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UN Home DESA News
Newsletter of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs

  In this issue:

Budget 2004-05

International Year of Freshwater 2003

Global dialogue on development

Commission for Social Development

Expert Groups on Forests

Trends and analysis
Women in electoral processes

World Summit on the Information Society

Millennium Indicators

Principles of Official Statistics

Virtual forum on Disability

Technical cooperation

Women and water

Sustainable development for cities

Information management for small islands

Publications and web sites

National Accounts Statistics

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2004

Report on the World Social Situation 2003

Volume 8, No. 1, January-February 2004

Decisions of the General Assembly at its 58th session,
September - December 2003

Economy and Finance

            The Second Committee of the 58th Session of the General Assembly completed its work on economic and financial matters on 16 December 2003. The central issue for the Committee was to reform its methods of work and re-orient its programme of work, including re-arranging its agenda items and re-defining its requirements for reports. This was mandated by General Assembly resolution 57/270B dealing with the integrated and coordinated follow-up of UN conferences. After extensive negotiations on the issue, the Committee adopted draft decision A/C.2/58/L.54/Rev.1 by 146 votes in favour and three against (US, Israel and Marshall Islands) and one abstention (Nauru). The main issue was whether to discuss macroeconomic issues exclusively in the contect of Financing for Development follow-up or separately, with the US preferring the former and the G-77 favoring the latter. A related issue was whether to prepare just one or separate reports on macro-economic issues.

            The second important issue this year was the follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development. The Second Committee adopted by consensus draft resolution A/C.2/58/L.83 which gives directions for preparing the Spring meeting of ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO and requests the Secretary-General to prepare a report on possible innovative sources of financing for development. ECOSOC is also asked to reflect on the institutional framework for international tax cooperation.

            Other resolutions that attracted the most attention this session were the ones on trade and development, external debt and the international financial system. On trade, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.2/58/L.80 which makes a strong plea for redoubling efforts to resume the negotiations after the setback at Cancun, and to achieve a development oriented outcome by January 2005. It points to several areas where WTO members should redouble efforts (notably implementation of earlier commitments, strengthening provisions for special and differential treatment, improving market access, reducing agricultural subsidies, and solving the problems in the area of cotton). The resolutions on external debt crisis A/C.2/58/L.82 and international financial system A/C.2/58/L.81 did not break much new ground except ensuring that separate reports will be presented on these issues during the next session.

            In its groundbreaking resolution on international migration and development A/C.2/58/L.77, 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 in Geneva.

            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.

Social development  

            Included among the resolutions of the Second and Third Committee on Social Development were resolutions on:

  • Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (A/C.3/58/L.9/Rev.1);
  • Cooperatives in social development (A/C.3/58/L.7);
  • Implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006) (A/C.2/58/L.66);
  • Programme of Action for the International Year of Microcredit, 2005 (A/C.2/58/L.57).
           Contact: Gloria Kan, Division for Social Policy and Development, Tel. (212) 963-5873, Fax (212) 963-3062.

Budget 2004-05

           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.

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Intergovernmental Meetings

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 Disabilities
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, 30th Session
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Pre-sessional Working Group
Commission for Social Development, 42nd Session
Commission on the Status of Women, 48th Session
Statistical Commission, 35th Session
Expert Group Meetings
United Nations Forum on Forest Ad Hoc Expert Group on Approaches to Mechanisms for Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting (MAR)
United Nations Forum on Forests Ad Hoc Expert Group on Finance and Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies
Expert Group Meeting on resource mobilization for poverty eradication in the least developed countries
Expert Group Meeting on Enhancing women's participation in electoral processes in post-conflict countries
ECE/OSAGI regional symposium on gender mainstreaming in economic policies
Expert Meeting on Millennium Development Goals Indicators

Inter-Agency Meetings

Annual Meeting of the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE)

Intergovernmental Meetings  

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 Disabilities
New York, 5-16 January

            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.

