What We Do


Who We Are

The Division For Inclusive Social Development (DISD) is part of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the United Nations  Secretariat. The Division seeks to strengthen international cooperation for social development, particularly in the areas of poverty eradication,  productive employment and decent work and the social inclusion of older persons, youth, family, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, persons  marginalized from society and development.

The Division works in the context of the comprehensive and detailed framework of commitments and policies for action by Governments, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations provided by the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, with particular attention to the three core issues of poverty eradication, employment generation and social integration, in contributing to the creation of an international community that enables the building of secure, just, free and harmonious societies offering opportunities and higher standards of living for all. The Division’s work is vital for the social pillar of sustainable development.

UNHQ Photo

The Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) monitors national and global socio-economic trends, identifies emerging issues, and assesses their implications for social policy at the national and international levels. To this end, UNDESA DISD:

  • Promotes common norms and develops policies, programmes and cooperative actions to facilitate the implementation of the Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • Provides support and servicing to intergovernmental processes by facilitating agreement on resolutions, strategies and international standards and norms through the Commission for Social Development, the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly and other intergovernmental forums, such as the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • Promotes the rights of indigenous peoples by servicing the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and promoting its mandate and recommendations, supporting the work of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council on Indigenous Issues, promoting coordination in the UN system and preparing and disseminating information on indigenous peoples’ issues;
  • Undertakes global comparative studies on policy and programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation as well as on issues and social groups related to the work of the Division;
  • Assists developing countries and countries with economies in transition, at their request, to strengthen their capacity to plan and manage their socio-economic development through advisory services and field projects;
  • Stresses the promotion of full, productive, appropriately and adequately remunerated and freely chosen employment as a central objective of economic and social policies.


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Intergovernmental Support 

The Division provides the primary support and servicing to the:


Capacity Development and Partnerships

We provide advisory services to Governments, at their request, and regional organizations aimed at developing capacities in areas within the purview of the sub-programme, at the national and regional levels, with special emphasis on the needs of the least developed countries, Africa and small island developing States.

Activities comprise the formulation, execution, monitoring and evaluation of specific technical projects. Assistance is also provided to Governments in devising multidisciplinary operational strategies that promote equitable social and economic development. We organize training workshops and seminars and conducts applied research and field studies, disseminated in both hard copy and electronic formats. Learn more about our Capacity Development and Partnerships.

UNDP Bhutan A sustainable tourism sector can help to reduce global poverty without negatively impacting the environment.

Flagship Reports

The Division produces the following flagship reports on social development issues: