Sustainable development is an overarching paradigm guiding the work of the United Nations. The organizations of the UN system are firmly committed to advance economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability in an integrated manner through greater coherence and coordination of action.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go together with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and environmental degradation.
The SDGs are rooted in a long history of major UN international conferences and processes which have committed Governments and relevant stakeholders to address urgently some of the most pressing problems facing the world at the time. Through the sustainable development related conference process the entire international community has come together to agree on shared values, on shared goals and on strategies to achieve them: from the 1972 Stockholm Conference, the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development - Our Common Future in 1983, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Earth Summit in 1992, the Barbados Programme of Action in 1994, and related follow-up Special Sessions of the UN General Assembly, Summits and International conferences up to the Rio+20 in 2012.
Throughout various sustainable development conferences and processes, the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) has repeatedly highlighted the UN system joint efforts to best support all countries and their peoples in making sustainable development a reality; be it achieving Agenda 21, the Millennium Development Goals; calling for decisive action in support of Rio+20; engaging in the post-2015 process and crafting the SDGs, transitioning from the MDGs to the SDGs, and most recently promoting coordinated, coherent and complementary work in the United Nations system to implement the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development.
CEB works on a range of specific sustainable development topics, mainly through the High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) and through its three inter-agency mechanisms to increase coherence across the United Nations system in addressing urgent sustainable development challenges: UN-Water, UN-Oceans and UN-Energy. These topics include biodiversity, climate change, data and statistics, disaster risk reduction, education, financing for sustainable development, food security and sustainable agriculture, future of work, gender equality and women’s empowerment, health, human rights, inequalities, indigenous peoples, migration, peace and conflict prevention, SIDS, urbanization, and youth.