Volume 14, No.4 - April 2010

Global dialogue on development

Shifting changes in mortality and development

43rd session of the Commission on Population and Development will discuss the theme of “Health, Morbidity, Mortality and Development” from 12-14 April in New York

The Population Commission was established by the Economic and Social Council and later it was decided that the Council and the Commission should constitute a three-tiered intergovernmental mechanism. The Commission is composed of forty-seven Member States elected by the Economic and Social Council for a period of four years on the basis of geographic distribution. Representatives usually have a relevant background in population and development. The Commission met typically every two or three years until 1994, after which it has met once a year.

This year’s session will cover a broad range of issues including the major shifts in mortality since 1950, causes of death, health and development, the need for health workers, prevention and treatment of communicable diseases and maternal conditions, preventing injuries and the role of primary health care.

The shifting burden of disease from communicable to non-communicable diseases and the interrelations between health and development are also going to be part of the discussion. The Population Programme also emphasizes on improved maternal health and reduced morbidity and mortality.

It focuses on activities related to maternal and newborn care, investing in family planning and midwifery, enhancing reproductive health commodity security, preventing and treating obstetric fistula, abandoning the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting, eliminating gender-based violence, addressing adolescent pregnancy and child marriage, preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, comprehensive condom programming to prevent unintended pregnancy and HIV infection and providing reproductive health services in emergency situations.

It points out that reproductive ill health impacts mortality and accounts for a large share of the global burden of disease, particularly among women and children. The most cost-effective interventions to reduce maternal mortality are family planning, skilled birth attendants during delivery and emergency obstetric care.

Items on the agenda for the Session include actions in follow-up to the recommendations of the International Conference, general debate on national experience in population matters, programme implementation and future programme of work of the Secretariat in the field of population, contribution of population and development issues to the theme of the annual ministerial review in 2010 and adoption of the report of the Commission on its forty-third session.

More information on 43rd session of the Commission on Population and Development.

Indigenous peoples culture, development and identity

9th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) with the theme “Indigenous peoples: development with culture and identity; articles 3 and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” will take place between 19-30 April in New York.

The UNPFII meets for 10 days each year and is high-level advisory body that deals with indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights.

In addition to these six areas, each session has thematically focused on a specific issue. During the Forum’s first six sessions, a specific theme was discussed each year. Since the sixth session, the forum has decided on a bi-annual working method of one year of policy discussion and the second year dealing with implementation. The implementation sessions do not have a theme.

The Provisional Agenda of the upcoming session will include a discussion on the special theme for this year, the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and a half-day discussion on North America.

This year’s session will also focus on a comprehensive dialogue with six United Nations agencies and funds, future work of the Permanent Forum including issues of the Economic and Social Council and emerging issues, a draft agenda for the 10th session of the Permanent Forum and adoption of the report of the Permanent Forum on its 9th session.

More information on United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

ECOSOC is half-way through preparing its annual session

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will meet on 22 and 27 April to address gender equality, empowerment of women and development cooperation

In preparation for the substantive session in July this year, the Council will organize a series of meetings. The first one is scheduled for 22 April from 10:00 – 1:00 p.m., which is being organized by FAO and IFAD, in collaboration with WFP, the World Bank, UNIFEM, Heifer International, WOCAN, and the Hunger Project. It will address the topic “Who feeds the World in 2010 and Beyond: Rural women as Agents of Change and Champions of Global Food Security”.

The objective of the session is to increase awareness and understanding of the critical role of rural women in agricultural development and food security for the achievements of IADGs, in particular the MDGs.

In addition, it is expected that the meeting will generate a critical mass for action and collaboration through broader engagement and dialogue on rural women’s economic and social roles among various stakeholders (governments, UN agencies, civil society, private sector, foundations) and strengthen ECOSOC’s role as a strategic and pro-active intergovernmental forum at the forefront of global policy making.

The meeting will also serve to highlight areas for further work with respect to the Council’s Ministerial Declaration of 2003 on Rural Development.

The second meeting, which will take place on 22 April, from 3 to 6 p.m. and serve as a preparatory event for the Development Cooperation Forum. DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang will open the meeting, which will explore the role of aid in mitigating the impact of the financial and economic crisis on achieving national development goals and the MDGs.

It will initiate a multi-stakeholder dialogue on questions such as decisions on aid allocations in the context of multiple crises, the possible cost of marginalizing “aid orphans” in favor of “aid darlings”, and the need for a renewed firm commitment by donors to restore stability and prosperity in the global economy. Key policy messages and good practices emanating from this discussion will serve to inform the consultative process and analytical preparations for the 2010 DCF and beyond.

