Support Sustainable Development and Climate Action

UNHCR staff member talks to a group about the solar powered water pump in the foreground.

launched its sustainable development agenda in 2015, reflecting the growing understanding by Member States that a development model that is sustainable for this and future generations offers the best path forward for reducing poverty and improving the lives of people everywhere. At the same time, climate change began making a profound impact on the consciousness of humanity. With the polar ice caps melting, global sea levels rising and cataclysmic weather events increasing in ferocity, no country in the world is safe from the effects of climate change.

Building a more sustainable global economy will help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. It is, therefore, critically important that the international community meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals C and also the targets for reducing emissions set in the of 2015.

Sustainable development and climate action are linked C and both are vital to the present and future well-being of humanity.


UN Chief on Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals

Ever wondered: What is the 'Paris Agreement', and how does it work? This video explains the basics.

Environmental Global Commons Global Sustainable Development Report


The Sustainable Development Agenda

MDGs Close to 40 per cent of the population of the developing world was living in extreme poverty only two decades ago. Since then, the world has halved extreme poverty, with the UNs Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) greatly contributing to this progress.

2030 Agenda Recognizing the success of the MDGs, and the need to complete the job of eradicating poverty, the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes ending poverty; zero hunger; good health and well being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnerships for the goals.

Paris Agreement While these goals were being formulated and approved, the United Nations supported the climate change negotiations, which led to the on climate change in 2015. The central aim of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, or even below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. In order to reach these goals, financing, new technology and an enhanced capacity-building framework will be put in place. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a transparency framework.


Key summits


2023 SDG Summit

The 2023 SDG Summit took place on 18-19 September 2023 in New York. It marked the beginning of a new phase of accelerated progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals with high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to 2030.

Convened by the President of the General Assembly, the Summit marked the half-way point to the deadline set for achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. It responded to the impact of multiple and interlocking crises facing the world and is expected to reignite a sense of hope, optimism, and enthusiasm for the 2030 Agenda.

Speaking at the opening of the high-level forum, Secretary-General Antnio Guterres said: The SDGs arent just a list of goals. They carry the hopes, dreams, rights and expectations of people everywhere.

The SDG Summit adopted a , which calls for gearing up for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.


Climate Ambition Summit

Against the backdrop of the worsening climate crisis, the UN Secretary-Generals Climate Ambition Summit aimed to showcase first mover and doer leaders from government, business, finance, local authorities, and civil society who came with credible actions, policies and plans C and not just pledges C to accelerate the decarbonization of the global economy and deliver climate justice in line with his Acceleration Agenda.

If these first-doers and first-movers can do it, everybody can do it, the Secretary-General said in his closing remarks, calling it a Summit of Hope.

By demonstrating that tangible and ambitious action to credibly cut emissions and deliver climate justice was possible and practical, the Summit showcased a way forward: the alignment of sectoral, local, national and international plans and policies with credible and scienced-backed targets to accelerate decarbonization, advance climate justice and fairness, with unprecedented levels of coordination and cooperation, and a renewed focus on credibility and accountability.


IPCC Synthesis report 2023

UNDP: Natural Ally


Key entities working to support Sustainable Development and Climate Action


UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

The UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is the main global forum for reviewing successes, challenges and lessons learned on achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for countries to present their Voluntary National Reviews. The Forum is convened under the auspices of both the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, and its meetings alternate between the two.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.

Maintains the registry for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) established under the Paris Agreement, among other functions. The Paris Agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their NDCs. Together, these climate actions determine whether the world achieves the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement

UNEP is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. UNEP works to support the world to transition to a low-carbon, sustainable future.

As the lead UN development agency, UNDP helps implement the SDGs through its work in some 170 countries and territories.

UNICEF works with governments, partners and other UN agencies to support countries around the world to ensure that the SDGs deliver results for every child - now and for generations to come.

UNHCR offers a universal, integrated, transformative and human rights-based vision for sustainable development, peace and security, which is applicable to all people and all countries, including the most developed.

Poverty eradication and respect for human rights, central pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are at the core of UNRWAs human development, humanitarian and protection work. The SDGs central to its work are: SDG 1: No Poverty; SDG 2: Zero Hunger; SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being; SDG 4: Quality Education; SDG 5: Gender Equality; SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth; SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities; SDG17: Partnerships.

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs (part of the UN Secretariat) engages stakeholders around the world in the implementation, evaluation and monitoring process of the SDGs.

UN Regional Economic Commissions

UN Regional Economic Commissions play a critical role in supporting countries in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda by providing technical capacity and analytical work and policy advisory services, and serving as platforms for dialogue. The UN's Regional Economic Commissions are part of the UN Secretariat.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has emphasized the importance of planning as a key tool of policymaking and public management. Countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region have made significant commitments and taken steps to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into their national or subnational planning schemes.

