The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, also known as the Earth Summit, the participating states adopted the Agenda 21, a catalogue of measures of long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development and guaranteeing fair and equitable share of natural resources between countries at different stages of economic and social development.

To promote and monitor the implementation of the Agenda 21, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established. Every two years the CSD calls a session on different topics of the Agenda 21. Following consultations with business and NGO representatives, the member states evaluate achievements made and discusses further implementation of the agenda.

At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio+20), Member States agreed to establish a high level forum on sustainable development that will subsequently replace the Commission on Sustainable Development. The forum will work under the auspices of ECOSOC and its meetings will be convened every four years for two days at the beginning of the UN General Assembly session.

Further information:

Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD):

Agenda 21:

The Work Programme on Tourism and Sustainable Development

Although tourism exerts an important influence on social, cultural and economic aspects and represents an important economic factor, the Agenda 21 mentions it only subordinated to topics such as economy or traffic. Therefore, in 1997 the CSD was addressed by the UN to establish a work programme on sustainable tourism development. During the preparation of the session, a group of German NGOs of environmental protection, nature conservation and sustainable development that was coordinated by ETE elaborated a position paper on tourism and sustainable development.

This work programme has been adopted in 1999 at the 7th session of the CSD. It established guiding principles for sustainable tourism development and assigned governments, the tourism industry and nongovernmental organisations the tasks of the development and implementation of policies and national strategiesb as well as specific legislation and measures. The monitoring and reporting on the work programme had been foreseen for 2012.

With its project 'Fostering sustainable tourism as a perspective for the future' (2005 -2008), supported by the BMU, ETE contributed to this process by reviewing the current state of implementation of the work programme in Germany. The resulting study of this projects conlcudes that even if politics, tourism industry or NGOs have not been focusing their efforts on the work programme, a broad range of initiatives and measures regarding sustainable tourism development could be identified. Given the closure of the CSD in 2012, these outcomes could not be included in the reporting of the CSD work programme as initially planned.

Further information:

ETE Study (german): Nachhaltiger Tourismus in Deutschland: Überregionale und modellhafte Initiativen von Politik, Wirtschaft und Verbänden im Spiegel der Umsetzung des Arbeitsprogramms „Tourismus und nachhaltige Entwicklung“ der UN-Kommission für nachhaltige Entwicklung (CSD) pdf

CSD decisions on tourism:

Report on the seventh session:

CSD contribution of German NGOs: Position paper on tourism and sustainable development pdf

Green Economy

At the UN General Assembly Rio+20 in 2012, achievements and drawbacks of the policies on sustainable development have been discussed. As a result, the concept of the Green Economy has been established to further promote sustainable development. It addresses the challenges and opportunities for the mainstreaming of sustainability at all levels of economic activities, which shall result in reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities as well as poverty alleviation.

Further information:

Green Economy: