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Expert Group meeting for the Global Sustainable Development Report - Future directions and formalization of network of scientific contributors
A major outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (or Rio+20) was the decision to establish a universal, intergovernmental high-level political forum (HLPF). This forum is to build on the strengths, experiences, resources and inclusive participation modalities of the Commission on Sustainable Development, and subsequently replace the Commission. According to the Rio+20 outcome document, the high-level political forum shall follow up on the implementation of sustainable development. It should avoid overlap with existing structures, bodies and entities in a cost-effective manner.

The outcome document also stipulates that the forum could, as one of its functions, “strengthen the science-policy interface through review of documentation bringing together dispersed information and assessments, including in the form of a global sustainable development report, building on existing assessments” as well as to enhance evidence-based decision-making at all levels.

The Secretary-General provided further details in his report entitled “Revised estimates resulting from the decisions contained in the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, entitled ‘The future we want’” within the agenda item of Programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, which was endorsed by the General Assembly last year. The Secretary-General defined what the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs will do to support the above intergovernmentally agreed decisions, saying that it will undertake “in-depth analysis and evaluation of trends and scientific analysis in the implementation of sustainable development, including lessons learned, best practices and new challenges, and cross-sectoral analysis of sustainable development issues”.

The final report of the Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, while only an informal recommendation, contains a whole section detailing the importance of basing sustainable development policy-making on the best and most up-to-date evidence and in this regard also elaborates on “Global Sustainable Development Outlook”, which would bring together assessments across sectors.

A UN Task Team has been formed to reach out to scientific communities across the world and to prepare a first edition of the Global Sustainable Development Report. An Executive Summary of a prototype edition of the Report was launched at the inaugural session of the High-level Political Forum on 24 September 2013 for further consultations.

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