New York, United States / Geneva, Switzerland – 20 September, 2023 - The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a landmark Statement of Intent, signaling their commitment to the role of International Standards in addressing global development challenges. 

They will collaborate on initiatives geared towards enhancing international standards that advance sustainability actions by both the public and private sectors, including the prospective development of the first international standard for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on UNDP’s SDG Impact Standards and relevant ISO standards. 

Such a standard would be significant in that it will provide a common basis for documentation and certification, making it easier for organizations and companies to align their efforts and document progress toward the SDGs.

“As we see with SDG 17 – Partnerships for Goals achieving the SDGs requires true partnering across all sectors. This partnership between ISO and UNDP brings forth an opportunity to build on the unique contributions of each organization for a more resilient and equitable future for all,” said ISO President, Ulrika Francke.

“By helping to shape new management standards for businesses and investors, UNDP and ISO can ensure that sustainability and the SDGs are not just an add-on to business – they will be an intrinsic part of how all business is done,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “With better practices, we will achieve better outcomes for business and investors – and better outcomes for people and planet.”

This partnership creates the opportunity to harness the complementary competencies and reach of two of the world’s leading organizations in their field and marks a notable step towards aligning sustainability standards globally. 

The two organizations look forward to a close collaboration together with all who contribute to advancing the achievement of the SDGs.

About ISO

ISO is an international organization with a membership of 168 national standards bodies. Through its global network, it facilitates the development of voluntary and market-relevant International Standards that support innovation, sustainability, and global trade.

About UNDP

As the United Nations lead agency on international development, UNDP works in 170 countries and territories to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. UNDP helps countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and to build resilience to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Its work is concentrated in three focus areas: sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, and climate and disaster resilience.

About UNDP Sustainable Finance Hub

The Sustainable Finance Hub brings together UNDP’s financial expertise to harness public and private capital for the Sustainable Development Goals – supporting governments, investors and businesses in reaching climate, social impact and sustainability targets. Its work drives systemic change towards a sustainable financial architecture that benefits people and planet. 

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Catherine Infante

External Communications


Haw-Yan Man

Strategic Communications Specialist