United Nations Sustainable Development Group
|Type||United Nations group|
|Headquarters||New York, United States|
Amina J. Mohammed
The United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), previously the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), is a consortium of 36 United Nations funds, programs, specialized agencies, departments and offices that play a role in development. It was created by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in order to improve the effectiveness of United Nations development activities at the country level.
Its strategic priorities are to respond to the Triennial comprehensive policy review (TCPR) – which became in 2008 the Quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR) – and global development priorities, as well as to ensure the UN development system becomes more internally focused and coherent. The UNSDG strategic priorities give direction to UNDG members' efforts at the global, regional and country level to facilitate a step change in the quality and impact of UN support at the country level. Currently, the UNSDG is one of the main UN actors involved in the development of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The UNDG was renamed as the UNSDG around January 2018.
By 1997, there were calls within the United Nations to draw all UN agencies working on development issues together; for the many UN Development Programmes, Funds, and Specialised Agencies were encroaching upon each other's activities. This was especially so with the Delivering as One initiative. An initial proposal was to merge UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the UNFPA into the UNDP. Finally, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan worked to form the UNDG and won praise from then UNDP Administrator James Speth.
In May 2018 the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) was reorganized into the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) in order to accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.
The following are all members of the UNSDG, as of March 2019:
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- International Trade Centre (ITC)
- International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
- United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) / United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) / United Nations Volunteers (UNV)
- United Nations Department of Political Affairs (UN DPA)
- United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA)
- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
- United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC)
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA)
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
- United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
- United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
- United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (UN PBSO)
- United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
- United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
- United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
- World Food Programme (WFP)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
The following organizations have membership confirmation pending at the UNSDG, as of March 2019:
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
- Universal Postal Union (UPU)
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Leadership and organization
The UNSDG is one of the three pillars of the UN system Chief Executives Board (CEB), which furthers coordination and cooperation on a wide range of substantive and management issues facing UN system organizations. The CEB brings the executive heads of UN organizations together on a regular basis under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General. Within the CEB structure, the High-Level Committee on Management works on system-wide administrative and management issues, the High-Level Committee on Programmes considers global policy issues, while the United Nations Development Group deals with operational activities for development with a focus on country-level work.
The Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) chairs the UNSDG. The UNSDG Chair reports to the Secretary-General and the CEB on progress in implementing the group’s work plan, and on the management of the Resident Coordinator System. 
The United Nations Economic and Social Council and the United Nations General Assembly provide oversight and mandates for the UNSDG. The UNSDG is overseen by the Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) of the General Assembly. The UNSDG has provided reports such as the Comprehensive statistical analysis of the financing of operational activities for development of the UN system for 2006 and the Comprehensive statistical analysis of the financing of operational activities for development of the UN system for 2007 to the General Assembly.
The UNSDG's chairperson is the UNDP's Administrator. Since its inception, the following have been the Chair of the UNSDG:
- James Speth (1997–1999)
- Mark Malloch Brown (1999–2005)
- Kemal Derviş (2005–2009)
- Helen Clark (2009– 2017)
- Achim Steiner (2017- )
UNSDG Advisory Group
Under Kemal Derviş' leadership, an "Advisory Group", which provides the UNSDG Chair with advice and guidance on managing the operational dimensions of the UNSDG and the Resident Coordinator System, was established. In 2009, the non-rotational members of the advisory group were: the FAO, ILO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, WHO and UNIDO. The rotational members (for a period of one year, as of 2016) are: the UNCTAD (representing UNEP, UN Habitat and UNODC) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Africa (representing all five Regional Commissions).
Development Coordination Office
The UN Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO) is a key component within the UNSDG, promoting social and economic progress by providing support. It was key part of UNSDG's formation in 1997, uniting the UN system and improve the quality of its development assistance. Coordination leads to more strategic UN support for national plans and priorities, makes operations more efficient, reduces transaction costs for governments, and ultimately helps people attain the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development objectives. At present is the Secretariat and technical and advisory support unit of the UNSDG. It brings together the UN development system to promote change and innovation to deliver together on sustainable development. DOCO works under the leadership of the UNSDG Chair and guidance of the UNSDG. The team provides field evidence to inform policy, facilitates the achievement of shared results, and promotes excellence in UN leadership and coordination. The core objective is a relevant and impactful UN contribution to development.
- Delivering as One
- Quadrennial comprehensive policy review
- Reform of the United Nations
- United Nations Development Assistance Plan
- United Nations Development Programme
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