UN Commissions Focus


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CSD Commission on Sustainable Development

CPD Commission on Population & Development

CSW Commission on the Status of Women

ComSocDev Commission on Social Development

CHS Commission on Human Settlements


Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)

The Commission on Sustainable Development was set up in December 1992 to facilitate the follow up and implementation of the agreements reached at the Rio Earth Summit earlier that year.  For further information on the agreements of the Rio Earth Summit, refer to the Roadmap focus on UN Conferences. The Commission monitors at local, national, regional and international level, reporting back through an annual review process. The CSD annual sessions are attended by over 50 ministers, with more than 1000 NGOs world-wide accredited to attend.

The Commission provides a platform for Sustainable Development issues within the UN system, aiding the UN’s co-ordination of environment and development activities within the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This location within the UN facilitates the CSD to encourage governments and IGO’s to develop work programmes on sustainable development issues and cross-sectorially between the Commissions annual sessions. This process facilitates expert-level meetings which focus the work of the Commission, particularly between governments, stakeholders and other NGO partners.

The Commissions current Multi-year programme of work covers the period from 1998-2002. Each year has prescribed themes relating to; a specific sector, a cross-sector and and economic sector/major group. In addition, Poverty and Consumption & Production Patterns will be the over-riding issues throughout the period. The work programmes over this period cover the following;

1998: Sectoral theme Strategic approaches to freshwater management.
Cross sectoral theme Transfer of Technology/Capacity Building/Education/Science/Awareness-raising.
Economic sector Industry.


1999: Sectoral theme Oceans and Seas.
Cross sectoral theme Consumption & Production Patterns.
Economic sector Tourism.


2000: Sectoral theme Integrated planning and management of land resources.
Cross sectoral theme Financial resources / Trade and Investment / Economic growth.
Major group Agriculture and Forests, including the Outcome of the Intergovernmental forum on forests (IFF).


2001: Sectoral theme Atmosphere and energy.
Cross sectoral theme Information for decision making and participation and international co-operation for an enabling environment.
Economic Sector Energy and transport.


2002: 10 year comprehensive review, Earth Summit III.

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Commission on Population and Development (CPD)

The Commission on Population was modified as a result of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), becoming the Commission on Population and Development. The General Assembly directed the Commission to monitor, review and assess the implementation of the Programme of Action of the Conference. The Programme is designed to guide national and international policies on population and development over the next 20 years. For further information on the objectives of the programme, as set out at the ICPD refer to the Roadmap focus on UN Conferences. In addition the Assembly requested other specialised agencies to implement and adjust their work programmes in line with the provisions under the Programme of Action of the Conference.

The Commission co-ordinates its activities through a system of topic orientated Multi-year work programmes. These are assessed via a 5 yearly review of the progress made in the implementation of the Programme of Action. In order to aid the prioritisation of specific issues, at its 28th session in 1995, the commission proposed the submission of annual reports on selected topic of the programme of action. The topic selected for 1998 is Health and Mortality. The Commissions current multi-year work programme was laid out and endorsed by the Commission at the 28th Session. The 5 year review for this work programme will take place in 1999.

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Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

Established in June '46, the Commission's primary role is in providing recommendations and reports to the Economic and Social Council on promoting women’s rights. This process has special focus on political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. In addition the Commission is also able to consult the council on problems relating to women’s rights which may need immediate action.

Since the Beijing Women’s Conference, September ‘95, the Commission has co-ordinated the review and monitoring of the Beijing Platform for Action. This is the action agenda that was agreed by governments at the conference, which is designed to improve the status of women. The Commission has responsibilities to ensure the effective implementation of the specific provision under the Platform of Action. For further information on the Beijing Conference refer to the Roadmap Focus on UN Conferences.

The Commissions current multi-year work programme runs up to 2000, at which point there will be the 5 year review of the implementation of the Platform of Action. The annual work programmes cover issues of critical concern as identified at Beijing, as well as having scope to examine emerging issues. These issues for the period 1998-2000 are as follows;


1998 Violence against women.
  Women & armed conflict.
  Human rights of women.
  The girl child.


1999 Women & health.
  Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women.
  Initiation of the comprehensive review and appraisal of the implementation of the Platform of action.


2000 Comprehensive quinquennial review and appraisal of the implementation of the Platform of action.

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Commission on Social Development (ComSocDev)

The Commission's current activities were established at its special session in 1996 where it set out and adopted a multi-year work programme based on the follow up agenda to the World Summit for Social Development’s agreements contained in the Copenhagen Declaration, ‘95 (WSSD). For further information on WSSD please refer to the Roadmaps focus on UN Conferences. The programme entails monitoring and reviewing progress made in the implementation and follow up of the Copenhagen Declaration which is the document setting out the provisions established at the WSSD.

The annual sessions of the Commission focus on issues which have the objective of creating an enabling environment for social development. Particular regard is given to situations existing in Africa and the least developed nations. The prioritisation of issues in this way facilitates the follow up to the WSSD with a 5 yearly review process of the agreements under the declaration.

The annual work programmes over the next 3 years as prescribed by the Commission are as follows:


1998 Promoting social integration and participation of all people, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and persons. Topics under this theme for consideration include, responsive government, non-discrimination, tolerance, equality and social justice, social protection, employment opportunities, violence, crime and illicit drugs.


1999 Programme themes surround Social services for all, and the initiation of the overall review of the implementation of the outcome of the Summit.


2000 The overriding theme will be the Contribution of the Commission to the overall review of the implementation of the outcome of the Summit.

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Commission on Human Settlements (CHS)

The Commission undertakes the mandate of the UN Centre for Human Settlements, promoting the Habitat Agenda. This plan of action was defined at, and constitutes the Commission's current medium-term plan (of action), the Second UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), in 1996. The base principles established at the conference revolve around adequate shelter for all, and sustainable human settlements developed in the urbanising world. More in-depth analysis of the Habitat II Conference can be found on the Roadmap’s focus on UN Conferences.

The present medium-term runs from 1998-2001, and is structured into four sub-programmes focussing on specific issues. This provides the framework for the Centre’s biennial work programme. Sub-programmes for the current plan are as follows;


Subprogramme 1: Shelter and Social Services
Subprogramme 2: Urban Management
Subprogramme 3: Environment & Infrastructure
Subprogramme 4: Assessment, Monitoring and information

For further information on the Commission refer to:




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