DESA in the UN systemDESA is part of the UN Secretariat, which is funded throughregular assessed contributions from Member...
Translating global                                                                         Social development
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About The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs


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The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, or DE SA, helps countries around the world meet their economic, social and environmental challenges. It operates within a framework of internationally agreed upon goals known as the UN development agenda: a shared vision of human progress rooted in the values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and mutual responsibility.

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About The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

  1. 1. DESA in the UN systemDESA is part of the UN Secretariat, which is funded throughregular assessed contributions from Member States. TheDepartment was reorganized into its present form in 1997and is headed by Sha Zukang. As Under-Secretary-General forEconomic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha manages the Department,advises the Secretary-General on social, economic and sustainable asdf United Nationsdevelopment, and nurtures key partnerships with governments, UNagencies and civil society organizations. The Under-Secretary-General also convenes the Executive Committee on Economicand Social Affairs, the UN Secretariat’s network for joint Department of Economic and Social Affairs Promoting developmentplanning and initiatives on development.In directing and managing DESA, the Under-Secretary-General for allis supported by the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic the United nations department of economic andDevelopment, the Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Social Affairs, or deSA, helps countries around theCoordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, and the Assistant world meet their economic, social and environ-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General For more information mental challenges. It operates within a frameworkon Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women. of internationally agreed upon goals known as the UN United Nations development agenda: a shared vision of human progressWithin the framework of the UN development agenda, eachdivision within DESA performs a critical function in promoting Department of Economic and Social Affairs rooted in the values of freedom, equality, solidarity,development for all. Room DC2-2310 tolerance, respect for nature and mutual responsibility. New York, NY 10017 USA the Un development agenda emerged over theForging global consensus Telephone: +1 212 963 1707 last two decades from the work of United nations conferences and summits. It represents an unprece-By organizing global conferences and summits (mandated dented global consensus on a comprehensive set ofby UN Member States), DESA has helped countries find com- Fax: +1 212 963 1010 issues ranging from poverty reduction, health and women’smon ground and elaborate plans of action on issues including E-mail: empowerment to governance, finance and the environment.sustainable development, population, gender equality, social Internet: Advances in these and other areas are being measureddevelopment, financing for development and other key areas through the Millennium Development Goals, an integralof concern. Together, these conferences have given shape to part of the UN development agenda. In addition, the agendadevelopment strategies for achieving better standards of living – and DESA – address systemic issues affecting people’s livesin larger freedom – as envisioned by the UN Charter. Advancement of women Social development Statistics Population Fi and livelihoods. These include the impact of globalization, Development policy analysis Public administration Sustainable forest inequalities among and within countries, the participationAt the 2005 World Summit, global leaders agreed to strengthen management Financing for development Social development Statistics of developing countries in global economic governance,the role of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as the Population Development policy analysis Public administration Sustainable global crises, including climate change, and the relationshipprincipal UN body for development cooperation and dialogue forest management Financing for development Social development between development and conflict.on economic and social issues. An Annual Ministerial Review Statistics Population Development policy analysis Public administration Sustainable forest management Financing fdevelopment Social develop- deSA’s mission, to promote development for all,of development policy and a multi-stakeholder DevelopmentCooperation Forum were established. especially the most vulnerable, reflects a fundamental ment Statistics Population Development policy analsis Public admin- A pillAr for concern for equity and equality in countries largeDESA serves as the secretariat to ECOSOC and its subsidiary istration Sustainable forest management FinancinPublic development and small, developed and developing. It underscoresbodies, and supports their deliberations and consensus-building. administrationSustainable forest management Financing for development the need for all stakeholders – governments, UN and otherThis demands high-level engagement on many global devel- Social development Statistics Pop ulation Development policy analy- international organizations, civil society and the privateopment issues and consultation with UN system organizations,the private sector and civil society. promoting sis Public administration Sustainable forest managemen Financing for sector – to do their part to improve economic and social developmnt Social development StatistiPopulation Development policy well-being. This focus on equitable participation by all peo-Over the last decade, consensus-building has become far more sociAl And analysis Public administration Sustainable forest management