Matilda Dunn

Thesis title:

Investigating the UN System Wide Framework of Strategies on the Environment for supporting the implementation of the environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


In 2015, the United Nations released the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 inter-related global goals that provide a blueprint for peace, prosperity and environmental protection. Unfortunately, despite the holistic nature of these goals they are often considered independently, both in terms of how they are implemented and how progress towards them is monitored. In particular, how the environment interacts with economic and societal goals is very difficult and not well-understood. At the same time, the UN system itself is not uniform in its approach to the implementation of the SDGs and how it tackles environmental issues. Consequently, different agencies within the UN system have their own mandates with respect to environmental issues and the SDGs more broadly, and there is limited collaboration across the UN. In 2014, the UN System Wide Framework of Strategies on the Environment (SWFS) was proposed as a collaborative framework to support the wider UN system in delivering on the environmental dimensions of the SDGs. To date, however, this has had little success and the aim of this project to support the improved development of the SWFS and also provide data to demonstrate how environmental issues underpin the delivery of the SDGs as a whole. The project will explore the relationships between the environment and wider sustainable development goals and explore how different UN agencies interact, particularly within the sphere of sustainable development and environmental management. Ultimately, the project will deliver an improved SWFS alongside a test-case report evaluating the applicability of this new system. The project will draw on quantitative and qualitative data collection and analytical techniques and work across both the academic and policy-making sectors. Overall, the outcomes of this project will feed directly into how the SDGs are delivered across the UN system and consequently, across the world.

First supervisor:

Dr Caroline Howe

CASE partner:

United Nations Environment Management Group


13. Politics, Public Policy & Governance




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