IACSD was established by the ACC following the Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development--UNCED) which was held in Rio in 1992. The IACSD is mandated to identify major policy issues relating to the follow-up of UNCED and advise ACC on ways and means of addressing them so as to ensure effective co-operation and coordination of the UN system in the implementation of Agenda 21.

In order to carry out this mandate, IACSD has focused on the following substantive functions:

  • Allocation and sharing of responsibilities for the implementation of A21 by the United Nations system. IACSD works through a de-centralized system of "task managers" which has been highly successful in utilizing the comparative advantage of various members of the UN system in specific thematic areas in support of the implementation of A21;
  • Support to ACC inter alia through identification of overall policy issues, major gaps and constraints related to sustainable development;
  • Support to CSD, including preparation of analytical reports;
  • Promoting joint programming and collaborative arrangements in fields such as energy and forests through the establishment of, and interaction with, ad hoc inter-agency task forces for that purpose; Members of IACSD have also actively participated in the implementation of the CSD work programmes of indicators for sustainable development and that of changing consumption and production patterns.
  • Assessment of new and existing reporting requirements and making recommendations for their streamlining; members of the committee have actively contributed to the UN system website on national implementation of the Rio commitments.