            A Virtual Forum has been launched to facilitate dialogue on the disability convention between members of the Working Group and among all interested parties. See web site above.

            Contact: Jean-Pierre Gonnot, Division for Social Policy and Development, Tel. (212) 963-3256, Fax (212) 963-0111.

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Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
30th Session
New York, 12 30 January 2004

            At this forthcoming session, the CEDAW Committee will review the reports of eight States parties to the Convention. They are:

  • The combined fourth through sixth periodic report of Belarus (CEDAW/C/BLR/4-6);
  • The combined initial through third periodic report of Bhutan (CEDAW/C/BTN/1-3, CEDAW/C/BTN/1-6/Corr.1);
  • The combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Ethiopia (CEDAW/C/ETH/4-5);
  • The fifth periodic report of Germany (CEDAW/C/DEU/5);
  • The combined initial and second periodic report of Kuwait (CEDAW/C/KWT/1-2) ;
  • The second periodic report of Kyrgyzstan (CEDAW/C/KGZ/2, CEDAW/C/KGZ/2/Add.1);
  • The combined second and third periodic report of Nepal (CEDAW/C/NPL/2-3); and
  • The combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Nigeria (CEDAW/C/NGA/4-5).
            Contact: Philomena Kintu, Division for the Advancement of Women, tel. (212) 963-3153

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Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
Pre-sessional Working Group

New York, , 2–6 February
31st Session

            The pre-sessional working group would have a closed meeting to review the following reports:

  • The combined second and third periodic report of Equatorial Guinea (CEDAW/C/GNQ/2-3) (tentative);
  • The fifth periodic report of Bangladesh (CEDAW/C/BDG/5);;
  • The fifth periodic report of the Dominican Republic (CEDAW/C/DOM/5); and
  • The fifth periodic report of Spain (CEDAW/C/ESP/5).
            Representatives from the United Nations system could present their reports to the working group in a closed meeting on 3 February 2004 (tentative), and the representatives from NGOs could provide the information to the working group in an informal meeting on 3 February 2004 (tentative).

            Contact: Philomena Kintu, Division for the Advancement of Women, tel. (212) 963-3153

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Commission for Social Development
42nd Session
New York, 4-13 February 2004

            The priority theme of the 42nd session of the Commission for Social Development is "Improving Public Sector Effectiveness" (Report of the Secretary-General E/CN.5/2004/5).

            The Commission will also review the relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups, including:

  • Tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family (Report of the Secretary-General E/CN.5/2004/_);
  • Equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities (Report of the Secretary-General E/CN.5/2004/4 on Views of Governments on the proposed supplement to the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with disabiliites); and
  • Modalities for review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (Note by the Secretariat E/CN.5/2004/_).
            The Commission also addresses emerging issues affecting social development, with the theme this year on international migration and migrants from a social perspective.

            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.

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Commission on the Status of Women
48th Session
New York, 1-12 March 2004

            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.

            Contact: Office of the Director, Carolyn Hannan, Division for the Advancement of Women, Tel. (212) 963-3104, Fax: (212) 963-3463.

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Statistical Commission
35th Session
New York, 2-5 March 2004

            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.

            Contact: Stefan Schweinfest, Statistics Division, Phone: 212.963.4849

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Expert Group Meetings

United Nations Forum on Forest
Ad Hoc Expert Group on Approaches to Mechanisms for Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting (MAR)

Geneva, 8-12 December 2003

            The Ad Hoc Expert Group met to consider the existing reporting requirements and the monitoring and assessment procedures in various legal instruments, processes and organization related to forests. Discussions revolved around ways in which to monitor and assess progress based on a voluntary reporting system by countries, member organization of the Collaborative Parthership on Forests (CPF), and International and regional processes on the implementation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IPF/IFF) proposals for action. Experts in the meeting recommended optiosn for using the voluntary reports to identify trends and lessons.

