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United Nations: Development Policy and Analysis Division

As the main development research division of the UN Secretariat, the Development Policy and Analysis Division produces an array of publications and documents that support the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council in their assessment of current and long-term development issues and in their policy-setting agendas. In addition, the Division's outputs are aimed at national policymakers, the research community and the general public, and thus contribute to enriching academic discussions of development challenges and providing policy recommendations.
The Division's main publications include two departmental flagships, the World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) and the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP), and thematic reports by the Committee for Development Policy. The official documents are parliamentary in nature, consisting of specific inputs mandated by and prepared for the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. The working papers and LINK meeting reports and papers are geared more towards the research community and the general public. This also applies to the background papers, which provide additional in-depth analysis on topics discussed in the main publications.
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UN: World Economic Situation and Prospects
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011
Weaknesses in major developed economies continue to drag the global recovery and pose risks for world economic stability in the coming years. The unprecedented scale of the policy measures taken by Governments during the early stage of the crisis has no doubt helped stabilize financial markets and jump-start a recovery. However, overcoming the structural problems that led to the crisis—and those that were created by it—is proving much more challenging and will be a lengthy process. This contrasts with the strong GDP growth in many developing countries and economies in transition, which has contributed more than half of the total expansion of the world economy since the third quarter of 2009.
The report highlights the continued challenge posed by high unemployment rates in many economies and outlines a number of risks and uncertainties for the economic outlook such as a premature withdrawal of policy stimulus, increased exchange rate volatility and a renewed widening of global imbalances. Against this background, several policy challenges are discussed in greater detail, including the optimal design of fiscal policies as well as the coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, the provision of sufficient support to developing countries in addressing the fallout from the crisis and the coordination of policy measures at the international level.

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2010
The world economy is on the mend. After a sharp, broad and synchronized global downturn in late 2008 and early 2009, an increasing number of countries have registered positive quarterly growth of gross domestic product (GDP), along with a notable recovery in international trade and global industrial production. World equity markets have also rebounded and risk premiums on borrowing have fallen.
… but recovery is fragile

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009
It was never meant to happen again, but the world economy is now mired in the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. In little over a year, the mid-2007 subprime mortgage debacle in the United States of America has developed into a global financial crisis and started to move the global economy into a recession. Aggressive monetary policy action in the United States and massive liquidity injections by the central banks of the major developed countries were unable to avert this crisis. Several major financial institutions in the United States and Europe have failed, and stock market and commodity prices have collapsed and become highly volatile. Interbank lending in most developed countries has come to a virtual standstill, and the spread between the interest rate on interbank loans and treasury bills has surged to the highest level in decades. Retail businesses and industrial firms, both large and small, are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain credit as banks have become reluctant to lend, even to long-time customers. In October 2008, the financial crisis escalated further with sharp falls on stock markets in both developed and emerging economies. Many countries experienced their worst ever weekly sell off in equity markets

World Economic Situation and Prospects
as of mid-2008

In the wake of numerous challenges, the world economy is teetering on the brink of a severe global economic downturn. The deepening credit crisis in major developed market economies, triggered by the continuing housing slump, the declining value of the United States dollar vis-à-vis other major currencies, persisting global imbalances, and soaring oil and non-oil commodity prices all pose considerable risks to economic growth in both developed and developing economies.
Additionally, the unfolding food crisis, which is not only a grave humanitarian issue, but also a serious threat to social and political stability in some developing economies, endangers the achievement of the millennium development goals (MDGs) by reversing some of the progress towards those goals made so far...

