United Nations High-level Advisory Board

Latest event

“Navigating uncertainties: An intergenerational dialogue on COVID-19 and youth employment”

The online forum “Navigating uncertainties: An intergenerational dialogue on COVID-19 and youth employment,” organized by UN DESA on 29 September 2020 as part of its Global Online Policy Dialogue Series, offered young people an opportunity to discuss the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic during this period of their lives when many things are in flux. The event sought to answer these questions:

• How is the pandemic affecting today’s youth employment right now?
• How can young people pursue self-employment and entrepreneurship amid turbulent economies?
• What are some of the key approaches that should be scaled-up and replicated? How can other generations support these approaches?

Professor Anastasia Gage of Tulane University, a member of the High-level Advisory Board on Economic Affairs, was featured in the first panel of the event. Other speakers included youth entrepreneurs and policy advocates, as well as older persons representing UN DESA, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Youth and civil society. The event was broadcast live on Zoom and Facebook, and the recordings can be accessed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/joinundesa.


About the High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs

The United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs was established in June 2018 to help strengthen the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) in the context of United Nations development system reform, and as a key part of efforts to enhance support to Member States of the United Nations in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The HLAB consists of 16 globally renowned experts in the economic and social policy fields, including former Heads of State, a Nobel Laureate, former Senior Government Officials and intellectual leaders. It has provided guidance to the research and policy analysis work of UN DESA, including topics for its flagship publications. The Board members themselves have played an active role in strengthening the linkage between UN DESA and the global economic and social policy research community, and have promoted UN DESA publications and reports at national and global levels.

The Board also, through biannual meetings, has provided advice to the United Nations on broad economic and social issues, including near-term prospects and risks for the world economy, frontier technologies, inequality, migration, issues associated with countries in special situations, as well as the implications of these issues for multilateralism and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Over the course of the last two years, the HLAB has deliberated on many contemporary and cross-cutting issues and challenges. The interventions and insights of the Board have greatly expanded our understanding of issues of important economic and social significance and inspired the United Nations to break new ground in policy research. The essay volume “Recover Better” is envisaged as the legacy of the first HLAB to advancing the sustainable development agenda.


“Recover Better: Economic and Social Challenges and Opportunities”

Members of the High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs (HLAB) offer fresh new ideas that can prevent new pandemics while achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a volume of policy briefs, “Recover Better: Economic and Social Challenges and Opportunities,” issued by UN DESA in July 2020.

The collection of seven expert-written essays from HLAB members offers new guidance for rebuilding societies in a fairer, more inclusive way. The volume provides outside-the-box thinking and new solutions to some of this era’s most pressing tests. The authors advance ideas on issues that include improving international tax cooperation, more equitable access to digital technological advances, and sustainable natural resource management that complement the broader recommendations of the Secretary-General regarding shared responsibility and global solidarity in responding to the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19.

The observations and recommendations outlined in “Recover Better,” some of which offer region-specific suggestions, can inform COVID-19 responses so that countries build back better and avoid returning to a pre-pandemic pathway, where progress towards important objectives such as ending extreme poverty and limiting global temperature rise was not rapid enough.



Previous events

22 July 2020: Launch of the HLAB’s new volume, “Recover Better: Economic and Social Challenges and Opportunities”

On 22 July 2020, UN DESA and the United Nations High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs (HLAB) launched the Board’s new volume, “Recover Better: Economic and Social Challenges and Opportunities.” This online dialogue aimed to answer questions including, “Are we in a recession?” What should countries do to recover better? Is a green recovery possible?

The event was broadcast live, and recordings can be accessed via webtv.un.org, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/joinundesa.


News coverage


Board members

The following people have been appointed for a two-year term on the UN High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs:

  • Giancarlo Corsetti, Professor of Macroeconomics, University of Cambridge
  • Cristina Duarte, former Minister of Finance, Planning and Public Administration (2006-2016), Cabo Verde
  • Marcel Fratzscher, President of DIW Berlin
  • Anastasia J. Gage, Professor at the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University
  • Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Merit E. Janow, Dean, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Ricardo Lagos, Honorary Chairman of the Inter-American Dialogue; former President of Chile (2000-2006)
  • Justin Yifu Lin, Dean, Institute of New Structural Economics, Professor and Honorary Dean of National School of Development, Peking University
  • José Antonio Ocampo, Professor, Columbia University, and Chair of the Committee for Development Policy of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, University Professor, Columbia University
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor, Columbia University
  • Heizo Takenaka, Professor Emeritus, Keio University, and Professor, Toyo University
  • Izabella Mônica Vieira Teixeira, former Minister of Environment (2010-2016), Brazil
  • Kori Udovički, Head of the Center for Advanced Economic Studies (CEVES)
  • Ernesto Zedillo, Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization; former President of Mexico (1994-2000)
  • Min Zhu, Chairman, National Institute of Financial Research, Tsinghua University
  • Elliott Harris, UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Economic Development and UN Chief Economist (ex officio member)
  • Click here for short bios of the Board Members.
  • Click here for a group photo of the Board Members.
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