Mandate and Institutional Background

The Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) is a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It was established in 1992 as a result of the restructuring and revitalisation of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields.

The Commission met for the first time in April 1993 in New York, USA. Since July 1993, the UNCTAD secretariat has been responsible for the substantive servicing of the Commission. The Commission has subsequently met in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Commission was established to provide the General Assembly and ECOSOC with high-level advice on relevant issues through analysis and appropriate policy recommendations or options in order to enable those organs to guide the future work of the United Nations, develop common policies and agree on appropriate actions.

Mandate related to the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

Since 2006, the Commission has been mandated by ECOSOC to serve as the focal point in the system-wide follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the information Society (WSIS) and advise the Council thereon, including through the elaboration of recommendations to the Council aimed at furthering the implementation of the Summit outcomes.

To that end, the Commission:

  • Reviews and assesses progress at the international and regional levels in the implementation of action lines, recommendations and commitments contained in the outcome documents of the Summit.

  • Shares best and effective practices and lessons learned and identifies obstacles and constraints encountered, actions and initiatives to overcome them and important measures for further implementation of the Summit outcomes.

  • Promotes dialogue and foster partnerships, in coordination with other appropriate United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies, to contribute to the attainment of the Summit
    objectives and the implementation of its outcomes and to use information and communication technologies for development and the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, with the participation of Governments, the private sector, civil society, the United Nations and other international organizations in accordance with their different roles and responsibilities.

Mandate related to science and technology for development

The Commission acts as a forum for:

  • The examination of science and technology questions and their implications for development;
    the advancement of understanding on science and technology policies, particularly in respect of developing countries.

  • The formulation of recommendations and guidelines on science and technology matters within the United Nations system.

Frequency of Meetings

The Commission meets annually for a period of one week (ECOSOC resolution 2002/37, reaffirmed in Council decision 2003/291 of 24 July 2003).