United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
1. What decisions or new strategies has the governing body of your organization taken to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief summary below, including the overarching vision of your governing body for the Decade of Action on the SDGs.
As the Headquarter Secretariat Department, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) is a vital interface between global policies in the economic, social and environmental spheres and national action. Its work is guided by the universal, integrated and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 associated targets adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015. The Department works in three main interlinked areas:
- Analytical work: it compiles, generates and analyses a wide range of economic, social and environmental data and information on which Member States and other stakeholders draw to review common problems and to take stock of policy options;
- Intergovernmental support: it facilitates the negotiations of Member States in many intergovernmental bodies on joint courses of action to address ongoing or emerging global challenges; and
- Capacity development: it advises interested Governments on the ways and means of translating policy frameworks developed in UN conferences and summits into programmes at the country level and, through technical assistance, helps build national capacities.
In this context, the UN General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and its functional commissions, serviced by DESA, have taken a number of decisions to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, as specified below:
- The General Assembly convened the SDG Summit, the High-level Political Forum under the auspices of the General Assembly, on 24-25 September 2019 at the end of the first four-year cycle of the HLPF. The Summit took place at the level of Heads of State and Government and adopted the Political Declaration “Gearing up for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”. The Summit gave political leadership, guidance and recommendations for accelerating progress towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It marked the beginning of the Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development and provided space for all actors to identify SDG acceleration actions that will speed transformation of societies.
- The Assembly also started to conduct reviews of its critical resolutions on ECOSOC and the HLPF. Due to the crisis related to COVID-19, it decided to postpone the in-depth reviews to the 75th session and only decide on the theme for the coming HLPF and ECOSOC(s).
- The Second Committee of the General Assembly also adopted several resolutions on aspects related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. The Committee is also revitalizing its own work.
- The Third Committee of the General Assembly adopted several resolutions on range of social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues that relate to the implementation of the SDGs.
- The Economic and Social Council, in the final day of its High-level Segment, discussed future trends and scenarios related to the issue of inclusiveness, and the long-term impact of current trends on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, The High-level Segment (HLS) of ECOSOC adopted a ministerial declarations on implementing the SDGs in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
- The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development under the auspices of ECOSOC adopted ministerial declarations on implementing the SDGs in 2016, 2017 and 2018. In light of the 2019 SDG Summit, a summary of the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC was issued by the President of ECOSOC after its 2019 session. The 2019 HLPF concluded the first four-year HLPF cycle of follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs Under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” the 2019 session held reviews on SDG4 (education), SDG8 (economic growth and decent work), SDG10 (inequality), SDG13 (climate action), SDG16 (peaceful and inclusive societies), and SDG17 (means of implementation). The 2019 HLPF showed that while progress has been made towards a number of Goals and targets, it has been slow or reversed in others, and the world is not on track to meet the Goals by 2030 or to ensure that no one is left behind. With the in-depth discussion of the six Sustainable Development Goals, the HLPF finalized review of all 17 SDGs.
- The 2020 HLPF, under the theme “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the Decade of Action and delivery for sustainable development”, will focus on the following thematic areas: protecting and advancing human wellbeing and ending poverty; ending hunger and achieving food security; responding to the economic shock caused by the 2020 COVID19 pandemic, relaunching growth and sharing economic benefits and addressing developing countries’ financing challenges; protecting the planet and building; and sustaining efforts to ensure access to sustainable energy and all this in the context of building back better after COVID-19 and acting where there will be the greatest impact on the SDGs.
- The Addis Ababa Action Agenda provides the global framework for financing sustainable development, which supports implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including the SDGs. The Addis Agenda aligns all domestic and international resource flows, policies and international agreements with economic, social and environmental priorities. It incorporates all the SDG means of implementation targets into the much broader and comprehensive financing framework. It serves as a guide for further actions by governments, international organizations, the business sector, civil society, and philanthropists. The General Assembly adopted the agenda in General Assembly resolution 69/313.
- The SIDS Accelerated Modality of Action (SAMOA) Pathway articulates the internationally agreed sustainable development priorities of small island developing States (SIDS). These priorities are aligned and are complementary to other agreed multilateral sustainable development agendas including inter alia the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, the Sendai Framework, and the Paris Climate Agreement. The SIDS Partnership Framework, under the auspices of the UN General Assembly, is overseen by the Steering Committee on SIDS Partnerships. The Framework and its national, regional and global multi-stakeholders Dialogues, are platforms that aims to review progress of existing partnerships for SIDS, launch new partnerships in line with SIDS priorities, and for all stakeholders to exchange lessons learned, identifying good partnering practices, and engage in a dialogue with all stakeholders. The General Assembly convened in September 2019 a high-level mid-term review of the SAMOA Pathway and adopted a political declaration giving guidance on its further implementation.
- The annual ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (FfD Forum), established in the Addis Agenda, provides the intergovernmental platform with universal participation to discuss the follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The FfD Forum also incorporates the special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, WTO and UNCTAD, to discuss coherence, coordination and cooperation in the follow-up to the FfD outcomes. The Forum produces inter-governmentally agreed outcomes, available here. Held in conjunction with the annual Forum, the Sustainable Development Goals Investment Fair aims to leverage private funding to close the SDG investment gap. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Forum was held in two virtual sessions. The first meeting focused on Financing sustainable development in the context of COVID-19 held on 23 April. The second meeting on Financing a Sustainable Recovery from COVID-19 was held on 2 June.
- The General Assembly convenes the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development every four years. The first Dialogue since the adoption of the Addis Agenda took place in September 2019, back-to-back with the meeting of the meeting of the HLPF under GA auspices. The Dialogue served to elevate further the Forum's outcomes since 2016 and generated specific calls to action to accelerate progress in key areas, while addressing new challenges and opportunities that have emerged since the adoption of the 2030 and Addis Agendas.
- The Addis Agenda further reinforced the mandate of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), which provides the global multi-stakeholder forum for in-depth and action-oriented reviews of trends, progress and emerging issues in international development cooperation. Through candid policy discussions and cutting-edge analytical work, the DCF is assisting governments and other stakeholders to advance the strategic role of development cooperation in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The DCF high-level meetings produce concrete policy guidance, captured in the official summaries prepared by the President of ECOSOC. The DCF outcomes are available here. The work of the DCF directly feeds into both the HLPF and the ECOSOC FfD Forum. The Addis Agenda further recognizes the DCF as the UN’s primary platform for discussion on the quality, impact and effectiveness of development cooperation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DCF was postponed to 6-7 May 2021.
- The Addis Agenda established the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development with a dual mandate to (i) report annually on progress in implementing the Addis Agenda and other Financing for Development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, and (ii) advise the intergovernmental follow-up process on progress, implementation gaps and recommendations for corrective action, while taking into consideration the national and regional dimensions. The Task Force's annual Financing for Sustainable Development report (FSDR) is the major substantive input to the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up and supports the deliberations of the HLPF.
- The Addis Agenda recognizes taxation as one of the most important ways that developing countries can mobilize domestic resources to achieve the 2030 Agenda and calls for further international collaboration on tax matters. The UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters provides a framework for dialogue to enhance and promote international tax cooperation among national tax authorities, considering how new and emerging issues could affect international cooperation in tax matters, and making recommendations on capacity-building and provision of technical assistance to developing countries. The Addis Agenda increased the frequency of the Committee's sessions to two sessions per year, with one held back-to-back with the annual ECOSOC Special Meeting on International Cooperation on Tax Matters, to further support efforts by governments and other stakeholders to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The Committee has also added "Tax and SDGs" to its agenda to ensure that it continues to generate clear, evidence-based policy guidance on how to support the pursuit of sustainable development through taxation in the broader context, beyond domestic resource mobilization. The work of the Committee has continued virtually despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
- To intensify the cooperation between international organizations working on tax issues, FSDO/UN DESA represents the UN in the Platform for Collaboration on Tax, which, in addition to the UN, includes the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank Group (WBG). The Platform was launched in April 2016 to formalize regular discussions between the four international organizations on the design and implementation of standards for international tax matters, strengthen their ability to provide capacity-building support to developing countries, and help them deliver jointly developed guidance. It also increases their ability to share information on operational and knowledge activities around the world. From 14 to 16 February 2018, the PCT held its First Global Conference at United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss the key directions for tax policy and administration needed to meet the SDGs. The Platform Partners' Statement at the Closing of the Conference provided the blueprint of the new PCT work programme, which was developed jointly by PCT partners in 2018 and consists of three workstreams focusing on coordination, analytical and outreach activities.
- At its 46th session in March 2015, the UN Statistical Commission established the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG indicators (IAEG-SDGs) with the task of developing and implementing the global SDG indicator framework for the follow-up and review of the progress towards achieving the SDGs. Through an open and transparent process involving all stakeholders, the IAEG-SDGs developed the global indicator framework which was adopted by the General Assembly in July 2017. At the 51st session of the UN Statistical Commission in March 2020, Member States adopted a revised indicator framework, which gives support and a further boost to the SDG monitoring efforts, including by helping ensure that no one is left behind. Based on the global indicator framework, an annual SDG progress report and a global SDG indicator database prepared by DESA with inputs from the whole UN system inform the follow-up and review at the HLPF. Five years into the implementation of the Sustainable Development agenda, the 2020 Secretary-General’s report on Progress towards the SDGs presents a global overview of the situation of the Sustainable Development Goals, including on how COVID-19 has been impacting efforts to achieve the goals.
- The High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB), established by the UN Statistical Commission in March 2015 to provide strategic leadership for the SDG implementation, process as it concerns data for the 2030 agenda, including funding and partnerships for capacity-building. The group continues to monitor the implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data developed as a framework for planning, implementation and evaluation of statistical capacity for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In addition, at the second United Nation World Data Forum held in Dubai in October 2018, the group announced the Dubai Declaration calling for more resources for data and statistics and for the establishment of an innovative funding mechanism to address unprecedented data needs for SDGs. Work towards mobilizing resources has continued and the group is currently overseeing the programme and outcome document for the third UN World Data Forum, scheduled to take place this year in Bern. The HLG-PCCB is also conducting a scoping exercise around the role of National Statistical Offices as “data stewards”.
- The Statistical Commission oriented the statistical work programs in all areas of statistics towards supporting countries in investing in data and statistics for the SDGs either through methodological work or support in data compilation and capacity building in light of the Decade of Action. These work programs are currently being adjusted to respond to the impact of COVID-19.
- Paragraph 70 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the General Assembly Resolution A/RES/70/1) launches a “Technology Facilitation Mechanism” (TFM) in order to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The TFM was first established by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which was agreed at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July 2015. It was decided that the TFM will be based on a multi-stakeholder collaboration between Member States, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community, United Nations entities and other stakeholders.
- As mandated by the General Assembly, the President of ECOSOC convenes the meetings of the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum)once a year to discuss science, technology and innovation cooperation around thematic areas for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The General Assembly also decided that the meetings of the forum will be co-chaired by two Member States and will result in a summary of discussions elaborated by the two co-Chairs. The STI Forum has met every year starting from 2016. Its reports are available on the STI website. (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/tfm). In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Economic and Social Council has decided to defer the 2020 STI Forum to 2021.
- In the 2016 Ministerial Declaration of the High Level Political Forum (E/HLS/2016/1), Member States mandated a quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) to be prepared by an independent group of scientists, with secretariat and substantive support provided by a UN task team including UN-DESA. DESA DSDG has provided this support for the 2019 GSDR through the preparation of the report and now into its operationalization, holding regional workshops with partners to disseminate its messages on SDG implementation and working with stakeholders to explore how to translate its recommendations into policy. In parallel, DESA DSDG is supporting the preparation of the 2023 GSDR.
- In its resolution 2019/24 on the assessment of the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society, the Economic and Social Council reiterated the importance of ICT indicators in open data format, emphasized the importance of the standardization and harmonization of reliable and regularly updated indicators, and stressed the value of gender disaggregated data to contribute to the bridging of the digital gender divide. At its fifty-first session, the Statistical Commission endorsed the thematic list of information and communications technology indicators for monitoring progress towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and requested to possibly expand the list, for example with indicators regarding cybersecurity.
- In its draft resolution E/CN.5/2019/L.5 in February 2019 for the consideration of ECOSOC, the Commission for Social Development reaffirmed“that it will contribute to the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, within its existing mandate, by supporting the thematic reviews of the high-level political forum on sustainable development on progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, including cross-cutting issues, reflecting the integrated nature of the Goals as well as the interlinkages between them, while engaging all relevant stakeholders and feeding into and being aligned with the cycle of the high-level political forum, according to the organizational arrangements established by the General Assembly and the Council; ….. Decides that, in selecting its priority themes, the Commission shall consider, in addition to the follow-up to and review of the World Summit and the outcome of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly, as well as the 2030 Agenda, the programme of work of the Council and the main theme of the high-level political forum on sustainable development, so as to build synergies and contribute to the work of the Council.”
- The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an expert body of the Economic and Social Council and plays a central role in ensuring that the rights and priorities of indigenous peoples are considered in every aspect of efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. As an advisory body of the Economic and Social Council on indigenous issues, the Permanent Forum includes the consideration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as an item on the agenda of its annual sessions. Many of the issues addressed under other agenda items of the Forum’s annual sessions are also of direct relevance to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Permanent Forum provides substantive inputs for the thematic reviews of the high-level political forum on sustainable development and participates in the work of other ECOSOC bodies to strengthen synergies and coordination.
- In its resolution 61/106, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2016 and reaffirmed the need for States Parties to meet regularly through the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to review and enhance the implementation of the CRPD. Over the years, COSP has been instrumental in guiding the global discourse on rights of persons with disabilities and disability-inclusive development and in accelerating the progress to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for persons with disabilities.
- In its resolution 2016/25, the Economic and Social Council reaffirmed that the primary mandate of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) is to monitor, review and assess the implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The Council affirmed, as well, that the Commission would contribute to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development within its existing mandate.
- Further, in its decision 2017/260, the Council decided that, starting with its fifty-third session in 2020, the CPD would adopt a four-year cycle for the review and appraisal of the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and its contribution to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as part of a multiyear work programme aligned with the main theme of the Council and with the thematic focus of the high-level political forum on sustainable development, convened under the auspices of the Council.
- In April 2017, the General Assembly adopted the first ever UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF). The UNSPF provides a global framework for actions at all levels to sustainably manage all types of forests and trees outside forests and halt deforestation and forest degradation. It builds on the vision of the 2030 Agenda and its universal action plan that encompasses and engages all partners and stakeholders at all levels, and highlights their respective roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the plan.
- At the heart of the strategic plan are six global forest goals and 26 associated targets to be achieved by 2030. The goals and targets build upon existing international forest-related instruments, processes, commitments and goals, including in particular the forest-related aspects of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the global objectives on forests of the United Nations forest instrument. They also support the objectives of other international arrangement on forests and are aimed at contributing to progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, 12 the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other international forest-related instruments, processes, commitments and goals. The vision, principles and commitments set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provide the context for the global forest goals and targets, which are interconnected and integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable forest management and sustainable development.
- The UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA)has developed a set of principles of effective governance for sustainable development. The essential purpose of these voluntary principles is to provide practical, expert guidance to interested countries in a broad range of governance challenges associated with implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The principles, endorsed by the Economic and Social Council on 2 July 2018, highlight the need for pragmatic and ongoing improvements in national and local governance capabilities to reach the SDGs. To this end, the principles are linked to a variety of commonly used strategies for operationalizing responsive and effective governance, many of which have been recognized and endorsed over the years in various United Nations forums, resolutions and treaties.
- In its resolution 73/225 on entrepreneurship for sustainable development, the General Assembly recognized the importance of quality, accessible, timely and reliable disaggregated data for monitoring progress in the implementation of entrepreneurship policies and their direct and indirect contribution to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, and addressing sex-disaggregated data gaps, to ensure that no one was left behind. It also stressed the importance of indicators that could be used to formulate targeted entrepreneurship policies and measure their impact on the Goals, and in that regard encouraged Member States, in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, to further identify and develop indicators at the national and regional levels as appropriate
- In its resolution 73/186 on strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity, the General Assembly invited Member States to start the gradual adoption of the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes and to strengthen national statistical systems of criminal justice. In its decision 50/119, the UN Statistical Commission endorsed the updated road map to support countries in their production of high-quality data needed to monitor the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and supported the proposed revised workplan featuring a broader set of activities for the period 2019–2022. It also encouraged national statistical offices to lead the assessment of the implementation of the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes, and supported the establishment of an advisory group on crime and criminal justice to foster broader partnerships to better coordinate international statistical programmes and to strengthen activities for better national data used in monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals with regard to crime and criminal justice.
- In its resolution 73/231, the General Assembly encouraged States to commence or, as appropriate, further enhance the collection of disaggregated data on disaster loss and other relevant disaster risk reduction targets in reporting on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, and encouraged States to use the online monitor to report on progress against the Sendai Framework global targets and the Sustainable Development Goals related to disaster risk. In the same resolution, the Assembly welcomed the endorsement by the Economic and Social Council of the Strategic Framework on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters (Council resolution 2018/14, annex), and reaffirmed that the establishment of common indicators and shared data sets to measure the Sendai Framework global targets and the disaster risk reduction targets of Sustainable Development Goals 1, 11 and 13 was an important contribution to ensure coherence, feasibility and consistency in implementation, the collection of data and reporting.
- In its resolution 73/142, the General Assembly requested the United Nations system to facilitate technical assistance for the collection and compilation of national data and statistics on persons with disabilities, and the Secretary-General to analyse, publish and disseminate disability data and statistics in future periodic reports on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities. In the same resolution, the General Assembly encouraged the Statistical Commission to update guidelines for the collection and analysis of data on persons with disabilities, and the United Nations system to strengthen coherence and coordination to promote the availability of internationally comparable data on the situation of persons with disabilities and to regularly include relevant data and qualitative facts on disability in relevant United Nations publications in the field of economic and social development.
- In its resolution 73/143 on follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing, the General Assembly encouraged Member States to devise strategies to strengthen data collection and analysis and the training of necessary personnel in the field of ageing, and recommended that Member States enhance their capacity to more effectively collect age-disaggregated data, statistics and qualitative information in order to improve assessment of the situation of older persons. In that context, the Assembly welcomed the establishment by the Statistical Commission of the Titchfield Group on ageing-related statistics and age-disaggregated data.
- In its resolution 2019/5 on the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the Economic and Social Council urged donor countries and organizations, including the United Nations system, and the international and regional statistical communities to support African countries in strengthening statistical capacity in support of development.
