Multi-Lateral Summaries > United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat is a vital interface between global policies in the economic, social, and environmental spheres and national action. The Department works in three main interlinked areas:

  • It compiles, generates, and analyzes a wide range of economic, social, and environmental data and information which UN MSs draw on in order to review common problems and to take stock of policy options;
  • It facilitates the negotiations of MSs in many intergovernmental bodies on joint courses of action to address ongoing or emerging global challenges; and
  • It advises interested governments on the ways and means of translating policy frameworks developed in UN conferences and summits into programmes at the country level and, through technical assistance, helps build national capacities.

TCB Related Programme

Through its capacity development activities, UNDESA assists countries at their request in global advocacy and in trade policy development as part of broader national development strategies. In so doing, it collaborates with the Regional Commissions and UNCTAD, particularly through the UN Development Account and its projects.

The typical impacts are an increased ability of policy-makers to exploit and expand the existing policy space they have in setting trade and other economic and social policies.


The UN Development Account involves partnerships between UNDESA, UNCTAD, and the Regional Commissions. The projects implemented or under implementation have benefited from the collaboration of the member entities of the United Nations Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs (ECESA), which includes all those entities with normative, analytical, and operational activities in economic and social development.

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TCB activities in this guide


  • World Economic and Social Survey (WESS)


  • Capacity-building for graduation strategies for least developed countries in Asia and Africa
  • Capacity building for removing constraints in utilizing trade-related international support measures for least developed countries