            Experts called for more effort from international organizations and instruments in the identifcation of areas of overlap and redundancy in reporting and inconsistencies in the information reported. They recommended, inter alis, that UNFF invite FAO and other CPF members and other organizations to participate in the preparation of an overview of the global progress towards s ustainable forest managemetn to be presented at UNFF 5; and that the linkages between international reporting requirements and domestic reprot on sustainable forest management be made stronger. The advance unedited report of the meeting is posted on the web page above.

            Contact: Pekka Patosaari, Coordinator and Head, Secretariat of the UN Forum on Forest, Tel. (212) 963-3160.

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United Nations Forum on Forests
Ad Hoc Expert Group on Finance and Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies

Geneva, 15-19 December

            The high-level experts emphasized the role of sustainable forest management (SFM) in contributing to poverty alleviation, the quality and well-being of the environemtn, and a number of economic and social develoment issues. After carefully reviewing the existing initiatives on the transfer of environmentally sound technologies (TEST) and knowledge diffusion, the experts identified the constraints and approaches of imporoving TEST and related capacity building.

            Within the sector, experts recognized the need to improve rent capture from forest management as one of the principal approaches for increasing the financing of SFM. The Expert group also studied the status and effectiveness of existing public and private finance of SFM - including that of ODA, explored potential new and innovative ways to meet the financial needs of SFM, both within and outside the forest sector, and considered country experiences and the role of the private sector in resource mobilization.

            Based on a rich discussion of issues related to finance and TEST, the expert group agreed on numerous recommendations for the consideration of UNFF. Among action-oriented recommendations, for example, the experts recommended that national forest programmes should be accompanied by specific financing strategies identifying the role of various sources of funds and their allocation. The experts also urged multilateral and bilateral financial and development institutions working on SFM to harmonize their operational procedures and to foster existing regional and sub-regional public-private partnerships for forests as useful mechanisms to mobilize financing for SFM.

            The experts suggested that Members States and agencies such as the World Bank should explore the possibilities for expanding support of micro-credits to enable TEST, especially for local communities. The group discussed in length the intersectoral linkages of SFM and noted, among other things, the critical importance of mainstreaming SFM in the national development and poverty reduction strategies, including poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSP). The advance unedited report of the meeting is posted on the web page above.

            Contact: Pekka Patosaari, Coordinator and Head, Secretariat of the UN Forum on Forest, Tel. (212) 963-3160.

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Expert Group Meeting on resource mobilization for poverty eradication in the least developed countries
New York, 19-20 January 2004

           The Expert Group Meeting will focus on innovative approaches to domestic resource mobilization adopted by selected least developed countries and new approaches to debt sustainability in those countries. The report of the meeting will be submitted to the sixth session of the Committee for Development Policy, in April 2004, with a view to contributing to the Committee’s deliberations on the theme chosen for the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council.

            Contact: Ian Kinniburg, Director, Division for Development Policy Analysis, Tel. (212) 963-4838.

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Expert Group Meeting on Enhancing women's participation in electoral processes in post-conflict countries
Glen Cove, New York, 19-22 January

            The Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women (OSAGI), is organizing an Expert Group Meeting on "Enhancing women's participation in electoral processes in post-conflict countries", to be held in Glen Cove, New York from 19 to 22 January 2004. The meeting is jointly supported by the Department of Political Affairs, in close collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, as well as several intergovernmental organizations supporting electoral processes. The findings will be an input to the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-eighth session, from 1 to 12 March 2004, when it discusses one of its two themes: women's equal participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution and in post-conflict peace-building.

            Contact: Kate Burns, Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, tel. (917) 367-5221.

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ECE/OSAGI regional symposium on gender mainstreaming in economic policies
Geneva, 28 - 30 January

            The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI) will organize a regional symposium on gender mainstreaming in economic policies from 28 to 30 January 2004 in Geneva. The symposium will review and discuss the gender aspects of economic policies, taking into account the commitments made in this respect at the relevant UN global conferences, including the International Conference on Financing for Development. It will also focus on identifying good practices, challenges and potential constraints to mainstreaming a gender perspective into economic policies. Representatives of governments, in particular from substantive ministries (finance, economy, etc), gender units, regional NGOs and international organizations are expected to attend.

