Sign up to join this highly engaging five-day online programme! UNSA fosters rich interactions on issues relevant to the work of the UN and its partners in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. This year, selected participants will attend panel discussions, engage in working group sessions, host or attend side-events, and take part in networking activities – all revolving around the overarching theme: Governance for Sustainable Development.  

The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia is funding 45 full scholarships! The criteria and the application process are described at the end of this page.  

Individual applicants covering their registration fee are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible. 


The UN Summer Academy is a dynamic, connected and engaging critical global forum for advancing sustainable development. For over a decade, UNSA has convened exceptional groups of changemakers annually to address the global challenges the UN system and its partners are addressing. It features global sustainable development experts, members of government, city councils, renowned speakers and a vibrant cohort of sustainability actors from multiple sectors and regions across the globe. This one-week virtual learning experience provides a platform to (1) foster inclusive exchanges that build skills and knowledge to address global challenges; (2) inspire action, cutting-edge approaches, and solutions from around the world; and (3) build enabling environments where participants co-create solutions towards a set of shared goals. 

In June 2023, the UN Summer Academy will once again welcome participants from civil society, academia, youth-led organizations, UN Agencies and the private sector to engage in robust discussions and knowledge exchanges on Governance for Sustainable Development. With less than a decade left to reverse the already insufficient advances on the 2030 Agenda, and effectively address the climate crisis in time, this edition will be based on transformative thinking methods and initiatives fostering a whole-of-society approach. The sub-themes of Multilevel Governance, Green and Just Transitions, and Governance for the Future have been identified as critical focus areas of the governance lever for sustainable development. 

As in previous editions, the Academy combines academic rigour with cutting-edge thinking, providing participants with innovative learning and networking opportunities. This highly interactive programme is designed to facilitate and foster dialogue with thought and action leaders who are working on the localization and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.


Upon successfully partaking in the UN Summer Academy 2023, participants will: 

  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the key notions underpinning the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change;  
  • Have improved their abilities to examine and appraise key governance challenges, opportunities and approaches for sustainable development;  
  • Have acquired capacities to prepare and practice networking, and recognize the role of different development partners; and  
  • Be able to assess and apply good practices and conceptual approaches in the area of governance for sustainable development.
Course methodology

This 4th virtual edition builds on the additional opportunities offered by its online format.  

Recognizing that transformative learning cannot take place through classical chalk and talk lectures, the UN Summer Academy is designed using experiential online learning methodologies that combine panel discussions featuring high-level speakers with interactive opportunities for knowledge exchange, experience sharing, and hands-on practice sessions.  

Most of the virtual UN Summer Academy is synchronous. The Academy features a variety of moderated online learning formats. Participants will engage with a wide range of expert inputs during live webinars, reflect in small-group during breakout activities, prepare for learner-led and peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges, and apply the knowledge and skills they have during co-creative activities. 

Participants are expected to be online at the same time during specified hours: 

  • Plenary sessions with all participants will take place between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM (CEST) every day from Monday, 26 until Friday, 30 June 2023.  
  • Additionally, to accommodate the widest possible range of time zones, participants will choose between two working group blocks. Ultimately, all participants must commit to dedicate about 5 hours each day to moderated online activities; either: 
    • Between 10h AM and 4h PM (CEST), or  
    • Between 2h PM and 8h PM (CEST). 

The UN Summer Academy places a premium on fun and relationship-building. This remains a core principle to build a safe space conducive to meaningful learning experiences, even in the virtual editions. During networking sessions, participants showcase their work, play games, and engage in other social activities. 

Course contents

Governance for Sustainable Development is UNSA 2023 main theme. The sub-themes of (1) Multilevel Governance, (2) Green and Just Transitions, and (3) Governance for the Future have been identified as critical focus areas of the governance lever for sustainable development. Participants will examine the different thematic areas looking at how transformative thought frameworks of systems thinking, futures thinking, and design thinking can address these issues in a complex and volatile context.  

By acknowledging different stakeholders’ perspectives, and studying concrete examples, participants will be exposed to a variety of relevant practices from diverse contexts. 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are the main international cooperation tools that will be further unpacked. The programme will explore sustainable development from a multi-sectoral perspective, one of the key elements underpinning the notion of sustainable development.  

