As far as the 2030 Agenda is concerned, Goal 16 is devoted to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all and to the establishment of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. The strengthening of the framework to finance sustainable development and the means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda is ensured by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
The Addis Agenda is the outcome document adopted at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in July 2015 and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015.
With the adoption of “Future We Want”, the outcome document of the Rio +20 conference, held from 20 to 22 June 2012, Member States decided “to establish a universal intergovernmental high-level political forum, building on the strengths, experiences, resources and inclusive participation modalities of the Commission on Sustainable Development, and subsequently replacing the Commission. The high-level political forum shall follow up on the implementation of sustainable development and should avoid overlap with existing structures, bodies and entities in a cost-effective manner.”
The High-level Political Forum on sustainable development is today the main United Nations platform on sustainable development. It provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations. It follows up and reviews the implementation of sustainable development commitments and, as of 2016, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It addresses new and emerging challenges; promotes the science-policy interface and enhances the integration of economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by Agenda 21 and was tasked with the follow-up to the Rio Conference.
Agenda 21, the Plan of Action of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), calls on the international community to provide a supportive international climate for achieving environment and development goals.
Three Conventions are closely associated with the Rio Conference, namely the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD). Furthermore, the Statement of Forest Principles was also adopted at UNCED.
In its Chapters 38 and 39, the Agenda addresses the institutional arrangements needed to ensure further integration of environment and development issues and it identifies the International Legal Instruments and Mechanisms to be adopted by Member States to ensure promotion of sustainable development at national and international levels.
The Commission on Sustainable Development reviewed Chapter 39 of the Agenda at its second and fourth sessions. Chapter 39 was also one of the topics discussed by the General Assembly in the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 (S/19-2).
The Programme addresses as well International Legal Instruments and Mechanisms and calls for a dynamic and enabling international economic environment supportive of international cooperation, particularly in the fields of finance, technology transfer, debt and trade (Resolution S-19/2, annex, para. 25-26). It also notes that, as a result of globalization, external factors have become critical in determining the success or failure of developing countries in their national sustainable development efforts.
Given such considerations, the General Assembly places international cooperation for an enabling environment for sustainable development on the agenda of the Commission at its ninth session, in 2001, as a cross-sectoral theme. In the context of the CSD, consideration of the enabling environment for sustainable development focuses on the impact on sustainable development of major changes in the world economy due to globalization, as well as on national conditions affecting sustainable development.
In respect to legal developments in the area of sustainable development, new and emerging issues were addressed in Chapter X of the Plan of Implementation (JPOI) of the WSSD in 2002.
In the JPOI, sustainable development is recognized as an overarching goal for institutions at the national, regional and international levels and the Plan also highlights the need to enhance the integration of sustainable development in the activities of all relevant United Nations agencies, programmes and funds, and the international financial institutions, within their mandates.
The importance of strengthening the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD) is addressed in Chapter XI of the JPOI, in particular, its paras 137-170 propose measures to reinforce institutional arrangements on sustainable development, at all levels, within the framework of Agenda 21, build[ing] on developments since the United Nations conference on Environment and Development and lead[ing] to the achievement of a number of objectives.
The CSD at its eleventh session (2003) adopted a new multi-year programme of work based on a two-year cycle to 2017, alternating between review and policy sessions. At its thirteenth session (2005), the Commission reaffirmed both its mandate and its role as the high-level commission responsible for sustainable development within the UN system, and it addressed measures for voluntary monitoring, reporting and assessment at national and regional levels.