            Contact: Ms. Wariara Mbugua, Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, tel. (212) 963 2226.

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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.

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Inter-Agency Meetings

Annual Meeting of the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE)
New York, 23-26 February

            IANWGE will consider a number of issues including integrated coordinated follow-up to Beijing and Beijing+5; human resources and the improvement of women in the UN system; the 2005 review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing plan of action; and the 2005 review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. A workshop on gender mainstreaming in programme monitoring and reporting will also be held. Participants will include representatives from entities of the United Nations system.

            Contact: Ms. Wariara Mbugua, Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women,, tel. (212) 963 2226.

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Panels, symposia and events

International Year of Freshwater, 2003
World Summit on the Information Society
Book launch and Panel discussion: "Trauma Interventions in War and Peace: Prevention, Practice and Policy"
United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace

Noteworthy Publications

Implementation of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics

Panels, symposia and events

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 website is based at UNESCO, and many of the educational materials are available on the website. The video has been shown at many special events as well as being broadcast on TV in many countries. A number of countries are promoting the involvement of children in learning about water issues, and conducting scientific experiments at their schools. The website has hosted a range of interactive learning tools for children to gain knowledge about water and sanitation issues. Additional educational materials are being developed with the assistance of the CEO Panel, and will be distributed widely to schools in coming years.

            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:

  • A new Water Cooperation Facility has been announced by UNESCO to address issues related to international watercourses, means of equitable river basin sharing and conflict resolution;
  • UNICEF and the Water Supply and Sanitation Council launched the WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene for all) in Schools programme in a number of countries;
  • UNDP launched its Community Water Initiative ($50 million from 2003-2008) and its Gender and Water Resources Guide (with the Gender and Water Alliance);
  • Other commitments were made by banks, regional organizations, donors and NGOs;
  • UNDP and the Global Water Partnership launched a programme on effective water governance;
  • The UN Postal Administration launched a special stamp series commemorating the International Year of Freshwater, issued in New York, Geneva and Vienna;
  • The Secretary-General issued statements stressing the importance of freshwater on the international agenda on the occasions of the World Day for Water, World
  • Environment Day, the Dushanbe Freshwater Forum and World Habitat Day. He also wrote the Foreword to the World Water Development Report;
  • Ms. Nane Annan dedicated her children’s book, ‘Tip and Top: The Adventures of Two Water Drops’ to the International Year of Freshwater. Many special issues of magazines and journals, both connected to the UN and commercial editions, were dedicated to the Year;
  • Another full day marking the IYFW, sponsored by DESA and the Department of Public Information, was held at the UN in New York on 16 October with speakers, panel discussion and information sessions. It was very popular, with standing room only in each session. The level of interest and commitment shown by NGOs was very high.

            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.

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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:

  • advance the achievement of the internationally-agreed development goals, including those in the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus and the Johannesburg Declaration and Plan of Implementation, and
  • help countries overcome the digital divide.

            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.

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Book launch and Panel discussion: "Trauma Interventions in War and Peace: Prevention, Practice and Policy"
New York, 10 February 2004

           A Panel Discussion on trauma is planned to coincide with the launch of the above book.

           The Secretary-General introduces the book with a Foreword, and 'Voices' from six of the many collaborating UN offices are interspersed among the 15 chapters. The book emerged through a four-year collaboration among the authors, UN agencies and bodies and publishers (Kluwer Academic/Plenum) facilitated by DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development.

           Contact: Brigid Donelan, Division for Social Policy and Development, Tel: 212-963-3137.

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United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace
8 March

           The theme for the International Women's Day is "Gender and HIV/AIDS".

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Noteworthy Publications

Implementation of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics

           The Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics were developed as an official international document that sets out the role of official statistics and provides general guidelines for the functioning of statistical systems.