- In the annex to General Assembly resolution 74/4 on the political declaration of the high-level political forum on sustainable development convened under the auspices of the General Assembly, Heads of State and Government and High Representatives committed to strengthen national statistical capacities to address data gaps on the Sustainable Development Goals in order to allow countries to provide high-quality, timely, reliable, disaggregated data and statistics and to fully integrate the Goals in their monitoring and reporting systems. They also encouraged international cooperation supporting statistical capacity-building in developing countries, in particular the most vulnerable countries, which faced the greatest challenges in collecting, analysing and using reliable data and statistics.
2. At the secretariat level, what steps has your organization taken (or will it take) in the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please specify actions, including but not limited to the following areas:
2.1 SDG-specific strategies, plans or work programmes;
Statistics and geospatial information:
Developing and providing guidance on data disaggregation by geographic location, the aggregation of geocoded unit-level data and approaches to leverage production-ready Earth observation time series data sets made available by space agencies, for the production of indicators, as outlined in the report on geospatial information for sustainable development (see E/C.20/2020/8) by the secretariat and the working group on geospatial information of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators.
The Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators continued its work on data disaggregation, including to measure aspects of vulnerable groups, and developed an updated workplan for the coming years on data disaggregation, including for persons with disabilities (see E/CN.3/2020/2).
The Inter-secretariat Working Group on Household Surveys established a workstream on data disaggregation to develop guidance in the following areas: (a) sampling strategies to reach vulnerable population groups, including persons with disabilities and older persons, in household surveys; (b) integrating household survey data with other sources to provide more disaggregated data; and (c) establishing a platform to provide resources related to data disaggregation to countries.
The task team on well-being and sustainability of the Committee of Experts on Business and Trade Statistics focuses on the measurement of decent work and informality and on the contributions of businesses to sustainability as set out in the 2030 Agenda. The task team develops a core set of indicators to provide information on the quality of jobs and the contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals, working closely with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The Expert Group on National Quality Assurance Frameworks (EG-NQAF) has developed United Nations National Quality Assurance Frameworks Manual for Official Statistics (UN NQAF Manual) which guides countries in the implementation of a national quality assurance framework, including for new data sources, new data providers, and for data and statistics of the Sustainable Development Goal indicators. The EG-NQAF has developed a self-assessment checklist and is preparing additional materials to support countries in the implementation of their national quality assurance framework.
In GA resolution 71/222, Member States proclaim the period from 2018 to 2028 the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, to further improve cooperation, partnership and capacity development in response to the ambitious 2030 Agenda. The Secretary-General has tasked DESA to carry out the mandates requested in the resolution and to plan and facilitate the activities for the Decade with inputs and support from UN-Water. The objectives of the Decade are a greater focus on: the sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for achievement of social, economic and environmental objectives; the implementation and promotion of related programmes and projects; and the furtherance of cooperation and partnerships at all levels to achieve internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
DESA, with the support of UN-Water, the specialised agencies, the regional commissions and other entities of the UN system, is carrying out the following tasks based on the requests in the Resolution:
- Planning and organizing the activities of the Decade at the global, regional and country levels;
- Facilitating the implementation of the Decade in cooperation with Governments and other relevant stakeholders;
- Developed the Action Plan of the Water Action Decade, which outlines current activities and capabilities of the UN system, and the operational setup to support Member States in the implementation of the Decade.
- Co-chairing, together with UNU, the UN-Water Task Force to support the implementation of the action plan.
In the GA resolution 73/226, Member States call for a conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action to be convened in New York from 22 to 24 March 2023, as well as in 2021 a one-day high-level meeting to promote the implementation of the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda to be convened by the President of the General Assembly. The resolution decides that the Conference shall be preceded by regional and global preparatory meetings, as appropriate, and informed by existing water-related meetings at the regional and global level. In this regard, DESA is carrying out the mandate given to the Secretary-General to coordinate the preparatory process and to invite all relevant organizations of the United Nations system, including the regional commissions and other relevant organizations, within their respective mandates, to provide support to the review process.
Through resolution 73/236, the General Assembly invited the Secretary-General to organize a dialogue to mark the mid-point of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024. DESA on behalf of the Secretary-General convened the mid-point review in May 2019 in New York that brought together representatives of member states and other stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities for achieving the SDG7 on energy, informed by interactive panel discussions and technical background materials including the 2019 SDG 7 Energy Progress Report and the 2019 edition of the SDG 7 Policy Briefs.
The General Assembly, through resolution 74/225, invited the Secretary-General, with the support of the relevant United Nations system entities, to convene a high-level dialogue in 2021 to promote the implementation of the energy-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in support of the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014–2024), including the global plan of action for the Decade, and the high-level political forum on sustainable development. The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Liu Zhenmin, has been designated as the Dialogue Secretary-General to facilitate the preparations for the Dialogue.
Convened by DESA, the multi-stakeholder SDG 7 Technical Advisory Group with over 40 experts from across the world delivered a series of Policy Briefs on Accelerating SDG7 achievement in the time of COVID-19 to inform intergovernmental discussions on universal access and clean energy transitions during the High-Level Political Forum 2020. UN DESA also co-developed, jointly with other global custodians for SDG7 indicators, the Tracking SDG 7: Energy Progress Report 2020, presenting the most comprehensive coverage and in-depth analysis of over 180 countries of their progress toward universal energy access and clean energy solutions.
The General Assembly through resolution 73/292 decided to convene the 2020 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The overarching theme of the Conference is "Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions". DESA has been providing support to the organization and preparation of the conference, with the head of the Department, Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, serving as Secretary-General of the Conference. In addition, the United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean
2.2 Aligning the structure of the organization with the SDGs and the transformative features of the 2030 Agenda, including any challenges and lessons learned in doing so;
In GA resolution 70/299, Member States mandated DESA to provide support to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level, including support to the work of the Economic and Social Council, the organization of its sessions and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). In doing so, Member States further requested the Secretary-General to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and internal coordination of DESA, considering the need to avoid overlap in its work and ensuring that the work of the Department is organized in an integrated, cohesive, coordinated and collaborative manner. To meet the request by Member States, DESA has undertaken a comprehensive review process. Based on the recommendations of an Internal Review Team established by the Secretary-General, DESA is implementing a number of key measures in the following mutually reinforcing areas:
- Strengthening thought leadership to respond to the new demands of the 2030 Agenda. This includes, inter alia, the establishment of a network of economists from the UN system and the development of mechanisms to bring together, more systematically, available statistics and data to support the strategy for prevention of the Secretary-General, in accordance with DESA mandates. The UN network of economists is led by the Chief Economist and includes economists of Regional Commissions and Resident Coordinator offices, amongst others, to enable local, national and regional perspectives to be brought to the global debate.
- Enhancing intergovernmental support for implementation of the 2030 Agenda. From the beginning of 2019, DESA and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have been co-leading a task-team of entities of the United Nations development system to enable system-wide engagement in the substantive preparations for the High-Level Political Forum. This will help align data sets and foster common analysis to ensure more analytical and robust products. The Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs is helping drive transformation in this area.
- Improving data, statistics and analysis to inform decision-making and enhance collective accountability for results. DESA will take steps to strengthen its statistical capabilities, including by fully leveraging technologies and big data for evidence-based policy making, by enhancing the detail and transparency of its global population estimates and by preparing to align its statistical analysis of urbanization with a new standard endorsed by the United Nations Statistical Commission in March 2020. DESA will also develop a coherent and efficient process for collaboration with custodian and partner agencies of the United Nations development system to enhance monitoring – or fill data gaps – on SDGs indicators.
- Stepping up capacities to leverage financing for the implementation of the SDGs. DESA will fully partake in the efforts of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group to scale up partnership for the 2030 Agenda as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, including further engaging with the private sector in advancing financing for the SDGs. The aim is to devise a platform in support of United Nations country teams working on integrated financing strategies for the SDGs. As part of this effort, DESA is establishing a dedicated focal point to coordinate this effort.
- Contributing to the provision of strategic and substantive support to the reinvigorated Resident Coordinator system and the new generation United Nations Country Teams. This aspect, which cuts across all of the above-mentioned areas, is absolutely critical to maximizing the impact of the repositioning of the UN development system and its ultimate objective of strengthening results on the ground. In particular, a more structured engagement channel between DESA and the Resident Coordinators will be established, facilitated by UNDOCO, to expand the United Nations policy offer to national partners, including SDG-related analytical tools and products. A United Nations Network of Data Officers and Chief Statisticians is being established to provide a platform to link the data officers at UN Resident Coordinator Offices with the Chief Statisticians and the country’s statistical systems. Through the network, the UN data officers and the national statistical systems can collaborate efficiently and effectively to support national governments in the full implementation of the 2030 agenda and the review and reporting on the SDGs.
- Strengthening the strategies and mechanisms of DESA to enhance external communications and strategic partnerships, including with the private sector and academia. More open and proactive communications will help to ensure transparency, better knowledge management, and strategic messaging that should result in increased understanding of the work of DESA and the key messages from the department’s research and analytical products. Strategic partnerships on key knowledge products will help enhance both the quality and reach of the policy work of DESA. Finally, it will help connect knowledge and real time data with governments, including on early warning and forecasting.
The restructuring of DESA entailed reorganizing the support for intergovernmental processes of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in one Division, among other aspects to enhance internal coordination for enhanced effectiveness and efficiency in supporting Member States. The new Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development (OISC) reflects the integrated support needed for the implementation of 2030 Agenda in what concerns the intergovernmental course, including the GA, ECOSOC and HLPF. This also includes specific support to QCPR, Second Committee of the GA and the complete cycle of ECOSOC, as well as interagency and stakeholder coordination in all these processes. The Office also supports the General Assembly’s Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) by providing extensive substantive monitoring, analysis and policy support to inform Member States’ guidance and oversight of the UN development system, including through the annual ECOSOC operational activities for development segment, and a continuous engagement with the UN development system at both entity and system-wide level, as well as with the system’s coordination mechanisms. Incorporated into this responsibility now is the critical task of tracking the implementation of the General Assembly resolution on the repositioning of the UN development system (A/RES/72/279). This effectively implies that the Office will assess the extent to which the UN development system is better positioned to support countries in overcoming the crisis created by the COVID19 pandemic, and the extent to which the System’s operational activities are helping countries accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. The Office also coordinates the Council’s annual session and related analytical work and supports ECOSOC’s oversight of its subsidiary bodies, as well as promotes their coherent contribution to the work of ECOSOC and the HLPF. The Office is the entry point for NGOs seeking consultative status with ECOSOC, through its support to the NGO Committee.
The Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG)acts as the Secretariat for the SDGs, focusing on providing substantive support and capacity building in an integrated manner to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and their related thematic issues, including water, energy, climate, oceans, urbanization, transport, science and technology, the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), the science-policy interface, partnerships and SIDS; including by supporting the organization of international conferences related to these issues. The Division contributes to the intergovernmental processes on the 2030 Agenda, including those under the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the High-level Political Forum, with its substantive analytical work on thematic issues of the Sustainable Development Goals. It coordinates substantive inputs for the deliberations on the review and implementation of the 2030 Agenda and serves as the departmental anchor on the 2030 Agenda. It also plays a key role on in the evaluation analysis of system-wide implementation of the 2030 Agenda and on advocacy and outreach activities relating to Sustainable Development Goals, including by maintaining related online databases on its sustainable development knowledge platform.
The Population Division (PD) serves as Secretariat of the CPD and, in this context, produces a wealth of essential data on population patterns and trends at the national, regional and global levels. The Division also produces an extensive collection of reports and other publications to describe and interpret those patterns and trends and to discuss their implications for government policies. In addition, the Division gathers information from Governments regarding their views on population issues and associated policies across three domains: population size and composition, sexual and reproductive health, and migration and spatial distribution of population. The Population Division is active in the monitoring of several SDG indicators. The Division was designated by the IAEG-SDGs as the custodian for indicators 3.7.1 on the proportion of demand for family planning that is satisfied with modern contraceptive methods, and 3.7.2 on adolescent birth rates (at ages 10-14 and 15-19). Together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Division serves as co‑custodian for indicator 10.7.2 on well‑managed migration policies. In addition, together with UNICEF, WHO and other partners, the Population Division contributes actively to annual updates of indicators 3.1.1 on maternal mortality and 3.2.1 on under-five mortality. The Division also partners with UNFPA to collect data for deriving indicator 5.6.2 on laws and regulations ensuring full and equal access to sexual and reproductive health care, information and education. More broadly, data produced by the Population Division are being used as inputs for the global monitoring of about one-third of current Tier I and Tier II indicators (i.e., those having an agreed methodology for measurement). Starting in 2020, the Division will pursue a streamlined publications programme aligned more closely with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The streamlined publications programme will include a new annual series of reports on four demographic megatrends that are integral to sustainable development: population growth, population ageing, international migration and urbanization.
The Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) seeks to strengthen international cooperation for social development, particularly in the areas of poverty eradication, productive employment and decent work and the social inclusion of older persons, youth, family, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, persons in situations of conflict and other groups or persons marginalized from society and development. The Division monitors national and global socio-economic trends, identifies emerging issues, and assesses their implications for social policy at the national and international levels, and provides evidence-based policy recommendations to Member States for implementing the social dimension of the 2030 Agenda.
To ensure that statistical systems have the capacity to meet the data demands to ensure that no one is left behind, the Statistics Division (UNSD) gives particular attention to vulnerable groups where statistical production needs further development, including women, people living with disabilities, and migrants. The Statistics Division in collaboration with the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Gender Statistics, continues to support countries in their efforts to produce and use high quality and timely gender data for evidence-based policy making, under the umbrella of the Global Gender Statistics Programme. Currently, the Division and partners are: (a) developing methodological guidelines to improve the production of time-use data to inform and monitor policies on unpaid work, non-market production, well-being and gender equality in line with SDGs; and (b) taking stock and reviewing ongoing initiatives to improve gender statistics undertaken by countries as well as methodological developments and implementation of capacity building activities by international organizations, to ensure coordination, alignment of objectives and optimization of available resources.
As the Secretariat of the IAEG-SDGs, UNSD facilitates its workstream on data disaggregation to define the dimensions of disaggregation of the indicators and identifies the policy priorities for the vulnerable population groups. UNSD is supporting the IAEG-SDGs on compilation and producing guidelines on data disaggregation.
Given the importance of establishing accurate statistics on climate change to support global and national environmental policies, UNSD initiated a process to develop a Global Set of Climate Change Statistics and Indicators applicable to countries at various stages of development, as requested by the 47th session of the Statistical Commission, based on a systematic review of country-based practices and close link between global climate change negotiations and reporting and national statistics. The 49th session of the Commission requested that UNSD and UNFCCC strengthen the link between statistics and policy by undertaking joint initiatives in the development of climate change statistics and indicators, encouraging joint capacity-building efforts and training with other partners and exploring ways to encourage national statistical offices to be more involved in the preparation of data submissions to UNFCCC.
The Global Set, which is based on the five IPCC areas (drivers, impacts, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation, will provide a framework with a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, set of indicators/statistics designed to support countries according to their individual concerns, priorities and resources. The framework will link the reporting requirements stemming from, inter alia, the Paris Agreement and the SDGs, and the indicators necessary to support climate policy action. UNSD, in close collaboration with UNFCCC, is currently undertaking a Pilot Survey of a draft set of climate change indicators covering selected countries and international/regional organizations which will be followed by a Global Consultation involving all countries prior to the submission of the Global Set to the Statistical Commission for adoption.
To support integrated policies and move away from silos, the Statistics Division has led the development of statistical standard for natural capital accounting allowing to measure the environment using the Accounting structure and rules used for economic information. This is a major step forward in mainstreaming the environment and Ecosystem thinking into decision making. The System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) serves an important tool for SDG indicators as recognized at the 50thsession of the Statistical Commission.
In support of integrated policy and decision making for sustainable development, the Statistics Division provides the Secretariat for a broad user consultation on the future of economic statistics under the Friends of the Chair mechanism established by the Statistical Commission. The newly established Friends of the Chair on Economic Statistics will prepare recommendations for the enhancement of the relevance and responsiveness of economic statistics by exploring a broader framework of the system of economic statistics to inform well-being and sustainability. These recommendations are drafted based on extensive national and global user consultations, including the United Nations Network of Economists. It is expected that this broader framework will advance the measure of human capital using best practices in labor, health and education accounting in addition to physical and natural capital measures.
The statistical research for the broader framework is led through the program of work for the update of the System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA). The mandate from the Statistical Commission for the update of the 2008 SNA was obtained by the Intersecretariat Working Group on National Accounts (ISWGNA) in 2020 to deliver the new framework by 2025. Progressively, the system of the economic statistics is expected to adopt a more inclusive wealth approach.
The Statistics Division under the aegis of the Friends of the Chair on Economic Statistics has also initiated the review of the working methods of the statistical groups that govern the various domains of economic statistics. This review is expected to result in recommendations to increase their networking and user consultation, and to document their challenges in linking their program of work to methodological issues and country practices to sustainable development.
In adopting an integrated approach to business and trade statistics and advancing the measurement of the contributions of business sector and international trade to sustainable development, the Statistics Division obtained the mandate from the Statistical Commission to establish a new UN Committee of Experts on Business and Trade Statistics UNCEBTS). The program of work of the Committee is organized around various themes like business demography, business registers, globalization, digitalization, well-being and sustainability, which actively explore the links of the business sector and international trade with the society and environment. This work program also meets the purpose to provide more granular data on business and trade statistics to be made available through micro databases that complement the macroeconomic and indicator databases.
Since 2016, the annual UN Flagship publication World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP), a joint report led by DESA Economic Analysis and Policy Division (EAPD) in collaboration with UNCTAD and the 5 UN Regional Commissions, has refocused to include both an assessment of the macroeconomy, and the interactions between economic prospects and the social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. EAPD will strengthen its monitoring of the economic and social situation in countries in conflict. In line with the objectives and priorities of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, EAPD will also continue to identify, develop and incorporate new indicators on social and environmental trends in WESP building on the analysis on poverty, inequality and carbon emissions in WESP 2016, WESP 2017 and WESP 2018. WESP 2019 considered the challenge of simultaneously achieving the SDG targets related to trade, economic growth and environmental sustainability. The 2017 edition of the World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) – another flagship publication of EAPD – analyzed the evolution of development thinking since 1946 and its relevance for realizing the vision of the 2030 Agenda , while WESS 2019 reviewed the advances in frontier technologies and examined their economic, social and environmental impacts. The WESS discontinued in 2018.
