Report of the UN Economist Network for the UN 75th Anniversary: Shaping the Trends of Our Time

Publication Date:
Category: Economic Analysis and Policy
Language: English
Citation: United Nations (2020). Report of the UN Economist Network for the UN 75th Anniversary: Shaping the Trends of Our Time. New York.

The new report examines five megatrends: climate change; demographic shifts, particularly population ageing; urbanization; the emergence of digital technologies; and inequalities –that are affecting economic, social and environmental outcomes. Efforts to reverse or redirect these trends must be reinforced to ensure that we achieve the full measure of the 2030 Agenda, and set the stage for an inclusive, sustainable and equitable future during the next 75 years.

All trends are the result of human activity, and as such, they can be shaped by human decisions and policy choices. By making the right choices today, without further delay, it is not too late to shape the major trends of our time in a direction that is sustainable and delivers benefits to all. Policies can influence a single megatrend as well as other megatrends that interact with it. This creates the potential for co-benefits, where a positive result is achieved in one area through an intervention designed to generate change in another. Such policy interventions can propel more effective, mutually reinforcing changes, and significantly greater impacts.

The United Nations can help to frame responses to the megatrends in terms that encourage domestic political consensus to form behind taking sustained action. In doing so, the United Nations can assist in mobilizing needed global support for individual countries, particularly those with fewer resources.

About the United Nations Economists Network

The UN Economists Network is a global network, led by the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist, Elliott Harris, to

  • facilitate collaboration and joint work among UN system entities on issues of shared interest and relevance to the sustainable development agenda and
  • to provide a network of support on economic, financial and social policy issues to Resident Coordinator Offices and United Nations Country Teams.

Download the Executive Summary of the report: