The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has been criticized for lack of effectiveness since its establishment in 1993. The main objective of this article is to describe and explain the mechanisms that affect the work of the CSD, in order to understand how it would be possible to enhance the potential for effectiveness. The study aims to apply the perspectives of “distribution of capabilities” and “institutional design” to evaluate the CSD's accomplishments during its fırst ten-year period. I conclude that the CSD has achieved some results in monitoring and reviewing the process on the implementation of Agenda 21 and promoting dialogue and building partnerships for sustainable development, due to the role of the secretariat and nongovernmental organizations. However, the member states' positions and interests have contributed to the CSD's low goal attainment, especially in the area of policy guidance.