Friday, August 11, 2017

An assessment to identify a way forward for environment statistics and environmental-economic accounting in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) was released in July 2017. The assessment report provides guidance for initiating environmental statistics development in FSM, in particular through the System of Environment and Economic Accounting (SEEA). The assessment is based on existing national policy documents and assessment of environment statistics needs and feasibility to compile.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

For several decades, Pacific Island Countries, like many developing countries elsewhere in the world, have prepared national and sectoral plans which are inadequately linked to the annual budget process. Achieving the development objectives set out in these plans could be best described as variable. Plans have become aspirational documents, accurately reflecting the development outcomes that various communities seek, and connecting with global and regional priorities that are of national interest, for example the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. But they are much less effective in guiding decisions on which projects to implement, or which services to prioritize, and securing the necessary resources.

The availability of resources (or lack of them) is a perennial challenge to the credibility of national plans. Such difficulties can be compounded by poorly designed plans that neither accurately reflect government priorities, nor are feasible to implement. Sustainable development requires improving the linkages between national and sectoral plans that clearly identify development objectives and the budget.

A guidance note on improving these links was recently published by the IMF’s Regional Technical Assistance Center for the Pacific (PFTAC) and the Pacific Office of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia (ESCAP). The note focuses on three important aspects of the planning/budgeting relationship:
• identifying gaps in the planning and budgeting cycle;
• strengthening links between national planning and the budget; and
• aligning decision-making with strengthened monitoring and reporting.

Unfortunately, disconnects between planning and budgeting processes are well documented in many countries. Addressing these gaps includes:
• increasing understanding of the public finance management reform agenda to other government agencies, and expanding the ownership of reforms beyond the ministry of finance;
• combining the central planning and budgeting functions of government into a single department or unit, ideally within the finance ministry, with combined responsibility for budget analysis, planning, and resource mobilisation;
• building the capacity of sector ministries to more accurately and realistically estimate the resource requirements of development projects and policies, over the medium term;
• mandating that all new policies and project proposals undergo a review of their fiscal and budgetary impact prior to Cabinet consideration; and
• institutionalising effective coordination and consolidated reporting processes.

Introducing a strategic phase and a medium-term perspective into the budget process can foster a greater appreciation of priorities, and assist the process of building stronger links between planning and budgeting. Such a phase should review national and sectoral priorities and new policy initiatives, framing them within the overall budget context. It would facilitate the prioritization of competing policy initiatives, and help to reconcile the costs of proposed development projects with available resources. It would also enable more detailed scrutiny of budget proposals by sector ministries, the ministry of finance, and political decision makers. Success of the strategic phase could be underlined by a national MTEF developed for the local context which would:
• review the macroeconomic outlook for the budget year and at least two additional years;
• agree overall budget ceilings for spending agencies in the budget year;
• identify priority expenditure areas based on national and sectoral plans; and
• highlight policy decisions already taken which will have an impact on the budget in the coming years.

The strategic phase in the budget process needs to reconcile the cost of delivering public services with the budget ceilings. Budget hearings, conducted between the finance ministry and spending agencies, help to scrutinize spending plans and promote agreement on priorities.

Introducing a results orientation into the budget process can also help to integrate the government’s planning and budgeting functions. It can be achieved in gradual steps, such as:
• spending ministries identifying their results as part of the budget process;
• identifying a common set of indicators for both plans and budgets so that the government can monitor the performance of its plans and budgets in an integrated manner; and
• disclosing performance information in the budget documents.

Common indicators for planning and budgeting, would allow for consolidated reporting (perhaps annually) structured around the budget and MTEF. Such reports would contain information on the allocation of resources, the resulting activities, and development outcomes. They could track the implementation of national development priorities, and inform domestic policy, as well as global and development partner reporting requirements.
In conclusion, several benefits would emerge if planning and budget systems were well linked. These benefits include:
• a more coordinated approach to the implementation of government priorities that helps achieve better development outcomes, including achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals;
• improved accountability for performance by implementing departments and ministries; and
• a better use of performance information to align resource allocations with policy priorities.

