Policy Dialogues

Photo: UNDP Asia Pacific

Global Policy Dialogue Series

About the Global Policy Series


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, UN DESA has published a series of policy briefs in addition to its regular work in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To support this work and other initiatives of the Department and the wider UN system, UN DESA launched a Global Policy Dialogue Series in July 2020 aimed at highlighting solutions to the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. The series is made possible through the United Nations Peace and Development Trust Fund

The sessions are dynamic, with UN DESA using its convening power to bring together global thought leaders and its own socioeconomic experts to consider today’s major issues. The conversations, typically 90 minutes long, are led by a journalist moderator to ensure that the discussions are sharp and to the point. UN DESA partners with other UN entities and top socioeconomic forums, and broadcasts everything live on the Department’s Facebook page to expand its reach to audiences that may not typically follow UN proceedings.

The Dialogues aim to help countries recover better from the pandemic and closely align UN DESA’s work with the Decade of Action. The results of these discussions are shared with UN leadership and will inform future work on the economic and social effects of the pandemic.


Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin and members of the UN High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs participate in the launch of the Global Policy Dialogue Series in July 2020.

Latest event

Imagining the Carbon-neutral Future: Transformations in Energy and Transport

Session 2 of the UN DESA Global Policy Dialogues for Climate Action

Wednesday, 28 April 2021, 8:30-10 a.m. EDT

This session, the second in a four-part series on “Building a Global Coalition for Sustainability after COVID-19,” will bring together leading voices in the fields of clean energy and sustainable transport with experts from the UN system to discuss practical solutions and ways to reform these systems minimizing their effect on the environment, in the context of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organized with UN-Habitat, the event will also discuss cross-cutting issues such as financing, governance, gender, data and statistics, as well as how the world can best make systemic transformations to a more sustainable world while leaving no one behind.

The free session will be held on Zoom in English with live captioning in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. All are welcome.

Previous events

Building Food and Water Security in an Era of Climate Shocks

This Global Policy Dialogue is the first in a four-part series, "Building a Global Coalition for Sustainability after COVID-19." The session, organized by UN DESA in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), looked at how climate change is affecting people’s access to safe and nutritious food and water.

Watch the event on UN DESA’s Facebook page.

Shaping a New Social Contract: Session 2

In this session, UN DESA’s experts on economic, social and environmental issues took questions from the audience on the topic of “Using Data for the Climate and SDGs” and touched on macroeconomic issues.

Watch the event on UN DESA’s Facebook page.

Shaping a New Social Contract: Session 1

In this session, UN DESA’s experts on economic, social and environmental issues took questions from the audience on the topic of “Ensuring equality, inclusive growth and access to opportunities.”

Watch the event on UN DESA’s Facebook page.

Advancing equitable livelihoods in food systems 

Eradicating hunger and achieving food security remain major challenges to humanity and to sustainability, and are being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To support the UN system’s efforts towards eliminating hunger, UN DESA held a Global Policy Dialogue on food security in the context of demographic change and rural development on 16 December 2020. The event also served as a UN Food Systems Summit Dialogue aligned with Action Track 4, giving participants an opportunity to inform the process of the 2021 Summit. Watch the event on UN DESA’s Facebook page

Gender Equality: a Data and Policy Dialogue 

As we mark the 25th anniversary of the landmark Beijing Declaration to advance women's rights, new data from the United Nations Secretary-General’s report The World’s Women 2020: Trends and Statistics show that hard-earned gains in gender equality are being challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. UN DESA convened policymakers and data experts to discuss how much the world has risen to fulfill the strategic objectives of the Beijing Platform for Action and address policy actions needed to build a New Social Contract and improve equality for all. 

Watch the event on UN DESA’s Facebook page 

Technological and Science-based Solutions to the COVID-19 Challenge 

On 29 October 2020, UN DESA held a conversation with global leaders in science and technology that assessed the science-based policies and innovations that have developed during the pandemic, identifying good practices as well as areas where work is still needed. The event featured a broad panel discussion with experts, followed by regional breakout sessions led by UN DESA (English) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (Arabic). 

Watch the event on UN DESA's Facebook page. 

Navigating Uncertainties: An Intergenerational dialogue on COVID-19 and youth employment 

This online forum 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, “How is the pandemic affecting today’s youth employment?” and “How can young people pursue self-employment and entrepreneurship amid turbulent economies?” 

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? 

“Let’s Talk” series

Let’s Talk Africa After COVID-19

Hear from the authors of UN DESA’s latest policy brief on ways to rebuild Africa stronger after the pandemic, including how to implement key social protection measures.

Let’s Talk Food: a Policy Dialogue Q&A

As a follow-up to the December 2020 Global Policy Dialogue on equitable food livelihoods, UN DESA speaks in-depth with one of the panelists, Hellen Akinyi Onyango, a crop aggregator with the Farm to Market Alliance in Kenya, about how rural women and youth can be empowered and engaged to support the Sustainable Development Goals. Watch on UN DESA’s Facebook page.