Newsletter of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs
In its groundbreaking resolution on international migration and
the Committee recommended that the Assembly devote its high-level dialogue
in 2006 to international migration and development. The dialogue -the outcome
of which would be a President's summary- would aim at maximizing the development
benefits of migration. Heretofore the Assembly had been reluctant to go
beyond considering progress reports on this item. The significance of the
resolution goes beyond the high-level dialogue and addresses substantive
aspects of this issue. The decision is significant as it comes at the time
of the establishment of the Global Commission on International Migration
The Committee also launched the preparations for the 2005 review of the Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States, to be hosted by Mauritius. In its resolution A/C.2/58/L.79 it decided that the meeting will be held from 30 August to 3 September 2004 and urged the highest possible level of participation in the meeting.
Other important outcomes include comprehensive resolutions on globalization and interdependence A/C.2/58/L.78, on the Least Developed Countries A/C.2/58/L.68, and on the follow-up to Johannesburg A/C.2/58/L.63. In draft resolution A/C.2/58/L.72 the Committee decided to convene a World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2005 at senior officials' level, in draft resolution A/C.2/58/L.49 proclaimed 2005-2015 the International Decade for Action "Water for Life", adopted a resolution A/C.2/58/L.59 on new and renewable sources of energy, granted to the World Tourism Organization the status of a UN specialized agency in draft resolution A/C.2/58/L.29, and adopted a set of elements for protecting critical information infrastructure, i.e., cyber security in A/C.2/58/L.74.
In an effort to bring new ideas to the Committee's work, DESA OESC organized a number of high-level panel discussions on the topics of Corporate Responsibility; Microcredit, Poverty Eradication and the Empowerment of Women; Partnerships; Trade; and Science and Technology for Development. OESC also organized several keynote addresses including by Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Director-General of ILO Mr. Juan Somavia, Chief Economist of the World Bank Mr. Francois Bourguignon, and the Administrator of UNDP Mr. Mark Malloch Brown. A large number of Permanent Representatives engaged in the debates of the Committee and in its panel discussions. For more information on the Second Committee special events please see http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ecosoc/second.committee.events.htm.
Contact: Sarbuland Khan, Director, Office of ECOSOC Support and Coordination, Tel. (212) 963-4628, Fax (212) 963-1712.
Included among the resolutions of the Second and Third Committee on Social Development were resolutions on:
The General Assembly adopted on 24 December a $3.16 billion budget for 2004-2005 that shows no growth in real terms but rearranges priorities in favour of humanitarian activities and grants Secretary-General Kofi Annan new authority to transfer up to 50 posts among different parts of the budget. The new authorities to the Secretary-General to be able to move posts around, to change the budget and planning process required extensive negotiation to arrive at agreements.
The budget, 75 to 80 per cent of which goes on payroll, is a vehicle for Mr. Annan's reform; it strengthens human rights, humanitarian activities and to some extent the economic and social ones as a follow up on financing activities agreed to at conferences held in Monterrey and Johannesburg.
The budget allows for 64 new posts, including 10 in economic and social affairs. The latter are earmarked for the financing for development, indigenous peoples and migration activities of DESA. A new post of Assistant-Secretary-General in the Department is also included.
The budget also imposes a freeze on recruitment on general service staff to address concerns about staffing levels in the light of new technology and allots an extra $30 million for communications and technology for updating and modernizing operating methods of the Secretariat.
Meeting of the Working Group established by the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with DisabilitiesExpert Group Meetings
United Nations Forum on Forest Ad Hoc Expert Group on Approaches to Mechanisms for Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting (MAR)
of the Working Group established by the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive
and Integral Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and
Dignity of Persons with Disabilities
The Working Group will meet to draft the text of a convention, which
will be presented to the Ad Hoc Committee at its third session in 2004.
