About Us


Who We Are

2014 International Human Solidarity Day

The Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) is part of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the United Nations  Secretariat. The Division seeks to strengthen international cooperation for social development, particularly in the areas of poverty eradication,  productive employment and decent work and the social inclusion of older persons, youth, family, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, persons  marginalized from society and development.

Mission Statement

The main objective of the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) is to strengthen international cooperation for social development, in the context of the comprehensive and detailed framework of commitments and policies for action by Governments, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations provided by the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, with particular attention to the three core issues of poverty eradication, employment generation and social integration, in contributing to the creation of an international community that enables the building of secure, just, free and harmonious societies offering opportunities and higher standards of living for all. The Division’s work is vital for the social pillar of sustainable development.

Brochures (in English): Brochure 1 | Brochure 2

Meet our Director: Ms. Daniela Bas

The Division is functionally structured into the following:

  • Social Perspective on Development Branch
  • Social Integration Branch
  • Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
  • Civil Society and Outreach Unit
  • Technical Cooperation Unit

We are part of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in the United Nations Secretariat in New York. You can reach us by email at social@un.org. Our contact address is available here.

Download our Organization Chart (in PNG format)

What We Do

The Division monitors national and global socio-economic trends, identifies emerging issues, and assesses their implications for social policy at the national and international levels. To this end, the Division:

  • Promotes common norms and develops policies, programmes and cooperative actions to facilitate the implementation of the Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • Provides support and servicing to intergovernmental processes by facilitating agreement on resolutions, strategies and international standards and norms through the Commission for Social Development, the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly and other intergovernmental forums, such as the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • Promotes the rights of indigenous peoples by servicing the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and promoting its mandate and recommendations, supporting the work of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council on Indigenous Issues, promoting coordination in the UN system and preparing and disseminating information on indigenous peoples’ issues;
  • Undertakes global comparative studies on policy and programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation as well as on issues and social groups related to the work of the Division;
  • Assists developing countries and countries with economies in transition, at their request, to strengthen their capacity to plan and manage their socio-economic development through advisory services and field projects; and
  • Stresses the promotion of full, productive, appropriately and adequately remunerated and freely chosen employment as a central objective of economic and social policies.

Social Development Issues

  • Poverty
  • Employment
  • Cooperatives
  • Ageing
  • Youth
  • Family
  • Social Integration
  • Disability
  • Indigenous
  • Civil Society
  • Learn more about our Issues

Intergovernmental Support

We provide the primary support and servicing to the:

Technical Cooperation

We provide advisory services to Governments, at their request, and regional organizations aimed at developing capacities in areas within the purview of the sub-programme, at the national and regional levels, with special emphasis on the needs of the least developed countries, Africa and small island developing States.

Activities comprise the formulation, execution, monitoring and evaluation of specific technical projects. Assistance is also provided to Governments in devising multidisciplinary operational strategies that promote equitable social and economic development. We organize training workshops and seminars and conducts applied research and field studies, disseminated in both hard copy and electronic formats.

Flagship Reports