Financing ple and nations is what makes the United Nations uniqueinclusive through increased participation by civil society organi-zations in UN deliberations. Facilitated by DESA’s outreach, alarge number of accredited civil society representatives nowattend ECOSOC sessions as well as its functional commissionsand forums each year. asdf United Nations for development Public administration Sustainable forest management and gives the development agenda its universal legitimacy. Financing for development Social development Population Population economic Development policy analysis Public administration Sustainable for- est manageme nt Financing for development Social development development for all neither begins nor ends with the adoption of global agreements. Rather, it progresses in Statistics Population Development policy analysis Public administration five stages. First, the international community must identify Department of Economic and Social Affairs development Sustainable forest management inancing fodevelopment Social develop- the most pressing global concerns and assess policy options ment Statistics Population Development policy analysis Public admin- to address them. Second, through dialogue among stake- istration Sustainable forest management Financing for development holders, consensus is built on goals, guiding principles administrationSustainable forest management Financing for development and solutions. Third, countries commit to specific courses of action, which include time-bound targets. Fourth, Social development Statistics Population Development policy analysis commitments are translated into action at global, regional, Public administration Sustainable Financing for development Social devel- country and local levels. Fifth, progress is monitored and opment Statistics Population Development policy analysis Public adminis- evaluated, so that priorities, policies and actions can be tration Sustainable forest management Financing for development admin- realigned to overcome any obstacles. DESA supports all of Published at the United Nations / 09-25031—July 2009—5,500 istration Sustainable forest management Financing for development Social these actions, as described on the following pages.
  2. 2. Translating global Social development Development policy analysis Conducting cutting-commitments into The Division for Social Policy and Development promotes awareness and understanding of the core social issues of poverty The Development Policy and Analysis Division is the main development research unit of the United Nations. Its aim is to edge research eradication, employment generation and social integration. Thenational action provide the analytical basis for strengthening international Division assists governments and civil society organizations in development cooperation and fostering effective integration DESA’s professional staff research a wide range of economic, formulating social policies that foster more secure, just, free and of all countries into the world economy. Monitoring the global social and environmental issues, identifying trends and analysingFor more than 50 years, DESA and its predecessors have harmonious societies: societies in which all members – young economic and social situation, promoting macroeconomic policy options. These studies are essential to UN negotiationsbeen providing interregional technical assistance to and old, rich and poor, persons with disabilities and indigenous policy coordination, and analysing development trends to and guide global technical cooperation efforts. Each year, some peoples alike – are active participants. The Division serves as improve implementation of the UN development agenda are 300 documents and 300 publications are distributed in printcountries seeking specialized development expertise. the secretariat of the Commission for Social Development, the and electronic formats around the world.DESA also manages the Development Account, a fund among its core functions. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the Convention onestablished by the General Assembly to help countries DESA’s analytical activities include assessments of the worldmeet their development challenges. The Department’s the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. economic and social situation, which have been a mainstay of the global dialogue on development since the 1940s. Inapproach emphasizes sustained capacity development. Public administration producing its surveys, DESA also draws on experts in universities,DESA is based in New York, but collaborates closely with Sustainable development The Division for Public Administration and Development private research organizations, government agencies andUN and other development partners at regional and Management assists countries in building public institutions central banks throughout the levels in formulating and implementing national The Division for Sustainable Development is an authoritative and government capacity to promote sustainable development, Moreover, DESA plays a central role in monitoring and imple-development strategies. source of expertise within the UN system on development that advance public sector reform and improve service delivery. The menting global commitments to economic and social progress, recognizes the rights of current and future generations. As sec- Division’s training and capacity-building activities promote including the Millennium Development Goals. National reports retariat to the Commission on Sustainable Development, the citizen-oriented, efficient and effective government, based on on sustainable development, social development, gender Division promotes sustainable development through inclusive the principles of transparency, accountability and civic partici- equality and the empowerment of women, population and forms of participation and partnership, as well as through tech- pation. The Division stresses innovative approaches to public forests are synthesized with data and analyses to review nical cooperation and capacity-building. The Division advances management, in particular through e-government and expansion ECoSoC support and coordination advances on many