Sustainable development is the international community’s most urgent priority, and the core aim of the 2030 Development Agenda for sustainable development. ECOSOC operates at the centre of the UN system’s work on all three pillars of sustainable development—economic, social and environmental. It is the unifying platform for integration, action on sustainable development and follow-up and review.
As the umbrella for the UN’s functional and regional commissions, and operational and specialized agencies, it links the setting of global norms with their implementation. Across diverse fora, it brings together all the different people and partners involved in achieving sustainable development, while fueling broader awareness and action through sharing its own extensive knowledge and issue expertise.
Within the UN system, ECOSOC has the main responsibility for following up on all major past international conferences linked to the three pillars of sustainable development, and will continue to do this alongside the implementation of the sustainable development goals. As a hub for the exchange of knowledge and mutual learning, it had an instrumental role in examining lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals, assessed the transition into the post-2015 agenda, and currently consider the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. ECOSOC also explores the scope of a renewed global partnership and invites youth to share their views on their future.
Important ECOSOC segments, forums, and meetings for exchanges around sustainable development comprise:
- High-level Segment, held on an annual basis, represents the culmination of ECOSOC's annual cycle of work and convenes a diverse group of high-level representatives from Government, the private sector, civil society and academia.
- Integration Segment promotes integrated actions on economic, social and environmental issues, within the United Nations system and beyond
- Humanitarian Affairs Segment strengthens coordination of UN humanitarian efforts
- Operational Activities for Development Segment provides overall guidance for UN funds and programmes
- Management Segment reviews reports of ECOSOC subsidiary and expert bodies; promotes UN system coordination on development issues; and considers special country or regional concerns
- High-Level Political Forum provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development, and reviews progress in implementing sustainable development commitments.
- Development Cooperation Forum reviews trends and progress in development cooperation
- Multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals discusses science, technology and innovation cooperation around thematic areas for the implementation of the sustainable development goals, congregating all relevant stakeholders to actively contribute in their area of expertise.
- Youth Forum brings youth voices into discussions on global policy-making on development issues of the day
- Partnership Forum encourages collaboration among Governments, businesses and foundations, non-governmental organizations, academia and Parliamentarians
- Forum on Financing for Development follow-up reviews the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, other financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- ECOSOC Special Meeting on International Cooperation in Tax Matters provides an opportunity to address emerging issues of tax policy and administration.
- Special meetings to address global development emergencies or crises, to raise awareness and to serve as a high level policy platform for coordination of actors working on a specific situation