The United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) will host its third thought leadership series event “Shaping Public Policy Through Behavioral Science” on 8 September from 15:30 – 17:00 CET. The virtual event aims to provide an engaging space for all who are interested in understanding the use of social behaviour insights as a tool to design and implement public policy. Worldwide, forward thinking institutions are leveraging behavioural science to drive progress towards climate change, good health and wellbeing, poverty alleviation and more. However, it often remains unclear how these insights can be applied and by whom.

Moderated by UNSSC director Jafar Javan and featuring leading experts:

  • Cass Sunstein (Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard. Founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School);
  • Dilip Soman (Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Science and Economics. Director of the Behavioural Economics in Action Research Centre at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto) ;
  • Mary MacLennan (Senior Advisor on Behavioural Science in the UN Executive Office of the Secretary-General. Leads the UN Behavioural Science Group in the UN Innovation Network); and
  • Renos Vakis (Lead Economist with the Poverty and Equity Global Practice where he leads the Mind, Behavior, and Development Unit at the World Bank)

the event will include engaging guest interviews that will unpack the significance and potential benefit of behavioral insights and public policy from a wide range of perspectives.

The thought leadership series event is a response to the UN Secretary-General’s call to strengthen UN efforts to foster interventions that are driven by behavioural insights and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, the UN Innovation Network’s UN Behavioural Science Group, promotes awareness and supports behavioural science work at the UN. Interventions that leverage behavioural science are being applied throughout the UN system.

“I am inspired by the great work that our UN colleagues are developing in the area of public policy as it relates to behavioural science. It is just the beginning and I look forward to a time when we can start witnessing the expanded impact of behavioral science for our work on the SDGs. The Shaping Public Policy Through Behavioral Science event will undoubtably be great platform for further knowledge sharing and collaboration that will offer new opportunities for us to design even better policies and programmes”, said UNSSC Director Jafar Javan.


Interested individuals are encouraged to sign up for the event here. The Staff College is accepting questions from attendees. Questions can be directed to ahead of the event on 8 September 2022.

Join the conversation by following the #BehaviouralScienceForSDGs hashtag on social media.