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Commission on Sustainable Development

Documents from  1993  1994  1995  1996  1997  1998  1999  2000


Work Programme

Membership and Secretariat



The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) is one of the three bodies established by the United Nations to ensure effective global follow-up to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) - the Earth Summit - held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3-14 June 1992.

At the Earth Summit, 178 Governments agreed on three far-reaching plans: Agenda 21, a comprehensive strategy for global action on sustainable development; the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development which outlines the rights and responsibilities of Governments in this area; and a statement of principles to guide the sustainable development if forests world-wide.

Six months later, in December 1992, the UN General Assembly established the Commission on Sustainable Development to monitor overall implementation of the Earth Summit agreements by Governments, businesses, non-governmental organisations and others.

A High-level Advisory Board of experts from science, industry, finance and related disciplines was also set up to advise the UN Secretary-General and the Commission on matters relating to sustainable development. The Advisory Board operated from 1992 until 1997.

Shortly after the Summit, the Secretary-General announced the formation of an internal United Nations group, the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development, that is working to reshape and co-ordinate the activities of all of the agencies and programmes of the UN system to bring the into line with the goals of Agenda 21.

The Commission meets every year for a Intersessional Session (around February/March) to prepare for the actual Session (around April/May). The Commissions recommendations and decisions are then taken to the Economic and Social Council and subsequently to the General Assembly.

The Commission on Sustainable Development consistently generates a high level of public interest. Over 50 ministers attend the CSD each year and more than one thousand non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are accredited to participate in the Commission's work. The Commission ensures the high visibility of sustainable development issues within the UN system and helps to improve the UN's coordination of environment and development activities. The CSD also encourages governments and international organizations to host workshops and conferences on different environmental and cross-sectoral issues. The results of these expert-level meetings enhance the work of CSD and help the Commission to work better with national governments and various non-governmental partners in promoting sustainable development worldwide.

CSD Update:
A bi-monthly newsletter of the Secretariat of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, keeping you up to date on sustainable development activities and meetings worldwide. Copies are available through the Secretariat and online at

CSD Web Sites: - this web site contains information on the CSD workprogrammes, including the work of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests, sustainable development indicators, reports and documents of the Commission. - this web site contains country-and issue-specific information on sustainable development worldwide, based on national reports sent to CSD, with hyperlinks to relevant web sites throughout the United Nations System, the Secretariats of Conventions and official web sites of national Governments.

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Work programme of the Commission until 2002:

At Earth Summit II in June 1997, a new work programme of the Commission has been agreed:

Sectoral:Strategic Approaches to Freshwater Management
Cross-Sectoral: Transfer of Technology, Capacity-Building, Education, Science, Awareness Raising
Economic Sector: Major Group: Industry

Sectoral: Oceans and Seas
Cross-Sectoral: Consumption and Production Patterns
Economic Sector: Major Group: Tourism

Sectoral: Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources
Cross-Sectoral: Financial Resources, Trade and Investment, Economic Growth
Economic Sector: Major Group: Agriculture

Sectoral: Atmosphere, Energy
Cross-Sectoral: Information for Decision-Making and Participation, International Co-operation for an Enabling Environment
Economic Sector: Major Group: Energy, Transport

10 Year Comprehensive Review - Earth Summit III.

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Membership and Secretariat

The Commission is made up of representatives of 53 countries elected from UN Member States. Membership rotates among Governments and is drawn equitably from various geographic regions.
The Secretariat is based in the UN Headquarters in New York. From 1993 until 1997, it was headed by Joke Waller-Hunter of the Netherlands. Since 1998, it is headed by JoAnne DiSano of Australia.
Ms Zehra Aydin-Sipos is acting as the Major Groups Focal Point in the Division for Sustainable Development.

For more information about the CSD, its work programme, membership, etc. please visit the CSD web-site.

Secretariat of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
United Nations Plaza, Room DC2-2220
New York, New York 10017, USA
Tel: + 1 212-963-3170
Fax: + 1-212-963-4260


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