United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS)

发布于:2019-12-19

What is the UNFSS?


UNFSS addresses the sustainable development value of voluntary sustainability standards by pooling resources, synchronizing efforts, and assuring policy coherence, coordination and collaboration among United Nations agencies.

The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) helps producers, traders, consumers, standard-setters, certification-bodies, trade diplomats, non-governmental organizations and researchers to talk to each other, find out more about Voluntary Sustainability Standards and influence decision makers at the intergovernmental level.

We aim to provide impartial information, analysis, and discussions on Voluntary Sustainability Standards. We also spread the news about how they open markets, strengthen the quality of public goods, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Just as importantly, we focus on the obstacles to trade and development that Voluntary Sustainability Standards may create, especially regarding their impact on small and medium-sized companies and less developed countries.

We are the only forum that systematically conducts analytical, empirical and capacity-building activities in this field. This means we deal with the generic and strategic challenges created by Voluntary Sustainability Standards in a consistent way without endorsing or legitimizing any specific standard.

Our work is rooted in the existing mandates and activities of participating United Nations agencies. The value of the forum lies in pooling resources, synchronizing efforts and assuring policy coherence, coordination and collaboration.

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How We Are Organized: 

The forum is coordinated by a steering committee of five United Nations agencies:

  •    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

  •    The International Trade Centre (ITC)

  •    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

  •    The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

  •   The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Our secretariat is based at UNCTAD in Geneva, Switzerland. We have a support group responsible for implementing our work plan and the coordination of all the activities undertaken under the UNFSS name.


Our Goals 

We are the only forum to provide information, analysis and discussions on Voluntary Sustainability Standards at the intergovernmental level.

We aim to promote proactive and strategic dialogue about national policies and experiences, as well as on meta-governance issues of VSS.

The forum is designed to become the backbone for the development of a coherent programme of public policy and private initiatives ––at both standard-setting and implementation stage.

This can make Voluntary Sustainability Standards work for:

  Achieving the specific sustainability objectives of developing countries like reducing poverty, using natural resources sustainably and protecting ecosystems;

   Opening foreign markets; 

   Lowering potential hurdles to development and access to markets;

  Averting the costs of compliance.

For this, and taking the scale of the issue in account, key United Nations bodies working in the area of sustainability standards, commodity sector development and sustainable agriculture are working together.

They include:

   The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

   The International Trade Centre

   The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

   The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

   The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

These organizations are backed up by many other institutions and stakeholder groups linked to the forum. They provide or help bring about the analytical and empirical support we need to be an effective platform for policy dialogue.

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UNFSS Steering Committee 

 Our Steering Committee (SC) is made up of representatives from the five partner agencies that run the forum:

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

  • International Trade Centre (ITC)

  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

  • UN Environment Programme (UN Environment)

  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

 The committee holds about four coordination meetings a year and is responsible for:

  • implementing and facilitating the forum’s global dialogue on policy

  • analysis and support activities

  • working areas

  • thematic focus

  • work plan

  • budget

UNFSS Secretariat


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