7 ways UN DESA supports a rescue plan for people and planet


November 2023 

The latest UN DESA Annual Highlights Report showcases seven ways UN DESA supported Member States to advance the 2030 Agenda throughout the 77th Session of the General Assembly, despite a challenging global context and significant setbacks to SDG progress. Here’s what you need to know about UN DESA’s efforts.

1. Accelerating action for the SDGs at the national and international level

UN DESA helped to organize the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2023 and the SDG Summit in September. This year also saw major progress in mobilizing SDG localization through Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs), which total more than 200 since its launch in 2018.

2. Reducing poverty and inequality

To give meaning to “leaving no one behind”, UN DESA supported key UN processes in a fully inclusive manner, to amplify the voices of older persons, youth, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. It also provided capacity-building support for vulnerable groups, including small-scale farmers and women entrepreneurs, as key agents of SDG transformation. It also called for the principle of “inclusion by design” to tackle the digital divide.

3. Ensuring sustainable financing

To overcome the ‘great finance divide’, UN DESA called for scaling up SDG financing and investment to countries most in need or those under heavy debt distress, including through promotion of the SDG Stimulus and reforms to the international financial architecture.

4. Making data count

UN DESA continued to support countries to collect official data to “make the invisible visible” and develop new measures that “value what counts” for people, planet and the future. For example, the number of indicators included in the global SDG database has increased steadily from 115 in 2016 to 225 in 2023.

5. Strengthening national institutions and accountability

UN DESA supported progress towards the achievement of SDG 16 as a key enabler for the 2030 Agenda. Throughout the year, the Department provided knowledge-sharing and capacity-building support and tools to Governments and institutions to effectively deliver on the SDGs in an effective, inclusive and accountable manner.

6. Ending the war on nature

UN DESA continued to stand up to the triple planetary crisis by supporting a synergistic implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and forging stakeholder commitments, pledges and partnerships.

7. Framing the future of development

UN DESA continued to enhance its strategic foresight and address socioeconomic challenges not only to meet the SDGs, but also future-proof sustainable development beyond 2030. The Department provided analytical advice and capacity-building opportunities, offering policy options for countries to enhance their resilience to future shocks and crises, especially for the most vulnerable.

Read more about these achievements in the UN DESA Annual Highlights Report available here.