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
Contact: Philomena Kintu, Division for the Advancement of Women, tel. (212) 963-3153
Commission for Social Development
The Provisional annotated agenda (E/CN.5/2004/1) and the Organization of work of the session (E/CN.5/2004/L.1), as well as copies of the reports and other information can be found at web site above.
Three panel discussions will take place during the 42nd session of the Commission for Social Development:
Wednesday, 4 February, 3:00 p.m.:
Panel discussion on the priority theme
"Improving Public Sector Effectiveness";
Monday, 9 February, 3:00 p.m.:
Panel discussion on Review and appraisal of the
Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002; and
Tuesday, 10 February, 10:00 a.m.:
Presentation of the outcome of the 3rd International Forum
for Social Development and panel discussion, both on
the theme of international migration and migrants from a social perspective.
Contact: Office of the Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, Tel. (212) 963-2598, Fax: (212) 963-3062.
Commission on the Status of Women
The agenda, organization of work as well as the complete documentation
for the Commission session will be available at the above web site.
Further details will appear on the next issue of DESA News.
The agenda, organization of work as well as the complete documentation
for the Commission session are available at above web site. Further
details will appear on the next issue of DESA News.
Forum on Forest
United Nations Forum
Meeting on resource mobilization for poverty eradication in the least
Expert Group Meeting on
Enhancing women's participation in electoral processes in post-conflict
ECE/OSAGI regional symposium
on gender mainstreaming in economic policies
Expert Meeting on Millennium Development Goals Indicators
Geneva, 10-13 November 2003
The fourth Inter-agency and Expert Meeting on Millennium Development Goals Indicators was held in Geneva 10-13 November 2003. The meeting was organized by DESA/UNSD in cooperation with UNDP and ECE/Statistics Division, and chaired by DESA/DPPO. The meeting was attended by representatives of 15 of the offices and agencies providing statistics for the MDG indicators; a representative of the EOSG; representatives of UNDP; and participants from four divisions of DESA and from ESCAP, ECE, UNFPA, UNHCR, the Millennium Project and PARIS21. Participants also attended from seven developing and three developed countries. Invited experts also participated in the fields of environment, health, education and gender.
The meeting reviewed general issues of data availability and reliability at the regional level for the MDG indicators from the 2003 report of the Secretary-General on monitoring implementation of the Millennium Declaration (A/58/323) and plans for improving coverage, reliability and analysis for the 2004 and 2005 reports. Participants from developing countries presented their experiences in preparing indicators for their country reports on the Millennium Development Goals (http://www.undp.org/mdg/countryreports.html).
Development plans for statistics and indicators for each goal and target were presented by the responsible data providers and discussed with contributions from the country participants and invited experts. These plans included refinements in methodologies, improvements and clarifications in existing definitions and recommendations, long-term prospects for improved indicators and possibly new indicators and necessary statisticalcapacity-building at country level. Developed country and international organization representatives reported on their programmes of technical cooperation in statistics and capacity-building relating to MDG indicators. The meeting prepared an inventory of needed improvements in standards and guildelines and of ongoing and new work needed to develop these on a priority basis in the short, medium and long terms.
The group agreed its fifth meeting should be held in March 2004 in New York, to finalize preparation of materials for the 2004 report of the Secretary-General, agree on the format and work plan for materials to be prepared for the Secretary-General's 2005 comprehensive report on implementation of the MDGs and to pursue technical discussions on selected methodological issues identified at the fourth meeting.
The meeting report is available at the Statistics Division Internet site http://millenniumindicators.un.org under "Key documents" (ESA/STAT/AC.92/6).
Contact: Francesca Perucci, Statistics Division, Tel. (212) 963-0212.
Annual Meeting of the
Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE)
International Year of Freshwater, 2003
At the end of 2003, the General Assembly passed resolution A/RES/58/217 declaring 2005 to 2015 the ‘International Decade for Action – Water for Life,’ signalling the success of the International Year of Freshwater 2003 in raising awareness of water issues.
