UN Regional Commissions as orchestrators for sustainable development

Led by Melanie van Driel

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of universal, yet non-legally binding goals. Without enforcement mechanisms, International Organizations attempting to move the agenda forward are reliant on soft tools to exert influence on states and other actors.

Soon after the creation of the HLPF, it was hypothesized that in contrast to its Early studies have shown that at the global level, attempts to orchestrate through the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development run into challenges.

In this project, we study the yet unexplored role of the United Nations Regional Commissions. These commissions link the SDGs’ universal, global ambitions, to the local actors, developments and priorities that form the context for implementation.

The study combined (primary) document analysis with expert-interviews with officials from the Regional Commissions, members of Civil Society Engagement Mechanisms and others involved with the work of these regional actors.