In paragraph 27 of its resolution 64/236 on the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the General Assembly called upon the United Nations system, under the leadership of the Secretary-General, to ensure inter-agency coherence and participation in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and its preparatory process. CEB, in successive sessions, reflected on the contribution of the United Nations system to the preparations of the Conference and considered elements of a future global sustainable development agenda in the context of preparations for the post-2015 development framework.

On the basis of work undertaken by the High-level Committee on Programmes, CEB supported intergovernmental preparations for the Conference by issuing a joint preambular statement in November 2011 as a “Common statement on the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development”. The statement 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.” In addition, CEB prepared, in April 2012, a “CEB joint statement to Rio+20” as an appeal to the international community to take decisive action in support of a forward-looking and robust framework for sustainable development. At the Conference itself, the Secretary-General hosted a high-level side event on the theme “United Nations system: together for the future we want”, which brought together the leaders of 20 United Nations system organizations in an interactive dialogue to highlight the contribution of the United Nations system in further advancing sustainable development policies and practices.

In the outcome document of the Conference, entitled “The future we want” (General Assembly resolution 66/288, annex), world leaders called for a strengthening of United Nations system-wide coherence and coordination in support of sustainable development. They also called for the formulation of a sustainable development framework that would be coherent and coordinated with the process towards a post 2015 development agenda.

A tiered inter-agency structure has been established by the Secretary-General, through which the United Nations system works together to ensure policy coherence, appropriate stakeholder consultations and the pooling of both internal and external expertise to ensure appropriate support to intergovernmental consultation processes towards a post-2015 development agenda, with sustainable development at its core.

The High-level Committee on Programmes addressed the issue of sustainable development in the context of preparations for the post-2015 development agenda at its second session in 2012. The Committee reflected on the challenge to foster coherence and coordination among the various processes and the need for convergence and integration of the different dimensions of development during its retreat held in November 2012. The Committee concluded that greater cooperation and collaboration among United Nations organizations on sectoral, technical and programmatic issues was needed in order for Member States to fully benefit from the combination of system-wide specialized knowledge and operational expertise. Highlighting the linkages and synergies among different sustainable development issues was also seen as an important component of a coherent United Nations system approach.

Seeking to assist Member States in their efforts to build a coherent post-2015 development agenda, the United Nations Development Group initiated a process of wide-ranging consultations to help inform the work of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the deliberations of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative consists of three major elements: (a) supporting national dialogues on post-2015 led by United Nations country teams in collaboration with Governments, civil society and other partners; (b) global thematic consultations on a range of topics; and (c) a social media outreach programme.