fronts, including financing for development, implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of of the information society. energy, water and sanitation, consumption and production and Implementation, along with the Barbados Programme of Action public administration.The Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination assists the and the Mauritius Strategy for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. DESA produces authoritative population estimates and projectionsGeneral Assembly and Economic and Social Council in reaching Sustainable forest management that are used the world over. DESA also oversees the globalconsensus on global development issues. It does so by facili-tating negotiations among Member States based on substan- statistical system, providing a basis for informed evaluation and design of strategies for achieving development goals.tive support from DESA and the entire UN system. The Office Statistics The Secretariat of the UN Forum on Forests promotes sustainableadvises on follow-up to the UN development agenda and forest management based on the goals and commitments ofactively engages UN agencies, including the international The Statistics Division is committed to the advancement of the Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration, Statement of Forest Principles,financial and trade institutions, in charting common courses of global statistical system. It serves as the secretariat to the UN Global Objectives on Forests, and the Non-legally Bindingaction. Reaching out to civil society is an important aspect of the Statistical Commission, coordinates global statistical activities, Instrument on All Types of Forests. The Secretariat preparesOffice’s work. Hundreds of non-governmental organizations compiles and disseminates statistical information, develops technical reports, supports policy discussions on forest issues,apply for official consultative status with the UN each year. methodological standards and norms, and supports national and is the UN focal point on all matters relating to forest policy. statistical systems. The Division facilitates the access to UN It also serves as the secretariat for the Collaborative Partnership statistical resources covering a wide range of economic, social, on Forests, a network of international organizations commit- demographic, environmental and geographic data sources ted to the adoption of sustainable practices in global forest Advancement of women which are available on-line free of charge through UNdata. management. in the vision of equality laid out in the UnitedNations Charter, the Division for the Advancement of Women Population Financing for development for the equality of women with men throughoutthe world– as equal actors and beneficiaries in sustainable The Population Division studies population dynamics and moni- The Financing for Development Office provides secretariatdevelopment and in the search for human rights and peace and tors worldwide demographic trends. Population estimates and support for sustained follow-up, at all levels, to the agreementssecurity. The Division works to advance the global agenda on projections prepared by the Division – on matters such as fertil- and commitments contained in the Monterrey Consensus andgender equality and empowerment of women in close coor- ity, mortality, migration and urbanization, as well as population Doha Declaration. To this end, it promotes an inclusive inter-dination with governments, the UN system and civil society. It size and structure – are widely used for policy formulation and governmental process, with the participation of all relevantalso seeks to ensure that women’s rights and priorities are fully programme design. In its role as substantive secretariat for the stakeholders, to address, in a coherent and integrated manner,addressed in international policy arenas. The Division serves as Commission on Population and Development, the Division mon- such areas as domestic resource mobilization, private investmentthe substantive secretariat to the Commission on the Status of itors implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 flows, international trade, official development assistance,Women and supports follow-up to the Beijing Declaration and International Conference on Population and Development. The external debt and global financial and economic system andPlatform for Action. Division also develops demographic tools for governments. architecture.T i mE l i N E o F mA jor C oNFErENCES AND SUmmiTS SiNCE 1990 Millennium Summit International Conference on Third UN Conference on the Financing for Development Follow-up International World Education Forum Least Developed Countries World Summit on Sustainable 2005 World Summit Conference on FinancingWorld Summit for Children International Conference Development for Development United Nations on Population and Social Summit +5 Special Session of the GA International Ministerial 10-year Review of the to Review theWorld Conference on Conference on Development Fourth World Second UN for an overall review and ap- Second World Assembly on Conference of Landlocked Copenhagen Declaration Implementation of theEducation for All Environment and Conference Conference on Special Session of the praisal of the implementation Ageing and Transit Developing and Programme of Action Monterrey Consensus Development Global Conference on the on Women Human Settlements General Assembly for of the Habitat Agenda CountriesSecond UN Conference Sustainable Development (HABITAT II) the 5 year review of Special Session of the General 10-year Review 10-year Review of the High-level event on theon the Least Developed International World Conference of Small Island Developing World Summit for the Beijing Declaration Special Session of the General Assembly on Children World Summit on the of the Barbados Beijing Declaration and Millennium DevelopmentCountries Conference on Nutrition on Human Rights States Social Development World Food Summit and Platform for Action Assembly on HIV/AIDS World Food Summit +5 Information Society Programme of Action Platform for Action Goals 1990 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2008