In 2019, EAPD brought out the first issue of Sustainable Development Outlook (SDO), a new publication offering anlysis of topical challenges faced in implementing the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. Thus, SDO 2019, titled “Gathering Storms and Silver Linings,” focused on the challeges posed by slowing growth, rising inequality, and intensifying climate change, and prospects opened by new technologies. It showed the interrelationship among the challenges and pointed to the ways in which they can be addressed, and how new technologies can help in doing so. SDO 2020, under preparation now, is focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It will provide an in-depth analysis of the impact of COVID-19 and point to policies needed to “Build Back Better,” so that the progress toward the SDGs can be sustained and even enhanced. DRB is collaborating with the Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD), on an equal basis, in preparing the DESA flagship publication, World Social Report (WSR) on an annual basis. The WSR 2020 was on the issue of inequality, and WSR 2021, under preparation now, is focusing on the topic of Rural Development for achieving SDGs. In view of the increasing importance of rapidly developing technologies, DRB has launched the Frontier Technologies Quarterly (FTQ), and is publishing it regularly focused on on topical technologies that have strong relevance for SDGs. The recent system of RCs, reporting directly though the DCO, has increased the role and tasks of DRB, which is now regularly called upon to provide advice sought by the RCs working at the ground level in different countries. DRB also continues to prepare several important SG reports.
As the Secretariat of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), which is a subsidiary body of ECOSOC, EAPD assisted the CDP in undertaking a comprehensive review of the LDC criteria as mandated at the midterm review in 2016 of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs for the Decade 2011–2020. In 2020 the CDP reconfirmed its earlier findings on the importance of the LDC category in the current development context, the definition of LDCs as low-income countries facing the most severe structural impediments to sustainable development, as well as the overall criteria framework. Taking into account all aspects of the evolving international development context, including relevant development agendas, as mandated by the midterm review, the CDP introduced refinements to the three criteria and their applications. EAPD will also assist the CDP in its preparations of the triennial review of the list of LDCs in 2021
The Financing for Sustainable Development Office (FSDO) works to advance policy and action on financing for sustainable development to support Member States and other stakeholders in achieving internationally agreed development goals, by providing thought leadership and agenda-shaping, promoting multi-stakeholder dialogue, identifying policy options and best practices, and offering strategic advice and support for capacity development in key areas. FSDO serves as a focal point in the United Nations Secretariat for overall follow-up to the implementation of the outcomes of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, including through secretariat support to the intergovernmental processes mentioned above. In this context, FSDO has supported the fourth FfD Forum (New York, 15-18 April 2019) and the 2019 General Assembly first quadrennial High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development held in September 2019 in New York. Faced with the challenges posed by COVID-19, FSDO supported the President of ECOSOC in adapting the modalities of the 2020 FFD Forum by convening virtual negotiations and two virtual meetings. The forum resulted in a universally agreed outcome document, representing the first set of UN policy to finance COVID-19 response and recovery. FSDO also supported the Secretary General’s report on Debt and COVID-19: A Global Response in Solidarity, and prepared policy briefs on the impact of COVID-19 on debt and the financial sector. These included policy recommendations on how the international community can support countries most in need. This analytical work is linked to three of the six work streams (global liquidity and financial stability, debt vulnerability and private sector creditors engagement) set up to advance the High-Level Event on Financing for Development. Member States are leading these work streams with the UN Development system and UN DESA playing a key role, in partnership with international organizations, financial institutions, think tanks, thought leaders and civil society. FSDO serves as the Secretariat for the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), engaging the range of actors in evidence-based, balanced and inclusive global debate on international development cooperation. FSDO provides Secretariat support to the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UN Tax Committee). The office disseminates the policy and practical guidance issued by the Committee through its capacity development programme, which works to bring better solutions for strengthening domestic resource mobilization, by advancing a more integrated approach to policy guidance and capacity development in this area. FSDO also represents the UN in the Platform for Collaboration on Tax.
The Under-Secretary-General of DESA chairsthe Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development (IATF),which was first convened in 2016 and is comprised of over 60 United Nations entities and other relevant international institutions. FSDO serves as the coordinator and substantive editor of the Financing for Sustainable Development Report. Based on the statistical monitoring of the indicators and analysis of data and information relevant to additional commitments in the Addis Agenda, the Financing for Sustainable Development report of the IATF task force advises the intergovernmental process on progress, implementation gaps and recommendations for corrective action, taking into consideration national and regional dimensions. Its annual report is an important input to the negotiations on intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations from the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development and the quadrennial GA High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development. It also serves as an input to the HLPF. The IATF has also been leading work on the development of global guidance materials for the development and implementation of Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs) at the country level, and has published initial guidance on an INFF inception phase.
The Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) has a responsibility to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda by supporting efforts to make institutions inclusive, effective, accountable and well-equipped, in line with SDG16. In light of this responsibility, DPIDG's work was re-aligned with the 2030 Agenda and its core principle of leaving no one behind. The Division assists United Nations intergovernmental bodies in reflecting on the role of institutions as an integral part of their examination of the SDGs and supports the Committee of Experts on Public Administration. The Division also produced a new Capacity Development Strategy to ensure synergy with the normative and analytical work of the Division and promote alignment with Member States’ needs and requests. The Division nurtures a multi-stakeholder dialogue on transforming institutions and building people’s trust in them at the United Nations Public Service Forum. It helps to collect and analyze innovative practices from around the world through the UN Public Service Awards. The Division also supports the efforts of Supreme Audit Institutions to audit the implementation of the SDGs and works with other entities to combat corruption in SDG implementation. It proactively supports the work of the Internet Governance Forum and keeps track of opportunities, challenges and risks ICTs represent for government. Its United Nations e-Government Survey examines global trends and their impact on sustainable development and people.
The UN Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFFS) services and supports the Forum in implementing all matters related to the 4POW, and the UNSPF. The Forum is the responsible intergovernmental body for the follow-up to and review of implementation of the strategic plan and the achievement of its global forest goals and targets. To that end, the Forum has included a standing agenda item on the implementation of the strategic plan at each session of the Forum from 2017 - 2020, taking into account the interplay between technical discussion and exchange of experiences, as well as policy dialogue, on thematic and operational priorities, priority actions and resource needs. The Forum agreed to assess progress in the implementation of the strategic plan and the achievement of the global forest goals and targets at its sessions in 2024 and 2030, respectively. This assessment will be based on internationally agreed indicators, taking into account voluntary national reporting to the Forum and inputs received from relevant partners and stakeholders.
2.3 Readjusting or updating results-based budgeting and management, including performance indicators;
2.4 Action to enhance support to the principle of "leaving no one behind" and to integrated policy approaches;
The UN IATT sub-working group on new and emerging technologies group collected, synthesized inputs from within the UN system and external expert communities on the impacts of rapid technology change on the SDGs and coordinated the UN work in support of reducing inequality. The group also substantively supported the multi-stakeholder discussions in the STI Forum on the impacts on societies caused by the disruptive effects of new technologies, such as nanotechnology, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, gene editing, big data, and 3D printing. The topic has been on the Forum’s agenda since 2016. Ever since, the inputs and findings have continued to be collated, synthesized and analyzed in the form of an informal document that continues to grow to support ongoing assessment and multi-stakeholder actions.
As part of DESA’s core team, DESA (DISD) led the preparation of World Social Report 2020 “Inequality in a Rapidly Changing World” which analyzed the impacts of global mega trends on inequality and proposed policy measures to ensure leaving no one behind. In the context of the United Nations response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Division for Inclusive Social Development produced DESA Policy Briefs on policy responses to the social impact of COVID-19 and on inequality to safeguard social progress for all as well as specific policy briefs on indigenous peoples, youth and person with disabilities in collaboration with OHCHR (penholder) drafted the brief SG Policy Brief: The impact of COVID-19 on Older Persons to ensure that older persons are not left behind in this crisis and supported the drafting of the SG Policy Brief on A Disability-Inclusive Response to COVID-19.
DESA co-chairs with OHRLLS the Inter Agencies Consultative Group (IACG) on SIDS. The group discusses and report on efforts towards the full implementation of the sustainable development priorities of SIDS including the Samoa Pathway. When needed the IACG also provide adequate and timely analysis based on relevant targets and indicators relevant to the small island developing States in order to ensure accountability at all levels thus ensuring these group of vulnerable States are not left behind.
2.5 Action to address the interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;
The World Social Report 2020 explored, inter alia, interlinkages among global mega trends and their intersecting impacts on inequality Recommendations emphasized coherence and integration among social, economic and environmental policies to build and leverage synergies among SDGs. As the Secretariat of the IAEG-SDGs, DESA (Statistics Division) supported its working group on interlinkages in preparing two background documents to the 50th and 51st sessions of the UN Statistical commission providing an initial integrated analysis of the economic, social and environmental developments to support policy. A system of Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs) for Sustainable Development Goals, Targets, Indicators and related statistical series was presented at the second regular session of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), in November 2019. At the CEB, the Secretary-General invited all UN organizations to use them to map their SDG-related resources and sign the Statement. The system of Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs) for Sustainable Development Goals, Targets, Indicators and related statistical series supports the development of a United Nations system-wide ecosystem of machine-readable data and documents based on Linked Open Data (LOD) principles. It is now part of the Semantic Web infrastructure that the UN Dag Hammarskjold Library makes available to IT developers and the public at large under http://metadata.un.org/sdg/?lang=en. The Identifiers also contribute to the ongoing work of the CEB High Level Committee on Management to produce machine-readable documents through the XML standard Akoma Ntoso, which leverages Linked Open Data to enable the transition from the current SDG document and data silos approach into a seamless SDG information space. A pilot application (LinkedSDGs) was developed under the leadership of the DESA (Statistics Division and DSDG) with the support of resources from the EU grant entitled “SD2015: delivering on the promise of the SDGs”. This application showcases the usefulness of adopting semantic web technologies and Linked Open Data principles for extracting SDG related metadata from documents and establishing the connections among text documents, relevant SDG entities and the statistical data. It is hosted under the infrastructure of the UN Global Platform for Official Statistics initiative and is readily available from http://www.linkedsdg.org/ . Since 2019, DESA (DSDG) has been convening, together with the UNFCCC, global multi-stakeholder conferences on synergies between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement to promote action around the SDGs and climate change, and deliver a set of concrete recommendations for strengthening the interlinkages between the SDGs and climate action. To showcase the interlinkges between climate action and sustainable development, DESA (DSDG) participated in the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25), held in Madrid, Spain, in December 2019. At its SDG Pavilion, the Department featured more than 50 events, over 200 panelists and close to 1,000 participants. As the secretariat for the Global Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Network, UDESA (DSDG), together with Itaipu Binacional, organized a series of capacity building workshops on water and energy interlinkages at UNFCCC COP25 in December 2019 in Madrid, featuring the launch of 17 case studies on Itaipu’s best practices on integrated solutions for sustainable development and climate change. DESA, together with WHO, the UNDP and the World Bank launched the Health and Energy Platform of Action (HEPA), which aims to help countries strengthen operation between the health and energy sectors, at the Climate Action Summit in September 2019. DESA (DSDG) has also drawn from the GSDR 2019 to shape its substantive work. The Report, entitled ‘The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development’, identifies six entry points where actions specific actions aimed to mitigate trade-offs and catalyse synergies can bring about the transformative change needed to reach the SDGs: human wellbeing, sustainable and just economies, food security and nutrition, energy decarbonization and access, urban and peri-urban development, and the global environmental commons. The GSDR also argues for changes in the institutions of science to better equip them for advancing sustainable development, as well as to address persistent capacity and resource differences between Global North and South, and DSDG has used these insights to inform its work on strengthening the science-policy interface. In addition, the politically negotiated outcome document from the SDG Summit drew from the GSDR, using it to support its call for a ‘Decade of Action and Delivery’. Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation, links across all the other 16 Goals, with many targets not being achieved without also meeting the targets under Goal 6, and vice versa. DESA (DSDG) has therefore supported Member States in organizing several events to highlight the important link between climate and water action, including at the margins of the President of the General Assembly High-level Event on Climate Change, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, and the high-level week of 74th General Assembly. The Department has further provided a platform at COP 25, through the SDG Pavilion, to discuss these important linkages. DESA (DSDG) is also supporting the Government of Portugal in organizing a High-level Symposium during the Ocean Conference, on the link between SDG 6 and SDG 14 on life below water. The work of DESA (DSDG) also included a specific work tracking on the interlinkages between SDG14 on Ocean and other SDGs in particular with SDG 13 (Climate change ) and SDG 15 (Biodiversity) in its policy analysis, event organization and capacity building programmes.
In 2019, DESA (DSDG) had launched a call for submissions of good practices, success stories and lessons learned by governments and other stakeholders in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and the results are made available in an online database of more than 500 good practices (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnerships/goodpractices).
In the lead-up to the 2019 SDG Summit, DESA (DSDG) had launched an online platform to gather information about new SDG Acceleration Actions or initiatives voluntarily undertaken to accelerate the SDG implementation by governments and any other non-state actors - individually or in partnership available at (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgactions). DESA has continued to promote the registration of new SDG Acceleration Actions in connection with key intergovernmental gatherings related to sustainable development, including the annual HLPFs.
DESA DPIDG has developed a conceptual framework of a strong public sector institution that can be used as a benchmark in the countries’ efforts to build new or reinforce existing institutions.
The Outcome Document of the High-level Review of the SAMOA Pathway and subsequent UN General Assembly Resolution 74/217 calls upon the Secretary-General to conduct an examination of the disaster-related funding and support environment, with a view to the possible development of a targeted voluntary disaster fund, mechanism or financial instrument, coordinated with and complementary to existing mechanisms, to assist SIDS in managing disaster risk and building back better after disasters; and also; to identify the Samoa Pathway priority areas not covered by the Sustainable Development Goals or the Sendai Framework and, if any are identified, to develop targets and indicators for those priority areas while ensuring complementarities and synergies and avoiding duplication, in order to strengthen monitoring and evaluation. DESA (DSDG) is working on these new mandates.
3. What normative, analytical, technical assistance or capacity building activities is your organization providing to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief account of the activities you have organized or intend to undertake, including but not limited to the following areas:
3.1 Enhancing national implementation including by supporting the mainstreaming of the SDGs in development plans and policies or through national sustainable development plans/strategies;
DESA (OISC/DSDG) supported the HLPF 2019, which convened in 2019 both under the auspices of ECOSOC in July, as under the auspices of the General Assembly in September.
The meeting of the 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was successfully convened from 9 to 18 July 2019 at UNHQ. It examined progress under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. It conducted an in-depth review of six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on quality education (SDG 4); decent work and economic growth (SDG 8); reducing inequalities (SDG 10); climate action (SDG 13); peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16); and means of implementation and partnerships (SDG 17). 47 countries presented Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), of which seven presented for the second time. The Forum built on extensive one-year preparations, including thematic reviews, regional preparatory forums, workshops on VNRs, stakeholder consultations, and on the one-year ECOSOC cycle. The 2019 Forum constituted the conclusion of the first four-year cycle of the HLPF’s review of the 2030 Agenda and all 17 SDGs. Over 125 ministerial level officials, many heads of UN system and other organizations and more than 2,000 representatives of Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS) from all regions, and 130 speakers in panels participated in the HLPF. There were also 253 side events, 36 exhibitions, and 17 VNR Labs.
The HLPF at the Summit level under the GA in September; The 2019 SDG-Summit, demonstrated the continuing commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the trust in the United Nations’ role in keeping the focus on the SDGs. The SDG Summit agreed on a Political Declaration launching a Decade of Action and Delivery, aimed at providing major political impetus towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The consensus around the political declaration was also a great cause for optimism. At the same time, the bleak assessment about progress towards the SDGs reverberated through the discussions. The Declaration identified ten cross-cutting areas for action that will help mobilize follow-up to the Summit. DESA engaged RCs of countries conducting VNRs in 2019 through well attended webinars.
The translation of the 2030 Agenda into national policy frameworks remains a key challenge for countries. In this regard, the Division for Sustainable Development Goals is supporting countries to develop practicable ambitious national responses to the overall implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Through regional and national capacity building workshops, DESA (DSDG) has supported the transition to the SDGs, building on existing planning instruments, such as national development and sustainable development strategies. Through the 10th Tranche of the Development Account titled “Implementation of national sustainable development strategies in selected countries in Africa and Latin America”, DSDG supported Costa Rica, Egypt and Ethiopia through capacity building and technical advisory assistance. The project supported these pilot countries in integrated SDG planning and implementation by organizing 2-3 capacity building workshops in each country bringing together relevant stakeholders from government, civil society, academia and international organizations and providing capacity building. The project also coordinated closely with the RCOs and UNCTs in these countries. DESA (DSDG) organized a regional workshop The Division also continues to utilize expert group meetings to identify good practices and approaches for the integration of the 2030 Agenda into national development plans, national sustainable development strategies, and related instruments. And in response to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, DSDG has reviewed its ongoing and planned capacity development work in support of Member States. The Division is responding to capacity development requests by countries such as Namibia by organizing Webinars targeting policymakers and other stakeholders. The Division also promotes knowledge sharing by promoting study visits.
DESA (EAPD & FSDO) also supported countries in the following areas:
- Providing development-oriented policy advice based on the use of quantitative modelling tools in the areas of macroeconomic policy and techno-economic assessment of the interlinkages and trade-offs among policies and goals with respect to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
- Strengthening analytical capacity of developing countries in achieving greater policy design, implementation, and coherence, through the use of modelling tools in an integrated way to deal with the challenges in the three dimensions of sustainable development particularly in the countries participating in the Belt and Road initiative.
- Analytical and capacity building work towards leaving no countries behind, with specific focus on improving LDCs capacities to prepare for graduation from the LDC category.
- Preparing guidance modules for the development and implementation of integrated national financing frameworks (INFFs), including in the context of building back better from COVID-19, supporting strengthened, risk-informed financing strategies at the national level. The focus is on providing practical guidance to help policymakers mobilize the full range of financing sources and instruments in support of sustainable development; and to encourage a long-term perspective to sustainable development financing. A number of INFF Pioneer Countries have already started implementing aspects of INFFs at the country level. Their experience informs and further strengthens the global guidance modules.
DESA (FSDO) supported countries in strengthening the capacity of the national Ministries of Finance and the National Tax Administrations in developing countries to develop more effective and efficient tax systems aimed to mobilize domestic resources, as well as protecting their tax base and avoiding double taxation.
DESA (DISD) focused the Report of the Secretary-General on Youth development on links to sustainable development (A/72/190) providing an analysis of the linkages and complementarities on youth issues between the World Programme of Action for Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The upcoming World Youth Report (the DESA's flagship report on youth) on Youth and the New Development Agenda examines the mutually supportive roles of the new agenda and youth development efforts, with a focus to the areas of education and employment, underlining the realization of targets under these goals as fundamental to overall youth development. The Report's statistical annex presents the most recent available data on the 90 youth related indicators of the 2030 Agenda's Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the 34 core indicators for the World Programme of Action for Youth.
DESA (DISD) highlighted the contribution of cooperative enterprises to the goals and targets of the SDGs in SG’s report on the role of cooperatives in social development. The report recommended national level policies to support the growth of cooperative enterprises as integral component of national implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
DESA (DISD) also prepares an annual report on SDGs and indigenous peoples that includes analysis on VNRs, to inform the annual PFII session discussions on the 2030 Agenda, that serves as input to the HLPF. The report from the 2017 and 2018 sessions of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues have dedicated sections with recommendations related to the 2030 Agenda, based on the broad dialogue and discussion that took place with participants at both Sessions, including indigenous peoples, Member States, UN agencies and other stakeholders. Additionally, the Forum discusses the implementation of the UN system wide action plan on the rights of indigenous peoples which localizes the SDGs, with Member States and indigenous peoples, to provide policy guidance and strengthen capacity for delivery at the national level. In addition, parallel events during the Forum sessions provide evidence based strategies to include the rights and priorities of indigenous peoples to leave no one behind.
DESA (DISD) launched the first global report on Disability and SDGs in 2018 that identifies good practices and recommends urgent actions and policy recommendations to be taken for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by, for, and with persons with disabilities by 2030.
DESA (DISD) also provides, at the request of Member States, technical cooperation at national and subnational level, with projects focusing on advancing inclusive social policies, particularly for marginalized groups. In carrying out this work, DESA (DISD) supports the implementation of SDG 10 in particular. In 2019, DESA (DISD) is providing capacity building support to governments and NGOs on disability, ageing, indigenous peoples, cooperatives, youth and family policy issues. Activities include implementation of ongoing projects initiated in 2018 (for example, Development Account and XB projects on youth, peace and security in African countries; youth with disabilities and employment in Latin American countries; and capacity development, in collaboration with ILO, on social protection for the eradication of poverty in developing countries). The Division is also supporting the initial implementation of Namibia’s White Paper on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a participatory development process for Uganda’s Affirmative Action Program for Indigenous Peoples.
DESA (DPIDG) supported countries in the following areas:
- Providing policy advice through short-term field missions to Governments and other relevant stakeholders in developing countries upon their request to carry out needs assessment as well as to support the design/redesign of national policies and strategies on aspects related to Goal 16 and other SDGs. Advisory services are provided under the key priority areas of the division’s capacity development, including on governance and institutions; transformational leadership and public servants’ capacities to realize the SDGs; transparency, accountability and integrity to realize the SDGs, and innovation and delivery of public services for SDGs Implementation at national and local levels, including through the use of ICTs.
- Strengthening analytical capacity of developing countries to promote institutional coordination, policy coherence, leadership transformation, innovation in service delivery and digital government, through the issuance of the World Public Sector Report, the UN E-Government Survey and other publications and the organization of global/regional learning events.
- Analytical and capacity building work towards leaving no one behind, with specific focus on countries in special situations, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), through the organization of regional and national workshops, study visits and trainings based on south-south cooperation.
DESA (Population Division), following a Latin American regional training workshop on the evaluation of the economic and fiscal consequences of population ageing undertaken in Quito, Ecuador in November 2019, responded to a request from the Ecuadorian government to prepare a policy paper on the fiscal and economic impact of ageing on the country’s social protection system, as part of SDG 1.3, to implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all. The policy paper will be published by the National Council for Intergenerational Equity, whose mission is to further equality and non-discrimination among generational groups in public policies and in institutional and social action.
3.2 Mainstreaming the SDGs in sectoral strategies, including specific SDG/target strategies;
DESA (FSDO) is implementing (or designing) several capacity development programmes aimed at enhancing domestic resources mobilization and management in developing countries, within a framework of coherent development-oriented policies aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The programme of capacity development on international tax cooperation aims at strengthening the capacity of the Ministries of Finance and the National Tax Administrations in developing countries to develop more effective and efficient tax systems. The ultimate reason for strengthening the tax systems of developing countries is to increase the tax revenue to raise financial resources for their national sustainable financing strategies, as envisaged under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (Addis Agenda). The programme is implemented through a range of tools: training activities, delivery of technical assistance, and production of manuals and other capacity development tools, such as online courses. These tools are aimed at addressing basic capacity development needs of developing countries related to international tax cooperation, in particular with respect to double tax treaties, transfer pricing and other issues related to tax base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), and tax administration. In these areas, the capacity development programme aims at disseminating the guidelines developed by the ECOSOC Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UN Tax Committee). The feedback received by developing countries during capacity development activities is also fed back into the policy work of the UN Tax Committee, and in the work of DESA (FSDO) in general. DESA (FSDO) also conducted a pilot capacity development project, and is designing the related programme, on issues related to the link between the national and subnational dimensions of domestic resource mobilization and management. The project is aimed at unlocking finance for sustainable development through the development of subnational asset management action plans in the least developed countries (LDCs) in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. As part of its support to the Development Cooperation Forum, UNDESA (FSDO) also carries out a biennial survey on state of play in effectiveness of development cooperation on the ground, in which all developing countries are invited to participate. The results of its 6th survey will be launched in July 2020, in the lead up to the 2021 DCF. Survey findings aim to support developing countries in their efforts to strengthen development cooperation-related policies, institutional frameworks, practices, and the quality and impact of their partnerships. The survey also supports, peer learning, knowledge sharing and evidence-based, action-oriented global policy dialogue. Survey results can support in the preparations of VNRs and contribute to development of integrated national financing frameworks (INFFs). Since 2015 DESA (UNFFS) has been implementing a capacity building project supporting developing countries to develop and/or strengthen their national forest programmes/action plans and implementation of SFM in line with SDGs using the UN Forest Instrument (UNFI) and UNSPF as guiding frameworks. The outputs have been used as the forest sector's input into national sustainable development strategies where these have been developed. Development of the NFPs follows the principle of "leaving no-one behind" through the use of multi-stakeholder and participatory approaches that include the vulnerable forest dependent people. The approach adopted also supports integrated policy implementation including internationally agreed policies related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, land use and land management, combatting land degradation, terrestrial biodiversity conservation, water resources management, poverty alleviation and food and nutrition security. A multi-sectoral approach has also been adopted to support countries to ensure policy integration coherence and synergy at national level. So far support has been provided to 6 countries and the approach has been shared with 34 other countries. DESA (UNFFS) is also currently carrying out a project on Monitoring Progress towards Sustainable Forest Management (SFM). Six pilot countries (Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Mongolia, Peru, and the Philippines) have received/are receiving in developing comprehensive and efficient systems to monitor progress towards SFM. The project takes into account the outcomes of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG indicators, particularly indicators on SDG15 and target 15.2 on SFM. It is expected that the monitoring frameworks developed through this project will serve domestic needs as well as help the six countries to report on forest-related international commitments including SDGS, the UN Forest Instrument (UNFI) and global forest goals of the UNSPF. This is achieved through a step- by-step approach, which will include conducting inventories of existing forest-related data, mapping data gaps, addressing these gaps and selecting appropriate indicators. Particular attention is paid to socio-economic aspects (e.g. livelihoods, food security, poverty reduction) of forests and financial flows for SFM. DESA (UNFFS) has also been providing capacity building and technical support in accessing financing for SFM, through the GFFFN, in order to enhance the contribution of forests to sustainable development. This support has focused on developing national forest financing strategies for mobilizing resources from all sources as well as building capacity for in project formulation and development for accessing finance from multilateral financing mechanisms and other sources. So far 11 countries have received support and activities are currently underway to support eleven others. DESA (EAPD) has been implementing a multi-year, multi-country capacity development project on Belt and Road towards SDGs, which is directly linked to infrastructure related SDGs, as well as other goals and targets. It utilizes the expanded World Economic Forecasting Model (WEFM-e) of EAPD as the basic analytical framework, expands its scope to cover more indicators associated with the SDGs, and includes policy instruments related to the priorities of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Aiming to strengthen capacities of national stakeholders to analyze and formulate more integrated policies, including through the use of modelling tools, the project contributes to enhancing engagement for policy dialogues among policymakers and experts from 14 participating countries and international organizations. Target countries of the project are in various stages of development, from LDCs to advanced economies, and the project promotes knowledge sharing in the South South and Triangular Cooperation frameworks. DESA (EAPD) also delivers capacity building activities ito support developing countries to incorporate quantitative analysis into planning processes for sustainable development. Significant progress has been made in a number of countries to establish and train inter-ministerial analytical teams in the development and application of economy-wide modelling, integrated Climate, Land, Energy and Water systems (CLEWs) assessments, energy planning, and hydrological assessment methodologies. DESA (DPIDG) has been providing normative, analytical and capacity building support to various countries in all regions to address institutional arrangements for the 2030 Agenda and SDG implementation. UN DESA’s capacity building initiative in support of the implementation of the SDG 16 is carried out in the various regions of the world by working closely with the regional commissions, and through its networks. At the global level, the division promotes peer-to-peer exchange and learning among countries in different regions, including through the UN Public Service Forum. The capacity development activities at the global level enhance advocacy and policy dialogue on emerging public administration issues and trends related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda through global fora and events. At the regional level, the division organizes capacity development symposiums and workshops, meetings, study visits and twinning arrangements to support and facilitate dialogue and exchange of lessons learned, and peer-to-peer learning among Member States to adapt innovative practices and to promote South-South, North-South and triangular cooperation. For Asia and the Pacific and Eastern Africa, several activities of the division are implemented through its Project Office on Governance (UNPOG) located in Incheon, Republic of Korea. At the national level, the division supports member states through advisory services and national workshops/training based on research and analysis. It takes the opportunity of its advisory missions to raise awareness of the 2030 Agenda and facilitate countries engagement in the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF). Upon request, it provides capacity building support to countries who are reporting for their voluntary national reviews as well as to other developing countries, particularly countries in special situations. A pilot activity is being developed to provide integrated capacity development support in the various areas of the sub-programme, with a special focus on the SIDS. This integrated pilot activity will be implemented in collaboration with other DESA divisions, including DSDG and EAPD. It will also partner with ESCAP, ECA, UNDP regional hub in Asia and others. Outcomes of capacity development activities are used as inputs into the inter-governmental process, including the HLPF. Capacity development activities, in turn, benefit from the research and policy recommendations that emerge from the division’s main analytical products, including the World Public Sector Report and the UN E-Government Survey. DESA (DPIDG) implements the following projects: Development Account Project 1819G is supporting institutional arrangements for policy integration, coordination, and stakeholder engagement in SDG implementation and reviews in Africa and Asia, working in a demand-driven way with Bhutan, Laos, Fiji and Tuvalu, in partnership with ESCAP and ECA, having stakeholder engagement as one of Project tenets. Development Account Project 1819C is enhancing policy coherence for the SDGs through integrated assessments and institutional strengthening in Africa, working with Cameroon, Ethiopia and Senegal in cooperation with the Economic Analysis and Policy Division (EAPD), in partnership with ECA, African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) and African Training and Research Centre in Administration for Development (CAFRAD), among others. Development Account Project 1617B is supporting decision making to implement the sustainable development agenda by building institutional capacity to collect analyse and use data on e-government. It is structured around two expected accomplishments, namely: (i.) to improve institutional capacity in target countries to collect, use and publish relevant e-government data and compile indicators for analysis, monitoring and evaluation of progress in e-government; and (ii) to strengthen institutional capacity, frameworks and approaches in target countries to implement e-government policies and strategies in support of selected SDGs and Targets and related decision-making based on data. Internet Governance Forum - As a platform for discussions, the IGF brings various people and stakeholder groups to the table as equals to exchange information and share good policies and practices relating to the Internet and technologies. While the IGF may not have decision-making mandates, it informs and inspires those who do. It facilitates common understandings and knowledge exchange of how to maximize Internet opportunities and address risks and challenges. The IGF also gives stakeholders from all countries, including developing countries, the opportunity to engage in the debate on Internet governance and it contributes to capacity building, allowing these stakeholders to build knowledge and skills that will facilitate their participation in existing Internet governance institutions and arrangements. United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG)- Its principal mission is to strengthen the public governance capacities of developing Member States in Asia and the Pacific and beyond to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNPOG was established in June 2006 to promote efficient, participatory and transparent governance as an outcome of the 6th Global Forum on Reinventing Government. In response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the mandate of UNPOG has been extended to the end of 2030. The UNPOG is based on a Trust Fund Agreement between UN DESA and the Government of the Republic of Korea. SDG 6: UN DESA (DSDG) is developing a capacity building programme to enable countries in accelerating progress towards their water and sanitation related goals and targets. Several countries are now producing national capacity development strategies for the water sector but are facing big challenges in the implementation. There are means of rapidly increasing vocational skills to meet specific shortages using short-term programmes of two to four years, however, it takes many years to strengthen institutional capacity with a cadre of experienced and effective professionals and technicians that can plan and enable progress towards SDG 6. The answer lies therefore in long-term commitment and support for knowledge and capacity development. UN DESA will enable and accelerate progress towards SDG 6 by building this capacity, particularly in Least Developed Countries.
3.3 Supporting the strengthening of national institutions for more integrated solutions;
All capacity development activities carried out by DESA (DPIDG) highlight the universality, interlinkage and importance of SDG16 for all other SDGs because strong institutions at all levels are indispensable for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
In partnership with DESA DPIDG, DSDG conducted a two-day African regional workshop on operationalization of the principles of effective governance for Sustainable Development Goals in 2019 in South Africa. The workshop supported countries in assessment of gaps in institutional application of the 11 principles of effective governance for sustainable development that were developed by the Committee of Experts on Public Administration and endorsed by the Economic and Social Council in 2018. The workshop targeted senior public officials from ministries of planning and public administration and other relevant stakeholders.
3.4 Data and statistical capacity building;
In partnership with donor countries, international agencies and technology providers, DESA (UNSD) is working to support statistical capacity of countries to make quality and timely data and indicators for SDGs available and accessible to policy and decision makers at all levels.
DESA (UNSD) and the five regional commissions, together with the other implementing partners - UN Habitat, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNODC — have launched a joint $11.4 Million Programme on Statistics and Data under the 10th Tranche of the Development Account (2016-2020) to strengthen national statistical systems for the follow-up and review of the SDGs. The Programme is a new and innovative approach that brings the 10 implementing entities of the Secretariat together, capitalizing on their individual technical capacities and comparative advantages. Initially, spanning the period 2016 to 2019 with a total budget of USD 10 million, the Programme is structured around 7 components or 4 pillars, with specific expected accomplishments and indicators of achievement. The activities have taken the form of country advisory missions, national training seminars, development of guidelines, e-learning courses, and stocktaking events at regional or inter-regional level promoting the exchange among countries of challenges, good practices and lessons learned. Based on findings of the mid-term evaluation and the success rate achieved approximately 2 years after the inception of the Programme, the DA Steering committee has granted a one-year extension to this collaborative endeavor with additional USD 1.4 million.
DESA (UNSD) and the five regional commissions also collaborate on regional conferences for heads of statistical offices to find solutions on impactful capacity development in line with the themes of the Cape Town Global Action Plan. These conferences also provide input in the update process of the next edition of the UN Handbook on Management and Organization of National Statistical Systems. The Handbook will target primarily chief statisticians and senior managers of national statistical organizations. This new version will be maintained as a living document on an interactive web platform and will be updated at regular intervals to address common challenges and grasp innovative solutions, including those relating to the production and utilization of the indicators for monitoring progress towards the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a fast changing data ecosystem.
DESA (UNSD), together with UNOOSA, ESCAP, ECA, and the Regional Committees of UNGGIM in Africa and Asia and the Pacific, have implemented a $750K programme under the 11th Tranche of the Development Account (2018-2021) to strengthen geospatial information management in developing countries towards implementing the 2030 Agenda.
DESA (UNSD) has developed an Open SDG Data Hub, a Federated System that allow countries to bring together different data sources integrated with geospatial information for evidence-based decision-making and advocacy at the national level and link their open sites to the UN SDG Data Hub at the global level. Through the Data Hub, SDG indicators are referenced across geospatial web services to produce maps and other data visualizations. An SDG API was also developed to facilitate the use of the global SDG database by users and other portals.
The main aim of the joint UNSD-DFID Project on SDG Monitoring is to make the Sustainable Development Goals data open and available to the widest audience possible by improving the compilation, dissemination and use of SDG data at national and international levels. It covers various areas such as development of national SDG monitoring platforms, assessment of data availability based on available sources, data modelling, national metadata for the SDGs and activities to increase user engagement around SDG monitoring, among others related to the VNR processes. The project includes 20 project countries in Asia and Africa.
DESA (UNSD) assist countries in building their own relevant national information systems and data architectures in order to monitor and plan effectively at the national level and to contribute information to regional and global measurement platforms to review progress towards the SDGs.
The Data For Now initiative (Data4Now) helps develop countries’ capacities to deliver the information needed by local and national policy and decision makers to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The initiative, which was launched by UN Deputy-Secretary General on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, seeks to enhance collaboration and promote synergies across increasingly complex data systems, supporting the mainstreaming of data innovations into official statistical production processes, including geospatial information, big data and other non-traditional data sources. It is co-led by a core team consisting of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). A set of eight trailblazer countries from 3 continents have already joined the initiative, namely: Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, Paraguay, Colombia, Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal.
The UN Global Working Group (GWG) on Big Data for official statistics established in 2014 by the UN Statistical Commission, addresses issues pertaining to methodology, quality, technology, data access, legislation, privacy, management, training and finance. The GWG has produced several handbooks, such as Earth Observations for crop statistics, mobile phone data for tourism statistics or scanner data for price statistics. It also developed the UN Global Platform as a collaborative environment for data innovation by the global statistical community and all its partners; and released in 2020 a global assessment of institutional readiness of national statistical offices in the use of big data in official statistics, which recommended to build competency frameworks for big data skills and foster partnerships with higher education institutes to design skill profiles for future employees.
DESA (UNSD) serves as the secretariat of the Global network of institutions for statistical training (GIST), established by the UN Statistical Commission. The objective of GIST is to address the capacity gaps in countries as concerns the skills that needs to be developed or strengthened in national statistical systems to address the new data demands. This network, consisting of regional and international training institutes and NSOs that provide training outside their national borders, will facilitate collaboration across the institutions with the ultimate aim of providing efficient, effective and harmonized development and delivery of training in official statistics. The members of this network are key providers of training in official statistics at the global and regional levels. They bring their expertise in various topical areas, and will leverage their understanding of relevant issues and challenges in providing statistical training to strengthen training in official statistics. The Global Network of Institutions for Statistical Training has established a task team to: (a) address specific data needs for the Sustainable Development Goals; (b) establish an e-learning community of practice and online gateway for training courses; and (c) promote statistical literacy in the context of the 2030 Agenda.
DESA (Population Division) conducted, from 2017 to 2018, a series of regional workshops or consultations on the measurement of indicator 10.7.2 on well-managed migration policies. These events were organized in collaboration with IOM and the respective regional commissions (ESCAP and ECLAC in 2017; ECA, ECE and ESCWA in 2018). The workshops included presentations and technical discussion of options for the methodology used for measuring the concept of "well-managed migration policies" in the context of the SDGs.
DESA (Population Division) implemented a Development Account project on strengthening capacities of developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa to effectively produce and use population estimates and projections in policymaking for sustainable development. The Division has also collaborated with the Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) in the implementation of another Development Account project on using surveys to gather data to guide evidence-based policymaking regarding ageing and older persons in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2019, the Division organized and supported national workshops for countries developing their capacities to produce and use population estimates and projections, as well as a regional workshop on measuring population ageing and assessing its economic and fiscal consequences.
DESA (Statistics, Population and Social Development) are members of the Steering Committee of the Titchfield City Group on Ageing-related Statistics and Age-disaggregated Data. The Group aims to mobilize, partner and coordinate global efforts towards standardizing approaches to improving the availability of ageing-related statistics and age disaggregation of data. The Titchfield Group continued its work towards developing standardized tools and methods to produce data disaggregated by age and ageing-related data. In 2019, progress was made on: (a) the assessment of current evidence and identification of gaps; (b) development of an analytical and conceptual framework for information on older adults; and (c) the production of harmonization and standardization guidelines. The steering group, which includes representation from national statistical offices in all world regions, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, WHO, HelpAge International and academic expertise, continues to hold monthly meetings to maintain momentum and monitor progress.
DESA (UNSD) in its capacity as the secretariat of the 2020 World Population and Housing Census Programme, inaugurated in 2015, initiated in March 2020 an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the conduct of censuses in Member States scheduled to take place in 2020. The results indicate a substantial adverse consequence on census preparations, planning and operations, resulting in postponements, delays and ultimately in a possible compromise of quality of census statistics. DESA (UNSD) provided a platform for national census takers to exchange experiences and practices aimed at mitigating negative effect on the conduct and processing of population and housing censuses.
DESA (UNSD) in its role as a co-chair of the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda Task Force, instituted to advocate and implement a holistic approach to civil registration, vital statistics and identity management, launched in April 2020 an assessment on the impact of COVID-19 on the operations, maintenance and overall functioning of civil registration, a critical source of vital statistics. This assessment pointed out the severe effect the pandemic was having on the registration of vital events, primarily deaths and births, due to the stressing out of civil registration capacity to process increased number of deaths coupled with implementation of social distancing and work-from-home measures introduced to reduce the exposure to the virus. DESA (UNSD) developed a set of recommendations for civil registration and vital statistics authorities in Member States as well as a set of webinars to assists in mitigating the consequences of the pandemic in terms of managing delayed and late registration, as well as the production of accurate vital statistics that will document changes in mortality, fertility and nuptiality due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
From 2015 to 2017, DESA (DISD) carried out a Development Account project on “Data collection methodology and tools for supporting the formulation of evidence-based policies in response to the challenge of population ageing in sub-Saharan Africa,” which resulted in a statistical survey on ageing being implemented in Malawi in 2017. DISD also commissioned the first ever global survey of data on cooperatives in 2014 that formed the basis on which the International Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperative (of which DISD/DESA is a board member) conducted technical research leading to a set of guidelines on cooperative statistics endorsed by the International Conference of Labour Statisticians in 2018.
 For more information, visit the project website: https://unstats.un.org/capacity-development/UNSD-DFID/
3.5 Harnessing science, technology and innovation for the SDGs;
DESA (DSDG) continued to serve as Secretariat for the "Interagency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs" (IATT) and for the Secretary General's appointed "Group of high-level representatives of scientific community, private sector and civil society" (10-Member Group). The two groups mobilise experts from within the UN system and outside for advancing the SDGs through Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in various contexts. DESA continued to serve as convenor of both groups since their inception, whereas its co-convenor changed from UNEP to UNCTAD in Sept. 2017. Over the year, IATT membership continued to increase to 43 UN entities and more than 130 active staff members - an unprecedented level of cooperation on science and technology across the UN.
DESA (DSDG) together with other members of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Team on STI for the SDGs (IATT) has launched the first phase of the Global Pilot Programme on Science, Technology and Innovation for SDGs Roadmaps with an initial group of five pilot countries. Under this first phase, roadmaps are piloted in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya and Serbia. In addition, the European Union and Japan join the Global Pilot Programme to strengthen international partnerships on STI for SDGs roadmaps. These pilots are implemented using the guidance of the "Guidebook for the Preparation of STI for SDGs Roadmaps" developed by representatives from UN IATT and other stakeholders.
DESA (EAPD) has and will also continue support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including SDGs, with research on the implications of the global and national macroeconomic environments for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the policy space countries have for adopting sustainable development strategies as well as by providing timely and high quality inputs to inter-governmental processes about the policy challenges of adopting development strategies that fully integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development.
The latest World Economic and Social Survey 2018 focused on the opportunities and challenges brought by frontier technologies, highlighting the pressing need to address the technological divide between and within countries that could only widen in the absence of concerted policy efforts. The report presented the case for stronger international cooperation – facilitated by the UN – for supporting the transfer, development, access and adoption of technologies. Building on WESS 2018 and inspired by the strong interest in the policy implications of technologies’ development, a new series of publications on frontier technologies – entitled Frontier Technology Quarterly – was created. Its inaugural edition focused on data economy and identified the challenges that countries need to address to ensure that the rise of data economy can lead to positive social transformation and consistent with sustainable development. Future editions will focus on issues such as gene-editing, advances in new materials, and blockchain.
The thematic chapter of the 2020 Financing for Sustainable Development Report by the Inter-agency Taskforce on Financing for Development, coordinated and edited by DESA (FSDO), focused on financing sustainable development in an era of transformative digital technologies. It explores how digital technologies are changing financing – including financial sectors, public finance, and development pathways (trade and investment). The report puts forward policy options across the Addis Agenda action areas o make the most of the tremendous opportunities that new technologies create, while carefully managing risks.
DESA (DPIDG) serves as the secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The thirteenth Annual Meeting of the IGF was held in Paris, France, and attended by the UN Secretary-General and the President of the French Republic. The key messages touched on Cybersecurity, Trust and Privacy, Development, Innovation and Economic Issues, Digital Inclusion and Accessibility, Emerging Technologies, Evolution of Internet Governance, Human Rights, Gender and Youth, Media and Content, and Technical and Operational Topics, among others.
As the leading facilitator for Action Lines C1, C7eGov, and C11, as member of the United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS), and manager of the IGF Secretariat, DESA continued its efforts to promote policy dialogue and advocacy for the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) among United Nations bodies, governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and partners through a number of initiatives.
DESA (DISD) supported the 12th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in June 2019 during which a roundtable panel discussion was organized to exchange experience and good practices around the issue “Technology, digitalization and ICTs for the empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities”.
DESA (DISD) will support the Commission for Social Development in its 2021 session to deliberate on the priority theme of socially just transition to sustainable development: the role of digital technology on social development and well-being for all.
3.6 Multi-stakeholder partnerships;
DESA (DSDG) maintains the online SDG Partnerships Platform, which is a global registry of voluntary commitments and multi-stakeholder partnerships made in support of the SDGs. The online platform includes over 5,000 registered partnerships made by Member States, civil society, local authorities, private sector, scientific and technological community, academia, and others. The online platform, available at (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnerships/), is intended to provide space for sharing knowledge and expertise among different actors that are engaged in multi-stakeholder SDG-related partnerships and voluntary commitments, and for providing periodic updates on their progress. The platform brings together online registries that were launched in support of various United Nations conferences and processes dealing with sustainable development, including the 2017 The Ocean Conference, the 2016 Global Sustainable Transport Conference, the 2014 SIDS Conference, and the 2012 Rio+20 Conference. It also provides access to several other thematic multi-stakeholder action networks that aim to galvanize partnerships and commitments in support of the SDGs.
In 2019, DESA (DSDG) launched a new “2030 Partnership Accelerator” capacity building project with UN Office for Partnerships, UN Global Compact and the Partnering Initiative. The project seeks to foster effective multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of the 2030 Agenda and country-driven partnership platforms in support of SDG implementation, and to build partnership skills and competencies of all relevant stakeholders, including through national partnership workshops. The first national workshop of the 2030 Agenda Partnership Accelerator was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2019. A number of Partnership Accelerator national workshops are currently in the planning phases with the UN Resident Coordinators in Samoa, Maldives, Thailand, Mexico and Sri Lanka.
DESA (DSDG) also worked with the UN Development Coordination Office and the Resident Coordinator Offices in Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Serbia and Uzbekistan to strengthen the multi-stakeholder dimension of national development planning and SDG mainstreaming in these countries.
DESA (DSDG) has been taking lead in coordinating and collaborating with the nine thematic multi-stakeholder Communities of Ocean Action (COAs) to follow-up on the implementation of the voluntary commitments made at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference and mobilize new voluntary commitments for the 2020 UN Ocean Conference. The Department has organized workshops and webinars for the COAs to share best practices and experiences amongst the members of different COAs and any interested stakeholders to provide partnership opportunities and to catalyze further pledges for ocean actions, which also informed the deliberations of the High-level Political Forum as well as the preparatory process of the 2020 UN Ocean Conference.
DESA (DSDG), together with the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS), supports the follow-up to the SAMOA Pathway, including the SIDS Partnership Framework, which is designed to monitor progress of existing, and stimulate the launch of new, genuine and durable partnerships for the sustainable development of SIDS. In this regard, a series of multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues has been organized in close collaboration with the Steering Committee and other partners. In preparation for the SAMOA Pathway High-Level Review in September 2019, DESA (DSDG) and partners conducted an in-depth analysis of existing SIDS partnerships to identify trends and gaps and issued an online SIDS Partnerships Toolbox (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sids/PartnershipToolbox).
DESA (DPIDG) fosters global networking and communities of practice, including through the UN Public Administration Network (UNPAN). UNPAN's mission is to promote the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices, throughout the world by means of ICTs, sound public policies, effective public administration and efficient civil service, and through capacity-building and cooperation among Member States, with an emphasis on South-South cooperation and UNPAN's commitment to integrity and excellence. It is the only network of its type in the world today.
3.7 Bolstering local action and supporting sub-national plans/strategies and implementation for the SDGs;
DESA (DSDG) organizes events that bring together cities, regions, other sub-national actors and relevant stakeholder to share best practices and lessons learned from their SDG implementation and to galvanize the shared commitment to the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development. For example, together with Local 2030, UN-Habitat, UNDP and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, DESA (DSDG) is organizing in 2020 for the third time the annual Local and Regional Governments Forum which brings together cities, regions and all relevant stakeholders to discuss sub-national SDG implementation and local action. Local action has also been addressed in the VNR Labs organized by DESA (DSDG), in 2019 in an event titled Localizing the SDGs and VNRs: reporting on progress, challenges and opportunities and in 2020 in an event titled Multi-level governance and subnational reporting on VNRs and VLRs. In 2020, DESA (DSDG) has also organized a capacity building online workshop to cities and regions interested in sub-national reviews of SDG implementation, also known as Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs).
3.8 Leveraging interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;
In January 2018, DESA (DSDG) organized an expert group meeting on “Advancing the 2030 Agenda: interlinkages and common themes at the 2018 HLPF” to look specifically at the interconnections between the SDGs under review at the High-level Political Forum in 2018 and the rest of Agenda 2030, with their concrete implications for policies, programmes and partnerships. More information including meeting summary is available at (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=13&nr=2592&menu=1634)
As noted above, the GSDR frames sustainable development challenges and opportunities in terms of six entry points, each of which represents a system built on interlinkages—both co-benefits and tradeoffs—among SDGs. DSDG has used this systems approach in shaping its substantive work. In addition to the regional operationalization work mentioned above, in 2020 DSDG oversaw a virtual consultation process to explore these six entry points in preparation for the HLPF thematic reviews, engaging about 180 outside experts from academia, civil society and international institutions (25-35 experts per theme) and 40 UN entities (8-21 per theme).
DESA (DPIDG) issued the World Public Sector Report 2018 on “Working Together, Integration, Institutions and the Sustainable Development Goals. The WPSR 2018 examines how governments, public institutions and public administration can foster integrated approaches to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The report examines key challenges and opportunities for integrated approaches from the perspective of public administration, highlighting experiences from past decades both at the sectoral and cross-sectoral levels. It also examines how governments across the world have chosen to address existing interlinkages among the SDGs, and the implications of this for public administration and public institutions. The report thus aims to produce a comprehensive empirical analysis of policy integration for the SDGs at the national level, with a view to drawing lessons on how emerging initiatives aiming to policy and institutional integration might lead to long-term success in achieving the SDGs, in different developmental and governance contexts. Arguments made in the report are illustrated by concrete examples in relation to SDG goals, targets or clusters thereof. The report is built around two structuring dimensions: first, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals as an integrated and indivisible set of goals and targets; and second, the role of the government and public service, including the institutional aspect, in fostering sustainable development.
In 2018, the subprogramme continued its partnership with the INTOSAI Development Initiative to support supreme audit institutions (SAIs) across the globe to conduct audits of government preparedness to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through their oversight function, supreme audit institutions can hold governments accountable for their efforts to implement the SDGs. They can help ensure that financial resources mobilized for SDG implementation arespent efficiently, effectively and transparently. External auditors can also provide independent insight on the outcomes and impacts of programmes and policies to achieve the SDGs, on critical risks and challenges, as well as on good practices involved in setting up the necessary governance systems to implement the SDGs. The SDG audit programme developed a methodology for auditing government preparedness for SDG implementation, and implemented it in all world regions through hands-on training and review workshops, including an e-course and individualised mentoring.
DESA (DSDG) is leading the drafting of the concept paper of the Interactive Dialogue on Leveraging interlinkages between SDG14 and other goals towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda of the 2020 UN Ocean Conference.
DESA (EAPD) organized 5 global and regional policy dialogues in 2019, including those at the margin of South South Cooperation Forum and High Level Political Forum, to discuss how to harness benefits from the BRI investment to promoting interlinked SDGs, avoiding risks of increasing economic and environmental vulnerability. Participants shared their valuable inputs and insights and continued closed cooperation in translating the opportunities generated from various global and regional initiatives into tangible progress in SDG implementation.
3.9 Supporting policies and strategies to leave no one behind;
DESA (UNSD) is delivering the responsibilities of the co-chair of the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda together with UNDP and UNICEF. This Agenda was developed as a strategic approach to ensure the accomplishment of the SDG 16.9 – legal identity for all. Launched in May 2019 it calls on all Member States to implement a holistic approach ensuring universal registration of all vital events, translated in the production of regular, comprehensive and reliable vital statistics and resulting in conferring legal identity to all from birth to death. The agenda is anchored in the set of international standards on civil registration and vital statistics, expanded to the legal identity management apparatus and provides Member States with a fully developed methodological framework as well as direct support in the process of implementation.
3.10 Supporting the mobilization of adequate and well-directed financing;
The thematic chapter of the 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report by the Inter-agency Taskforce on Financing for Development, coordinated and edited by DESA (FSDO), focused on Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs) – a tool to implement the Addis Ababa Action Agenda at the country level. The chapter set out and explored four building blocks around which INFFs can be developed: i) assessment and diagnostics (focused on analysing financing gaps, risks and binding constraints); ii) a financing strategy (focused on bringing together financing policies and reforms and maximising alignment with sustainable development outcomes); iii) monitoring and review (focused on supporting more informed policy-making, better learning, stronger transparency and accountability, and on enhancing the impact of financing instruments and policies on sustainable development); iv) governance and coordination (focused on building broad-based national ownership and on strengthening dialogue and coordination among relevant stakeholders, including to ensure development cooperation is aligned with sustainable development priorities). DESA (FSDO), in the context of the IATF, is now leading the development of more detailed global guidance for the implementation of INFFs at the country level, with the view of further supporting mobilization of financing that is aligned with sustainable development objectives.
3.11 Reducing disaster risk and building resilience;
DESA (DISD) organized an Expert Group Meeting entitled “Older Persons in Emergency crisis” in May 2019 in collaboration of other UN agencies, including OHCHR, OCHA, UNHCR and WHO that brought together international experts and relevant stakeholders to explore and propose some key recommendations on the issue of older persons in emergency crises both as a group that faces specific risks and as a group to be tapped for their experience in national and international emergency relief systems. The conclusions and recommendations of this expert group meeting positioned DESA to better support Member States in the context of both the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the General Assembly’s Open-ended Working Group on Ageing. In particular, it resulted in the inclusion and of new language relevant to older persons in emergencies in GA Resolution A/RES/74/125 “Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing”.
3.12 Supporting international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership;
4. The high-level political forum (HLPF) is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Has your organization participated in or supported the work of the HLPF? If yes, please specify your involvement in the following areas:
4.1 Supporting the intergovernmental body of your organization in contributing to the thematic review of the HLPF;
DESA (OISC) is the Secretariat for HLPF. As such, it supports the President of ECOSOC in preparing the programme, speakers, thematic reviews and VNRs at the HLPF. It is also coordinating background papers and any other documentation and inputs to the HLPF as well as preparing a synthesis of inputs to the HLPF from intergovernmental bodies and platforms. In 2019 DESA/OISC supported the preparation of the thematic review of six Sustainable Development Goals, the presentation of 47 Voluntary National Reviews as well as the 253 side events, 36 exhibitions, and 17 VNR Labs. The VNRs highlighted lessons on mainstreaming the SDGs into plans and policies. In the year leading up to the HLPF, DESA facilitated the substantive preparations for the SDG Summit by co-chairing with UNDP and supporting the HLPF Task Team. The HLPF Task Team was established in January 2019 to bring together the UN system, in a joint effort to develop a strategic narrative to connect and inform the major meetings held during the 2019 GA High-Level Week, and to provide analytical contributions to the SDG Summit. Almost 50 UN system entities participated in the work of the HLPF Task Team. DESA also used their inputs to prepare a special edition of the SDG Progress Report, working with UNDP. The ten cross-cutting action areas of the declaration directly build on the SDG progress report.
Furthermore, DESA (OISC) organizes a majority of segments of the cycle of ECOSOC, supporting the UN system in their engagement with ECOSOC. The segments’ outcomes are summaries by the respective presiding officers (either the President or a Vice-President of ECOSOC) that are transmitted as inputs into the High-level Segment of the Council and deliberations at the HLPF. These include:
- ECOSOC Youth Forum (engaging youth leaders from around the world);
- ECOSOC Partnership Forum (engaging the private sector and foundations to explore ways to promote meaningful engagement with partners in the effective implementation of the SDGs)
- ECOSOC Integration Segment (integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development and the contributions of Member States, ECOSOC subsidiary bodies, and the UN system on the theme).
