The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) is part of the United Nations Secretariat and is responsible for the follow-up to the major United Nations Summits and Conferences, as well as services to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the Second and Third Committees of the United Nations General Assembly. UN DESA assists countries around the world in agenda-setting and decision-making with the goal of meeting their economic, social and environmental challenges. It promotes and supports international cooperation to promote development for all. In providing a broad range of analytical products, policy advice, and technical assistance, UN DESA effectively translates global commitments in the economic, social and environmental spheres into national policies and actions and continues to play a key role in monitoring progress towards internationally agreed-upon development goals.
Due to the importance the United Nations attaches to economic and social affairs, the Department contains several important Divisions. These include the Development Policy Division, the Financing for Development Office, the Division for Sustainable Development, the Division for Social Development, the Division for Public Administration, the Statistics Division, and the Population Division. It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.
UN DESA works in three main interlinked areas:
- it compiles, generates and analyzes a wide range of economic, social and environmental data and information on which States Members of the United Nations draw to review common problems and to take stock of policy options;
- it facilitates the negotiations of Member States in many intergovernmental bodies on joint courses of action to address ongoing or emerging global challenges;
- it advises interested Governments on the ways and means of translating policy frameworks developed in United Nations conferences and summits into programmes at the country level and, through technical assistance, helps build national capacities.
In 2002, due to the increased burden of servicing an increasing number of conferences including theMillennium Declaration, the Department was expanded and gained a new office of an Assistant Secretary-General. UNDESA is headquartered in New York, but has an important secondary office in Rome (Italy), managing the coordination of Italian Fellowship and JPO Programmes.