Introduction to Sustainable Development in Practice


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Green economy, Climate change

Self-paced courses

2 hours

With certification


This introductory course teaches learners WHAT is an integrated approach to sustainable development and WHY is it needed. The course explains the rationale, drivers, challenges, and opportunities for an integrated approach to tackling poverty-environment issues. The course lays the foundations for an advanced course focused on HOW to apply the integrated approach in practice. 

Combined logos UNDP, UNEP and UNITAR

Why take this course?

After completing the introductory course, learners will be able to:

  • Discuss the poverty and environment nexus and related concepts.
  • Identify related international developments, as well as global and regional trends.
  • Explain the rationale and drivers behind integrating policy planning. 
  • Identify challenges and opportunities for advancing an integrated approach.
  • Give examples of enabling policy conditions for integrating poverty and environment issues.

This course is based on Chapter 1 of the publication "Sustainable Development in Practice: A Handbook for Integrating Environment, Climate and Poverty Reduction" (Bass et al., 2023).

The course at a glance

  • 1. Introducing the integrated approach

    Module 1 provides an overview of the poverty and environment nexus and the rationale behind adopting an integrated approach to sustainable development.

  • 2. Drivers of integration

    Module 2 looks at the main drivers for adopting an integrated approach to sustainable development at the international, national and sub-national levels.

  • 3. Challenges and opportunities

    Module 3 explores challenges for adopting an integrated approach to sustainable development, as well as the opportunities presented by tackling poverty and environment issues simultaneously.

  • 4. Applying the integrated approach

    Module 4 focuses on the application of the integrated approach and development of an overarching strategic framework to enable the same.

  • 5. Wrap-up

    The final wrap-up section of the course contain additional readings and the course final quiz.

Your Instructor

Get your Certificate

After completing the course, you will get a certificate of completion. Once you complete all videos, lessons, and activities in each module, you will need to complete the final quiz at the end of the course before the certificate becomes automatically available for download.

You can keep track of your progress and download your certificate under the "Certification" tab on the main course page. 

Partners and contributors

This course is a collaboration between UN CC:Learn and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-UN Environment (UNEP) Poverty-Environment Action (PEA) programme.

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Get started! click on the 'Go to course page'  tab at the top of this page to access the modules.