What are NCSDs?

National Councils for Sustainable Development (NCSDs) and similar bodies are the highest level structure at the national level whose primary mandate is to further sustainable development within the country. The Global Network is therefore open to a wide range of ‘NCSDs’ and similar bodies whose form and function differs considerably from one country to the next. NCSDs can for example be subsidiaries of a government department, semi-public bodies (independent from government but fully state-funded), non-governmental bodies (civil society organisations/networks), or have combination of these governance characteristics. Specific examples include (but are by no means limited to) National Sustainable Development Commissions and National Economic and Social Committees (ESCs).

Typically, NCSDs and similar bodies draw together leading members of civil society and other stakeholders with government representatives to together consult on the preparation of sustainable development strategies and policies and to assist with their dissemination, implementation and in the monitoring of progress. The space they provide for continuous dialogue with stakeholders can also facilitate bottom-up identification of emerging issues and timely development of appropriate policy responses.



The Global Network of National Councils for Sustainable Development and similar bodies (GN-NCSD) aims to help strengthen and enhance the work of NCSDs and similar bodies, seeing them better placed to meet their primary objective: furthering sustainable development at the national level.

In addition, with many sustainable development challenges being global in nature, there is a clear need for greater alignment between global commitments, national policy and on the ground delivery. The Global Network therefore also hopes to open up opportunities for greater collaboration between NCSDs and similar bodies around sustainable development issues and initiatives, which will further serve to advance sustainability both within and beyond the country in which individual bodies operate.



To achieve its objective, the Global Network will:

  • Gather, collate and disseminate information on the form and function of all NCSDs and similar bodies;
  • Facilitate and enhance the exchange of experiences and best practice between NCSDs and similar bodies at both the regional and global levels;
  • Develop a repository of research papers and think pieces on sustainable development governance at the national level, authored by both NCSDs and similar bodies themselves and other stakeholders; and
  • Identify opportunities for cooperation between NCSDs and similar bodies on a bilateral, regional, inter-regional and global level.