Division for Sustainable Development
Division for Sustainable Development
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations Secretariat Building
405 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: + 1 212 963 4260

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Mission Statement

The Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) provides leadership in promoting and coordinating implementation of the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) which concluded on 22 June 2012, is been considered one of the largest conferences in the history of the United Nations. Governments renewed their strong political commitment to sustainable development and to promote integration and coherence of policies and the implementation of actions in the social, economic and environmental areas.

The work of the Division translates into five core functions: (1) Support to UN intergovernmental processes on sustainable development; (2) Analysis and policy development; (3) Capacity development at the country level; (4) Inter-agency coordination; and (5) Knowledge management, communication and outreach.

In addition, the Division houses the SIDS Unit mandated to undertake the five core functions enumerated above in support of the further implementation of the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States.

Support for UN Intergovernmental Processes

The Division serves as the primary UN office responsible for supporting intergovernmental processes in the area of sustainable development. These include the General Assembly and ECOSOC, the Commission on Sustainable Development and the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development as well as several processes launched at Rio+20. In particular, the Division is tasked with supporting member states' deliberations on the establishment of a high level political forum for sustainable development. It will also help develop sustainable development goals, as an integral part of the UN development agenda beyond 2015. The Division also supports related regional processes and follows Member States' implementation of commitments on sustainable development since the 1992 Earth Summit.

The Division also supported the 2014 Third International Conference of Small Island Developing States.

Analysis and Policy Development

The Division's work provides an analytical and scientific basis for intergovernmental deliberations on sustainable development. It undertakes assessments of long-term sustainable development challenges, both new and intensifying ones. It designs integrated policy responses in a number of priority areas such as sustainable development goals, technology facilitation, financing for sustainable development, green economy, sustainable transport, sustainable cities, oceans, climate change in the context of sustainable development and the nexus among energy, food and water.

Capacity Development

Capacity development is targeted towards translating decisions of UN intergovernmental bodies related to sustainable development into actual policies and actions at the country level. The Division, with support from its three overseas offices and in collaboration with other UN entities and UN country teams, therefore focuses on building capacity for integrated planning and policy design, linking to the national planning process key sectoral areas such as transport, agriculture, energy, water and sanitation, sustainable cities, waste management and disaster reduction, as appropriate. These activities in turn allow the Division to inform intergovernmental bodies on the relevance and impact of normative and analytical efforts at the country level.

Inter-Agency Coordination

The Division works to mobilize the UN system and other relevant organizations to support sustainable development strategies. The Division provides Secretariats for key inter-agency mechanisms namely UN-Water and UN-Energy, and contributes closely to the inter-agency process on Oceans. It also chairs an informal mechanism the Inter-Agency Consultative Group on SIDS.

Knowledge Management, Communication and Outreach

Sustainable development goes together with allowing people to broadly engage in development policy making. The Division therefore aims to support the effective participation of Major Groups (as defined in Agenda 21) in the UN political processes and its analytical and capacity development work. It also helps build the capacity, knowledge and skills base of Major Groups. It supports, facilitates and monitors voluntary Partnerships for Sustainable Development and monitors the more than 750 voluntary commitments registered at Rio+20. It also promotes online and face-to-face knowledge and skills acquisition by stakeholders through its SD-Learning programme Finally, it serves to provide wide access to information and knowledge for sustainable development, through its online Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform and social media.
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