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Division for Sustainable Development

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Division for Sustainable Development


Division for Sustainable Development
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations Secretariat Building
405 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: + 1 212 963 4260
Contact us: Kindly use the Contact us form.
Mr. Juwang Zhu is currently Director of the Division for Sustainable Development/DESA. In that capacity he leads a team in normative, analytical and capacity-building work in promoting and coordinating implementation of the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations. Read more


Mission Statement

The Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) seeks to provide leadership and catalyse action in promoting and coordinating implementation of internationally agreed development goals, including the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among other mandates, it hosts the secretariat for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the central platform within the United Nations system for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by Heads of State and Governments in September 2015. The 2030 Agenda is a new plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, with 17 SDGs and 169 associated targets at its core. The work of the Division translates into six core functions: (1) Support to UN intergovernmental processes on sustainable development; (2) Analysis and policy development; (3) Capacity development at the request of Member States; (4) Inter-agency coordination; and (5) stakeholder engagement, partnerships, communication and outreach; and (6) Knowledge management. In addition, the Division houses the SIDS Unit mandated to undertake the above-mentioned core functions in support of the further implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, the Mauritius Strategy for the further Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action and the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.


The Division serves as the primary UN Secretariat office responsible for supporting intergovernmental processes in the area of sustainable development, including those under the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the High-level Political Forum, as well as several other processes launched at Rio+20, such as the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals. The Division supports related regional processes in collaboration with the Regional Commissions; and follows Member States' implementation of commitments on sustainable development since the 1992 Earth Summit. In particular, the Division supported the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations, which ultimately led to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. Now it serves as the secretariat for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, and its related activities, including voluntary national reviews.

Policy analysis

The Division's work provides analytical inputs for intergovernmental deliberations on sustainable development, including through its science-policy interface. The Division leads the drafting of Secretary-General’s reports on sustainable development topics. It contributes studies and analytical inputs to the review of major conferences related to sustainable development. For this purpose, it undertakes reviews of assessments of sustainable development challenges. The Division has led the pilot versions of the Global Sustainable Development Report, which aims to strengthen the science-policy interface at the HLPF. It investigates integrated policy responses in a number of priority areas such as sustainable development goals, technology facilitation, green economy, sustainable transport, sustainable cities, oceans, climate change in the context of sustainable development and the nexus among energy, food and water. The Division also co-hosts - on behalf of DESA - the secretariat for the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, including its annual multi-stakeholder forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for SDGs (STI Forum), together with UNEP.


Capacity development is targeted towards translating decisions of UN intergovernmental bodies related to sustainable development into actual policies and actions on the ground. The Division, with support from its three offices away from the Headquarters, and in collaboration with other UN entities and UN country teams, focuses on supporting Member States in preparing their voluntary national reviews at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, as well as building capacity for integrated planning and policy design, linking to the national planning process key sectoral areas such as transport, agriculture, energy, water and sanitation, sustainable cities, waste management and disaster reduction, as appropriate. These activities in turn allow the Division to inform intergovernmental bodies on the relevance and impact of normative and analytical efforts at the national, regional and global levels.

Inter-Agency Coordination

The Division works to mobilize the UN system and other relevant organizations to support sustainable development strategies and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Division provides Secretariats for several inter-agency mechanisms, namely UN-Water and UN-Energy, and contributes closely to the inter-agency process on Oceans and Transport. It also co-chairs an informal mechanism, the Inter-Agency Consultative Group on SIDS.


Sustainable development decision making requires broad participation of all. The Division therefore aims to support the effective participation of Major Groups (as defined in Agenda 21) and other stakeholders in the UN political processes, including through efforts to build their capacity, knowledge and skills base. It also supports, facilitates and monitors multi-stakeholder partnerships and voluntary commitments announced at various international sustainable development conferences through its Partnerships for SDGs online platform.


The Division serves Member States, Major Groups and other stakeholders, as well as the general public, by providing wide access to information and knowledge for sustainable development, through its online Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform and social media outlets.







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