United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development
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National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS)

Description

The concept of National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) was proposed in 1992 in Agenda 21 (§ 8.7) where countries were called upon to integrate economic, social and environmental objectives into one strategically focused blueprint for action at the national level. The NSDS “should be developed through the widest possible participation”. And it “should be based on a thorough assessment of the current situation and initiatives”. In the Programme for the Future Implementation of Agenda 21 adopted at the 19th Special Session of the General Assembly (23-28 June 1997), member States reaffirmed the importance of NSDS and set a target of 2002 for the formulation and elaboration of NSDS that reflect the contributions and responsibilities of all interested parties.

However, by 2002, based on national reports received from governments, only about 85 countries had developed some form of national strategies and the nature and effectiveness of these strategies varied considerably from country to country. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) adopted at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), through paragraph 162 b, recommitted member States to “take immediate steps to make progress in the formulation and elaboration of national strategies for sustainable development and to begin their implementation by 2005.”

During the preparatory process for the 2002 WSSD, the International Forum on NSDS was held in Accra, Ghana in 2001, which led to the launch of the Guidance in Preparing a National Sustainable Development Strategy. It defined National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) as “a coordinated, participatory and iterative process of thoughts and actions to achieve economic, environmental and social objectives in a balanced and integrative manner”. Most importantly, NSDS is a call for an institutional change. It aims at a transition from the traditional static putting-a-plan-on-paper exercise towards the establishment of an adaptive system that can continuously improve. It should be a process which “encompasses situation analysis, formulation of policies and action plans, implementation, monitoring and regular review. It is a cyclical and interactive process of planning, participation and action in which the emphasis is on managing progress towards sustainability goals rather than producing a ‘plan’ as an end product.”

Every country needs to determine, for itself, how best to approach the preparation and implementation of its national sustainable development strategy depending upon the prevailing political, historical cultural, ecological circumstances. A "blueprint" approach for national sustainable development strategies is neither possible nor desirable. The particular label applied to a national sustainable development strategy is not important, as long as the underlying principles characterizing a national sustainable development strategy are adhered to and that economic, social and environmental objectives are balanced and integrated.

Today, when incorporating the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and its 17 SDGs into national context, although countries do not necessarily label them as “national sustainable development strategies”, all the underlying core principles are deeply embedded in the national implementation of SDGs worldwide. As seen at the Voluntary National Reviews at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, issues such as country ownership and strong political commitment, the integration of economic, social and environmental objectives across sectors, territories and generations; broad participation and effective partnerships, the development of capacity and enabling environment, as well as the mobilization of means of implementations remain at the center of policy debates at all levels.

Displaying 1 - 85 of 85
Title Type Sort descending Date
Concept Note - Expert Group Meeting on SDG 16 Concept Notes 1-Feb-2019
Expert Group Meeting on SDG 17: Thematic review Concept Notes 1-Feb-2019
List of Participants (Korea Workshop) Logistics 23-Dec-2006
Participants (EGM on NSDS) Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Background Paper on Climate Change Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Agenda and Organization of Work Logistics 23-May-2006
Concept Note on Conclave Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Programme with presentations on EGM SDGs Logistics 10-Oct-2005
Advisory Group Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Agenda on OECD/UNDESA/UNESCAP Workshop Logistics 22-Oct-2007
Participants of PSIDS Workshop Logistics 23-May-2006
Agenda on Conclave Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Preliminary Paper Outline Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Abstracts Logistics 22-Oct-2007
Participants on Conclave Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Participants of EGM on SDGs Logistics 10-Oct-2005
OECD/UNDSD EGM Agenda Logistics 23-Aug-2006
Agenda for Lebanon Stakeholder Workshop Sept. 2011 Logistics 6-Sep-2011
Concept Note on Climate Change Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Information for Participants of EGM on SDGs Logistics 10-Oct-2005
OECD/UNDSD EGM Abstracts Logistics 23-Aug-2006
Concept Note Indicators Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Agenda for Lebanon Stakeholder Workshop May 2012 Logistics 2-May-2012
Draft Agenda (Korea Workshop) Logistics 23-Oct-2007
Agenda for Liberia Stakeholder Consultation Workshop Logistics 13-Jul-2011
Programme and Presentations Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Programme Indicators Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Programme (Korea Workshop) Logistics 19-Dec-2006
Agenda on EGM (NSDS) Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Participants (Climate Change) Logistics 22-Oct-2009
Programme of workshop of WSSD Workshop Logistics 24-Sep-2003
Final Report Indicators Other documents 22-Oct-2009
Review and Assessment of Capacity for Sustainable Development in Lebanon Other documents 20-Oct-2011
Final Report on Regional Asia and Pacific Workshop Other documents 23-Oct-2003
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP9 Other documents 24-Oct-2005
Presentation on NSDS and Conflict Liberia Stakeholder Workshop Other documents 13-Jul-2011
NSDS Experience of Ghana Other documents 7-Feb-2005
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP3 Other documents 24-Apr-2005
Incheon Communique Other documents 16-Nov-2012
NSDS - The Global Picture 2010 Other documents 15-Mar-2013
Background Report (Korea Workshop) Other documents 23-Oct-2012
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP10 Other documents 24-Oct-2005
Presentation on Guidance Notes on Liberia Stakholder Workshop Other documents 13-Jul-2011
NSDS Experience of Mauritius Other documents 7-Feb-2005
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP4 Other documents 24-Oct-2005
Mapping of Sustainable Development Strategies in Countries Emerging from Conflict: Africa Other documents 20-Dec-2011
Concept note on Mainstreaming Sustainable Development in National Development Strategies Other documents 27-Sep-2013
Report of EGM on SDGs Other documents 13-Oct-2005
Technical Meeting Report Other documents 23-Dec-2006
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP11 Other documents 24-Oct-2005
Presentation on Rio+20 and Liberia Stakeholder Workshop Other documents 13-Dec-2011
NSDS of the United Kingdom Other documents 7-Feb-2005
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP5 Other documents 24-Oct-2005
Background Document for PSIDS Workshop Other documents 23-May-2006
Mapping of Sustainable Development Strategies in Countries Emerging from Conflict: Asia and the Pacific Other documents 20-Dec-2011
Agenda on Mainstreaming Sustainable Development in National Development Strategies Other documents 2-Oct-2013
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP12 Other documents 24-Oct-2005
Final Report on the French Pilot Peer Review Other documents 11-Feb-2005
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP6 Other documents 24-Oct-2005
National Sustainable Development Strategy of France Other documents 7-Feb-2005
Developed Guidance Notes on NSDS in Post-conflict countries Other documents 26-Mar-2012
Analysis of the challenges and capacity gaps in the area of comprehensive development planning in post-conflict… Other documents 20-Dec-2011
Report on WSSD Workshop Other documents 24-Sep-2003
Final report on Arab Regional Workshop Other documents 23-Dec-2004
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP7 Other documents 24-Oct-2005
Methodology for NSDS Peer Review-Shared Learning Process Other documents 7-Feb-2005
National Institutions for Sustainable Development - A preliminary review of the institutional literature Other documents 19-Oct-2012
Executive Summary of the UNCRD Expert Group Meeting on Integrated Regional Development Planning Other documents 10-Apr-2014
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP1 Other documents 19-Oct-2005
OECD/UNDSD EGM Report Other documents 23-Oct-2012
Background information for WSSD Workshop Other documents 24-Sep-2003
Guidance Notes and Recommendations for Sustainable Development Planning in Lebanon Other documents 20-Oct-2011
Final Report on Regional Caribbean Workshop Other documents 23-Jan-2004
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP8 Other documents 24-Oct-2012
Presentation on Introduction to Liberia Stakeholder Workshop Other documents 13-Jul-2011
NSDS Experience of Belgium Other documents 7-Feb-2005
UNDSD/EGM/NSDS/2005/CRP2 Other documents 6-Jul-2005
Final Report on PSIDS Workshop Other documents 23-May-2006
Synthesis of Voluntary National Reviews 2016 Outcome Documents 13-Feb-2017
Final Report of EGM on NSDS Outcome Documents 22-Oct-2009