World Economic Situation and Prospects
2008
Official documents for the General Assembly

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007
  After a solid and broad-based growth for three consecutive years, the world economy is expected to decelerate in 2007, mainly dragged by a slowdown of the United States. Growth in Europe and Japan, meanwhile, will not be sufficient for these economies to act as locomotives of global growth. The outlook remains mostly positive for developing countries, but a degree of moderation is also expected. Sustained high growth in China, India and a few other major emerging economies seems to have engendered synergy among developing countries so that growth in this group is more endogenous.
However, a large number of developing countries remain highly vulnerable to the vicissitudes of commodity prices and the volatility of international financial markets. The report highlights the need for greater employment growth, which has not kept pace with output growth. The global economic outlook also encompasses a number of important downside risks: bursts in the housing bubbles in a number of countries, uncertainties in oil prices and mounting global imbalances. The report calls for international macroeconomic policy coordination in order to facilitate an orderly adjustment of global imbalances.
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Global outlook:  (English), (Arabic), (Chinese), (French), (Russian), (Spanish)
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Background paper:
Barry Eichengreen, Should There Be a Coordinated Response to the Problem of Global Imbalances? Can There Be One?


World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2006
- English - French - Spanish

Measured by such indicators as the international prices of commodities, the costs of external fi nancing, capital fl ows and trade fl ows, many developing countries and economies in transition are still facing a generally auspicious international economic environment (see table 3). In the outlook, however, such an environment will deteriorate somewhat: the fact that monetary conditions in major economies are tightening, real interest rates in global capital markets are rising, and the global imbalances are still widening, may lead to a disorderly adjustment and instability for global currency and fi nancial markets.
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Sales No:07.II.C.2 -- ISBN:978-92-1109153-3
(For more info, email: wesp@un.org)
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2006
 The world economy is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 3 per cent during 2006. The United States economy remains the main engine of global economic growth, but the growth of China, India and a few other large developing economies is becoming increasingly important. On average, developing economies are expected to expand at a rate of 5.6 per cent and the economies in transition at 5.9 per cent, despite the fact that these economies may face larger challenges during 2006.
 Driven by higher oil prices, inflation rates have edged up worldwide. Core inflation rates, which exclude the prices of energy and food, have been more stable, indicating that the pass-through of higher oil prices to overall inflation is limited.

Executive Summary (English),  Arabic,  Chinese,  French,  Russian,  Spanish
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Sales Number: E.06.II.C.2 ISBN: 92-1-109150-0

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2005
The continued recovery of the world economy resulted in unusually widespread growth in 2004, but a modest slowdown in all regions is expected in 2005, according to projections contained in World Economic Situation and Prospects 2005 (WESP 2005). Developing countries grew at the fastest rate in two decades in 2004. In addition to the stimulus provided by the United States, China is making an increasing contribution to global economic growth... One of the universal weaknesses in the world economy continues to be the slow growth of employment and the persistence of high rates of unemployment and underemployment in most developing countries. Unless improved economic growth is reflected in increased employment, it will prove difficult to reduce poverty. Even in the most rapidly growing region, East Asia, unemployment and underemployment remain problems in several economies. The need to absorb the millions of surplus workers in the agriculture sector and in State-owned enterprises in China is a special case, but lack of employment is also a problem in other countries in the region.
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World Economic Situation and Prospects 2004
Many of the forces responsible for dramatic growth in the previous decade are now absent or not strong enough to produce such robust performance. While global trade is projected by the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2004 (WESP 2004) to grow by seven per cent this year, it is unlikely that the buoyancy of pre-2000 years will be repeated, especially given setbacks in the Doha round of trade negotiations. The recovery of foreign direct investment will be similarly subdued, as will rebounding investment in information technologies. And in 2004, the dampening effects of geopolitical tensions and threats of international terrorism are more prevalent than in the years immediately before 2001.Therefore, the report urge careful measures to nurture the recovery and avoid a precipitous unwinding of international imbalances
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SALES No:E.04.II.C.2  ISBN:9211091462
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2003
Full document (English)
Sales No. E.03.II.C.2; ISBN 92-1-109144-6).

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World Economic Situation and Prospects 2002
Full document (English)

Press Release
Order this publication Sales No.E.02II.C.2 ISBN:92-1-109-141-1

World Economic Situation and prospects 2001
World Economic Situation and Prospects for 2000
World Economic Situation and Prospects for 1999
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