Download a copy of the guidance note at http://www.unescap.org/resources/improving-links-between-national-and-se...

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Inequality has been growingly recognized as a key socioeconomic predicament in many countries, negatively impacting the capacity to develop and to improve the welfare of people and countries. To combat this trend, inequality needs to be addressed through the formulation of multidisciplinary public policies that are in line with national contexts and priorities.

Friday, December 28, 2018

ESCAP, together with Development Pathways, has developed a new e-learning guide on how to finance inclusive social protection. In a simple and easy-to-understand format, this guide outlines options for countries to increase investment in social protection through general government revenues. The guide also briefly discusses social insurance schemes financed through contributions.

• Explore How to Finance Inclusive Social Protection

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Towards the end of 2011, a group of high school students in Incheon City formed a "UN club". They visited the UN ESCAP SRO-ENEA in December 2011 to meet with us and brief us on their activity plans related to the environmental, economic and social issues in North-East Asia.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Even though literature is rich about the theory and practice of traffic forecasting, little attention has been paid to the predicted accuracy of traffic forecasting models and the consequences of errors. As part of ESCAP's efforts to promote the exchange of experience on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), this issue is considered through a case study of the Bangkok BTS Skytrain system. This particular case was chosen to highlight the issue of overestimating demand from passengers, and shed light on how the problem of such inaccurate forecasts can impact a PPP project.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bangkok (UN ESCAP Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section) – Almost 70 government representatives and key stakeholders from civil society and academia joined the launch today of a cutting-edge platform designed for expanding social protection in Asia and the Pacific.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Under the theme of “International Migration in Asia-Pacific: Development beyond borders”, more than 100 senior officials and civil society representatives from 23 Asia-Pacific countries, assembled for the Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development 2013, held in Bangkok from 29 to 31 May 2013.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

United Nations, Bangkok, 8 March 2012 — On 8 March, the United Nations observes International Women’s Day. This year, the focus of the Asia-Pacific regional event was young people’s activism to end violence against women and girls. An interactive panel was held at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok under the framework of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s global campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ESCAP and OHCHR appeal for more ratifications and concerted efforts to protect migrants in Asia-Pacific

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, the United Nations family of organizations in Bangkok called for more countries to ratify the groundbreaking agreement, as only seven countries in the region have done so, despite the fact that

some one in four of the world’s migrants live in the Asian and Pacific region.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

This year’s International Women’s Day will be commemorated by the United Nations system in Thailand in two parts, namely: (1) a commemorative ceremony on 8 March (2) a special substantive session featuring a panel presentation on 25 March. The global theme for International Women’s Day is “Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all”. Both events will be held in the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Bangkok.

Friday, September 5, 2014

With the technical support of ESCAP Transport Division and financial support of ADB, and as agreed by Bhutan and India Customs in consultation with the private sector, trial runs for 80 vehicle-trips are underway along the Kolkata-Jaigon-Phuntsholing transit corridor between Bhutan and India. During the first week of the trial run on 1-5 September 2014, the officials from Bhutan and India Customs have been given extensive training by experts to handle the electronic seals and the software for online tracking of the vehicles and goods.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Amur tigers and Amur leopards are critically endangered animals that require large habitats for their prey requirements. Their territories spread across North-East Asian countries and can often be found in transboundary areas and crossing national borders. It is therefore key to understand and enable their transboundary movements in order to sustain the populations.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

ESCAP and the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) in collaboration with the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation organized the annual seminar in Vladivostok, Russia on 18 November 2014, where government officials and key stakeholders from China, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation attended.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

At the request of the Government of China, ESCAP/SDD participated in the APEC High-level Meeting on Equal Access and Inclusive Development and delivered a statement at the Forum on Equal Access and Inclusive Development, emphasizing the potential economic contribution that gainfully employed persons with disabilities can make to the APEC economies. Both events were organized by the Government of China in cooperation with the China Disabled Persons Federation (CDPF) in Beijing on 11 November 2014.

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