The General Assembly had proclaimed 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater in its resolution A/RES/55/196 of 20 December 2000, encouraging Member States, the United Nations system and major groups to raise awareness of the essential importance of freshwater resources for satisfying basic human needs, for health and food production and for the preservation of ecosystems, as well as for economic and social development in general. It encouraged them to promote action at the local, national, regional and international levels, and called for high priority to be given to the serious freshwater problems facing many regions, especially in the developing countries.
The major UN activities for the Year were jointly coordinated by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and UNESCO, working closely with other members of UN-Water, particularly for the World Day for Water (22 March 2003), which was celebrated at the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan. On that day 23 UN agencies which had formed the World Water Assessment Programme, launched the first edition of the World Water Development Report: Water for People, Water for Life.
The Water Year attracted wide interest and inspired a range of actions around the world on water and sanitation issues. The official launch for the IYFW in New York on 12 December 2002, was organized by UN DESA and the Department of Public Information and was sponsored by a private firm (CH2M Hill) and the Singapore Public Utilities Board. It was a very successful full day event, attended by governments, NGOs, the private sector, entertainers and water experts from many countries.
With the aim of promoting the IYFW, a multi-media exhibit for the IYFW financed by the government of the Netherlands was launched at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in the Water Dome in Johannesburg 28 August-3 September 2002. The exhibit then travelled to The Third World Water Forum in Kyoto, and then to New York during the eleventh session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-11) from 28 April – 9 May 2003. It then travelled to Madrid, Geneva and Paris. The exhibition will return to New York for CSD-12 in April 2004, and thereafter it will remain in New York or elsewhere in North America.
During CSD-11 a number of special events were held to mark the International Year, including: a side event ‘Water for all People’, sponsored by Tajikistan and Japan, which involved participants from governments, the private sector and NGOs; the opening of the multimedia exhibit, sponsored by the Netherlands, which also included the artworks for the stamp edition and poster; a session of CSD focusing on the Year, with a keynote address by HRH the Prince of Orange; and a briefing for delegates on the World Water Development Report. In adopting its multi-year work programme, CSD-11selected water, sanitation and human settlements as the thematic cluster for the first cycle in 2004-2005.
In most countries, a national focal point or committee has been appointed for the Year. These people have provided support to activities at the national level and have been able to authorize the use of the WaterYear2003 logo for non-commercial purposes. There has been considerable enthusiasm in many countries, with the organisation of activities at the municipal, provincial and national levels, in many cases supported by UN Information Centres. Recognising the important role of awareness raising, an array of educational materials have been developed for the year including press kits, brochures, a video ‘Water: the drop of life’ and a song, all of which have been widely distributed as well as being available on the www.wateryear2003.org website. An excellent Resource Guide on Water, ‘Every body counts, every drop matters’, was issued by the Department of Public Information late in 2003. The
With the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goals on top of its agenda, the Dushanbe International Freshwater Forum was held in Tajikistan 29 August-1 September, supported by the Swiss government, the Agha Khan Foundation, UNDP, DESA and others. The Dushanbe Water Appeal called for a new “Decade for Action: Water for Life” 2005-2015, which was adopted by the General Assembly on 23 December 2003. The Decade will logically follow the outcomes of CSD-12 and -13, which are focussed on water, sanitation and human settlements. Additional important inputs to the CSD-12 agenda and the Millennium Development Goals were discussed at the Water for the Poorest conference held in Stavanger, Norway in early November and the African Implementation conference in Addis Ababa in December.
Some other important related international conferences held during the International Year took place in Moscow, Russian Federation; Kiev, Ukraine; Madrid, Spain; Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, USA; Lisbon, Portugal; Paris, France; Rome, Italy and Geneva, Switzerland, among others.
