Experts Discuss National, Regional Contributions to Global Sustainable Development Report

UNDESAJanuary 2014: Scientists and experts recognized national and regional sustainable development assessments as important inputs for the Global Sustainable Development Report, at the ‘High Level Expert Group Meeting for the Global Sustainable Development Report: Engaging National Assessments,' according to the recently released Chair's summary. The Global Report is expected to inform the efforts of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) to strengthen the science-policy interface.

The meeting, which took place from 12-13 December 2014, in Beijing, China, brought together 70 participants from over 20 countries. Participants discussed the need to reflect developed and developing country sustainable development priorities in the report, noting that developing countries often experience capacity challenges in synthesizing lessons learned from issue-based or sectoral assessments. Many participants recommended that future editions include various types of knowledge and consider a full range of perspectives, such as those of scientists from the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

Opening the meeting, Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, described the prototype report and called for special efforts on cooperation, finance and technology. He recommended the creation of an advisory or working group composed of national focal points to ensure national guidance in future reports.

Participants agreed that the UN Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) should continue leading the report's preparation, while encouraging collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Participants also suggested that UN entities integrate regional and sub-regional perspectives in their analytical and policy work and capacity-building programmes.

Participants suggested that the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should consider existing assessments and sustainable development scenario options to inform discussions on synergies and trade-offs among suggested SDGs and targets. Participants also suggested using global modeling and scenario analysis to assess progress towards the SDGs, including on financing needs and technology.

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and China's Ministry of Science and Technology sponsored the meeting. [Chair's Summary] [Wu Statement] [Meeting Website] [IISD RS Story on Prototype Report]