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World Economic and Social Survey

The World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) provides objective analysis of pressing long-term social and economic development issues, and discusses the positive and negative impact of corresponding policies.

World Economic and Social Survey 2013
Sustainable Development Challenges

ISBN 978-92-1-109167-0
Sales No. E.13.II.C.1

The world is faced with challenges in all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. For instance, more than 1 billion people are still living in extreme poverty, income inequality within and among many countries has been rising and, at the same time, unsustainable consumption levels and production patterns have resulted in huge economic and social costs and may endanger life on the planet.

The World Economic and Social Survey 2013 contributes to the deliberations on addressing sustainable development challenges with a focus on three important cross-sectoral issues identified for action and follow-up at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development: sustainable cities, food security and energy transformation.

Sustainable development strategies need to be inclusive and take special care of the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable. Strategies need to be ambitious, action-oriented and collaborative. They will need to change consumption and production patterns systemically, which might entail, inter alia, significant price corrections; encourage the preservation of natural endowments; reduce inequality; and strengthen economic governance.