The third meeting, in preparation for the Annual Ministerial Review, on the theme of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women will take place on 27 April, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meeting will bring together the Presidents of the ECOSOC and the Security Council and the Chairpersons of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Commission on the Status of Women to discuss “Mainstreaming a gender perspective in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations”.

The session will examine how the United Nations as a whole is addressing women’s unique needs in conflict and post-conflict situations. The debate will focus on how the respective recommendations, mandates and strategies are being implemented, what the remaining gaps and challenges are, and how they should be addressed in an integrated manner.

More information on the The Economic and Social Council

Building on Monterrey and Doha to achieve the MDGs

Special High-level Meeting of ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods institutions (BWI), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was held on 18-19 March in New York

In accordance with ECOSOC resolution 2009/30, this year’s meeting was held 5 weeks before the BWI Spring Meetings in April, in contrast to previous years, when ECOSOC meetings were usually held immediately following those of the BWIs. The historically one-day meeting was also extended to two days this year and organized using innovative modalities in the form of three informal interactive debates.

Following presentations on behalf of the heads of the intergovernmental bodies of the relevant institutions (Development Committee, IMFC, Trade and Development Board and WTO), each debate sought to promote, through strict time management, an open and constructive exchange of views and experiences among various stakeholders of the FfD process.

Despite the changed timing, an unprecedented number of 26 Executive Directors, Alternates and Advisors from the World Bank and IMF participated actively in the discussions and expressed commitment to promoting closer relations between their organizations and ECOSOC.

The Dean of the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank extended an invitation to the President of ECOSOC to present the results of this meeting to the Development Committee of the BWIs next April, which was accepted by the President. This is an important step towards increasing relevance and visibility of ECOSOC as well as enhancing UN-BWI cooperation at the intergovernmental level. It was also emphasized that a regular ongoing dialogue between the BWIs and ECOSOC was needed.

The overall theme of the meeting was “Building on Monterrey and Doha: achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals”. The three interactive thematic debates focused on: 1) “Mobilizing domestic and international resources to fund existing and emerging MDG implementation gaps”; 2) “Supporting rehabilitation, recovery and development efforts of developing countries with special needs and those facing humanitarian emergency situations”; and 3) “Enhancing coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development”. Each debate featured two senior staff of the World Bank, UNCTAD and DESA presenting preview of their respective flagship publications, followed by an interactive discussion.

The main substantive points of the discussion were summarized by the President of ECOSOC in his concluding remarks. The President’s summary will be issued at later date and will be available at the same website.

More information on the Special High-level Meeting

Providing important substantive input to the MDG Summit in September

High-level Dialogue of the General Assembly on Financing for Development was held on 23-24 March in New York on the overall theme “The Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration on Financing for Development: status of implementation and tasks ahead”.

The President of the General Assembly opened the meeting, followed by the opening address by the Secretary-General. Then, the messages on behalf of the heads of the major institutional stakeholders were delivered by: Mr. Otaviano Canuto, Vice President and Head of Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network of the World Bank; 2) Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator of UNDP; 3) Mr. Petko Draganov, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD; and 4) Mr. Shishir Priyadarshi, Director of the Development Division of WTO. During three plenary meetings on 23 March (morning and afternoon) and 24 March (morning), the heads of more than 70 delegations delivered formal statements.

On the second day, three multi-stakeholder round tables (morning) and an interactive dialogue (afternoon) were held as follows: RT1 on “The reform of the international monetary and financial system and its implications for development”; RT2 on “The impact of the current financial and economic crisis on foreign direct investment and other private flows, external debt and international trade”; RT3 on “The role of financial and technical development cooperation, including innovative sources of development finance, in leveraging the mobilization of domestic and international financial resources for development”; and Informal Interactive Dialogue on “The link between financing for development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals: the road to the 2010 high-level event”. Each of the four informal meetings, chaired by a Minister or Vice-Minister, featured presentations by 2-3 keynote speakers, followed by an interactive discussion.

Due to rescheduling of the meeting, participation at the ministerial level suffered. Nevertheless, one Prime Minister (Tajikistan), two ministers (Samoa and United Kingdom) and 6 vice-ministers (Egypt, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, United States and Venezuela) participated.

The main substantive points of the discussion were summarized by the President of the General Assembly in his concluding remarks and are available on the FfD website. The President’s summary will be issued at later date and will be available at the same website.

Overall, this fourth High-level Dialogue on FfD demonstrated a robust and inclusive intergovernmental process at work towards realizing international commitments on financing for development and meeting the MDGs. It was generally recognized that the Dialogue largely met its objective to provide an important substantive input to the preparations for the September Summit on the MDGs and to make its outcome more meaningful and action-oriented.

More information on High-level Dialogue of the General Assembly on Financing for Development.