What we do

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mrs. Ban visit to UNESCO World Heritage Site Taishan Mountain, including Nantian Gate, Sky Street, Bixia Temple, Tangmo Cliffstone and Sunview Peak.

Whether by supporting policy-making bodies, facilitating major UN conferences, projecting trends in demography, publishing top quality economic and social analysis, or helping countries develop national capacity, UN DESA’s influence has reached far beyond the doors of the UN.

Our vision for human progress goes beyond promoting global agreements and is fundamentally about action. We are committed to addressing the world’s most pressing concerns and taking the necessary steps to help create a better world for all – a world that is inclusive, prosperous and sustainable.

UN DESA’s work programme can be categorized into three areas:


By facilitating major global conferences and summits, as mandated by UN Member States, UN DESA assists countries as they find common ground and take decisive steps forward. Specifically, UN DESA is tasked with supporting deliberations in two major UN charter bodies: the UN General Assembly and UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), including the High-level Political Forum and ECOSOC’s subsidiary bodies.

In addition, UN DESA organises and supports consultations with a range of stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society. In this regard, UN DESA’s main priorities are promoting progress toward and strengthening accountability in achieving the SDGs. Furthermore, UN DESA is responsible for ensuring civil society engagement with the UN through the ECOSOC bodies.

Data and Analysis:

UN DESA, generates, analyzes and compiles a wide range of official economic, social and environmental data and information on which Member States draw to review common problems and to take stock of policy options. One of the Department’s primary contributions is providing policy research and analysis for governments to use in their deliberations and decision-making. Throughout recent decades, UN DESA’s in-depth policy analysis has helped resolve many of the world’s most pressing socio-economic issues.

UN DESA is also the lead author Department of the UN Secretariat. Our research and analytical work takes an integrated approach to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of national and international policy-making. Our publications and intergovernmental reports are essential to UN negotiations and global policy decisions. The Department is known for its first-rate data, including population estimates and statistics, long considered global benchmarks of reliable information.


UN DESA also promotes capacity development as a link between global and regional processes and development at the country level. In doing so, it advises Member States / Governments on implementing the policies and programmes developed at UN conferences back in their home countries. It assists interested Governments in translating these policy frameworks into programmes at the country level and, through technical assistance, helps build national capacities.

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