UN DESA Annual Highlights Report 2019-2020

UN DESA: Responding today for a better tomorrow

Introduction

by Liu Zhemin, Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs

 

As I introduce this second edition of the UN DESA Highlights, the world faces compounded crises. Just as local, national, regional and global leaders were gearing up for accelerated action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, our attention was turned to battling a deadly coronavirus as it rapidly spread across the globe, attacking our communities at the very social and economic fissures that the SDGs are designed to fill.

 


 

Leaving no one behind

In 2019-2020, UN DESA maintained its firm focus on inclusion of the most vulnerable, giving particular attention to youth, indigenous peoples, older persons and persons with disabilities. Promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women remained a constant guide. With attention to countries in special situations, including SIDS and LDCs, we identified emerging trends and effective policy options for eradicating poverty; addressing inequalities; fighting discrimination; strengthening social protection; and providing opportunities for all, before, during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
Download Chapter 1 (PDF)


 

Financing sustainable development

The fallout from COVID-19 has made financing for sustainable development more difficult, undermining Member States’ ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UN DESA has helped navigate this extremely difficult period through timely policy advice, rapid provision of virtual intergovernmental support, and strengthening remote capacity-building initiatives.
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Enhancing global partnerships

Partnerships are critical to making the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs a reality. In 2019-2020, UN DESA continued to support the engagement of different stakeholders in the implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda and to foster multi-stakeholder partnerships.
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Investing in data and statistics for the SDGs

Partnerships are critical to making the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs a reality. In 2019-2020, UN DESA continued to support the engagement of different stakeholders in the implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda and to foster multi-stakeholder partnerships.
Download Chapter 4 (PDF)


 

Advancing thought leadership for sustainable development

Over the course of the year, UN DESA continued to advance the global discourse on sustainable development, reacting swiftly to the unprecedented situation the world faces due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Harnessing science, technology and innovation for sustainable development

In 2019-2020, UN DESA continued its leadership in harnessing science, technology and innovation for sustainable development and governance.
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Climate action

The COVID-19 pandemic represents the biggest shock faced by the world in decades. Yet, over the long term, climate change portends even more devastating impacts. UN DESA continues to advocate for urgent efforts for sustainable development that go hand-in-hand with climate action in a way that leaves no one behind.
Download Chapter 7 (PDF)


 

Strengthening institutions for the SDGs

Strong public institutions are critical for achieving the SDGs and ensuring that no one is left behind. UN DESA continues to raise awareness of SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions while also helping countries build the capacity of their public institutions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve the goals.
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Strengthening the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development

Every year since 2015, countries come together in New York to evaluate their efforts to achieve the SDGs. UN DESA has been supporting them in this critical task, not only by leading the preparations and conduct of the annual United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), but also by constantly exploring innovative ways of improving the meeting and its usefulness for countries.
Download Chapter 9 (PDF)