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DESA Releases Issues Brief on Potential Intergovernmental Body on Sustainable Development

Rio+20October 2011: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has released an issue brief focused on a potential intergovernmental body for sustainable development. This brief is the third in DESA's series of "Rio 2012 Issues Briefs," which provide background and analysis with the aim of guiding UN member States' consideration of issues related to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD) is one of the official themes of Rio+20

The brief, titled "IFSD: Issues related to an intergovernmental body on SD," outlines the strengths of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), as well as where it is lacking. It notes that the CSD's most valuable aspect may be keeping sustainable development on the agenda. The brief also considers the possibility of potential new arrangements to provide space for innovation, which DESA says would require more time and greater flexibility in meeting.

Previous issues of the DESA briefs focused on trade and the green economy (March 2011) and peer review mechanisms, as part of strengthening IFSD (July 2011). The latter brief addressed the potential of such mechanisms to contribute to implementation of international agreements on economic governance, human rights, and other issues. According to DESA, this goal becomes particularly relevant for the IFSD debate at the UNCSD, since a key motivation for the Conference is the lack of progress in the achievement of agreed sustainable development goals.

According to Sha Zukang, Conference Secretary-General, DESA plans to issue several more briefs in the coming months. The forthcoming briefs will address: oceans, agriculture and food security, energy, sustainable cities, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and green jobs. [Publication: Issues Brief 2: Lessons from the Peer Review Mechanism] [Publication: Issues Brief 3: IFSD: Issues related to an intergovernmental body on SD] [Statement by Sha Zukang, 4 November 2011]