Alongside the main theme, sub-themes, and conceptual approaches, the Academy will also feature trending sustainable development topics such as innovation for sustainable development and frontier technologies. Experts will highlight the latest developments in these areas and their potential contribution to the governance efforts for sustainable development. 

For 7 years, UNSA has been held in the city of Bonn, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, in Germany. The virtual editions of the UN Summer Academy benefit from the active contribution to the programme, support and collaboration of UNSSC/KCSD local partners. The online platform includes a space for networking where participants get to know the city of Bonn virtually and “take a seat’ in different sites and chat. 

A detailed agenda with opportunities to led side-events will be shared with successful applicants a few weeks before the UN Summer Academy begins. 

Target audience

UN professionals, representatives from national and local government bodies, civil society, academia, as well as private sector sustainability intrapreneurs. More specifically, successful applicants to UNSA are mid-level professionals with 5-15 years of experience working in governance for sustainable development.

IMPORTANT: Up to 120 applicants who sign up will be selected based on their professional/academic profile and motivation statements. When signing up, make sure you dedicate enough time to fill in all the required information, especially at the question: “Tell us a bit more about why you are applying for this course”.  

The participant's selection criteria include your ability to articulate why you believe you have the right profile and to show your motivation to take part in this learning opportunity. Additionally, the selection board will make sure geographic regions, gender, and sectors – including UN and non-UN - are well represented in the cohort.

Technical requirements: To participate in this online training, participants will need to access the course through a desktop PC or laptop with an internet connection, as well as a functioning webcam, microphone, and speakers. Internet speed and volume should be sufficient for four to five hours of video-conferencing each day. Due to the interactive and co-creative format of the Academy, it is not possible to participate using a smartphone. Further details on technical requirements will be shared with successful applicants.

Cost of participation

The course fee of USD 750 for individual participants covers the following:  

  • Five days of online training, including a technical orientation session on how to navigate the virtual platform and use the collaborative tools for the course.  
  • Exclusive access to the UNSSC online social learning environment with asynchronous learning activities, background materials, and the opportunity to connect with and learn from peers. 
  • All course materials, references, and contacts.  

Participants are expected to cover all costs related to their participation in the UN Summer Academy (computer, Internet access, any other IT equipment, etc.).

Certificates from the United Nations System Staff College will be awarded to participants who meet the attendance rate criteria for the UN Summer Academy. 


In order to offer highly qualified candidates, the possibility to participate in the online UN Summer Academy, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is funding 45 scholarships covering 100% of the registration fee for the five-day online learning event. The scholarship application process is highly competitive, and we encourage you to finance your application through other means if possible.  

To qualify for a scholarship, you must meet the following criteria:   

  • Have professional or academic experience in sustainable development;   
  • Submit a proposal for how you will act as a multiplier, applying and passing on the acquired knowledge; and   
  • Demonstrate your motivation to actively participate in the UN Summer Academy programme. The virtual Summer Academy is synchronous, all participants are expected to be online at the same time during specified hours (either 10:00 am to 4:00 pm CEST or 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm CEST) every day, 26-30 June 2023. 

Applicants from NRW and its partner countries and regions are strongly encouraged to apply. The deadline for scholarship applications has just been extended to Friday, 12 May 2023.  

How to apply for a UNSA 2023 Scholarship?  

Please read the instructions carefully before you begin.  

  • Step 1: Please right-click on this link to open the Scholarship Application Form in a new tabRead Step 2 and Step 3 before filling in the Scholarship Application Form.  
  • Step 2: Remaining on the current tab, please first ‘Sign up’ for the UN Summer Academy by clicking on the “Sign up” button above.  
  • Step 3: Once your course registration is completed, and pending approval (you should receive an automatically generated email), please go to the Scholarship Application Form, and submit it by 12 May 2023 (deadline extended).  

Important: your scholarship application will not be taken into consideration if you have not registered on this page first.

We are looking forward to receiving your application!

Sponsored by
Staatskanzlei des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen