Sustainable Development

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations.

Carolyn Doherty

Photo: Carolyn Doherty

Sustainable Development

WFUNA's work in sustainable development focuses on climate change, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. 

Past Projects


WFUNA and Climate Change

The Go Beyond Fellowship program aims to bring together corporations and civil society to respond effectively to climate change and to raise awareness and resources on the community level, ultimately leading to sustainable development and bridging the North-South divide. The innovation of Go Beyond lies in its approach. WFUNA, with its unique position at the intersection of global and local communities, is launching Go Beyond to bring together the corporate sector, UNAs, and global citizens to find cutting-edge grassroots solutions for climate change. 

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WFUNA and the Post-2015 Development Framework

YOUth Impact: Africa aims to educate and support youth in African countries of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya in transition from the Millenium Development Goals to the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.  The project will build the capacity of youth to discuss and adopt Post-2015 Development Framework principles via regional Model United Nations simulations. YOUth Impact: Africa will sustain and develop youth initiative for Post-2015 by training youth in project initiation and management, and supporting youth implemented community projects alligned with Post-2015 Development Agenda priorities. 

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WFUNA would like to invite United Nations Associations (UNAs) to participate in the discussion and consultation process surrounding the Post-2015 Development Agenda and creation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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WFUNA is proud to announce its collaboration with Beyond 2015, an international coalition of civil society groups and non-governmental organizations that have come together with the common goal of wanting to create and facilitate an inclusive and transparent process for the creation of the next set of Millennium Development Goals. 

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Past Projects

From 2011-2012, WFUNA focused on the lead-up to Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, including both awareness-raising and outreach activities. 

WFUNA and Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

UNA members in Rio for Rio+20

WFUNA representatives traveled to Rio de Janeiro to attend the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Check out what we did to prepare for the Conference! 

WFUNA's Rio+20 Expert Series

WFUNA asked three experts to give their thoughts on the progress and outcomes of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. 

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Get Rio Webinar Series

WFUNA developed a three-part Sustainable Development Webinar series that focused on preparing for Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. 

Get Rio: Global Governance for a Sustainable Future

Did you miss our third sustainable development webinar? Special guest, Jan-Gustav Strandenaes of Stakeholder Forum, explored the past, present, and future of IFSD and how to reform the global governance architecture to effectively deliver sustainable development in the 21st century.

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Get Rio: Defining the Green Economy:  

Did you miss our second sustainable development webinar, "Get Rio: Defining the Green Economy"? Oliver Greenfield of Green Economy Coalition explored the "what," the "why," and the "how" of a green economy and shared the collaborative process that produced the 9 principles of a Green Economy.

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Get Rio: SD Basics

Did you miss "Get Rio: SD Basics", WFUNA's first webinar on Sustainable Development and Rio+20? Chantal Line Carpentier, Coordinator for Major Groups, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, discussed the basic principles of Rio+20 and Sustainable Development.

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Earth Day Photo Challenge

WFUNA held an Earth Day Photo Challenge that asked participants to answer the question, "What does Earth Day mean to you?" with an original photo and caption.  Check out our Earth Day Photo Challenge winners and all submissions here!  

The Need for a Global Environmental Organization

“Without a strengthening of international environmental governance, whatever is potentially agreed in Rio +20 will only contribute to a persistence of the challenges, rather than the delivery of the opportunities and the imperative for a more intelligent and equitable 21st century development.” – Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, 3 September 2011.

Millions around the world are already suffering from the effects of climate change and environmental degradation, particularly in developing countries. If the world is serious about achieving new goals set in Rio, we will need a strong and coordinated governance institution – one with resources and jurisdiction to facilitate and enforce compliance: a Global Environmental Organization (GEO).

Despite achievements in international environmental governance (IEG) through the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), the current governance architecture still fails to effectively mitigate global environmental problems.

By treating each issue separately through international agreements, there is a duplication of effort, lack of scientific data sharing, and inefficient treatment of the root causes of degradation. Moreover, as there are now over 500 MEAs, many developing countries find their financial and human resources stretched to participate in negotiation, administration, and implementation.

The official UN body on the environment, UNEP, is chronically under-resourced and does not have the policy or budgetary autonomy to holistically tackle all of the environmental problems we face.

A Global Environmental Organization could:

  • Raise the importance of international environmental policy, and thus political will to meet commitments
  • Provide membership to all UN member states (Universal membership)
  • Have the ability to make autonomous decisions
  • Have increased budgetary autonomy
  • Be an anchor institution to provide policy guidance to MEAs
  • Provide strategic direction to the many UN bodies with environmental mandates
  • Facilitate scientific data sharing among MEAs and UN bodies
  • Reduce the financial burden of participating in MEAs on developing countries by pooling reporting requirements and providing co-location of MEA secretariats
  • Give a formalized voice to civil society and marginalized peoples, and their important local knowledge and technical capacity

To participate in WFUNA’s GEO advocacy initiative, see the tools and the resources on the right panel.

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