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United Nations Office for Sustainable Development

Introduction and Background

  • The purpose of the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD) is to support U.N. Member States in planning and implementing sustainable development strategies, notably through knowledge sharing, research, training and partnerships. This includes supporting the implementation of international agreements on sustainable development, including Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and outcomes of Rio+20.
  • The UNOSD was established in 2011 by the United Nations and the Government of Republic of Korea (RoK).
  • The Office is managed by the Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
  • UNOSD is supported by the Republic of Korea Ministry of Environment, Yonsei University and the City of Incheon.

Focus Areas

The UNOSD promotes sustainable development through the following activities
  • Knowledge Exchange:Through its portal, UNOSD will ease access to the vast and sometimes overwhelming knowledge on sustainable development. It will also facilitate connections between researchers and practitioners, notably for national and local policy making and programming.
  • Research and policy analysis: Assessing gaps in, and promoting solutions for the implementation of critical sustainable development issues.
  • Capacity development: The first two components will result intraining material and events, as well as implementation toolkits and support for strengthening the capacity of developing countries in advancing the Post-Rio sustainable development agenda.
  • Partnerships:To implement the above activities, UNOSD will nurture cooperation towards efficient and effective recognition and sharing of resources, including expertise, capital and knowledge from all stakeholders.

Guiding Principles

Beyond merely implementing agreements, UNOSD promotes integrated policies through key principles:
  • Embracing a systemic view of sustainable development that emphasizes the inter-linkages among the environment, the economic, and society, enabling synergies rather than trade-offs among sustainability issues.
  • Supporting national sustainable development planning processes, primarily in the South.
  • Collaborating with UN and international agencies, sustainable development networks, research and policy institutions, civil society organizations and other stakeholders.

Implementation Strategy

The UNOSD is uniquely positioned, institutionally as well as geographically, to play an increasingly important role in the dissemination and adoption of sustainable development ideas and practices:
  • It draws on numerous world-leading institutions and experts through its nesting within UNDESA, a central player in sustainable development global governance.
  • It fills a gap in sustainable development knowledge brokering and networking geared at supporting policy making in the South.
  • It also brings together and fuels synergies between researchers, capacity-building institutions, UN programs and other centers of expertise.
  • Its location in the Republic of Korea puts it at the heart of an emerging international hub of SD-related research, implementation expertise and policy making.

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