Other actions completed during the Year are the following:
The United Nations system agencies have worked closely together throughout the Year, in a number of global activities focusing on water resources, including celebrations of World Day for Water, World Environment Day and World Habitat Day. They also created an Interagency Gender and Water Task Force, which includes as members focal points for gender and for water from 13 UN agencies and four non-UN entities. DESA’s focal point for the International Year was named Task Manager. The Task Force aims to have significant input into the work of the CSD in 2004-2005, into the work of the Task Force on Water and Sanitation of the Millennium Project and to the proposed water decade.
At the beginning of December, the United Nations University, in cooperation with DESA and with financing from the UN Development account, launched an online diploma course aimed at training water-management experts in order to reach the Millennium goal to halve the number of people without access to safe water and sanitation by 2015. The 10-subject 250-hour course will be aimed mainly at current government officials and engineers, and will be initially based at three regional centres in West Africa, South Pacific and Asia. The programme, offered free of charge, will award graduates a diploma bearing the UN seal. The curriculum was developed by more than 60 academics and professionals around the world, including those from the University of Waterloo, McMaster University and the University of Guelph. It was created over three years at a cost of $1.6 million US from the UN's development account.
The collaborative work that has been carried out during the Year with partners from the UN System, governments, NGOs, institutions and the private sector has been extremely valuable in the lead up to CSD-12 and 13, and will be carried on through the proposed ‘International Decade for Action - Water for Life.’Contact: Marcia Brewster, Tel: 212-963-8590.
World Summit on the Information Society
Geneva, 10 - 12 December 2003
The first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), organized by the International Telecommunication Union, defined earlier in December action lines in the use of ICT-based products, networks, services and applications to:
The meeting attracted more then 12,000 participants. The United Nations played a major role in deflecting a few potentially serious problems, including controversy regarding freedom of the press and internet governance.
Over one hundred and fifty panels and round tables took place. Senior staff of DESA, including Under-Secretary-General Ocampo, participated in meetings and panels. The Information and Communication Technology Task Force , supported by the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, organized eleven panels.
Over the past year the Task Force (http://www.unicttaskforce.org/), which includes private sector representatives, has focused much of its attention on bringing the UN development agenda to the forefront of WSIS. The Task Force has also concentrated on leveraging ICT for achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Furthering both goals simultaneously, the Task Force contributed to placing the UN development objectives at the heart of the Summit Declaration and the Plan of Action and in setting out an agenda for building an inclusive development-oriented Information Society.
The Task Force also mobilized the participation of its multi-stakeholder networks, and participated actively in events organized by other stakeholders. The Task Force pavilion in the ICT- for- Development (ICT4D) Platform attracted many Summit participants who were drawn to the various Task Force initiatives on show. It presented action-oriented and innovative recommendations at a level of detail not possible at the formal plenary meetings. The Task Force also launched a major undertaking to connect all secondary schools within the framework of a Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative.
The Task Force will actively contribute to the key issues emerging from Geneva, and in particular the issues related to Internet governance. To this end, in the context of the forthcoming meeting of the Task Force, an Open Global Forum on 25-26 March in New York on Internet governance will be organized to initiate “an open and inclusive process that ensures the full and active participation of governments, the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries involving relevant inter-governmental and international organizations and forums” as requested in paragraph 50 of the Summit Declaration.
Contact: Sarbuland Khan, Director, Office of ECOSOC Support and Coordination, Tel. (212) 963-4628, Fax (212) 963-1712.
Book launch and Panel discussion: "Trauma
Interventions in War and Peace: Prevention, Practice and Policy"
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Implementation of the Fundamental Principles
of Official Statistics
DESA Technical Cooperation in Chad for water
Since 1999 DESA has provided capacity-building for more than
50 national public and private specialists in Chad in order to elaborate
and enhance the implementation of the country's first integrated policy,
national plan for water (including all concerned sub-sectors and sanitation)
and related water strategies. DESA's technical cooperation project has
provided assistance for the diagnostics, strategies, technical aspects,
costing and a follow-up mechanism for the national water framework.
