United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library

Looking Ahead - 2016


Substainable Development


2016 will be a key year for moving ahead with the new sustainable development agenda. Entitled “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the new agenda contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets and has been adopted by UN Member States to spur actions that will end poverty, fight inequalities, tackle climate change, and build a more sustainable world by 2030, leaving no one behind.

The SDGs are global in nature and universally applicable, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.

Key dates:

8-11 March - 47th Session of the Statistical Commission to agree on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators.
• 11-12 April - UNGA High-Level Thematic Debate: Implementing Commitments on Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Financing.
May (TBC) - Sustainable Energy for All Forum.
23-27 May - 2nd UN Environment Assembly.
June (TBC) - Global Sustainable Development Report
11-20 July - High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
18-22 July - ECOSOC High-level segment: "Implementing the post-2015 development agenda: moving from commitments to results"
July (TBC) - World Economic and Social Survey 2016.


The Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador aims to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanization focusing on the implementation of a New Urban Agenda, building on the Habitat Agenda of Istanbul in 1996.

Throughout modern history, urbanization has been a major driver of development and poverty reduction. Governments can respond to this key development opportunity at Habitat III by promoting a new model of urban development that is able to integrate all facets of sustainable development to promote equity, welfare and shared prosperity.

Key dates:

3 October - World Habitat Day
17-20 October - UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III)
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HUmanitarian issues


The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23-24 May, is a global call to action by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Summit aims to re-inspire and reinvigorate a global commitment to humanity, and in particular to upholding the dignity and safety of the millions of women, men and children who are caught up in crises.

In early 2016, the Secretary-General will release his report on the World Humanitarian Summit. This report will convey his vision for the Summit and beyond, and set the tone and ambition for a global “agenda for humanity”.

Key dates:

• 23-24 May - 1st World Humanitarian Summit
• 20 June - World Refugee Day
• 20-22 June - ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment
• 19 August - World Humanitarian Day


The UN and its Member States are facing the biggest refugee and migration crisis since World War II. At this time, more than 60 million people are displaced from their homes. The international community has a responsibility to define a clear path forward guided by international refugee law, human rights and humanitarian law.

Key dates:

• 4 February - Conference on Syria Humanitarian Crisis.
• March (TBC) - Resettlement Plus conference.
• 23-24 May - 1st World Humanitarian Summit.
• September - High-level Summit on managing large-scale movements of migrants and refugees, New York.
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Climate Change

The Paris Climate Change Conference, COP 21, was a decisive turning point, where the world agreed to take actions that will allow countries to shift to a low emissions economy. The Paris Agreement provides guidance on moving the climate agenda forward. The next Conference of the Parties will be held in November 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco.

As part of this effort, DPI will be integrating the Climate Change Gateway into its Sustainable Development website. (URL: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/ )

Key dates:

• 22 April - Signing of the Paris Agreement.
• 7-18 November - Climate Change Conference (COP22)
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Population statistics play a key role in determining development policy.

In 2016, the UN Population Division will organize its annual Commission on Population and Development under the theme, “Strengthening the demographic evidence base for the post-2015 development agenda” (11-15 April).

In the spring, the UN Population Division is also expected to release the World Population Policies 2015 report, which will present worldwide changes in government policies and programme measures from 1976 to 2015 with respect to population growth, ageing, fertility, reproductive health and family planning, spatial distribution and urbanization, and international migration within the context of demographic, social and economic change.

Key dates:

31 March - Release of World Population Policies 2015.
11-15 April - 49th Session of the Commission on Population and Development.
June (TBC) - Release of the World Population Prospects 2016.
11 July - World Population Day.
18 December - International Migrants Day.

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Economic Prospects

Macroeconomic trends, analyses and forecasts, as undertaken by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, afford the Organization key opportunities to underscore that robust, sustainable and inclusive growth is a key determinant for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its associated goals and targets.

Key dates:

• MID-May - Launch of the World Economic Situation and Prospects as of Mid-2016.Visit us on Facebook for the latest information. Facebook button



The UN will continue amplifying youth voices, bringing young people to the negotiating table, and elevating the importance of youth-led solutions to issues such as inclusive finance and unemployment, peace and security, sustainable development, and climate action.

2016 will be the first year of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development in which young people will have a key role to play, as well as the first year of the implementation of the unanimously adopted Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security.

