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UN – Milestones in sustainable development
The UN is the principal initiator and driver of sustainable development at the international level. The conventions concluded under its aegis provide a general framework for sustainability activities worldwide.
Here we provide information on the key conferences, reports and conventions at UN level:
A number of UN agencies and programmes are active in one or more areas of sustainable development, such as the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Particular mention should be made of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which brings together member states and representatives of civil society. The CSD was established in 1992 following the Earth Summit in Rio to ensure an effective follow-up process. It is responsible for the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and also for driving and overseeing the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI).
The CSD meets annually, working in two-year cycles, with each cycle focusing on clusters of specific thematic issues outlined in a programme of work running until 2017. The first year of each cycle focuses on reviewing progress made to date (review year), with decisions being taken in the second year (policy year). However, the CSD cannot take legally binding decisions or adopt conventions.
Switzerland plays an active part in these meetings. Within the Federal Administration, a subcommittee of the Interdepartmental Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC) coordinates preparatory activities and participation in the CSD. Representatives of civil society are also involved in this process.
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