DESA (DSDG) continued to support the thematic preparations for the 2019 and 2020 HLPF sessions, including by organizing series of in person and/or virtual consultations and expert group meetings. It also backstopped the work of the independent group of experts appointed by the Secretary-General to prepare the 2019 edition of the Global Sustainable Development Report, which served to inform the 2019 HLPF convened under the auspices of the General Assembly (or 2019 SDG Summit). In addition, DSDG is undertaking substantive and organizational preparatory work to support the 2023 GSDR.
In connection with the annual HLPF Sessions, DESA (DSDG) has continued to organize, together with partners, high-profile special events to galvanize key sectors of society around SDG implementation, including the annual SDG Business Forum (with Global Compact and ICC), the Local and Regional Governments Forum (with UN-Habitat, UNDP and Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments), an annual conference with Higher Education Institutions, and an annual event with Chief Sustainability Officers (with WBCSD). Together with UNITAR, DESA (DSDG) has also continued to organize annual SDG Learning, Training and Practice capacity-building workshops in connection with the HLPFs.
DESA (FSDO) has serviced the FfD Forum, DCF, and the UN Tax Committee, all of which contribute in multiple ways to the work of the HLPF. In addition, DESA (FSDO) also organized side events to the HLPF to present the findings and conclusions of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development and the Development Cooperation Forum and plans to do so again in 2021. The 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development report of the Task Force included a thematic chapter how integrated national financing frameworks, called for in the Addis Agenda, can help mobilize financing and other means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It also explored financing for the SDGs under in-depth review at the 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development throughout the report.
The Committee for Development Policy (CDP), serviced by DESA (EAPD), addressed the annual themes of the Economic and Social Council high-level segment and HLPF. In 2019 it contributed to the review on “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. For 2020, the CDP addressed “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”. In collaboration with other DESA colleagues, the CDP and its Secretariat provide inputs to side events and sessions of the HLPF, including the VNR Labs. Since 2018, the CDP analyzes the voluntary national reviews (VNRs) of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda presented at the high-level political forum for sustainable development in 2017, with a focus on the treatment of critical cross-cutting themes in the VNRs such as leaving no one behind. Based on its analysis, the CDP also submitted a communique to the co-facilitators of the HLPF review on further improving the VNR process. The Committee will continue its research and analysis on the voluntary national reviews as a key feature of discussions related to the Sustainable Development Goals.
DESA (DISD) serves as the substantive secretariat for the Commission for Social Development, supports preparation of contributions on issues of social development to the thematic review of the HLPF. It further supports the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in its provision of substantive inputs to the thematic reviews of the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 HLPFs, highlighting what is needed to ensure that indigenous peoples are not left behind in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
DESA (UNFFS) assisted the Forum in preparing its annual input to the meetings of the HLPF from 2016 to 2019. In support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the UNSPF, the UNFF Secretariat prepared seven background analytical studies on contribution of forests to the achievement of the SDGs under in-depth review at the 2018 and 2019 HLPF, namely: i) Forest ecosystem services; ii) Forests and Water; iii) Forests and Energy; iv) Sustainable Consumption and Production of Forest Products; v) Forests and climate change; vi) Forests, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment; and vii) Forests, peaceful and inclusive societies, reduced inequality, education and inclusive institutions at all levels. In 2017, at UNFF 12, the Forum invited all stakeholders, including regional and sub-regional entities, to provide inputs on HLPF 2018. This was one of the main themes discussed during an expert group meeting organized by the DESA (UNFF Secretariat) in Nairobi on November 2017. At the time, experts informed on how their entities are aligning their priorities to the Agenda 2030 and the UN Strategic Plan for Forests.
DESA (Population Division) has supported the Commission on Population and Development by drafting inputs to the thematic reviews conducted by the HLPF annually from 2016 to 2019. These inputs have been included in the HLPF online database (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/inputs/).
In 2018 and 2019, the Indigenous Peoples and Development Branch/Secretariat for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (DISD/DESA) organized de events during the high-level political forums on substantive issues to highlight the contribution of indigenous peoples to achieving the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development e.g. traditional knowledge and SDG 16.
4.2 Contributing to policy/background briefs for the HLPF;
DESA (UNSD) prepares the annual report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, which provides as an input into the deliberations of Member States for the HLPF (as mandated by 2030 Agenda, para 83). In addition, DESA (UNSD) also prepare an annual glossy publication: The Sustainable Development Goals Report, which presents data and analysis on SDGs for a wider audience with charts, infographics and analysis on selected indicators for which data are already available. The two progress reports on the Sustainable Development Goals provide an overview of progress made towards the 17 Goals, highlighting the most significant gaps, challenges and progress made. UNSD also prepares an annual SDG Progress Chart presenting a snapshot of progress made towards selected targets under all Goals using traffic light colours.
DESA (EAPD) is leading an inter-agency effort to produce the Sustainable Development Outlook – a forward-looking analysis of how major development trends are likely to impact the pace and trajectory of SDGs implementation. The 2019 report will present scenario analyses to grasp the SDG progress and outlook, while also offer policy recommendations that will inform the deliberations of Member States for the HLPF.
As an output of the consultations outlined above, DESA(DSDG) worked with partner agencies to prepare documentation for the 2020 HLPF thematic reviews. This included session concept notes and longer (10-15 pages) background papers, drawing from expert inputs from the consultations and additional research.
4.3 Helping organize SDG-specific events in the preparatory process;
DESA (UNFFS) helped organize the Expert Group Meeting on SDG15 (14-15 May 2018, UNHQ, New York), including through the planning, preparation and organization of the session on forests held during the EGM. DESA (UNFFS) also contributed to the organization of the 7th Economic and Social Council Youth Forum on the role of youth in building sustainable and resilient urban and rural communities (30-31 January 2018). The Forum was aimed at showcasing concrete areas and initiatives in specific goals and targets that have an impact on, and require the contribution of young people, to building resilience in communities that governments, youth and other stakeholders are actively engaged in or have delivered. A thematic breakout session on SDG 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss, and the related processes was held as part of this Forum. It provided space for open discussions by a wide range of stakeholders on the development needs and contributions that young people can make to reach the SDGs that will be reviewed by the HLPF in 2018 focusing on the difference that youth can make through action at all levels and how these efforts can create a momentum in support of the achievement of SDGs.
In 2019, DESA (DSDG) organized Expert Group Meetings on SDGs 4, 8, 10, 13, 16, and 17 in order take stock of where we are in terms of progress towards these SDGs; to share knowledge about success stories, good practices and challenges; to identify particular areas of concern; and to suggest ways forward in terms of policies, partnerships and coordinated actions at all levels. These messages will help inform the 2019 HLPF, assist in planning its sessions, and serve to influence collaborations and programmes of work going forward. The Expert Group Meetings included:
- SDG 4 – Global Education Meeting, 3-5 December 2018 in Brussels
- SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth, 3-5 April 2019 in Geneva
- SDG 10 - Reducing Inequalities: SDG 10 Progress and Prospects, 2-3 April 2019 in Geneva
- SDG 13 - Climate and SDGs Synergy Conference, 1-3 April in 2019 in Copenhagen
- SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions, 27-29 May in Rome
- SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals, 12 April in New York
In early 2020, DESA (DSDG) supported the preparatory process for the 2020 UN Ocean Conference as mandated by UNGA 73/292 and a two-day preparatory meeting from 4-5 February 2020 at the UNHQ. In preparation for this process, DSDG in collaboration with DOALOS//OLA prepared Secretary-General’s background note with a proposal of the themes of the interactive dialogues and an overview of the status and trends, challenges and opportunities addressing the theme of the Conference. The preparatory meeting considered the themes for the interactive dialogues and the elements of a brief, action-oriented and agreed intergovernmental declaration.
4.4 Organizing side events or speaking at the HLPF;
DESA (DISD) also oversees the UN Youth Delegate Programme at the global level and has provided support to the official Youth Delegates participating in the HLPF. DESA (DISD) also held a Side-event during the 2017 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development entitled "Youth participation by UN Youth Delegates: Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity by advancing the 2030 Agenda". Also, at the HLPF in 2017, DESA (DISD) participated in a joint Inter-Agency Group on Ageing event on “Making Sustainbale Development Work at All Ages: Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity for Older Persons. DESA (DISD) also held HLPF side event on cooperatives in 2017.
DESA (DPIDG) provided substantive support to the HLPF process, including through organizing side events on the “Global Launch of the UN E-Government Survey” and “AI for inclusion” (with the World Economic Forum, the Permanent Missions of Mexico and Bangladesh), and a side event on “Leaving No One Behind Through Data Revolution”. Additionally, a HLPF side event was held on "Leadership in the Public Sector", in collaboration with UNITAR and a VNR lab on public institutions.
DESA (UNFFS) organized a one-day pre-HLPF event on forests entitled “Forest-based transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies; lessons learned and success stories” on 8 July 2018. The Chair’s summary of the event highlighted the significance of forests to achieve the SDGs, partnerships and long-lasting synergies among a wide range of stakeholders to accelerate progress towards realizing the 2030 Agenda.
DESA (EAPD) organized a side event at 2019 HLPF, “Connecting All towards the Sustainable Development Goals: Optimizing the Development Impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative”. The event brought together representatives of governments and technical experts as well as development partners that have engaged in the DESA’s XB capacity development project to share experience and provide concrete examples of how policy research and capacity building have informed and impacted policy development and alignment at the country level, as part of the findings from the VNR preparation process.
DESA (DSDG) co-organized a side event entitled “Delivering Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Current Climate Change Scenario – Innovative Responses from South-South Cooperation and Water Operators Partnerships”. The event facilitated the sharing of knowledge and experience on integrated approaches for water and sanitation in support of climate change mitigation and adaptation, presented innovative responses from South-South Cooperation and called upon member states to promote and support those initiatives.
DESA (DSDG) was invited to speak at the UN-Water side event entitled “Deep dive: Climate Change and Water”. In this side event, UN-Water launched an update of its Policy Brief on Climate Change and Water. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the significant co-benefits to managing climate and water in a more coordinated and sustainable manner and discover solutions that are being implemented by a growing number of countries.
4.5 Supporting the VNR process.
Since 2016, DESA has been working extensively to support Member States who have volunteered to present VNRs to the HLPF, including by organizing global and regional capacity building workshops for VNR countries, in partnership with the Regional Commissions. Upon request, DESA has also organized country-specific advisory missions to support Member States in the preparation of their VNR reports. As the secretariat of the HLPF, DESA has also supported Member States during the delivery of their VNR reports at the HLPF and is maintaining an online VNR database with information from countries participating in the VNRs, available at (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/vnrs). Since 2016, DESA has been preparing annually a comprehensive synthesis report of the VNR reports. DESA has established an inter-departmental team to provide capacity building support for countries to prepare VNRs and has also prepared a VNR handbook to help guide the VNR preparations.
DESA(DPIDG) has been conducting research on institutional innovations undertaken by UN Member States (in particular, VNR countries) during the implementation of the SDGs. The compendium aims to take stock of the various approaches taken by UN Member States in terms of institutional frameworks for SDG implementation, with a view to facilitating knowledge sharing. Some member states are keen to have a good overview of international trends on SDG implementation and institutional dimensions. The division’s capacity development activities are also geared towards supporting VNR countries in strengthening their governance and institutional capacities to implement the SDGs.
Each year, DESA(DISD) prepares an analysis on SDGs and indigenous peoples which includes examples at the country level, drawing on the VNRs, and highlighting the various methodologies as good practices for replication in other countries and regions to put in place a participatory and inclusive approach to SDG Implementation.
DESA (UNSD) has worked with countries to focus on the SDG monitoring aspects of the work, helping ensure that more data are made available for the VNRs and that the National Statistical Offices are taking a role in the process. A key element is the establishment of national SDG reporting platforms online. This work has been linked to the UNSD-DFID project on SDG monitoring which covers 20 countries in Africa and Asia. At the HLPF, SD has been running a series of data labs which have provided country examples and highlighted key issues which needed more attention.
5. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? In this regard, has your organization launched or intend to launch any joint programmes or projects in collaboration with other UN entities? Are there any results or lessons you would like to highlight that might help improve the design and impact of such efforts? Has your organization participated in any of the following coordination systemwide mechanisms or any other relevant platform - CEB, UNSDG, EC-ESA Plus, regional coordination meetings, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG, IATT? Please specify which and indicate any suggestions you may have about improving collaborations within and across these mechanisms/platforms.
DESA participates in the Chief Executives Board, UNSDG, and High-Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP). DESA will continue to cooperate with all parts of the UN system in order to coordinate their inputs into the HLPF and to strengthen the Forum as the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs at the global level.
DESA (DSDG) has an extensive inter-agency work stream, including serving as the secretary for UN-Water, UN-Energy, TFM IATT, IACG for SIDS. DESA (UNSD) is the secretariat of IAEG-SDGs and coordinates the global efforts of monitoring of the SDGs with international and regional organizations. Furthermore, DESA (OISC) participates in numerous other coordination mechanisms, including the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), the UN Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE), the Interdepartmental Task Force on African Affairs, and the UN Private Sector Focal Points Network. DESA(DSDG)also participated in UN-Ocean and has been leading and coordinating the informal preparatory working group(IPWG) for 2020 UN Ocean Conference which support discussion and drafting of concept papers for the proposed themes for the interactive dialogues of the conference.
Efforts will be made to increase synergies among the various capacity development projects of DESA (EAPD) and to further strengthen partnerships with UNCTAD, UNDP, UN/ESCAP, UN/ECA, ILO, ITC, UN Resident Coordinators, WTO, IFIs, and a number of think-tanks in developing countries to enhance the effectiveness and continuity of DESA EAPD's capacity development work. For instance, through its capacity development work on the Least Developed Countries (leaving no one behind), DESA/EAPD is establishing a closer working relationship and joint project activities with UNCTAD. Similarly, the DESA CDP Secretariat is working closely with OHRLLS in the newly established Inter-agency Task Force on Graduation of LDCs to promote improved collaboration among development partners in their efforts to assist LDCs. EAPD also continued its partnership and collaboration with ITC and WTO for the maintenance, improvements and capacity building activities related to its ePing trade information system.
DESA (Population Division) cooperates with other UN system organizations in its work on measuring and monitoring SDG indicators. These partnerships are with IOM for the measurement of indicator 10.7.2; with UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank, as part of the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME) for indicator 3.1.2; with WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank, as part of the Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-agency Group (MMEIG), for indicator 3.1.1; and with UNFPA and UN Women for the measurement of indicator 5.6.2
DESA (FSDO) services and coordinates the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development which prepares the annual Financing for Sustainable Development report (FSDR). The task force is comprised of over 60 United Nations agencies, programmes and offices, regional economic commissions and other relevant international institutions. Participation to the IATF is open to all agencies of the UN system. UNDP and UNCTAD, as two of the five major institutional stakeholders of the Financing for Development process, play a central role in the work of the Task Force. In addition, the UN Regional Commissions, including through the RCMs, help bring national and regional perspectives to the report. The organizations that coordinate UN-Energy, UN-Water, IATT and other such inter-agency coordination mechanisms are members of the Task Force, and their staff coordinating these inter-agency processes have been deeply engaged with the Task Force and contributed to its work.
While DESA (FSDO) already cooperates with the UN Regional Commissions in the implementation of the capacity development programme on international tax cooperation (in particular with ECA and ECLAC), for the development and implementation of trainings and technical assistance.
DESA (DSDG) collaborated with Regional Commissions in organizing regional workshops for VNR countries in the lead-up the 2016 and 2017 HLPFs. DESA (DSDG) has also co-organized with Regional Commissions capacity-building workshops for major groups and other stakeholders on the 2030 Agenda in connection with the regional sustainable development forums since 2016.
DESA (DPIDG) collaborated with Regional Commissions on two regional symposia held in 2017. For the Asia Symposium on "Building Effective, Accountable and Inclusive Institutions and Public Administration for Advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", held in the Republic of Korea, DPIDG partnered with ESCAP. For the Africa Symposium on "Governance for Implementing the Sustainable Development Commitments in Africa" held in Ethiopia, DPIDG collaborated with ECA which made available the requisite conference facilities and provided administrative assistance. In 2018, DESA (DPIDG) renewed its collaboration with ESCAP to organize the Regional Symposium on "Strengthening the Capacities of Public Institutions and Developing Effective Partnerships to Realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" held in the Republic of Korea. DESA (DPIDG) also worked with ECLAC and UNITAR to organize a Learning Conference on "Holistic Approaches for Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region" in Shanghai, China.
In addition, DESA (DPIDG) collaborated with ESCAP on the topic of E-Government for Women's Empowerment to strengthen gender equality in government services and how women's empowerment through E-Government can accelerate the achievement of Goals and Targets across the 2030 Agenda. In 2017, DESA (DPIDG) and ESCAP developed an online toolkit and web portal (http://egov4women.unescapsdd.org/) which consists of five modules to equip governments with the policy evidence and rationale for i) ensuring women's equal access to government services online, ii) promoting the political participation and engagement of women, and iii) improving ICT capacities of national gender ministries, as well as gender-equality understanding among ICT related ministries. The EGov4Women Online Toolkit was then formally launched during a side-event of the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women.
DESA (DISD) permanently co-chairs the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (UN IANYD), a network of over 50 UN entities (with an annual rotating co-chair) and the Network has several Working Groups under its aegis including on Youth and the 2030 Agenda. The latter Working Group produced "Guiding principles for supporting young people as critical agents of change in the 2030 agenda" to effectively, proactively and responsibly foster youth participation in SDG implementation across development contexts. DESA (DISD) also leads an Inter-Agency Group on Ageing, an informal network of interested United Nations entities that exchange information and integrate ageing into their work programmes on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
DESA (DISD) permanently co-chairs the UN Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples (IASG), which has some 50 UN entities as members, with a rotating co-chair. In the outcome document of the 2014 high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to develop, within existing resources, a system-wide action plan to ensure a coherent approach to achieving the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The system-wide action plan was developed by DESA (DISD) in close cooperation with the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples following consultations with indigenous peoples, Member States and the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples' Issues. Based on the feedback received, the plan focuses on the following action areas: (a) raise awareness on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and indigenous issues; (b) support the implementation of the Declaration, particularly at the country level; (c) support the attainment of indigenous peoples' rights in the implementation and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; (d) conduct an exercise to map existing policies, standards, guidelines, activities, resources and capacities within the United Nations and the multilateral system to identify opportunities and gaps; (e) develop the capacities of States, indigenous peoples, civil society and United Nations personnel at all levels; and (f) support the participation of indigenous peoples in processes that affect them. The SWAP – Indigenous Peoples is currently in progress, through UN system support to Member States at national, regional and global levels, and is discussed at the annual sessions of the Permanent Forum to gain inputs and feedback from Member States, indigenous peoples and other partners on a regular basis.