           The Statistical Commission requested last year the Statistics Division to conduct a global review of the implementation of the Fundamental Principles and to report on this issue at its 35th session in 2004, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Principles by the Commission. The Division developed a questionnaire, which was sent to 194 national statistical offices and posted on the United Nations Statistics Division’s website on official statistics. By 30 November 2003, the Division had received responses from 112 countries, on which the current report to the Statistical Commission is based on. The report is available online at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/doc04/2004-21e.pdf.

           The main findings are: that the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics appear to be remarkably well implemented. Confidentiality (Principle 6) and Legislation (Principle 7) seem to be the best implemented principles.

           On the other hand Prevention of Misuse (Principle 4) and National Coordination (Principle 8) seem to be the least implemented Principles. Major problem areas that prevent a better implementation of the Fundamental Principles mentioned are: authorized and unauthorized disclosure of individual data for non-statistical purposes, political interference at the dissemination stage, the need to adapt international standards to national circumstances as well as a lack of resources.

           At a general level there seems to be a strong correlation between statistical capacity and adherence to the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics.

           Contact: Ms. Sabine Warschburger, Statistics Division, Tel: (212) 963 4297.

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Africa South of the Sahara
Arab States
Asia and the Pacific
Latin America and the Caribbean
Other Initiatives

Africa South of the Sahara 

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.

             The related water strategies have been fully discussed at the provincial and national levels with more than 1,000 representatives of all sectors and concerns.(public-private and from associations). Adopted strategies show how to embed : (i) technical considerations for effective delivery for basic water supply and sanitation access; with (ii) management capacity-building; with (iii) effective community participation and with (iv) sustainable water resources management.

             The first million revenue of the new oil era in Chad has been invested by the national authorities dollar, for a new fully DESA executed project aimed at supporting capacities building for the implementation of the national water strategies and plan, at the central, provincial and local levels. Another million has been provided by UNDP at the request of the Government, the donors have decided to work jointly under the approved water framework to achieve greater coordination and sound physical investments. They are, in addition, discussing a significant additional financial contribution to this new "umbrella" programme, in order to accelerate coordinated "soft" actions in the field.

             Contact: Jean-Michel Chene, Divions for Sustainable Development, Tel: (212) 963 8575.

Seminar on Public Sector Leadership Development for Good Governance in Africa
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:

  • Exchange knowledge and experiences on public sector leadership and its development;
  • Examine appropriate methods, mechanisms, content and strategy for public sector leadership development in African countries;
  • Enhance skills and capacity in leadership for change and development;
  • Design an Africa wide three-year programme for leadership capacity development in the public sector;
  • Develop a framework and a network for continuous activities in public sector leadership development in Africa.

            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:

  • Ministers who are members of the Committee of Ministers of the pan African meeting of Ministers of Public service
  • Directors of Human Resources Development (Personnel) in Ministries responsible for Public Service in African countries, including representative of Administrations of Legislatures in Africa.
  • Senior Officials of NEPAD Secretariat.
  • Selected Directors of Regional and National Management Development Institutes
  • Representatives of other development partners at national regional and international levels have also been invited to attend.

            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.

Arab States

Study on Reinforcement of Women's Role Regarding Water Resources Management in Rural Niger

             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.

             Socio-economic as well as cultural constraints still limit the participation of women in decision-making regarding water. This occurs not withstanding the active role that women play in the production and security of provisions for livelihoods notably in the crucial domain of water management. Through gender analysis, this study reaches a number of conclusions, including:

  • The structural bias by which the transfer of education and technologies has been detrimental to women can be corrected through: (1) the equal participation of women and men, (2) the recognition and promotion of women's experience (3) the application of the rural code, (4) the introduction of technologies that alleviate the work of women, thus allowing them to share equal responsibilities with men;
  • Rich capabilities exist at community level, women are aware of their potential, and capacity building of women should focus on their specific needs through a valuation and diversification of their intense daily activities;
  • The existing social cohesion represents a strong basis for the intensification of the concertation between social partners, between them and the development institutions and projects working in the region;
  • Macro-economic policies have had mostly positive but some negative effects at the community level;
  • Women's capabilities should be enhanced through collective action capitalizing on existing administrative and politico-judiciary structures.
             Contact: Claude Sauveplane, Division for Sustainable Development, Tel. (212) 9638541.

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.

             On the implementation of this information framework, DESA has been very successful in its support to the Government of Morocco. With the support of DESA-Advisory services on institutional engineering 30 different institutions have been jointly mobilized for the building of national capacities for "integrated water accounting". This has been done in the area of one major river-basin (Oum-Er-Bia River Basin) with the intention, in case of success of the local demonstration project, of progressively implementing the accounts in all river basins of Morocco and of integrating the results within the national accounts at the national level.

             Outputs of this demonstration project will be presented in 2004 to an international workshop to be funded and organized by DESA, with the perspective to extend this good practice and coherent universal framework to other interested countries. The project demonstrates DESA's interlinking of its normative and technical cooperation activities.

             Contacts: Jean-Michel Chene, Division for Sustainable Development, Tel: (212) 963 8575 and Alessandra Alfieri, Statistics Division, Tel: (212) 963 4590.

Asia and the Pacific

Workshop on Information and Communication Technology for Sustainable Development
Bangalore, India, 14-16 January 2004

             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.

             Recognizing that information and communication technology (ICT) can become a powerful, multi-functional tool for action, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) called on the international community to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition to narrow the digital divide, create digital opportunities and harness the potential of information and communication technologies for development.

             Against this backdrop, the overall objective of the Workshop is to explore practical ways to: (a) utilize the potential of ICT to contribute to sustainable development, in particular, in relation to water and sanitation, energy, environment, health care and education, and governance; and (b) assist developing countries to build their ICT capacities. The Workshop will bring together experts on ICT and sustainable development from around the world, with the aim of reaching out beyond the technical side of ICT to explore those aspects of ICT applications that are relevant for achieving the economic, social and environmental goals of sustainable development in developing countries.

             Contact: Jayaroa Gururaja, Division for Sustainable Developoment/Energy and Transport Branch, Tel. (212) 963 8785.

United Nations Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum: Sustainable Development for Cities
25-26 February 2004, Hong Kong

             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.

             The Asia-Pacific region contains over half the world's population, and also holds the largest number of people living under poverty, which causes serious challenges in terms of social inequality and environmental deterioration. Cities in the region are facing the task of providing an enabling environment where citizens can flourish and balanced development can take hold. The Forum is designed to serve as a platform for discussion of practical modalities for incorporating a sustainable development perspective into urban development practices. The Forum will bring together mayors and high-level officials from major cities across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as academics and senior representatives of private sector companies and non-governmental organizations. Further information on the forum can be found at the web site above.

             Contact: Shaoyi Li, Division for Sustainable Developoment/Energy and Transport Branch, Tel. (212) 963 8797.

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 first component of the project, a National Workshop on the Kyoto Protocol, was held in Teheran in October. This two-day workshop, supported by UNDP and jointly organized by the Iran's Department of Environment and Iran's Fuel Conservation Organization, brought together about 200 officials.

             The workshop addressed the link between Iran's domestic programmes and international efforts to achieve sustainable development through the Kyoto Protocol and its market-based approach, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). CDM would encourage international investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy within developing countries.

             The next stage of the project is the collection of data and information for an analytical assessment. This will include the identification of selected energy efficiency projects that might be potential pilot projects for CDM and the preparation of a detailed project report. As a final step, a seminar will be held to present the analytical assessment results and project findings.

             Contact: Mohammed Reza Salamat, Division for Sustainable Development/Energy and Transport Branch, tel. (917) 367 3200.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Capacity-Building in Information Management for SIDS in the Caribbean Region

             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.

             The project aims to: (i) identify and assess regional and country needs in information management systems for sustainable development; (ii) develop capacity at the national level to handle and manage data, including to encourage the use and creation of integrated data management systems through providing access and training to available tools and methodologies; (iii) train personnel both in the use of these systems and in identifying effective approaches for handling the multilateral environmental agency reporting process and (iv) create a regional electronic site for accessing information on information management systems and techniques.

             The following activities have been implemented and the final step to be taken is the provision of equipment to participating countries:

             (i) Assessment and establishment of baseline
             (ii) Resource persons meeting on "Using Information in Decision-Making
                  for Sustainable Development in Small-Island Developing
                  States" (27-28 May, St. Lucia)
             (iii) Launch of IDSD website (http://www.oas.org/usde/idsd/)
             (iv) Identification of mechanisms and establishment of regional pilot network
             (v) Development of training materials
             (vi) Training workshop on "Methodologies, Tools and Best Practices
                  for Managing Information for Decision-making on Sustainable Development
                  in Caribbean SIDS" (27-31 October, Trinidad & Tobago)

             Contact: Reena Shah, Division for Sustainable Development, tel (212) 963 4586, fax (212) 963 1267.

Other Initiatives

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.

             Attending the signatory ceremony were José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, H.E. Ms. Marjatta Rasi, the Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations and Pekka Patosaari, Coordinator and Head of the UNFF Secretariat. According to the agreement, Finland has pledged a grant of 200,000 EUR (approx US $ 234,000) to the United Nations Forum on Forests to help boost sustainable forest management practices and inter-regional cooperation. The ceremony took place in the office of the Under-Secretary-General.

             The UNFF serves as a key intergovernmental mechanism to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of sustainable forest management at national, regional and global levels. It helps build and strengthen regional and inter-regional partnerships, information exchanges and cooperation. The Forum plays a pivotal role in identifying experiences, challenges and lessons learned and facilitating the spread of best practices in sustainable forestry management. Through its research and analysis it also highlights weaknesses and recommends corrective strategies and action.

             Contact: Njeri Kariuki tel: (917) 367-6048, Secretariat on the United Nations Forum on Forests.



Policy Analysis
Social Development 


Statistics Newsletter

           The United Nations Statistics Division published in November the first issue of the United Nations Statistics Newsletter. The Newsletter intends to be a portal to activities that contribute to better official statistics across the world, including the statistical work of Regional Commissions and specialized agencies. The Newsletter not only addresses statisticians, but also users of statistics: governments, politicians, planners, policy analysts, and the business community, stimulating the dialogue between users and producers. The introductory issue is available at the web site above. The Newsletter will be bimonthly, starting from February 2004. All DESA staff members will receive an e-mail announcement as soon as a new issue of the Newsletter is published.

           Contact: Ms. Fabia Yazaki, SD, Tel: (212) 963.4823.

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS On-line

           Provides monthly statistics on 60 subjects from over 200 countries and areas, together with special tables illustrating important economic developments. Quarterly data for significant world and regional aggregates are included regularly.

Vol. LVII – No. 10
October 2003

           Special features in this issue: World shipbuilding; Civil aviation traffic: passenger-km, 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.

Vol. LVII – No.11
November 2003

           Special features in this issue: Indices of world industrial production by branches of industry and by regions; Producers’ or wholesale price indices; Earnings in manufacturing, by sex; Construction of new buildings; Total exports and imports by regions: volume and unit value indices and terms of trade; World exports by commodity classes and by regions.

           Contact: Gloria Cuaycong, Statistics Division, Tel: (212) 963-4865.

2001 Industrial Commodity Statistics Yearbook
Sales No. E/F.03.XVII.10

           The Industrial Commodity Statistics Yearbook provides statistics on the production of about 530 major industrial commodities. Data are provided for a ten-year period and for approximately 200 countries and territories. The commodities have been selected on the basis of their importance in world production and trade. At the end of the publication are two annexes: an index of commodities in alphabetical order; and a table of correspondence among ISIC-based commodity codes, SITC Rev.2, SITC Rev.3 and Harmonized System (HS) codes.

