UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Founding Year: 2012



Guido Schmidt-Traub (Executive Director)

It seeks to mobilize scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem-solving at local, national, and global scales.  To this end, it is building a network of universities, research centers, and other knowledge institutions. With over 1,200 members, which are organized around national or regional SDSNs to promote Solutions Initiatives, develop educational materials, and work towards the Agenda 2030. In 2015 the Agenda 2030, which includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was set up and succeeded the Millennium Development Goals. The 17 SDGs are the guiding principles of SDSN and provide a holistic framework, applicable to all countries, aiming to eradicate poverty and deprivation, but also to grow our economies, to protect our environment, and to promote peace and good governance.  The network’s secretariat is hosted by Columbia University.



  • The SDG Academy creates and curates free, graduate-level online courses on sustainable development that are offered through org. So far there are 20+ courses that are built around the 17 SDGs and look into topics like planetary boundaries, global water crisis, sustainable cities, climate actions, oceans, sustainable food production, etc.

Research & Policy Work:



  • The Age of Sustainable Development – This free online MOOC is part of SDSN taught by Jeffrey Sachs. It is based on a book of the same title published by Columbia University Press (2015, 543p). The 14 lectures/chapters cover sustainable development, economic development, the Millennium Development Goals, ending extreme poverty, growth within planetary boundaries, human rights and gender equality, education, health, food, cities, climate change, biodiversity, and the new Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Sustainable Development Report (Bertelsmann Stiftung & SDSN; June 2019, 478p, digital executive summary) An annual global report of country indicators that presents the SDG Index and Dashboards. Measures SDG starting points at the country and regional level, to help identify priorities for action to achieve goals by 2030. The top 10 consists solely of European countries. Denmark is ranked #1, Germany #6, Canada #20, USA #35, China #39, Brazil #57, India #115, and Nigeria #159.
  • Six Transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (Sept 2019, 12p) – Introduces the concept of six transformational “building-blocks of SDG achievement: (1) education, gender and inequality; (2) health, well-being and demography; (3) energy decarbonization and sustainable industry; (4) sustainable food, land, water and oceans; (5) sustainable cities and communities; and (6) digital revolution for sustainable development.”
  • Pathways to Sustainable Land-Use and Food Systems (2019, 330p) – Presents “preliminary pathways towards sustainable land-use and food systems prepared by the 18 country teams from developed and developing countries, including the European Union. The aim of these pathways is to determine and demonstrate the technical feasibility of making land-use and food systems sustainable in each country.”
  • Roadmap to 2050: A Manual for Nations to Decarbonize by Mid-Century (Sept 2019, 144p) – Includes the “expert input from more than 60 engineers and industry leaders who participated in an April 2019 workshop organized around power, industry, transport, and buildings decarbonization.” Outlines six pillars (1) Zero-Carbon Electricity, (2) Electrification of End Uses, (3) Green Synthetic Fuels, (4) Smart Power Grids, (5) Materials Efficiency, (6) Sustainable Land-Use.
  • Towards A Framework For Governing Data Innovation: Fostering Trust In The Use Of Non-Traditional Data Sources In Statistical Production (2021) – Seeks to cultivate a “better understanding of the governance factors that improve trust and confidence in the use of non-traditional data sources for official statistical production, with a focus on legal arrangements, quality assurance practices, and policy changes.”



S.No. Title Organization Publication Date Page Number Report Link Download

Europe Sustainable Development Report 2023/24

SDSN, SDSN Europe January 25, 2024 130 Link Download

UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
    Calls for an end to poverty globally by 2030 and promotes increased access to basic services and social protection.
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  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
    Aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
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  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being
    Aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, by reducing mortality rates and increasing access to equitable health care for men and women.
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  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
    Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
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  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
    Aims to end gender discrimination in all forms and promote equal opportunity for all women and girls in terms of education, career, and sexual/reproductive rights.
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  • SDG 6 -Clean Water and Sanitisation
    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by promoting global access to adequate sanitation and hygiene.
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  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
    Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by promoting affordable and reliable energy sources.
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  • SDG 8 -Decent Work and Economic Growth
    Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
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  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
    Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.  
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  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
    Aims to achieve economic growth by reducing inequalities regarding social, economic and political opportunities and freedoms.
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  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
    Aims to promote the globalization of sustainable cities and communities in turn providing universal safe and affordable housing.
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  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
    Aims to create responsible and sustainable practices involving consumption and production through efficiently using natural resources.
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  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
    Calls to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts through global awareness, education, and integration into government policies.
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  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
    Calls to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development and prevent and reduce marine pollution in order to protect ecosystems and achieve healthy oceans.
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  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
    Aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
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  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
    Aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Calls to reduce all forms of violence and deaths related to violence and to end abuse and exploitation
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  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
    Aims to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development by mobilizing domestic resources in order to provide support for developing countries.
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