Final Report (Korea Workshop) Outcome Documents 23-Oct-2007
Report of the UNCRD Expert Group Meeting on Integrated Regional Development Planning Outcome Documents 10-Apr-2014
Report of the Capacity Building Workshop and Expert Group Meeting on Integrated Approaches to Sustainable… Outcome Documents 3-Jul-2015
Synthesis Report of Voluntary National Reviews 2017 Reports 7-Nov-2017
Synthesis Report of Voluntary National Reviews (2018) Reports 8-Nov-2018
Displaying 1 - 84 of 84
Title Category Sort descending Date
Belize Country Presentations 9-Oct-2013
Zambia Country Presentations 9-Oct-2013
Senegal Country Presentations 9-Oct-2013
Zambia Country Presentations 9-Oct-2013
Rwanda Country Presentations 9-Oct-2013
Jamaica Country Presentations 9-Oct-2013
Liberia Country Presentations 9-Oct-2013
Kyrgyzstan Country Presentations 9-Oct-2013
Ecuador Country Presentations 9-Oct-2013
Findings from the Rio Findings from the Rio + 20 National Preparations to support… Implementing Sustainable Development Policies - Governance Mechanisms 9-Oct-2013
Capacity-Building for Public Official on Integrated Regional Development Planning (IDRP… Implementing Sustainable Development Policies - Governance Mechanisms 9-Oct-2013
Objectives and Agenda Introduction 9-Oct-2013
Engaging Stakeholders. The role of National Councils for Sustainable Development Multistakeholder Engagement in National Sustainable Development Policy and Practice 10-Oct-2013
Building accountability - CSOs, citizens and the post-2015 agenda Multistakeholder Engagement in National Sustainable Development Policy and Practice 10-Oct-2013
Emil Salim (APFED): National Sustainable Development Strategies in Developing… Presentations 19-Aug-2006
Mr. Matthias Bruckner Presentations 18-Sep-2009
Solomon Islands Presentations 4-May-2006
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Mr. Hopeton Peterson Presentations 17-Sep-2009
Asfaw Kumssa Presentations 18-Nov-2009
Fiji Presentations 4-May-2006
United Nations Division for Sustainable Development Presentations 13-Dec-2004
Finland Presentations 10-Oct-2005
Candice Stevens (OECD): Overview of Guiding Principles, Reporting and Review Frameworks for… Presentations 19-Aug-2006
Mr. Hopeton Peterson Presentations 18-Sep-2009
Tonga Presentations 4-May-2006
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Sandra Ruckstuhl Presentations 18-Nov-2009
Ms. Decima Corea Presentations 17-Sep-2009
The Federated States of Micronesia Presentations 4-May-2006
Economic and Social Commission for West Africa (ESCWA) Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Hungary Presentations 10-Oct-2005
Mr. Mark Griffith Presentations 18-Sep-2009
Tuvalu Presentations 4-May-2006
United Nations Environment Programme - Regional Office for Western Asia Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Irena Zubcevic Presentations 18-Nov-2009
Ms. Vidiah Ramkhelawan Presentations 17-Sep-2009
Nauru Presentations 4-May-2006
Economic and Social Commission for West Africa (ESCWA) Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Mr. Matthias Bruckner Presentations 17-Sep-2009
Mr. Keneti Faulalo Presentations 18-Sep-2009
Vanuatu Presentations 4-May-2006
United Nations Environment Programme - Regional Office for Western Asia Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Darren Swanson (IISD): Overview of Governance Structures for National Sustainable… Presentations 19-Aug-2006
Mr. Matthias Bruckner Presentations 17-Sep-2009
Niue Presentations 4-May-2006
Economic and Social Commission for West Africa (ESCWA) Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Mr. Derrick Gibbs Presentations 17-Sep-2009
Mr. Sami Areikat Presentations 18-Nov-2009
Ms. Vidiah Ramkhelawan Presentations 18-Sep-2009
Ms. Mary Pat Silveira Presentations 4-May-2006
Egypt Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Barry Dalal-Clayton (IIED): Overview of Monitoring and Reviewing Approaches for National… Presentations 19-Aug-2006
Ms. Amrikha D. Singh Presentations 18-Sep-2009
Palau Presentations 4-May-2006
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Mr. Sean Cenac Presentations 17-Sep-2009
B.C. Chikulo Presentations 18-Nov-2009
Mrs. Angela Hunte Presentations 18-Sep-2009
Matthias Bruckner Presentations 4-May-2006
Morocco Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Remy Paris (OECD): Integration of National Sustainable Development Strategies and Poverty… Presentations 19-Aug-2006
Prof. Edgar Gutiérrez-Espeleta Presentations 18-Sep-2009
Papua New Guinea Presentations 4-May-2006
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Mr. Charles Brown Presentations 17-Sep-2009
Alice Urusaro Karekezi Presentations 18-Nov-2009
Cook Islands Presentations 4-May-2006
United Nations Division for Sustainable Development Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Austria Presentations 10-Oct-2005
Saudi Arabia Presentations 12-Dec-2004
Overview of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts Rio+20 Follow-up Process 9-Oct-2013
Update on Open Working Group on SDGs Rio+20 Follow-up Process 9-Oct-2013
Ms. JoAnne DiSano Statements 4-May-2006
H.E. Mr. Aldo Mantovani Statements 4-May-2006
H.E. Mr. Robert G. Aisi Statements 4-May-2006
Ms. Padma Lal Statements 4-May-2006
Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform Sustainable Development Learning and Knowledge Sharing 10-Oct-2013
Mainstreaming Climate Change into National Development Strategies Sustainable Development Policy and Practice 10-Oct-2013
The National Voluntary Presentations of the Annual Ministerial Review ECOSOC Sustainable Development Policy and Practice 10-Oct-2013
National Monitoring and Reporting on the MDGs: Some Case Studies Sustainable Development Policy and Practice 10-Oct-2013
Water and Sanitation SDG process-CD implications Sustainable Development Policy and Practice 10-Oct-2013
Overview of Sustainable Development Policy and Practice Sustainable Development Policy and Practice 9-Oct-2013
Political Economy and Sustainable Development Sustainable Development Policy and Practice 9-Oct-2013

