The UN must reposition itself in the face of unprecedented challenges, which require integrated solutions and new ways of thinking. Leaders of the 2030 Agenda must be strong sustainable development advocates, with a deep understanding of all dimensions of the SDGs, and of varying contexts, as well as the political economy of development. They need to be policy integrators, capable of steering complex multi-stakeholder contributions.

Over the course of 5 days, senior leaders from the UN System overseeing the UN’s reform efforts, as well as senior leaders of the UN Climate Secretariat and other entities based in Bonn’s sustainability hub, will provide insights in latest developments and debates. Participants will also have an opportunity to engage with several inspirational leaders from the private sector, civil society and academia. The course includes a one-day excursion to Amsterdam to visit Buiksloterham, professional media and communications training in the TV and radio studios of the Academy of the German foreign broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), opportunities for senior level networking and practice exchanges, a simulation about the political economy of sustainable development at national level, an introduction to the recently approved UN Leadership Framework and innovative approaches to change management in an evolving context.



Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Have increased understanding of key concepts and substantive focus areas of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, as well as related normative frameworks and institutional arrangements
  • Be aware of key approaches for sustainable development programming, policy integration, partnerships and communication;
  • Demonstrate a strengthened capacity to convey a convincing sustainability message to a variety of audiences;
  • Be familiar with the concept of the circular economy, a holistic approach to peace and development challenges as well as a better understanding of ways to foster multi-stakeholder partnerships;
  • Demonstrate a better understanding of the imperatives of transformative leadership and have critically interrogated their respective organisational cultures and opportunities for change

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

The course is interactive in nature and will use real-life examples and exercises to offer opportunities for participants to learn and internalise critical elements of the training programme.

The training programme promotes intellectual and practical knowledge sharing, and fosters a culture of understanding and cross-fertilisation among participants. It offers a venue for networking among participants of various organisations aiming at fruitful collaborations on similar visions.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 
  • Day 1: Sustainable Development – what has changed and where are we going?
    Background and frameworks: dimensions of sustainable development, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, sustainability actors, the circular economy
  • Day 2: Constant dripping wears away the stone
    Repositioning the UN Development System amidst a landscape of evolving development actors, the political economy of sustainable development, fostering change and innovation in the sustainability sphere
  • Day 3: Getting the message across
    Professional media training for senior executives: communicating change
  • Day 4: Excursion to Buiksloterham in Amsterdam
    A living lab for a circular economy, which transformed a decaying industrial zone to a neighbourhood able to manage its own energy, water, and food without creating waste
  • Day 5: Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk
    The UN Leadership Framework and towards sustainable change: applying new ideas – a way forward

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

UN senior staff, government representatives and leaders in the business sector as well as from civil society, academia and foundations.

Cost of participation

Cost of participation: 

The course fee of 5,500 USD covers the following:

  • Five days of training with a balance of presentations and group work on case studies and exercises.
  • Exclusive access to our online learning platform with training and supporting background materials, and the opportunity to stay connected with colleagues.
  • All course materials, resources and contacts.

Participants are expected to cover all travel costs related to their attendance in the course. Accommodation in a hotel in town will be booked in advance by the UNSSC; however, accommodation expenses will be borne by the participants.

Certificates of Attendance from the UN System Staff College will be awarded to participants who complete the course.

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