           Contact: Karoly Kovacs, Statistics Division, Tel: (212) 963-4748.

Statistics Webpage

National Accounts Statistics: Analysis of Main Aggregates (AMA)

           The site is designed to provide users with an interactive and comprehensive set of data tables containing a complete and consistent set of time series from 1970 onwards of main national accounts aggregates for more than 200 countries and territories. These time series are derived from collections of the official annual national accounts statistics supplemented by estimates of national accounts statistics for those years and countries for which the official statistics have incomplete information. The time series have been smoothed and might therefore be different from the official annual national accounts statistics provided by that country.

           The following data series are available for display on the web:

  • GDP at current and constant 1990 prices in national currency and US Dollars; per capita GDP; rate of growth of GDP; Implicit Price Deflators and current and constant Price Indices of GDP;
  • GDP by type of expenditure at current and constant 1990 prices in national currency and US Dollars; rate of growth of components of GDP; percentage distribution (shares) of components; and
  • GDP by kind of economic activity at current and constant 1990 prices in national currency and US Dollars; rate of growth of components of GDP; percentage distribution (shares) of components.
           The website contains the following features for user convenience:
  • Interactive and easy data selection;
  • Data availability for sub-regions, regions and the world for most tables;
  • User-friendly data tables and graphic display for most of the tables;
  • Display of available footnotes at the end of data tables;
  • Country profiles; and
  • Metadata information.

Policy Analysis

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2004

           The latest edition of this annual publiction, a joint product of DESA and UNCTAD, will be released in mid-January. It provides an overview of recent performance and short-term prospects for the world economiy and an analysis of key global economic policy developments and issues. One of its purposes is to serve as a point of reference for discussions on economic, social and related issues taking place in the United Nations in the first half of 2003.

            Contact: Ian Kinniburg, Director, Division for Development Policy Analysis, Tel. (212) 963-4838.


MORTPAK CD-ROM version 4.0

           The United Nations Population Division released in November version 4.0 of MORTPAK, the United Nations software package for demographic measurement.

           Widely used by demographers throughout the world in previous DOS versions, MORTPAK v. 4.0 now takes advantage of a Windows user interface. It comprises 17 applications in the areas of: population projection; life-table and stable-population construction; graduation of mortality data; indirect mortality estimation; indirect fertility estimation; other indirect procedures for evaluating age distributions and the completeness of censuses.

           The CD-ROM is available for sale for US$ 300. For information on how to place an order, as well as more detailed information on MORTPAK for Windows, please see the Population Division web site .

           The United Nations Population Division, as part of its technical cooperation programme, would be able to provide one copy of the CD-ROM free of charge to interested institutions in developing countries

           Contact: Mr. Joseph Chamie, Director, United Nations Population Division, fax (212) 963-2147.

Social Development

Major Trends Affecting Families

           Major Trends Affecting Familites is a background document, consisting of ten regional studies, prepared by the United Nations Programme on the Family, for the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2004.

           Contact: Amr Ghaleb, Division for Social Policy and Development, Tel: (212)963-3238.

Report on the World Social Situation 2003
A/58/153/Rev.1, ST/ESA/284

           The biennial Report of the World Social Situation 2003 has been published and is available as a sales publication.

           The 2003 Report takes a thematic approach, addressing in depth the issue of social vulnerability. The objective of the Report is to develop a frame of reference for identifying the sources of social vulnerabilities and explore strategies to reduce the vulnerabilities of selected social groups.

           Contact: Office of the Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, Tel. (212) 963-2598, Fax: (212) 963-3062.

DESA News is an insider's look at the United Nations in the area of coordination of economic and social development policies. This issue was produced by the Information Support Unit of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in collaboration with DESA Divisions. DESA News is issued every two months

Luciana Marulli-Koenig, Editor 
Room DC2-1436, Tel. (212) 963-0060

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6 January 2004