Modelling tools for Sustainable Development policies: a platform to address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development
The launch of the 2030 Agenda presents an opportunity to address the complex challenges interconnected across the three dimensions of sustainable development, particularly those whose dynamics are prompted by unintended consequences of human action.

Over the past 10 years, UNDESA has built capacities in the use of quantitative modelling tools to inform policy makers, with an emphasis on policy options to achieve human development goals, including the MDGs. In doing so, a suite of models has been transferred to a number of Member States from all developing regions. To meet the challenges posed by the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, UNDESA is scaling up its capacity to support Member States by expanding the scope of the modelling tools and the number of beneficiary countries. The challenge of analysing different policy scenarios across the three dimensions of sustainable development requires improved technical capacities to understand the trade-offs and potential synergies. Formal modelling of policy options through scenario analysis is a useful way to inform the design of integrated and coherent policy frameworks to provide development opportunities for all.

In response to these challenges, UNDESA is strengthening countries’ capacities to address the economic, social and environmental challenges of sustainable development through the use of a suite of modelling tools accessible in the web-based platform “Modelling Tools for Sustainable Development”.

These modelling tools help raise awareness about the methodologies available and provide a useful entry point for policy analysis. Modelling tools are easily expanded and tailored to specific country needs and they serve to build in-depth capacity at the country level. Through the use of open source coding and software (to the extent possible), modelling tools are fully transferred to Member States. In addition, the web-based platform aims at encouraging the generation of a community of scientists, academics and development practitioners with the objective of improving the modelling tools available and ensuring their coherence and relevance to inform the development policy agenda.

The website, powered by the UNITE Ideas platform of UN OICT, showcases a set of modelling tools and visualisations that illustrate and assist the analysis of policy strategies and the interlinkages, trade-offs and synergies that characterise sustainable development. The event will focus on four of the models: 1) the Fuel Tax and Development tool that uses an economy-wide model to provide information on the impact of a fuel tax on the economy as a whole and in several socioeconomic indicators, 2) the Growth and Social inclusion tool, which uses an economy-wide model and socio-economic micro-simulations to assess the impact of policies and of external shocks on poverty and income distribution, 3) the updates and extensions of the Universal Access Electricity tool, which supports the calculation of the lowest investment cost and mix of technologies to provide universal access to electricity and 4) the Climate, Land use, Energy and Water strategies, by which an integrated assessment can be deployed to illustrate the interrelationship between strategic resources at the global, national or sub-national level.

The event aims at illustrating the potential of modelling-based scenarios to support the analysis of diverse economic, social and environmental strategies and assess the interlinkages amongst the three dimensions of sustainable development, ensuring that in meeting sustainable development priorities, nobody is left behind.

Organizers: DPAD/DESA