With the support from the Federal Government of Germany the United Nations System Staff College opened the “Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development” on 1 January 2016 in Bonn. The Centre was established to equip the UN and its partners with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Centre supports policy and operational work of the UN through the development of learning tools, platforms for interaction and a mature set of learning offerings for UN staff. It serves as a catalyst and convener prompting dialogue and knowledge sharing on issues relevant to the vision and mission of the United Nations – between UN staff and a diverse set of stakeholders from governments, academia, the private sector and civil society.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development profoundly challenges the way all development partners think, work and act. It requires enhanced multi-sectorial as well as cross-institutional integration and holistic thinking. Moving beyond separate mandates and structures, exploring linkages and interdependencies between different pillars and thematic issues is imperative. It is in this context that:
We strengthen and communicate the sustainable development narrative. In particular, we build on our arsenal of knowledge resources and multi-stakeholder platforms to engage audiences across different regions, languages, and age groups in the global discourse around sustainable development. We also offer free-of-charge online resources and micro-learning modules, such as those developed with the Data-Pop Alliance, which are featured on our Big Data & Sustainable Development Open Learning Hub.
We focus on empowering stakeholders and facilitate integrated and transformative action for sustainable development.
To strengthen policy integration and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, we offer learning opportunities for diverse audiences on topics such as financing the SDGs, policy coherence, and applying design thinking in the implementation of the Agenda.
Above all, we support the UN Development System reform process. As outlined in the UN Secretary-General’s recommendations for Repositioning the United Nations development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, the 2030 Agenda implies the need for accelerating system-wide alignment, calling for stronger skills on partnership-building and better coordination between the development, humanitarian, and peacebuilding pillars. This requires strengthening core competencies and the ‘right system-wide capacities’ that develop a new generation of UN Country Teams (UNCTs) and further empower Resident Coordinators (RCs).
The UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development is providing support by promoting a culture of change through learning support to Resident Coordinators and UNCTs. In recognising the need for joint action and ‘whole-of-system’ expertise, we offer a UN Country Teams (UNCT) Leadership Skills course. The programme enables the provision of inputs by senior experts from the UN system and academia, offering experiential learning opportunities about leadership and sustainable development, as well as professional media training. The Knowledge Centre has also piloted important UNCT-oriented leadership and teambuilding learning offerings, focused on shared leadership, systems thinking, and co-creation.
To coherently strengthen processes at the country level, we also offer a UN Country Programming course. This course builds competencies in preparing and developing a revitalised UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), the single most important UN instrument for planning and implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Results-Based Management and building partnerships for sustainable development are other examples of courses that help accelerate progress in the 2030 Agenda implementation.
We also believe in taking a long-term view by developing future adaptive and collaborative UN leaders as well as by creating a conduit of young UN leaders through the Master of International Development programme we developed together with the IE School of Global and Public Affairs in Madrid. Through our programmes, we develop future leaders who have an in-depth understanding of the interconnectedness of the dimensions of sustainable development.
Given the imperative of the 2030 Agenda to strengthen whole-of-governments and whole-of-society approaches, we increasingly support Resident Coordinator Offices, governments, and schools for public servants as they develop methodologies to sustainable development learning and enhanced knowledge and skills of public servants and other stakeholders to strengthen related approaches and behaviours.
At the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, we have set ourselves the ambitious goal of reaching a broader and more diverse range of actors within and outside of the UN system.
Our learning programmes facilitate behavioural change, and support transformative action for sustainable development at national, regional, and global level – thereby catalysing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda
We stand ready to work closely with UN offices as well as governments to design and deliver tailor-made learning programmes as well as customised learning resources within the wider context of the 2030 Agenda.