ECA supported Member States in achieving regional cooperation and integration, and contributed to the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area by 44 African countries, which will create a single continental market for goods and services that can deliver economies of scale, improved competitiveness, foreign direct investment and poverty reduction (SDG Goal 1).

UNECE supports the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by addressing transboundary issues: (Convention on the protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes), improving road safety, developing frameworks for the improved management of natural resources, and improving statistics for sustainable development.

With extensive in-house expertise, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has developed multisectoral research analysis on regional and national pathways for achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Provides overall disaster and climate preparedness for the Asia and Pacific region.

ESCWA has developed a macroeconomic Sustainable Development Goal model that simulates the impact of policy choices on each of the 17 SDGs. ESCWA has also developed a regional multidimensional poverty reduction framework that was adopted by Arab leaders at the 2019 Arab Economic and Social Development Summit of the League of Arab States.

UNDRR works towards the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses to ensure a sustainable future.

UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP)

Office for Partnerships (UNOP) serves as a global gateway for catalysing and building partnership initiatives between public and private sector stakeholders including civil society organizations, businesses, philanthropy, trade unions, academia and the United Nations in furtherance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

WMO helps its Members to monitor the Earths climate on a global scale, so that reliable information is available to support evidence-based decision-making on how to best adapt to a changing climate and manage risks associated with climate variability and extremes.

IMF work shows the key role of policies that respond to global climate change and other environmental challenges.

The SDGs are aligned with the World Bank Groups twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The adoption of a new approach to development finance through the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, along with the 2030 Agenda, and SDGs, the Sendai disaster risk framework, and the Paris Climate Agreement will guide the UN system and the UN-World Bank Group partnership through 2030.

The multi-year strategy of the UN Global Compact is to drive business awareness and action in support of achieving the SDGs by 2030.

UNFPA is working with governments and other partners to better understand population dynamics, how they affect the changing climate and how people can become resilience in the face of these changes.

UN-HABITAT Promotes sustainable human settlements development.

Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals C Zero Hunger C pledging to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, is the priority of the World Food Programme.

Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals by sustainably building a world without hunger, malnutrition and poverty is the goal of FAO.

Given its goal of transforming rural areas and its unmatched experience in investing in smallholder farmers, IFAD plays a central role in achieving SDGs 1 (no poverty) and 2 (zero hunger).

By engaging governments, workers and employers as active agents of change, the ILO promotes the greening of enterprises, workplace practices and the labour market as a whole. These efforts create decent employment opportunities, enhance resource efficiency and build low-carbon sustainable societies.

IMOs Technical Cooperation Committee has formally approved linkages between the Organizations technical assistance work and the SDGs. While the Oceans goal, SDG 14, is central to IMO, aspects of the Organization's work can be linked to all individual SDGs.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help accelerate progress towards every single one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ITU contributes to SDG 9 in particularhelping to build resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation (specifically SDG Target 9.c).

UNESCO contributes to the implementation of the SDGs through its work on Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, Communication and information. Additionally, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO holds a universal mandate and global convening power for ocean science and capacity development in support of the 2030 Agenda and its sustainable goals.

UNIDO supports all 17 SDGs, but puts a strong emphasis on SDG9, which focuses on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation.

Tourism has the potential to contribute, directly, or indirectly, to all of the SDGs, in particular, in Goals, 8, 12 and 14 on inclusive and sustainable use of oceans and marine resources. UNWTO is contributing with technical assistance and capacity-building.

The Online Solution for Carbon Analysis and Reporting C known as OSCAR C is a tool provided by the UPU to assist postal operators in the analysis of their individual greenhouse emissions by scope source and product.

WHO is coordinating the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, a plan to accelerate progress towards the SDGs global health goals.

The World Intellectual Property Oragnization contributes to the SDGs by providing concrete services to its member states, enabling them to use the intellectual property (IP) system to drive the innovation, competitiveness and creativity needed to achieve these goals.

UNICRIs work focuses on Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Agenda, which is centred on promoting peaceful, just and inclusive societies, free from crime and violence. Justice, crime prevention and the rule of law are the basis for fighting poverty and reducing inequalities while enhancing economic growth and stability, and protecting the environment. UNICRI supports governments and the international community at large in tackling criminal threats to social peace, development and political stability.

UNODC is committed to supporting Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda recognizes that the rule of law and fair, effective and humane justice systems, as well as health-oriented responses to drug use, are both enablers for, and part of sustainable development.