In introducing the item, Elliot Harris, Director, Secretariat of the Environment Management Group (EMG), recalled that the EMG commenced work on social and environmental sustainability through a consultative process in 2009 resulting in the endorsement of the Framework for Advancing Environmental and Social Sustainability by EMG in 2011. The Framework sought to provide guidance on the environmental and social sustainability of activities carried out by UN system organizations in the areas of policy/strategy, programme/projects and management. HLCP, at its 23rd session in March 2012, took note of the Framework and invited the Chairs of the three pillars of CEB (HLCM, HLCP, UNDG) and the EMG Chair to consider how the Framework could further be taken into account by the UN system. Subsequently, the EMG consultative process prepared an Options Paper on system-wide issues in the follow-up of the Framework and a guide for implementation of the Framework. The purpose of the Options Paper was to advance system-wide uptake of the Framework by proposing options in the areas of reporting, contributions of inter-agency mechanisms, identifying a potential host for the new hub, and enhancing coherence with broader sustainability measures in the UN system.


In the ensuing discussion, HLCP members thanked the Secretary of EMG for his presentation and noted the importance of sustainability in the work of the UN system and its linkages with the fit-for-purpose discussion in the context of the Committee’s deliberations of the post-2015 development agenda. Ownership of the Framework needed to be broadened beyond the EMG. Some UN system organizations had already advanced work on social and environmental sustainability within their own organizations and lessons learned from those efforts could prove useful for advancing work on the Framework. HLCP members suggested that EMG continue to deepen the Framework, in particular in the area of its legal and financial implications. It was also proposed to broaden the Framework to include the economic dimension of sustainability.


The Committee invited EMG to consider HLCP’s comments and views on the Options Paper as part of its ongoing consultative process and to revert to HLCP at a future session.