More than 60 experts have been proposed by UN Member States and UN entities for selection to the independent group of 15 scientists that will draft the 2019 edition of the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR).
The group is expected to commence its work by the end of 2016, following the selection of the group's members by the UN Secretary-General, with a possible first meeting of the group in the second or third week of December.
4 November 2016: UN officials provided an update on the creation of an independent group of 15 scientists who will draft the 2019 edition of the quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR). The group is expected to commence its work by the end of 2016, following the selection of members by the UN Secretary-General. More than 60 experts have been proposed by UN Member States and UN entities, according to officials.
The GSDR was called for by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20). In 2016, the President of the Economic and Social Council conducted a series of intergovernmental consultations on the scope, frequency and methodology of the GSDR and its relationship with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Progress Report, as requested in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agreement that resulted from these consultations is reflected in paragraph 22 and an Annex of the Ministerial Declaration of the 2016 High-Level Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and of the 2016 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
The Ministerial Declaration: endorses the outcome of the consultation process on the scope, methodology and frequency of the GSDR and its relationship with the SDGs progress report; stresses that the GSDR will inform the HLPF, strengthen the science-policy interface and provide a strong evidence-based instrument to support policymakers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development; and resolves that a comprehensive, in-depth report will be produced every four years to inform the HLPF convened under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The Declaration also requests the creation of an independent group of scientists to draft the quadrennial GSDR, comprised of 15 experts representing a variety of backgrounds, scientific disciplines and institutions, ensuring geographical and gender balance. It notes that the group will be appointed for each GSDR by the UN Secretary-General in open, transparent and inclusive consultations with Member States. It also calls for support by a UN task team, co-chaired by one representative each of the UN Secretariat, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Environment, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank, with the logistical support of the UN Secretariat.
During the briefing that took place on 4 November 2016 in New York, US, organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Shantanu Mukherjee, Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), DESA, reported that UN Permanent Missions have proposed 33 candidates to be part of the independent group of scientists, while UN entities have suggested 28 candidates. He said a few other candidates have been suggested directly by governments, but their nomination has not been confirmed yet by the UN Permanent Missions. Regarding the candidates proposed by UN Permanent Missions, Mukherjee reported that: 23 are male while ten are female; and five are from Africa, six from Asia-Pacific, five from Eastern Europe, three from the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), and 14 from the Western European and Others Group (WEOG). Regarding candidates proposed by UN entities, he noted that 17 are male, 11 are female, nine are from Africa, six are from Asia-Pacific, one is from Eastern Europe, three are from GRULAC, and nine are from WEOG.
Juwang Zhu, DSD, said the selection of the 15 experts by the UN Secretary-General will be based on the criteria laid out in the annex of the Ministerial Declaration of the 2016 ECOSOC High-Level Segment and HLPF, such as: representing a variety of backgrounds, scientific disciplines and institutions; and ensuring geographical and gender balance. Representatives of the GSDR task team emphasized the importance of gender balance, regional balance, and the need to have complementary expertise so as to cover the three dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated manner.
Zhu said a first meeting of the independent group of scientists could possibly take place in the second or third week of December 2016. Mukherjee said that although a comprehensive, in-depth GSDR will be produced every four years, scientists need to be engaged every year in the HLPF’s annual session.
Mukherjee added that the GSDR website, available on the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, will be reviewed regularly to provide updated information on the GSDR process. The task team representatives, including from the World Bank, UN Environment, UNESCO, and UNCTAD, also noted that the task team is an example of good UN interagency cooperation. [IISD RS Coverage of HLPF 2016] [GSDR 2019 Webpage] [Ministerial Declaration] [IISD Sources]