Key dates:

1-2 February - ECOSOC Youth Forum “Youth Taking Action to Implement the 2030 Agenda”.
12 August - International Youth Day.

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The key themes identified for 2016 are:

- Raising public awareness of significant social, economic and political developments in Africa. In cooperation with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency, the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

- Publicize Africa’s achievements and challenges in the context of the continent’s Agenda 2063 and the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2013, the African Union marked the 50th anniversary of its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU). At their 2013 annual summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to commemorate the OAU anniversary, African leaders adopted Agenda 2063, a 50-year strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent.

During Agenda 2063’s implementation, which will be phased in five 10-year development plans, Africa hopes to achieve its aspirations to end hunger, foster regional integration, establish peace and security,and promote political stability and economic progress. The aspirations of Agenda 2063 closely resemble and are aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Key dates:

• 30 - 31 January - African Union Summit, under the theme “2016, African Year of Human Rights, in particular, with focus on the Rights of Women”.
• 25 May - Africa Day.
• June - African Union Summit.
• Mid-October - NEPAD Africa Week at UNHQ (New York).Visit us on Facebook for the latest information. Facebook button


Human Rights

Promoting respect for human rights is one of the core purposes of the United Nations, and the Organization has pursued this mission since its founding.

2016 highlights include:

  • Human Rights Day (10 December) will be an occasion for the international community to call on States to fulfil their obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1993 Vienna Declaration.

  • The 50th anniversary of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 1966, provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the International Bill of Human Rights and discuss the future of the treaty body system.

  • The UN Human Rights Council will celebrate its 10th birthday. A special event to mark the anniversary is planned for June.

Key dates:

• June
- 10th Anniversary of the Human Rights Council.
• 18 July
- Nelson Mandela International Day.
• 10 December
- Human Rights Day.


Working for and with women and girls remains a priority for the United Nations, including through Sustainable Development Goal 5. The priority theme of the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women will be “Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development”.

Key dates:

• 8 March- International Women’s Day.
• 14-24 March - 60th Commission on the Status of Women.


2016 will mark the 10th Anniversary of the landmark Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, which were adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 December 2006. The United Nations will continue to raise awareness of the rights of the estimated one billion persons with disabilities worldwide.

Key dates:

• 14-16 June - Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
• 3 December - International Day of Persons with Disabilities.


In 2016 the United Nations will continue its efforts to better protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and to live up to the responsibility to protect.

Key dates:

• 27 January - International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
• 21 March - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
7 April - International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.
9 December - International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime


The outcome document of the 2014 World Conference on indigenous peoples contains a series of commitments to ensure a coherent approach to achieving the ends of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Key dates:

9 - 20 May - 15th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
• 9 August - International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
• 13 September - 9th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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The United Nations will continue its work in the area of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms controls.

The Arms Trade Treaty, which entered into force in December 2014, is considered a turning point in regulating the international trade in conventional arms It has the potential to become a key instrument in putting a stop to destabilizing arms flows from its signatories to conflict regions.

Actions countering the illicit trade and uncontrolled circulation of small arms and light weapons will continue to be a priority issue on the United Nations disarmament agenda in 2016.

A Poster for Peace contest will mark the 70th anniversary of the first GA resolution that established the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

Key dates:

26 January-1 April - Conference on Disarmament begins its 2016 session
31 March-1 April - Nuclear Security Summit
4-22 April - United Nations Disarmament Commission
16 May-1 July - Conference on Disarmament (Second Part)
6-10 June - Sixth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (BMS6)
2 August-16 September - Conference on Disarmament (Third Part)
Late September - Eighth Ministerial Meeting to promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
26 September - International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
26-30 September - 60th IAEA General Conference
11-15 October - 21st Conference of the States Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention Visit us on Facebook for the latest information. Facebook button


Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking

The United Nations will continue its work to adress the world drug problem, the illicit trafficking in persons, transnational organized crime and corruption.

Key dates:

2 March - Launch of the annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
14-22 March - Commission on Narcotic Drugs, including an UNGASS special segment.
19-21 April - General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem
23-27 May - Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
24 or 27 June(TBC) - Launch of the 2016 World Drug Report.
26 June - International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
30 July - World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
November (TBC) - Launch of the 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
17-21 October - Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto
9 December - International Anti-Corruption Day. Visit us on Facebook for the latest information. Facebook button