Recognizing the importance of learning and knowledge as key foundations for development, this year six United Nations research and training entities mark UN Day with a renewed call for accelerated action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The entities comprise the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO), the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the United Nations Staff System College (UNSSC) and the United Nations University (UNU).
The call by the UN research and training entities builds on UN Member States’ reaffirmation in September of their commitment to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Bringing about a UN that can better support Member States is the challenge of our age,” says Jafar Javan, UNSSC Director. "Continuous learning helps the UN adapt to emerging challenges, prepare for future crises, and transform as an organization to dial up our impact.”
Through its learning programmes and advisory services, UNSSC is equipping the UN and its partners with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Currently, UNSSC’s solutions are helping to advance a “UN 2.0”, the blueprint for a United Nations that focuses on enhanced capacities in data, digital transformation, innovation, strategic foresight and behavioural science.
“In our pursuit of leaving no one behind, we strive to prioritize the most vulnerable communities and individuals. We are passionate about reaching the furthest first and making a tangible impact on those in special situations,” says Nikhil Seth, Executive Director of UNITAR.
Since its founding in 1963, UNITAR has been instrumental in equipping young diplomats from newly independent states with knowledge and skills, enabling them to navigate the diplomatic environment with confidence and success. With a strategy fully focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UNITAR supports organizations and individuals to implement the 2030 Agenda. In 2022, the Institute served close to 400,000 individuals through the delivery of more than 1,300 learning events.
UNICRI has been formulating research on emerging threats, developing policies on crime prevention, and implementing programmes in the specialized fields of crime, justice, and security. As the only UN research and training institute focused on criminal justice and crime prevention, UNICRI’s work contributes mainly to Goal 16 of the SDGs, which promotes peaceful inclusive societies; provides access to justice for all; and builds effective, accountable, inclusive institutions.
“Our world is facing multiple interconnected crises, from conflict to climate change, violent extremism, terrorism, and political unrest. Goal 16 is a key enabler across the SDG spectrum to address these challenges. Enhancing good governance, human rights, and justice is always essential for peace and development,” states Antonia De Meo, Director of UNICRI.
The mission of UNU is to contribute, through collaborative research and education, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its peoples, and Member States.
Comprising 13 institutes in 12 Countries, UNU is truly a global university in structure, operation, and ambition. UNU offers a growing selection of graduate degree programmes (master’s and PhD) and non-degree courses that equip the leaders of tomorrow with the academic foundations to effectively address sustainable development challenges.
“With researchers and educational programmes covering all 17 SDGs, and research institutes located on five continents, UNU is positioned as a comprehensive source of evidence-based solutions and knowledge to transform the world,” states UNU Rector Tshilidzi Marwala.
UNRISD is at the forefront of collaborative research with global academics and practitioners to advance their own development agendas — bringing its expertise on social development and how to foster change. UNRISD’s research contributed to the design of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs through its work on the relationship between poverty and different types of inequalities.
“Our research work supports governments and societies to make faster progress towards the SDGs, through focusing on inequalities that hold society back, transformative social policies, gender justice and care, alternative economies, and just transitions. As an autonomous institute within the UN system, we have the freedom to ask the difficult questions about power, politics and distribution,” says Paul Ladd, UNRISD Director.
ITCILO is a global hub for the International Labour Organization (ILO) dedicated to empowering professionals to navigate the challenges and opportunities that the Future of Work presents and uphold the principles of the Centenary Declaration, with a particular focus on strengthening constituents’ capacities, promoting gender equality, lifelong learning, and universal social protection.
The 2030 Agenda provides the roadmap to sustainable development; each entity within the UN has a role to ensure the journey is successful and the gains irreversible.
In September during the United Nations General Assembly, Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the 2030 Agenda. “The 2030 Agenda remains our overarching roadmap for achieving sustainable development and overcoming the multiple crises we face,” they declared.
The UN’s key research and training entities remain committed to contributing to the SDGs under the common belief that harnessing knowledge is one of the most powerful and proven means for sustainable development.