Member States have stated repeatedly that sustainable development was a key element of the overarching framework for United Nations activities and have called upon the United Nations system to take action to ensure the effective implementation of and follow-up to the sustainable development commitments, programmes and time-bound targets. At its fall 2011 session and spring 2012 session, CEB underscored that sustainable development, with its interlinked economic, social and environmental pillars, remained a top priority for the United Nations system. The Board also recognized that the Conference presented a unique opportunity to reach agreement on a framework for action that puts the world on a more sustainable development pathway. The Board further acknowledged that the challenges of sustainable development require a coordinated approach by the United Nations system in collaboration with other stakeholders in order to find joint innovative and lasting solutions in support of countries’ efforts to address economic, social and environmental issues in an integrated manner.

CEB supported intergovernmental preparations for the Conference by issuing a joint preambular statement in November 2011 as input to the zero draft of the outcome document for the Conference. That text recognized that the shift to sustainable development presented challenges and opportunities and that the United Nations system was well equipped to assist Member States in the formulation and implementation of enabling policy and regulatory frameworks for sustainable development. The statement further signalled the collective readiness of the organizations of the United Nations system to “support the world’s nations and peoples to make sustainable development a reality”.

At its spring 2012 session, CEB endorsed a second joint statement to be issued to the Conference itself as an appeal to the international community to take decisive action in support of a forward-looking and robust framework for sustainable development which would significantly improve human well-being, social and intergenerational equity, and environmental sustainability. The statement sought to provide impetus for a political agreement on the steps needed to more rigorously and systematically integrate the three pillars of sustainable development into decision-making and actions by all stakeholders.