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The scale of the global sustainable development challenge is unprecedented. The fight against extreme poverty has made great progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but more than 1 billion people continue to live in extreme poverty. Inequality and social exclusion are widening within most countries. As the world population is estimated to rise to 9 billion by 2050 and global GDP to more than US$200 trillion, the world urgently needs to address the sustainable development challenges of ending poverty, increasing social inclusion, and sustaining the planet, which must be underpinned by good public and private governance.

Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2012, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) mobilizes scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. We aim to accelerate joint learning and help to overcome the compartmentalization of technical and policy work by promoting integrated approaches to the interconnected economic, social, and environmental challenges confronting the world. The SDSN works closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society.

The organization and governance of the SDSN aims to enable a large number of leaders from all regions and a diverse set of backgrounds to participate in the running of the network while at the same time ensuring effective structures for decision making and accountability. The SDSN Leadership Council acts as the board of the SDSN. A smaller Executive Committee oversees financial, programmatic, and other operational matters. Twelve Thematic Groups involving experts from around the world lead the technical work of the SDSN. Members of the SDSN are part of the SDSN Assembly and can participate in National or Regional SDSNs. A small Academic Committee deals with issues relating to education and curriculum design. The SDSN Secretariat is hosted by Columbia University with staff in Paris, New York, and New Delhi.