UNFSS Launch Update


UNFSS Launch Update: April 10th, 2013

The Launching Conference of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on March 20-21. There were over 200 participants from a wide variety of stakeholder groups (inter alia: government, private sector, standard bodies, research institutes etc.).

The conclusions were quite positive, in that they confirmed the need for and interest in the UNFSS, and that the UNFSS should be a source of credible information and analysis while providing the dialogue platform for governments to express their views on standards programs. In particular, from a perspective of potential tools to achieve sustainable development goals.

Some priority activities and areas indentified for the UNFSS included:

  1. Further develop the key issues and flagship report, with the nexus between public and private standards being a key priority topic.
  2. Further developing the decision-making tool adapting it to national/regional needs and validating it through national/regional workshops.
  3. Support of existing impact assessment programs, with the UNFSS functioning to assess their credibility and help interpret and disseminate their findings.
  4. Guidance to emerging standards initiatives in the sense of helping them to develop in a more credible way, with a focus on real sustainable development.
  5. The need for working groups around harmonization and capacity needs/capacity building to further develop these important areas.

Documentation on the event and related briefing sessions:

A Summary Report of the event is now being completed and will be posted here shortly.

Please see the Downloads section below to download more information, including the Press Release. To see the presentations from the Launching Conference, please go to the Presentations section.

We remind participants that the online Feedback form is also available, in the Feedback section.

Here are some photos of the event (by Arpit Bhutani), and we will have video available soon as well. Photos of the Briefing Sessions in Bangkok and Beijing will also be posted soon.

Thank you for your participation in making this a successful event!

Next steps:

Briefing sessions will be held in:

  • Latin America (Panama- May 9th, 2013)
  • West Africa (Cameroon- June 24-27, 2013), in collaboration with the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) workshop on sustainable cocoa certification


UNFSS Press Release EN

UNFSS Press Release SP

The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) is a joint initiative of 5 UN Agencies (FAO, ITC, UNCTAD, UN Environment and UNIDO) that seeks to address these challenges. It is a demand-driven forum for intergovernmental actors to communicate among each other and engage with key target groups (producers, traders, consumers, standard-setters, certification-bodies, trade diplomats, relevant NGOs and researchers) to address their information needs and influence concerned stakeholders. It aims to provide impartial information, analysis, and discussions on VSS and their potential contribution to facilitate market access, strengthen public goods and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly, the UNFSS focuses on potential trade or development obstacles VSS may create, with particular emphasis on their impact on SMEs and less developed countries.

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