Within the United Nations, several organisations develop environmental actions or actions that make significant contribution to sustainable development.
UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Its headquarter is in Paris.
The FPS Health specifically monitors the 1972 World Heritage Convention of Humanity. This convention delivers labels and develops management programs for natural terrestrial and marine sites, based on the opinions and criteria issued by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), its scientific adviser.
There are no certified natural sites by UNESCO in Belgium. Only some cultural sites were awarded this label. However, sites of global interest, particularly vulnerable and threatened, such as the Virunga Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), attract the attention of Belgian scientists and the Development Cooperation.
From 2009 to 2013, DG Environment concluded a partnership and capacity building agreement with this Convention in order to support in these exceptional sites, activities related to climate change, biodiversity or even the preservation of forest.
UNESCO is also the lead agency of the United Nations for water and home to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. One of its programmes has its headquarters in Ostend (I.O.D.E. – International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange).
UNESCO is also developing a programme for sustainable development education and a program entitled "Man and Biosphere". Several sites of global significance are recognised as "Biosphere Reserves", which gives them some protection.
Finally UNESCO develops activities on scientific and environmental ethics, particularly related to climate change.
UNESCO has established a Liaison office in Brussels to strengthen its ties with the European Union.
The first forum was held on 24 September 2013.
Its aim is to monitor the implementation of sustainable development and to facilitate the integration, efficiency and coordination of all three dimensions of sustainable development:
• economic development,
• social development,
• environmental development.
These new summits aim to give greater weight to international governance of sustainable development and enable the creation of a new development agenda after 2015.