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Policy Briefs

UN DESA experts are working to help decision makers around the world navigate tough choices and to find ways to recover better from the COVID-19 crisis and prepare for complex and compounded risks in today's interconnected world.

Watch this space for the latest research, analysis and policy advice from UN DESA, an effort to support and complement the United Nations Secretary-General’s initiatives in response to the COVID-19 crisisDecade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and call by the Member States to advance Our Common Agenda.

Displaying 1 - 20 of 160
29 May 2024

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 159: Demographic Outlook for the Small Island Developing States: Implications of Population Trends for Building Resilience and Prosperity across SIDS

SIDS have small populations, limited resources and are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Understanding their demographic outlook will help them to address these unique challenges.

11 March 2024

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 158: How can we accelerate transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Insights from the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report

Progress on the SDGs requires integrated approaches operating at a systemic level that address multiple goals simultaneously. Interventions toward progress on a given target must also generate positive synergies with other targets, while resolving tradeoffs. Transformative change does not follow a linear path, and policy needs will vary across contexts and phases of transformation. Policies should respond to impediments unique to each phase – emergence, acceleration, or stabilization.

11 March 2024

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 157: How Can Governments Strengthen Their Relationships with Society to Meet the Sustainable Development Goals? Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked innovation and experimentation in public institutions. Institutional and policy changes can improve Governments’ relationships with other actors and highlight opportunities to accelerate SDG progress. Renewed social contracts, built on trust, are crucial if societies are to meet today’s compounding challenges, better respond to future crises, and achieve the SDGs.

29 December 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 156: Enhancing Public Institutions’ Risk-informed Communication to address Multifaceted Crises for Disaster Risk Reduction, Resilience and Climate Action

The ability to provide accurate, timely, and reliable information to the public and responders in crises situations is central to risk-informed communication. This brief seeks to examine how to strengthen risk-informed communication for addressing multifaceted crises management, disaster risk reduction, and climate action. It identifies key challenges for strengthening government institutions that are responsible for effective communication, provides guidance on how to integrate risk-informed communication strategies into disaster management and proposes policy recommendations.

29 November 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 155: Accelerating middle-income countries’ progress towards sustainable development

Many MICs require international support to address current and long-term challenges. Eligibility criteria that rely only on income per capita limit available support – including access to concessional finance – without accounting for MICs’ multidimensional development needs.

08 September 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief Special Issue: Financing the Sustainable Development Goals through mission-oriented development banks

There is an urgent need for channeling long-term risk-tolerant finance towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The paper argues that National Development Banks (NDBs) and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) can play a crucial role in mobilizing the needed capital.

24 April 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 153: India overtakes China as the world’s most populous country

Taking account of future population trends in national development planning is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, those related to poverty, food security, health, education, gender equality, decent work, inequality, urbanization and the environment, and for ensuring that no one is left behind.

12 April 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 152: Population, education and sustainable development: interlinkages and select policy implications

The demographic transition, including decreased fertility and child dependency, brings opportunities to boost the human capital of young people and adults alike.

10 February 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 151: Why Indigenous languages matter: The International Decade on Indigenous Languages 2022–2032

Indigenous languages hold vital information about scientific and traditional knowledge on ecosystems, conservation and sustainability that benefits the whole of society. Every time an Indigenous language becomes extinct, the millennial knowledge of a culture is lost forever to the detriment of Indigenous Peoples and humanity. Inclusive policies can help reverse the trend and preserve the existence of Indigenous Peoples, their languages, cultures and knowledge.

27 January 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 150: Economic well-being at older ages: prospects for the future

More must be done to tackle decent work challenges, promote transitions from informal to formal employment, combat long-term unemployment and strengthen mechanisms to set and adjust wages.

26 January 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 149: Promoting Youth Participation in Decision-Making and Public Service Delivery through Harnessing Digital Technologies

Public institutions shall take policy measures to address challenges and build an enabling ecosystem for youth engagement and participation, with a focus on bridging the youth digital divide and supporting digital skills development of youth.

06 January 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 148: Beneficial ownership information: Supporting fair taxation and financial integrity

Public collection of beneficial ownership information, usually through a registry, is now the global standard, and all countries should build effective registries as quickly as possible. Further work remains to harmonize implementation, close loopholes, and ensure effective exchange of information.

04 January 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 147: Old age inequality begins at birth: life course influences on late-life disability

Improving working conditions and access to quality education across the lifecycle can help reduce inequality in health outcomes among older adults. Expanding healthcare coverage and addressing the social determinants of health are also vital.

04 January 2023

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 146: Why safe, orderly and regular migration matters for sustainable development

Respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, benefit migrants and countries alike. Addressing the adverse drivers and structural factors that hinder people from building and maintaining sustainable livelihoods in their own countries and communities can reduce the pressure to migrate.

16 December 2022

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 145: On the importance of monitoring inequality in life expectancy

Financing and enhancing statistical capacity for high-quality, timely and reliable disaggregated data in developing countries, is essential to better understand and respond to inequalities in life expectancy.

15 December 2022

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 144: Moving Beyond GDP and Achieving Our Common Agenda with Natural Capital Accounting

With the climate and biodiversity crises raging, Our Common Agenda stresses the urgent need to go beyond GDP, including through country implementation of the SEEA.

14 November 2022

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 143: Caregiving in an ageing world

Rethinking approaches to long-term care will benefit today’s older persons and those who care for them, but also future generations of older persons. Countries should consider a more equitable, person-centred approach to care, operating across governments, businesses, civil society, communities and households to address needs in the provision of both formal and informal care.

11 November 2022

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 142: Old-age poverty has a woman’s face

An agenda on gender equality aimed at reducing women’s poverty, including in old age, should promote women’s labour market participation and decent work, ease their care burden and improve women’s pension coverage as well as pension adequacy.

05 November 2022

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 141: A just green transition: concepts and practice so far

A globally just transition requires international support for developing countries that takes into account their’ realities, capacities, and priorities. Greening measures and strategies shouldn’t push people in other countries behind.

01 November 2022

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 140: A World of 8 Billion

Wealthy countries and the international community should support sustainable development in low-income and lower-middle-income countries by providing the necessary technical and financial assistance so that their economies can grow rapidly using technologies that minimise environmental harms.