Global Advocacy - UNDESA

Global Advocacy - UNDESA

Information dated: 2017

Neil Pierre

Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination

E-mail:pierre52 [at] un.org

Tel: +1 212-963-0157)

Through its capacity development activities, UNDESA assists countries, at their request, in global advocacy, including in macroeconomic and trade policy development, as part of broader national development strategies. In so doing, it collaborates with the regional commissions and UNCTAD, particularly through the UN Development Account and its projects.

World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP)

WESP is a joint product of the UN DESA, UNCTAD, and the five UN regional commissions. The UNWTO also contributes to the report. The report assesses current macroeconomic trends and short-term prospects at the global and regional levels, provides objective analysis of economic growth, employment, inflation, international trade and international finance in an integrated approach, identifies major uncertainties and risks, and discusses various macroeconomic policy options. Since 2016, the report has also focused more on the implications of macroeconomic trends for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, linking economic issues with challenges in social and environmental dimensions.

Chapter II of WESP is always focused on international trade, including the latest trends in international trade flows and commodity prices, and development of multilateral trade policies and regional trade agreements, with a special view on the implications of these developments on developing countries, particularly in the least developed countries.

For example, WESP2017 identified faltering investment and dwindling world trade growth as the two important factors behind the subdued economic growth in the world economy in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. World trade volumes expanded by just 1.2 per cent in 2016, the third-lowest rate in the past 30 years. Cyclical factors — such as the composition of global demand and heightened uncertainty — continue to restrain global trade growth, while the impact of a number of structural shifts that favoured the rapid expansion of global trade in the 1990s and 2000s have started to wane, coupled with slower progress in trade liberalization. The ratio of world trade growth to world gross product growth has declined significantly since the 1990s. While global import penetration is expected to exhibit a modest recovery, world trade growth is unlikely to outpace world gross product significantly in the coming years. The report projected world trade would expand by 2.7 percent in 2017 and 3.3 per cent in 2018. The report analyzed the linkages among the weaknesses in trade, investment, and productivity, which reinforce each other to lead to the mediocre global economic growth, requiring more effective policy mix to break the vicious cycle.

The WESP2017 also warned that aggregate growth in the LDCs would remain well below the SDG target in the near term. The below-target growth poses a risk to critical public expenditure on healthcare, education, social protection and climate change adaptation. The latter is all the more significant since the LDCs remain highly vulnerable to natural catastrophes and weather-related shocks. The report calls further efforts to diversify exports of the LDCs, which remain highly concentrated in a few primary products vulnerable to price volatility and external shocks. Under the current growth trajectory, nearly 35 percent of the population in the LDCs may remain in extreme poverty by 2030. Without an acceleration in both GDP growth and progress towards improving income inequality, eradicating the high levels of extreme poverty in the LDCs by 2030 is a formidable challenge.

The report underscored the needs for international coordination to ensure consistency and complementarities among trade policy, investment policy, and other public policies and to better align the multilateral trading system with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring inclusive growth and decent work for all. These efforts would be supported by a transparent international services market that facilitates the participation of service providers from developing countries in particular. International cooperative efforts are also needed to reduce high trade financing gaps, especially among the poorest countries in Africa, developing Asia, and the small island developing States. To ensure that development concerns are addressed by the global trading system, a stronger role for the World Trade Organization is warranted.

Deeper international cooperation is also needed in many other areas, such as expediting clean technology transfer, supporting climate finance, expanding international public finance and ODA, strengthening international tax cooperation and tackling illicit financial flows, providing a global financial safety net and coordinating policy to address the challenges posed by large movements of refugees and migrants.

For more information: https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/publication/2017wesp_full_en.pdf

United Nations E-Government Survey


The UN E-Government Survey 2016 on “E-Government in Support of Sustainable Development” offers a snapshot of trends in the development of e-government in countries across the globe. According to the Survey, more governments are embracing information and communication technologies (ICTs) to deliver services and to engage people in decision-making processes in all regions of the world. The 2016 UN E-Government Survey provides new evidence that e-government has the potential to help support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). It underscores that one of the most important new trends is the advancement of people-driven services - services that reflect people’s needs and are driven by them. At the same time, disparities remain within and among countries. Lack of access to technology, poverty, and inequality prevent people from fully taking advantage of the potential of ICTs and e-government for sustainable development.

Since 2001, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) has published the United Nations E-Government Survey. The Survey provides an analysis of progress in using e-government and how it can support the realization of the internationally agreed development goals and help address emerging public administration issues. The Survey measures e-government effectiveness in the delivery of basic economic and social services to people in five sectors, namely education, health, labour and employment, finance and social welfare (UNDESA, 2005). The Survey identifies patterns in e-government development and performance as well as countries and areas where the potential of ICT and e-government has not yet been fully exploited and where capacity development support might be helpful.

The Survey serves as a tool for countries to learn from each other, identify areas of strength and challenges in e-government and shape their policies and strategies in this area. It is also aimed at facilitating and informing discussions of intergovernmental bodies, including the United Nations General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, on issues related to e-government and development and the critical role of ICT in development.

For more information: https://publicadministration.un.org/en/Research/UN-e-Government-Surveys

The 2017 cycle of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and related regional and international inter-governmental processes

  1. supports the annual cycle of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and related regional and international inter-governmental processes on the implementation, follow-up, and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2017, ECOSOC’s work will focus on its main theme, “Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions through promoting sustainable development, expanding opportunities and addressing related challenges.” works in close collaboration with the UN system, including UNIDO, to provide substantive inputs into the Report of the Secretary-General on the 2017 main theme of ECOSOC and the related panel discussion at the ECOSOC high-level segment in July 2017. These will inform the 2017 ECOSOC Ministerial Declaration.

During the 2017 cycle of ECOSOC, the President has decided to dedicate time to the issue of “Innovations in Infrastructure Development and Sustainable Industrialization,” which aims to advance progress on SDG-9. This topic is germane to all countries and regions, particularly in Africa and countries in special situations which currently lag behind other regions in poverty eradication, infrastructure, and industrialization. UN DESA is leading an inter-agency Core Group in support of this initiative, and UNIDO is a key focal point for substantive inputs and logistical cooperation. The 2017 Special Meeting will be held on 31 May 2017 in New York, to be preceded by two preparatory events: the first preparatory event will be a regional meeting on infrastructure and industrialization, held on the margins of the joint Annual Ministerial Conference of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) in Dakar, Senegal on 26 March 2017; and the second preparatory event will be an expert group meeting on agriculture and agro-industry, to be held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, on 24-26 April 2017.

For more information: https://www.un.org/ecosoc/en/