Climate change is not just an environmental issue. It also has serious economic and social implications. Climate change is, fundamentally, a sustainable development challenge, that should be linked more firmly to the broader development agenda, including to poverty reduction and other internationally agreed development goals. Many sectors may be involved – such as finance, energy, transport, agriculture and health – with the United Nations playing a major convening role.
DESA facilitates the negotiations of Member States in many intergovernmental bodies on joint courses of action to address the challenge.DESA gears the substantive support it extends to intergovernmental bodies and negotiations to furthering an integrated approach to the UN development agenda, and achieving a renewed focus on implementation, with climate change currently at the top of the agenda. The Department serves the Commission on Sustainable Development, the main United Nations forum bringing countries together to consider ways to integrate the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of development.
Through its research, publications and reports, the department seeks to serve all Member States as a global think tank on economic and social affairs. The goal is to deepen understanding of sustainable development options that can be incorporated into the climate change discussion, becoming the analytical basis for agreement.
DESA has a major role in assisting governments to increase capacities to design and implement national sustainable development strategies that incorporate climate change. Through technical assistance, it helps build national capacities so as countries can put in place mechanisms to develop their economies while curbing greenhouse gas emissions and adjust to climate change. It advises interested governments on the ways and means of translating policy frameworks developed in United Nations conferences and summits into sustainable development programmes at the country level.