Milestones

  • January 2015 2030 Agenda: NSDS
    In multiple instances, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development expresses and reaffirms the commitment of Member States to achieve sustainable development for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities, different national realities and levels of development as well as respecting national policy space for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, especially for developing states.
  • Through paragraph 43, the Future Want identifies, as a requirement for sustainable development, “the meaningful involvement and active participation of regional, national and subnational legislatures and judiciaries, and all major groups: women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, the scientific and technological community, and farmers, as well as other stakeholders”. Member States agree to work more closely with the major groups and other stakeholders and encourage their active participation, as appropriate, in processes that contribute to decision-making, planning and implementation of policies and programmes for sustainable development at all levels. In paragraph 46. Member States express their support to national regulatory and policy frameworks that enable business and industry to advance sustainable development initiatives, taking into account the importance of corporate social responsibility.
  • This Expert Group Meeting on Integrating Climate Change into National Sustainable Development Strategies was organized by the Division for Sustainable Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Group Meeting convened in order to examine effective ways of addressing climate change through national sustainable development strategies and strengthen the role of sustainable development as the most effective framework within which to tackle climate change.
  • January 2002 JPOI (Para 162)
    With the adoption of the JPOI, Member States urged to take immediate steps towards making progress in formulating and elaborating national strategies for sustainable development and to begin their implementation by 2005.
  • January 2000 Target 7 A
    The integration of principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes corresponds to Millennium Development Goal Target 7 A of the United Nations Millennium Declaration.
  • The 1997 Special Session of the General Assembly noted the importance of NSDS and set a target of 2002 for their formulation and elaboration.
  • January 1992 Agenda 21 (Chap 8.7)
    Paragraph 7 of Chapter 8 of Agenda 21 calls on countries to adopt national strategies for sustainable development (NSDS) that should build upon and harmonize the various sectoral economic, social and environmental policies and plans that are operating in the country.