DESA (DISD), as co-secretariat of the Inter-Agency Support Group for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities further contributed to the United Nations Disability Inclusive Strategy (UNDIS) launched by the Secretary-General in 2019, which is a pivotal foundation for system-wide disability inclusion throughout the United Nations system.
DESA (UNFFS) participates in the 15-member Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) as its member organization and secretariat. In response to the guidance provided by ECOSOC in its resolution 2015/33, the CPF formulated its new policy document and work plan for the period 2017-2020 to enhance its working modalities and presented the respective documents at UNFF12 (2017) and UNFF13 (2018). With the formulation of the CPF Policy Document and Work Plan 2017-2020, the areas of the CPF joint action have expanded to include support to enhancing the contribution of forests to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other internationally-agreed development goals. The current CPF work plan identifies priorities for collective actions by its member organizations, guide their implementation, and contains the resource implications of such actions, in alignment with the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF) and the UNFF Quadrennial Programme of Work for 2017- 2020. The CPF currently undertakes nine joint initiatives and is actively developing new initiatives to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the UNSPF, among others.
DESA (DSDG) in collaboration with UN-Water members and partners has developed the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework (GAF) to elevate water and sanitation issues within the UN System in order to accelerate implementation of SDG 6 targets as part of the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. The GAF is driven by country demand and will align the international community to strengthen country planning, implementation and mutual accountability with a focus on unlocking known bottlenecks. By mobilising action across governments, civil society, private sector and the UN System, the Framework will improve the collective delivery on SDG 6 in countries and align approaches across sector and actors.
UN-Water, as the inter-agency mechanism to coordinate the efforts of UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues, creates expert groups and task forces to coordinate actions and thematic joint initiatives. DESA (DSDG) co-chairs with UNU the UN-Water Task Force to support the implementation of the International Decade for Action Water for Sustainable Development. DESA (DSDG) is further a member of UN-Water Task Force on Country Level Engagement, which was tasked with developing a strategy to strengthen UN-Water’s engagement at country level in support of the UN Resident Coordinators. DESA (DSDG) is also a member of the Expert Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which informs policy processes and addresses emerging issues related to SDG 6 and the 2030 Agenda. DESA (DSDG) supports also trough UN-Water the United Nations international observances on freshwater and sanitation. Depending on the official UN theme of the campaign, they are led by one or more UN-Water Members and Partners with a related mandate. On World Water Day, UN-Water releases the World Water Development Report focusing on the same topic as the campaign.
DESA(DSDG) is the secretariat for UN-Energy and in that capacity supports UN-Energy co-Chairs, the UNDP Administrator and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All in promoting system-wide collaboration in the area of energy.
6. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups, both in supporting implementation at the country, regional and global levels, and within your own organization? If yes, please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established any multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, please describe them and how their performances are being monitored and reviewed.
DESA has consistently worked to engage civil society, including non-governmental organizations, Major Groups and Other Stakeholders, youth, foundations and the private sector, in the work of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies and the HLPF, including by supporting the work of the NGO Committee that grants consultative status to NGOs with the ECOSOC, and guiding NGOs through the process (DESA/OISC).
DESA (OISC) continued to support the active and growing participation of Major Groups and Other Stakeholders (MGoS) in intergovernmental processes related to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, including the HLPF. The Division facilitated webinars to share information and build the capacity of stakeholders to effectively participate in the HLPF. In addition, the Division facilitated the accreditation process and registration of NGOs to various events, including the conferences on migration and on South-South cooperation.
As part of the HLPF, DESA (DSDG) organizes annually several sectoral events, such as the SDG Business Forum (organized in collaboration with ICC and Global Compact)); the Local and Regional Governments Forum (in collaboration with UN-Habitat, Local 2030 and the Global Taskforce of Local and regional governments); a Chief Sustainability Officers and Sustainability Champions event (organized with WBCSD); ; an event on "Higher Education Institutions - Key Drivers of the Sustainable Development Goals" (organized with Global Compact, UNESCO, UNU, UNCTAD); an event with the philanthropic sector; and an SDG Film Festival..
Through a grant from the European Commission, DSDG supported the travel of 35 stakeholder representatives to the July session of the 2019 HLPF and the SDG Summit.
In addition, the joint DSDG/UNITAR SDGs Learning, Training and Practice workshops organized during the 2019 HLPF featured 10 training courses delivered by government, UN and international organizations, private sector, universities and other stakeholders.
DSDG also facilitated the accreditation process and registration of more than 350 stakeholders to attend and actively participate in the 2019 Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI Forum). Also through the EC grant, DSDG is implementing a joint initiative with DCO and Resident Coordinator’s Offices on strengthening the multi-stakeholder dimension of national development planning and mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals. This aims to directly invest in and improve the consistency with we engage external actors for SDG implementation. The initiative is already supporting 6 countries (Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Serbia, and Uzbekistan) where national civil society consultants work with RCOs to identify good practices and present recommendations on how to strengthen stakeholder engagement in implementing and monitoring the 2030 Agenda. Three additional countries will be included to the project in 2020.
DSDG has been facilitating and supporting stakeholders’ participation and contribution to the preparatory process of the 2020 UN Ocean Conference, and mobilizing stakeholders through Communities of Ocean Action to register and implement voluntary commitments on ocean action for the implementation of the SDG14.
DESA (OISC) also supported and coordinated the ECOSOC Partnership and Youth Forums. DESA (UNSD) has been actively engaged with stakeholder groups in the developing and implementing the global indicator framework and also in launching new initiatives and innovative solutions that helps delivering better data for SDGs. DESA (EAPD) has also initiated capacity development activities to provide innovative research methodologies and outputs, detailed and implementable policy recommendations, and capacity building modules in policy simulations to selected countries participating in the Belt and Road in order to better tap into the potential positive impact of the Belt and Road initiative on the national and local economies and as an accelerator of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
DEAS (EAPD) also continued the implementation of the ePing system in various developing countries. The ePing platform engages stakeholder groups related to trade at the country level, as well as regional and global levels, facilitating export product related information, including most lately on trade restrictions and challenges related to Covid19.
One of the key features of the Financing for Development follow-up process is its multi-stakeholder approach. Accordingly, DESA (FSDO) is committed to supporting and facilitating the participation of non-institutional stakeholders, such as civil society, the private sector, national parliaments, local authorities, philanthropic foundations and academia in the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (FfD Forum) and in the ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum (DCF). The Inter-Agency Task Force has frequent engagement with stakeholders in both formal and informal settings, including involving stakeholders in technical and working-level meetings where appropriate. These stakeholders have been involved from the outset in the FfD process by providing important inputs, expertise and proposals to the three International Conferences on Financing for Development (Monterrey, Doha and Addis Ababa) and their follow-up process. Moreover, with their diverse voices and priorities, they are instrumental in ensuring the full and timely implementation of the FfD outcomes and the delivery of the means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In order to promote sustained substantive engagement of these stakeholders in the preparation of the Forum, DESA (FSDO) is coordinating "Stakeholder workstreams". The workstreams focus on thematic areas that are of particular interest to non-institutional stakeholders and provide substantive input to the FfD Forum and its follow-up process:
- For example, a workstream on Strengthening Municipal Finance in LDCs directly engaged local authorities through a series of interactive workshops in different regions. The workstream was implemented in close collaboration with UNCDF and local authorities and resulted in:
- a joint DESA/FSDO publication entitled “Financing Sustainable Urban Development in the Least Developed Countries”, which was launched at the 2017 ECOSOC FFD Forum.
- a multi-year development account project on “Municipal asset management”, implemented by UN DESA in collaboration with UNCDF and UN-Habitat.
- A workstream on Exploring Public-Private Interfaces has been initiated by the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) FfD Group, through a Consultation held in New York on 3-4 August 2016;
- A workstream on SDG Investing (SDGI) has been initiated with the Division for Sustainable Development in collaboration with a wide range of business sector representatives, and has resulted in the launch of an SDG Investment Fair which will be held for a second time in the margins of the FfD forum (15-18 April 2019).
DESA (DISD) works with youth and youth-led organizations and Networks, with a focus on global level engagement through activities of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (UN IANYD), and at relevant intergovernmental forums.
The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues discussion constitutes the largest global gathering on Indigenous Peoples, raising awareness on issues of concern. In 2018 over 1200 representatives of indigenous peoples, Member States, national human rights institutions and NGOs, with over 115 side events taking place. Lessons learned include that more and better outreach is needed at the community, local and national level to inform the global level discussions. The 2019 annual session will build on the previous sessions and includes a standing agenda item on the SDGs/2020 Development Agenda.
The participation of Major Groups and other non-State stakeholders has been a core element of the UN Forum on Forests since its establishment. DESA (UNFFS) provides a platform for dialogue and serves as a catalyst for contributions by major groups and other stakeholders at the international level. From 2016 to 2019, the DESA (UNFFS) organized several expert meetings to elaborate means and ways to strengthen the engagement of major groups and other stakeholders in the international arrangement on forests beyond 2015. The outputs of these meetings served as inputs into the discussions on the development of the United Nations strategic plan for forests (UNSFP) 2017-2030. Major groups have also developed a joint workplan on implementation of the UNSPF and achievement of the 6 global forest goals. In addition, a number of major groups have developed individual group plans aimed at UNSPF implementation.
DESA (DPIDG) continued to engage stakeholders in its capacity development activities at regional and national levels.
DESA (FSDO) has established the Platform for Collaboration on Tax (PCT) in April 2016 to strengthen cooperation among the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank in support of country efforts to mobilize domestic resources for investment in sustainable development. The PCT work programme for the biennium 2019-2020 consists of three work streams focusing on: 1) coordination of tax capacity development activities; 2) analytical work to provide practical guidance on a range of tax issues; and 3) outreach and engagement activities to foster informed and effective participation of all stakeholders, especially developing countries, in international tax discussions. The work programme identifies a number of activities to be implemented under each work stream and it includes a result-based framework that comprises expected outcomes and indicators of achievement against which the performance of the PCT will be monitored and reviewed. To a large extent, PCT work draws upon PCT partners’ human resources, especially to carry out analytical work. A multi-donor trust fund (MDTF) has been established within the World Bank (which hosts the PCT Secretariat) to channel the funding needed to cover other activities, including the cost of staff (i.e. secretariat staff and consultants) and the cost of outreach activities. To ensure accountability for donors’ contributions to the MDTF, PCT partners are considering the establishment of an accountability group. This mechanism would operate in addition to existing accountability and reporting arrangements under each PCT partner’s institutional governance arrangements.
DESA (DPIDG) has established regional taskforces of schools of public administration to streamline the SDGs in the curricula of these schools. The taskforces are part of the division’s Global Initiative on " Transformational leadership and capacities to implement the SDGs" with Schools of Public Administration, which aims at developing a multi-stakeholder approach to developing a curriculum on governance for the SDGs, including modules and training material for public servants to align their everyday work with the principles of the 2030 Agenda and change mindsets to support sustainable development and leave no one behind.
7. Has your organization organized any conferences, forums or events designed to facilitate exchange of experience, peer and mutual learning in connection with the SDGs? If yes, please provide a brief summary, below and include lessons learned and gaps identified based on the outcomes of these events. Please also include any events you want to organize in the coming years.
DESA regularly supports large global conferences related to sustainable development.
Since 2019, DESA (DSDG) has been supporting the preparations for the 2020 UN Ocean Conference, mandated by the General Assembly in resolution 73/292. The Conference was scheduled to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, in June 2019, however, it was postponed by the General Assembly to a later date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2019, DESA has also engaged in supporting the preparations for the Second Global Sustainable Transport Conference, which was scheduled to be held in May 2019 in Beijing, China. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference has been postponed to a later date.
In 2019, DESA (DSDG) supported the mid-term review of the General Assembly of the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), held on 27 September 2019. and the adoption of a political declaration by Member States.
The ECOSOC Youth Forum organized by DESA (OISC) is another meeting where the exchange of experiences and best practices are in focus. The 2018 ECOSOC Youth Forum identified the need to ensure that young people have the institutional and political space to contribute to the implementation of SDGs. The voices of young people can be amplified at the global level if they are included as youth delegates at the UN and if they are part of national delegations for the review of implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the HLPF. They should hold their Governments accountable for their commitments, including through vigorous shadow reporting. Common challenges identified across regions included unemployment and underemployment, the need to reimagine education systems and improve access to technology and innovation.
DESA (OISC) also organizes the ECOSOC Integration Segment, which provides a platform for key stakeholders to review policies that support an integrated approach to achieving sustainable development and poverty eradication and to consider best practices, lessons learned and recommendations at the national, regional and international levels, with a view to develop action-oriented recommendations for follow-up. The Segment brings together the key messages from the ECOSOC system, further integrating inputs from Member States, UN system and key stakeholders on the theme.
In addition, the ECOSOC Special Meeting in 2017 on "Aftermath of recent hurricanes: Achieving a risk-informed and resilient 2030 Agenda" took stock of existing initiatives and efforts aimed at helping the hurricane-affected countries (many SIDS in the Caribbean region) and territories and explored ways to assist them effectively to reduce disaster risk and strengthen resilience. The meeting demonstrated the disproportionate impact of hurricanes in countries with high-level of exposure and vulnerability to climate change and the need to increase their access to concessional finance given their high-level indebtedness. The meeting underscored the importance of pursuing a risk-informed and resilient 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
DESA (OISC) also promotes the mainstreaming of peacebuilding issues in the work of the Council to strengthen the nexus between peace and development, including through enhancing the relationship between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). For that effect, the Council holds joint meetings of ECOSOC and the PBC. In 2016, the joint meeting of ECOSOC and the PBC focused on the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace", which underscored that the entire 2030 Agenda, and not only SDG16, provided a unique opportunity to address the root causes of conflicts and to make communities more resilient to prevent reversals into conflict and to be prepared to deal with emergencies. The meeting called for more regular interactions between ECOSOC and the PBC to promote coherence and complementarity between the UN's peace and security efforts and its development, human rights and humanitarian work.
The latest joint meeting of ECOSOC and the PBC was in 2018 and focused on linkages between climate change and challenges to peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the Sahel.
Furthermore, DESA (OISC) coordinates the organization of the ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development Segment (OAS), which reviews UN policies, including the implementation of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), as well as the implementation of UN development system reform. The QCPR is the mechanism that guides the UN development system's work to better support countries in their aim to achieve the SDGs. The OAS provides Member States the opportunity to learn about concrete examples of how the UN development system is conducting activities on the ground as well as for Member States to express concerns they have in the way the System works or how it is structured.
Additionally, DESA (OISC) organizes regional and global events for preparations of VNR, engaging countries to present their reviews at the HLPF. Three global and four/five regional workshops will be organized as previous years with VNR countries. VNR countries have found these kinds of meetings very useful, as they provide platform for mutual learning, exchange of lessons learned and experiences. They also strengthen partnerships for future support in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs.
In 2020 DESA (OISC) organized a high-level virtual ECOSOC Briefing on “Joining Forces: Effective Policy Solutions for Covid-19 Response”. The briefing, convened by the ECOSOC President, brought together the Deputy Secretary-General and the executive heads of WHO, FAO, ILO, UNCTAD, ESCAP and the High-Commissioner for Human Rights to discuss policy solutions for an inclusive, and human-centric COVID-19 response. The President of ECOSOC issued a Presidential Statement to share the key messages from the meeting that underscored the need to work together to deepen efforts during the Decade of Action for delivery of sustainable development to recover better, and build a healthier, greener, fairer and a more resilient world. The briefing demonstrated how the United Nations system has come together for an inclusive and truly human-centric COVID-19 response. Key messages from various UN reports and policy briefs on COVID-19 were shared with Member States.
DESA (DSDG) supports the convening of the annual multi-stakeholder forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for SDGs (STI Forum) to discuss science, technology and innovation cooperation around thematic areas for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; as well as operationalizes the General Assembly mandated Online Technology Platform.
DESA (Population Division) is the secretariat for the annual session of the Commission on Population and Development. The general debate during the annual session serves as an opportunity for countries to share practical experiences around the special theme of the session, including any related successes, challenges and gaps in the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. This discussion is often framed with reference to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In 2016, the CPD focused on the importance of strengthening the demographic evidence base for the post-2015 development agenda. In 2017, it examined the impact of changing population age structures on various aspects of sustainable development. In 2018, Member States explored topics at the intersection of sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration. In 2019, the special theme of the Commission was review and appraisal of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and its contribution to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2020, the special theme was population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development. Due to the postponement and scaling down of the Commission’s 53rd session in light of COVID-19, it is expected that the Commission will choose to pursue the same theme at its 54th session in 2021.
DESA (DISD) jointly with OHCHR is the secretariat for the annual sessions of the General Assembly’s Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, which aims at strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons by considering the existing international framework of the human rights of older persons and identifying possible gaps and how best to address them, including by considering, as appropriate, the feasibility of further instruments and measures. To date, the sessions have exchanged lessons learned and identified gaps on equality and non-discrimination; violence, neglect and abuse; autonomy and independence; long-term care and palliative care. DESA (DISD) provides substantive Secretariat support to the Commission for Social Development. Its annual session is recognized as a platform for sharing national experiences and mutual learning for the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit for Social Development that has been framed in the context of the 2030 Agenda since its adoption in 2015. Since 2019, the Commission started to include in its official program a dialogue with senior officials of the UN system to highlight regional lessons for mutual learning. DESA/DISD provides substantive support also to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which is the largest global gathering to discuss and share experiences and challenges in implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the SDGs, as part of the global agenda for sustainable development.
DESA (DISD) provides substantive support to the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP), which now stands as the largest global UN meeting on disability issues. The upcoming 13th session of COSP will allow States Parties to focus its deliberations around Decade of Actions and delivery for inclusive sustainable development for and with persons with disabilities.
The third United Nations World Data Forum will take place in Bern, Switzerland, on 18-21 October 2020, hosted by the Government of the Switzerland, with support from DESA (UNSD) acting as Secretariat. Based on the decision of the UN Statistical Commission the UN World Data Forum is held every two years, under the guidance of the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-building, bringing together over 1,000 participants from Government policy makers and official statisticians with civil society, academics and professional associations, the private sector, donor and philanthropic organisations, data advocates and the media to discuss and communicate new ways of producing data for sustainable development and to inform the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The third World Data Forum takes place from 18 to 21 October 2020 in Bern, Switzerland; hosted by the Federal Statistical Office, with the support of the Statistics Division of UN DESA. The outcomes of the first two fora were the Cape Town Global Action Plan (CTGAP) for sustainable development data and the Dubai Declaration supporting the implementation of the CTGAP, respectively, which focused on where capacity development and financing efforts need to be concentrated.
DESA (EAPD) regularly organizes development policy seminars and informal panel discussions on the outlook for the global economy and its implications for progress towards the SDGs and also on cutting-edge issues such as blockchains and bitcoins, involving panelists from UN system organizations, academia, think-tanks, private sector and NGOs. These discussions have provided insights and inputs to the regular publications of the Division.
