commonly referred to as SEEA-Water, is a framework for the organization of physical and economic information in support of water policy design and evaluation. The SEEA-Water is a subsystem of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), which provides the internationally agreed framework for measuring the interactions between the economy and the environment in line with the concepts, definitions and classifications of the System of National Accounts.

After a thorough global consultation process, the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) adopted the SEEA-Water. Along with its adoption, the UNSC also encouraged its implementation by the Member States.

The UNSC is a functional Commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations that brings together the Chief Statisticians from the Member States. As such, the UNSC is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities, especially in setting statistical methodological standards and their implementation at the national and international level. 

National Accounts Statistics: Analysis of Main Aggregates, 2010 ST/ESA/STAT/SER.X/47


The publication is the forty-first issue of this publication and includes a summary of the main national accounting aggregates based on official national accounts data from more than 200 countries and areas, covering 1970 through to 2010.

This issue also includes a section on the estimation methods used for compiling data and is prepared by the Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations in cooperation with national statistical offices. Tables include analysis of data on gross domestic product (GDP) by different structural components. They are classified into:
1) analysis of the level of total and per capita GDP;
2) analysis of the percentage shares of GDP by type of expenditure and gross value added by kind of economic activity;
3) analysis of economic development expressed in term of real growth of GDP and its components by type of expenditure and gross value added by kind of economic activity, and
4) analysis of price development reflected by implicit price deflators of GDP.

National Accounts Statistics: Main Aggregates and Detailed Tables, 2010, Part I, Part II, Part III, IV and Part V


The publication contains detailed official national accounts estimates for 198 countries or areas of the World from 1999 to 2010. It is a valuable source of information on the state and structure of economies worldwide. The estimates for each country or area are presented in separate chapters and each country chapter also contains a write-up on the methodology and data sources used to compile the estimates. A summary of the SNA conceptual framework, classifications, definitions, is also included in the publication.

The publication contains statistics on gross domestic product by expenditure at current and constant prices and the relations among product, income, saving and net lending; value added by kind of activity at current and constant prices, and output, gross value added and fixed assets by industry; classification of consumption expenditure of general government, households, and non-profit institutions serving households according to purpose; production account through the financial account for the institutional sectors; and cross classification of gross value added by industry and institutional sector. 

The time-series data can also be downloaded from

Populations and Vital Statistics Report, Series A Volume LXIV


The Population and Vital Statistics Report is now available in print. The report includes data for countries or areas based upon population size (total, male, and female) from the latest available census, and the number and rate of vital events (live births, deaths, and infant deaths) provided by national statistical authorities to the Demographic Yearbook of the Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The publication also includes estimated mid-year population by major area and region for 2009 and 2010 which was prepared by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Outreach material


Rio+20 Newsletter: Making it Happen 

Volume 3, Issue 5 of the ‘Rio+20: Making it Happen’ newsletter includes  two feature articles entitled ‘Rio+20 Partnerships Forum: Seeking actions to build-up further cooperation’ and ‘Five more days to negotiate the Outcome Document: 29 May to 2 June’ alongside information on registration for Rio+20, how to join the Rio+20 Dialogues, voluntary commitments, and much more. 

For more information:

Enable Newsletter 

The March issue of the ‘ENABLE’ newsletter is now available. ENABLE is prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities (SCRPD) within UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development, with input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes, and civil society. 

View full issue at:

United Nations Youth Flash 

The April issue of ‘United Nations Youth Flash’ is now available. UN Youth Flash is a service of the UN Programme on Youth to help keep the public informed about the work of the UN on youth issues. It is prepared with input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes, and from youth organizations all over the world. 

View full issue at:

Working papers


Financial sector compensation and excess risk-taking—a consideration of the issues and policy lessons 

This working paper assesses the ways in which the structure and scale of financial sector compensation can generate incentives for excess risk taking. 

On balance, the asymmetries and skewed pay-off systems within the structure of financial sector compensation are widely believed to generate incentives for excess risk-taking.  While illustrating this proposition with recent examples, the paper also argues that pay structures and scales may have interacted to increase the incentives for risk-taking. The increase in financial sector pay – especially variable pay – witnessed in major financial centres since the 1980s, likely served to strengthen their asymmetrical nature by increasing the size of gains relative to losses.  Thus, pay structures and magnitudes need to be viewed together. 

To download:

Financing small-scale infrastructure investments in developing countries 

This working paper proposes a new approach for financing a frequently-neglected area in economic development, namely that of small-scale infrastructure. Small-scale infrastructure can be thought of as the “last mile” of infrastructure projects. While there is a need for more air and seaports, railroads and highways, in developing countries, these alone do not allow people and goods to reach their final destinations. Local feeder roads are needed to connect homes, farms and factories to the national transportation system. Likewise small crop bulking stations are needed to facilitate the storage of crops before they are sent to larger warehouses and processing facilities. Local markets are needed to provide the end of the retail distribution system. Small-scale power generators are needed to fill the gaps remaining in the national power grid. Small-scale processing facilities such as a powered hammer mills are needed to provide the first stage of processing for industrial value chains.

In most developing countries there is a shortage of long-term, local-currency financing for small-scale infrastructure projects at the local level. This working paper proposes the use of project finance as a means to attract financing from domestic banks and institutional investors for small-scale projects. Donors can act as a catalyst by providing technical assistance to develop projects and credit enhancement to help overcome common challenges and attract commercial financing.” 

To download:

Mobile applications 


UN CountryStats app: for iPhones and iPads (Download free of charge) 

Adapted from the print version of the World Statistics Pocketbook, the UN CountryStats app for iPhones and iPads is available for download free of charge from the App store. Data on various key economic, social and environmental indicators for 216 countries and areas can be viewed in table format for each individual country, and comparisons of up to three countries at a time can be made, by indicator, and displayed as bar graphs. 

For more information:



ECOSOC new website


The Economic and Social Council launched a new website with multimedia content, graphics and useful resources about ECOSOC upcoming events.

To browse:

Launch of the Integrated Implementation Framework website 

The Secretary-General will launch the website of the Integrated Implementation Framework (IIF): ‘Tracking Support for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)’ at an informal meeting of the General Assembly on 6 June 2012 at 10:00AM in Conference Room 4 (NLB). 

As a follow-up to the High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 2010 and as announced by the Secretary-General at the G20 Leaders’ Session on Development in November 2010, the Secretary-General proposed an initiative to better track the commitments made in support of the MDGs. The IIF was endorsed by the United Nations System Chief Executive’s Board (CEB) and is currently being developed as a web-based tool. It will provide detailed information regarding the progress on commitments made at international forums and elsewhere towards the achievement of the MDGs. It will serve as a one-stop resource for policymakers, academics, researchers and civil society interested in what governments and the international community have done and are doing in support of the achievement of the MDGs by 2015. With less than three years left before the target year, the site will provide a reality check for all those involved and will hopefully assist in identifying remaining gaps. 

The MDG Gap Task Force, which is chaired by DESA and UNDP and composed of agencies from the entire UN system and the OECD, has made significant progress in setting up the IIF in close collaboration with OICT.