According to the project evaluation, the new national water policy is
considered among the highest priorities on the national agenda. The
overall purpose of the project is to achieve MDG's and WWSD's the water
targets and subsequent annual service delivery targets by 2015 of the
Millennium Development Goals.
Kampala, Uganda, 27 29 January 2004
The Seminar is organized under the auspices of NEPAD by CAFRAD, funded by UNDESA and hosted by the Ministry of Public Service of the Republic of Uganda and the Uganda Management Institute. In line with the philosophy of partnerships that NEPAD champions, the seminar will benefit from the inspiration of the UNDESA/IASIA Initiative for Leadership Capacity Enhancement in the Public Sector and will be a continuation of the support UNDESA has been providing to the NEPAD, and the Pan African Meeting of Ministers of Public Service which CAFRAD has always organized.
The overall objective of the seminar is to sensitize top public sector leaders of the continent to the great importance of leadership in all human undertaking and enhance their skills and capacity for successful leadership. The specific objectives of the seminar are as follows:
The seminar is targeting Public Servants directly implicated in planning and implementing activities of capacity building of the human resources in the Public Sector in Africa. They will include:
The Seminar will be opened by the Minister of Public Service of South Africa Ms. Geraldine Frazier-Moleketi and closed by the Right Hon. Prime Minister of Uganda, Prof. Apollo Nsibambi.
Contact: John-Mary Kauzya, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, Tel. (212) 963-1973.
DESA has provided support for a project on reinforcing the gender dimension in local development in Niger. As a part of this project a study on women's role in water resources management was conducted. It particularly focused on the importance of women's participation in the decision-making processes in the villages of four districts of the Water Resources Management Unit of Liptako-Gourma ("Unité de Gestion de l'Eau (UGE)", in French). The UGE, is located to the west of the Tillaberi region and some 100 km to the Northwest Niamey, which has a great ethnic diversity and a homogenous social fabric for a rather unique geographic location on the right bank of the Niger River.
Support for Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting for Water
DESA has been very active, in coordination with other international institutions, in the development, validation and production of a U.N. information framework for water resources as a tool for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The document Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting for Water, SEEAW, integrates both economic information and hydrological information on water resources. The purpose is to facilitate the integration of water issues into mainstream economic decision-making and the evaluation of the impacts of economic policies on the water resources and of water policies on the economy. DESA is now working towards adding the social dimension in the framework, in consultation with country experts and other international agencies.
Workshop on Information and Communication
Technology for Sustainable Development
DESA, jointly with the World Bank and the United States National
Science Foundation, and together with partner institutions in India,
is sponsoring a Workshop on the Applications of Information and Communication
Technologies for Sustainable Development.
Nations Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum: Sustainable Development for Cities
UN-DESA, in cooperation with the Government of the People's Republic of China, is convening the UN Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum in Hong Kong from 25 to 26 February 2004, with the aim of providing an opportunity to discuss practical ways to advance sustainable development in cities. The Forum is being hosted by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
Kyoto Protocol: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development in the Islamic Republic of Iran
The project, funded by UNDP, is designed to stimulate objective
discussion by policy-makers of Iran on the likely benefits associated
with becoming a party to the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and the costs of non-ratification,
as well as the costs and benefits of a status-quo approach. Iran and
other OPEC members have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, primarily because
of concerns about its adverse effects on crude oil exports.
The Division for Sustainable Development of UN-DESA is engaged
in a project in the Caribbean entitled "Capacity-Building in Creating
Information Management Systems to Improve Decision-making for Sustainable
Development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)", funded from
the Development Account the General Secretariat of the Organization
of American States (GS/OAS) acting as the Field Managing Institution.
The project was initiated in November 2002 and is expected to be completed
by December 2003.
Finland-UN Sign Forestry Pact
On 4 December 2003, the Government of Finland signed an
agreement with the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF),
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) for a project
in support of sustainable forest management.