At the institutional level, the multi-stakeholder ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) promotes knowledge sharing and mutual learning, as well as encouraging coherence in development policy and across diverse actors and activities. Additionally, side events at both the DCF and the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (FfD Forum) encourage informal discussion of country experiences among panelists and participants, and promote South-South cooperation. DESA (FSDO) also works with the multilateral development banks to coordinate the Global Infrastructure Forum, which seeks to share experiences on infrastructure finance. The 2016 and 2017 forums were held in Washington DC alongside the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings. The 2018 event was held in October in Indonesia.
At the capacity development level, a relevant example can be found in the programme on international tax cooperation. Participants to workshops, courses and technical cooperation activities are actively encouraged to share their experiences, as well as the issues encountered in the drafting and administration of international agreements and domestic legislation, within a facilitated environment, often supported by preliminary questionnaires. As a result, tax officials become familiar with challenges encountered by other developing countries, and cooperate to identify potential solutions, drawing on other participants' experiences. This exchange of experiences, which leads to peer learning, is one of the most appreciated features by participants to DESA (FSDO) capacity development activities.
DESA (DPIDG) organizes annually the UN Public Service Forum to facilitate exchange of experiences and peer learning. The 2019 year' Forum, which was held in Azerbaijan in June, allowed Ministers and other senior decision makers to discuss how to transform governance in ways that allow governments, institutions and public administrations to get organized and work to deliver on the SDGs. The Forum also looked at how governments and public institutions can become more effective, inclusive and accountable as the world leaders have committed to the SDG 16. Participants had the opportunity to debate emerging issues and trends, as well as good practices, strategies and innovative approaches for transforming governance, implementing the SDGs and the principle of leaving no one behind.
DESA (DPIDG) has been organizing regional symposiums and learning conferences to discuss how public institutions should transform to support the implementation of the SDGs. Those forums aim to build governments’ capacities and renew progress in implementation. They help to raise awareness and promote advocacy of key issues at the regional level and within groups of target beneficiaries that share similar historical, social and development conditions. Through South-South cooperation, these regional events have a component where member states are invited to share their challenges and needs for capacity development. DESA (DPIDG) is organizing in 2019 two regional Symposiums, one in the Arab region and one in the Asia-Pacific region on effective, accountable and transparent public institutions for SDG 16.
DESA (DSDG) organizes annually Global Multi-stakeholder Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Partnership Dialogues under the guidance of the SIDS Partnership Steering Committee.
DESA (DSDG) supports the Government of Tajikistan in organizing Water Action Decade Conferences in Dushanbe on a biennial basis to provide a platform for policy dialogue, partnership and action on water related issues. The conferences are usually co-chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. The conferences focus on ways how stakeholders can catalyze water action and partnership to contribute to the implementation of water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the New Urban Agenda at all levels. The conferences provide an opportunity for sharing progress and constraints in the implementation of the actions and partnerships, initiated by governments and other stakeholders within the Water Action Decade. The outcomes of the Conferences are a final declaration and a co-chair’s summary, as well as a compendium of actions, partnerships and other initiatives, committed during the Conference. The outcomes are presented to the United Nations General Assembly, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and other relevant fora. Although the conferences provide a good platform for policy dialogue, partnership and action on water related issues, they do not have the UN mandate or political participation needed to ensure the comprehensive review of SDG 6, nor do they provide the neutral space required to negotiate agreements to be made by heads of government and ministers. There is currently no regular UN high-level meeting/conference that gathers all Member States and allows them to comprehensively review progress, share lessons and mobilise action on the whole of SDG 6 and other relevant global targets. While there are many UN intergovernmental platforms that can deliberate on water-related issues, they can do so only according to their core mandate which is typically limited to some aspects of SDG 6 and of the water cycle. This means that the periodic in-depth review of SDG 6 at the HLPF currently are the only UN fora to review progress on all water and sanitation issues. Many Member States and other stakeholders have expressed though criticism on the effectiveness of the Forum with respect to its capacity to review specific SDGs in-depth. UN high-level conferences on water and sanitation would therefore be able to address this gap and complement the HLPF process by providing a space for all Member States to comprehensively review implementation, share lessons and experiences, make agreements and commitments, build partnerships, strengthen accountability and accelerate progress on SDG 6 and other relevant global targets at the country level.
In 2016, DESA (DISD) organized the Expert Group Meeting "Family Policies and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda" explored the role of family policies for the implementation of SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The 2018 Expert Group Meeting "Family Policies for Social Inclusion" focused on family policies and SDGs 16 & 11. Recommendations from meetings are shared and analysis is informative for the annual Reports of the Secretary-General on family issues. The official observances of the International Day of Families 2015-2018 focused on SDG5, SDG3, SDG4 and SDG16 respectively. The 2019 observance will focus on SDG13.
In October 2017, DESA (DISD) organized an Expert Group Meeting in Rome, Italy, under the theme "Youth, Peace and Security: Social Issues and Social Policies". Discussions focused on the role of young people in the prevention of violence and conflict, as drivers in processes aimed at building and sustaining peaceful and inclusive society, as reflected in SDG 16.
In December 2018 an EGM on Care and Older Persons: links to decent work, migration and gender was held by DESA (DISD) which brought together diverse experts as well as participants from WHO, UNDP and UN Women to discuss the intersection of these cross-cutting issues - particularly in the context of the SDGs. The outcome report has been shared and posted and will also be used as background for a report to the GA.
In January 2018 an International Expert Group Meeting was held on "Sustainable development in territories of indigenous peoples" (article 4 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) by DESA (DISD). The Expert Meeting focused on the relationships between types of autonomy and the opportunity for indigenous peoples in a sustainable way to develop health, housing, and other economic and social programmes.
In January 2019, DESA (DISD) organized an Expert Group Meeting on “Conservation and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ in Nairobi, focused on the inter-linkages between environment, climate change and conservation, and the impacts on indigenous peoples, who face increasing and often urgent challenges to continue their sustainable practices and ways of life. The report will serve as a background information for the substantive discussions of the 2019 annual session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, under the overarching theme of Tradition Knowledge.
In November 2019, DESA (DISD) organized an International Expert Group Meeting on “Peace, justice and strong institutions: the role of indigenous peoples in implementing Sustainable Development Goal 16” in Thailand – which is also the decided theme for the 2020 session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
DESA (UNFFS) services and supports the annual meeting of the UN Forum on Forests. At the twelfth and thirteenth sessions of the Forum held in 2017 and 2018, the Forum held technical and policy dialogue on the thematic and operational priorities, priority actions and resource needs for the period 2017-2018, taking into account the review cycle of the HLPF during the biennium. The discussion taken place on the twelfth session of the Forum included contribution of forests to the achievement of SDG1 on Poverty eradication, SDG 2 on food security and SDG5 on Gender Equality. The Thirteenth session held in 2018 convened a Ministerial Roundtable on Forest-based solution for accelerating achievement of the SDGs and held a general discussion on contribution of forests to the achievement of the SDGs and transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies. The outcomes of these discussions were transferred to the HLPF as the contribution of the Forum to the HLPF 2017 and HLPF 2018, available at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/15629UNFF.pdf and https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/18609UNFF13_Chairs_Summary_2018_HLPF.pdf
UNFFS organized an international conference in Nairobi in July 2017 to share experiences and lessons learnt in developing and implementing national forest programmes and action plans using the UNFI and UNSPF frameworks based on the experiences of the pilot countries under the project "Building Capacity to Access Financing for Implementation of the UN Forest Instrument and Sustainable Forest Management in Selected Developing Countries". Some of the main lessons learnt include:
- Coordination and collaboration among UN agencies and other international organizations in designing support mechanisms to member States in promoting SFM enhances impact.
- The implementation of the UNFI and UNSPF should be integrated into, and be part of the national sustainable development strategies
- Implementation of the UNFI and UNSPF has significant potential to leverage support and additional resources from other sectors and different stakeholders.
- A multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach is critical for enhancing coordination coherence and synergy as well as ensuring no-one is left behind
8. Is there any other information you would like to share, including annual reports of your organization and any impact assessment or evaluation reports? If yes, please use the space below and attach the document(s). Please also use this space to provide any other information, comments or remarks you deem necessary.
- Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, Report of the Secretary-General: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/
- The Sustainable Development Goals Report and SDG Progress Chart: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/
- 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/globalsdreport/2019)
- Financing for Sustainable Development Report of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development: https://developmentfinance.un.org
- Report of the 2018 ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N18/160/50/pdf/N1816050.pdf?OpenElement
- Policy Briefs of the Development Cooperation Forum: https://www.un.org/ecosoc/sites/www.un.org.ecosoc/files/files/en/dcf/policy-brief-dcf-2016.pdf
- Report of the Secretary-General on Trends and progress in international development cooperation: https://www.un.org/development/desa/financing/sites/www.un.org.development.desa.financing/files/2020-04/English_36.pdf
- Official Summary of the 2018 Development Cooperation Forum: https://www.un.org/ecosoc/sites/www.un.org.ecosoc/files/files/en/dcf/2018%20DCF%20summary_glossy_English.pdf
- Informal summary of the 2017 ECOSOC special meeting on international cooperation in tax matters: http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Informal-summary-by-the-Secretariat.pdf
- A/75/79-E/2020/55 provides the last annual assessment of the implementation of the 2016 QCPR before the new 2020 QCPR is adopted. As such, the report is intended to inform the negotiations on the 2020 QCPR resolution. The report also monitors the progress across the different reform measures being implemented by the UN development system.
- The Synthesis report of VNRs for 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, and the Handbook for preparations of VNRs that is updated each year and issued in all UN languages provide important resources on the follow up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- SG report on the theme of ECOSOC for 2019 was prepared on “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. It is available here https://undocs.org/E/2019/65
- Report of the Secretary-General for the High-level segment 2019 “Long-term impact of current trends in the economic, social and environmental areas on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals” was prepared and can be found here: https://undocs.org/E/2019/66
- In 2018 a Note by the Secretariat was prepared for the 17th Session of the Forum titled "Update on the indigenous peoples and the 2030 Agenda". It is available here: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/03/N1802752.pdf
- In 2017 SPFII prepared a Briefing Note on Indigenous Peoples Rights and the 2030 Agenda (with OHCHR) highlighting certain gaps in the 2030 Agenda and potential risks for indigenous peoples, entry points for participation and follow-up and review. It can be found here: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2016/10/Briefing-Paper-on-Indigenous-Peoples-Rights-and-the-2030-Agenda.pdf
- In 2017 a Note by the Secretariat was prepared for the 16th Session of the Forum titled "Indigenous peoples and the 2030 Agenda". It is available here: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=E/C.19/2017/5
- In 2018, a Note by the Secretariat was prepared for the 17th Session of the Forum titled "Update on Indigenous peoples and the 2030 Agenda". It is available here: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=E/C.19/2018/2
- In 2019 a Note by the Secretariat was prepared for the 18th Session of the Forum titled "Update of Indigenous peoples and the 2030 Agenda". It is available here: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=E/C.19/2019/2
- In 2020, a Note by the Secretariat was prepared for the 19th Session of the Forum titled "Update of Indigenous peoples and the 2030 Agenda". It is available here: https://undocs.org/E/C.19/2020/2
- The 2018 Disability and Development report, available https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/publication-disability-sdgs.html
- The 2018 UN e-Government Survey, available here: https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/Reports/UN-E-Government-Survey-2018
- The 2018 World Public Sector Report, available here: https://publicadministration.un.org/en/Research/World-Public-Sector-Reports
- Summary by the UNFF14 Chair- Pre-HLPF Event on Forests: https://www.un.org/esa/forests/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Chair_summary_Pre-HLPF_Event_Forests_10July2018.pdf
- United Nations Forum on Forests Report on the thirteenth session, which contains a Chair’s summary for transmittal to HLPF 2018, available at: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N18/162/00/PDF/N1816200.pdf?OpenElement
- Seven background analytical studies conducted by the UNFFS on the contribution of forests to the achievement of the SDGs under in-depth review by the HLPF in 2018 and 2019: https://static.un.org/esa/forests/forum/current-session/background-analytical-studies/index.html
- Statistics COVID-19 Response website: https://covid-19-response.unstatshub.org/
- UN COVID-19 Data Hub: https://covid-19-data.unstatshub.org/
9. In your view, what should strategic directions look like for the UN system in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in the Decade of Action? What key elements should they include and what major challenges should they address?
An efficient strategic plan could build upon existing entities, as well as coordination networks and mechanisms, in order to support and monitor the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It would need to prioritize and reinforce the linkages and synergies among;
- normative, analytical and operational activities of the UN system, creating a feedback loop to ensure that normative and analytical work of the system feed into capacity development activities at national and regional levels and capacity development activities on the ground feed into normative and analytical functions;
- economic, social and environmental dimensions in capacity development to maximize positive spillover effects and provide good and replicable examples of integrated approaches to governments pursuing the 2030 Agenda;
- local, national, regional and international efforts - identifying overlaps, reducing inefficiencies and maximizing multiplier effects - to ensure the best use of scarce development assistance to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
A crucial element to be included in such plan would be a detailed map of how individual SDGs could (positively or negatively) affect each other, and therefore impact the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. As an example, taking steps towards the rationalization of fossil fuel subsidies (SDG 12.C) would not be efficient unless efforts are made to increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix (SDG 7.2) and, as a result, it would be difficult to achieve improvements in resource efficiency, and in decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation (SDG 8.4).
Such a detailed map might be highly beneficial in order to support developing countries in achieving greater policy coherence at all levels, and a whole-of-government approach.
The strategic plan should include specific objectives related to how the UN system works collectively to support mobilization of the full range of means of implementation needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda, as well as provide dynamic platforms for learning swiftly, especially from failures, and making needed adjustments in policy and practice to keep up the pace of progress on this front. In this vein, such a strategic plan should also help to address challenges related to knowledge management within the United Nations system.
It will be important that the UN System includes financing for the SDGs in its strategic plan, and finds ways to further strengthen the Financing for Development follow-up process as full implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda is critical for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda supports, complements and helps to contextualize the 2030 Agenda's means of implementation targets.
A strategic plan should also be anchored on evidence, including:
- A focus on data production for quality, timely, open, relevant data, disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability and geographic location, or other characteristics as central to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and for measuring progress towards the SDGs.
- Tailored support for groups (including indigenous peoples, youth, older persons and persons with disabilities) to implement the 2030 Agenda, and participate in all relevant processes (at global, regional, and local levels) including the Voluntary National Reviews.
- Inclusion of indicator on indigenous peoples' secure and equitable tenure rights to land and resources as essential for poverty eradication.
A strategic plan for the UN system would need to take account of rapidly changing and divergent demographic trends across countries and regions. Population trends are both indicators and drivers of sustainable development. Any development plan that does not take account of country-specific experience concerning the four demographic megatrends (population growth, population ageing, international migration and urbanization) is unlikely to overcome the inherent challenges involved in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Capacity development in the collection and analysis of population data is essential to ensure a successful (and sustainable) implementation that is well aligned with national circumstances and priorities.
The crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic once again underscored the criticality of policy-making under adversity and the need for contingency planning. Therefore, taking into account the very serious impact caused by the on-going pandemic on the capacities of countries to implement the 2030 Agenda, the UN strategic plan would need to also reflect on the critical role of innovations and technological breakthroughs in building resilient public service capacities including systems able to deliver essential public services during massive disruptions.
10. Please suggest one or two endeavours or initiatives that the UN system organizations could undertake together to support the implementation of the SDGs between now and 2030.
The RC system could work with programme countries on concrete actions in the Decade of Action and Delivery for sustainable development and encourage them to showcase them when preparing their voluntary national reviews.
The SDG Investment Fair (SDGI Fair) was launched in 2018 to bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including government officials and the investor community, as well as UN-system entities, to explore new opportunities for SDG investment and discuss specific projects in the pipelines of national governments. Future editions would represent a very valuable opportunity to increase the involvement of UN-system entities, in order to provide a wider platform for investors and governments to discuss potential business opportunities and financing gaps in SDGs investment.
Launched in October 2019, as part of the implementation of his Strategy for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD) is a group of 30 influential private sector leaders convened by the Secretary-General to address impediments to mobilizing resources for sustainable development. Members include financial institutions, manufacturing corporations and technology service providers. They represent asset owners, asset managers, and non-financial corporations from around the globe. Over a two-year initial timeline, GISD members will work to identify solutions for increasing the supply of long-term investment, realizing a greater number of SDG investment opportunities in developing countries, and enhancing the impact of private investment in sustainable development.
The forthcoming system-wide action plan for implementation of the third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, will be critical in driving implementation of the 2030 Agenda and achievement of the SDGs. The Third Decade and its related SWAP is focused on "Accelerating global actions for a world without poverty" in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Similarly, the United Nations organisations need to take forward the system-wide action plan on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was launched by the UN Secretary General at the Opening of the 15th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, adopted by the General Assembly in December 2018, includes as the first of its 23 objectives, "Collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies". DESA is a member of the Executive Committee of the United Nations Network on Migration, a forum of 38 UN system entities established by the Secretary-General to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in the implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact.
Further develop capacity for data use and collection to support evidence-based progress, as well as monitoring and evaluation, including identifying gaps and challenges and allocating resources where they are most needed.
The SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, which will be launched during the 2020 HLPF, aims to deliver fast results in countries at an increased scale as part of the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. With the objective of catalyzing and supporting broad stakeholder action, the multilateral system and its partners will dramatically improve its support to countries for SDG 6 on water and sanitation through swift and well-coordinated responses to country requests, coordinated action under five accelerator themes to unlock bottlenecks, and strengthened accountability. UN entities, coordinating through UN-Water, are committing to the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework to unify the international community for sustainable water and sanitation for all. The Framework will assist countries to raise their ambition to rapidly accelerate towards national targets for SDG 6 and, in doing so, contribute to progress across the 2030 Agenda: poverty reduction, food security, health, gender equality, peace, sustainability and climate resilience of communities, ecosystems and production systems. The Global Acceleration Framework builds on ongoing processes, including awareness raising through the Water Action Decade 2018-2028, as well as the United Nations Secretary-General’s global call to action for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in all health care facilities and the Agenda for Humanity. The Framework will utilize the high-level water events in 2021 and 2023 combined with strengthened system-wide collaboration at the country level to accelerate and showcase progress on SDG 6 and ultimately across the 2030 Agenda.
The UN System should better leverage the synergy and interlinkages between ocean, biodiversity and climate change and develop a coordinated nature-based strategy to better inform the global policy making of sustainable development building on major outcomes of milestone events such as Ocean Conferences, CBD COPs and UNFCC COPs.