World Economic and Social Survey 2017

Reflecting on Seventy Years of Development Policy Analysis

image of World Economic and Social Survey 2017

The aim of WESS 2017 is to document the intellectual influence of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) through its flagship publication, World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) on its 70th Anniversary. First published in 1948, the Survey is the oldest continuous post-World War II publication of its kind that records and analyses the performance of the global economy and social development trends as well as offers relevant policy recommendations. WESS 2017 will highlight how well the Survey tracked global economic and social conditions, and how its analysis influenced and were influenced by the prevailing discourse during the past seven decades. It will also critically reflect on its policy recommendations and their influence on actual policy-making and the shaping of the world economy. Particular attention will be given to reflect on the lessons that a historical review of the policy analysis done by the Survey would provide for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.



What have we learned in seventy years of development policy analysis?

World Economic and Social Survey 2017 reviews the seventy-year history of a flagship publication, the oldest continuing report of its kind. A clear message from the development policy analysis carried out over seventy years is that periods of sluggish growth in the global economy pose a significant challenge to development. Anaemic growth in the current context may compromise the implementation of a transformative agenda for sustainable development. The experience of previous economic downturns attests to the urgency of expediting global policy coordination in order to accelerate economic growth, trade and financial flows for development. The objective of the present review is to draw those lessons from the past that are relevant to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Six messages are of particular importance.


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