Tag: SDGs

Civil Society Reactions: Global Sustainable Development agenda finalised in New York

August 3 - New York: The world has updated its to do list to drive solutions to our biggest problems - poverty, inequality and climate change - after the new Global Sustainable Development agenda was finalised in New York on Sunday in preparation for ratification by world leaders at a major UN summit in September. The agenda, which includes a landmark set of 17 goals, acknowledges for the first time that countries need to address climate change as a developmental challenge, decoupling growth from environmental degradation. Governments will need to raise their ambition to start delivering on these goals by producing a universal and legally binding Paris agreement on climate this December to shift to a low-carbon economy.

For the first time, these global goals acknowledge that the world can’t deal with these crises in isolation, said David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK. "We can – in our generation – stamp out extreme poverty and achieve sustainable development. But with climate impacts already hitting the most vulnerable people hardest, it’s clear that we will not meet these global goals unless we take decisive action on climate change, get an ambitious and universal climate agreement with legal force in Paris and manage to address the existing emissions gap – as rightly acknowledged by the post-2015 summit outcome document agreed at the UN in New York yesterday.” Nussbaum said. “That’s why we welcome the newly minted post-2015 sustainable development framework, which features climate action as a headline goal, as well as it running through many other goals like a green thread. The new framework recognises that addressing climate change and eradicating poverty are profoundly connected.”

“Many countries will need to drastically alter policies in favour of people and planet if they take this new to do list for the planet seriously. To tackle poverty and dangerous climate change, we must urgently end the fossil fuel era and deliver 100% renewable energy for all" said Daniel Mittler, political director of Greenpeace International. "These goals will mean nothing unless governments at the Paris climate summit complete the task and agree to phase out fossil fuels and switch to 100% renewable energy for all by 2050.”

The Sustainable Development Agenda has laid the groundwork for such a signal, according to Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network International. “In New York, this week governments have failed to acknowledge the need to have ‘a world free from harmful emissions', which is needed to address the climate challenge, but there was a strong recognition that there is a need to follow more ambitious emission reduction pathways to stay below 2 or 1.5 degrees temperature rise. Beyond these temperatures economic development will become severely hampered.”

Neil Thorns, director of advocacy at CAFOD, welcomed the progress that these new goals represent in relation to the MDGs understanding of our shared responsibility to care for our common home. “Pope Francis’ powerful statements recently have reminded us that we must stand in solidarity with the poorest people and the environment, and that we must phase out fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy to do this. The goals alone are not a solution to our world’s problems but a stepping stone we need to build on in the climate talks in Paris and through meaningful implementation of these goals over the next 15 years. This is our responsibility for present and future generations.”

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 950 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from over 110 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org  

Contact: Mark Raven, CAN International, email: mraven@climatenetwork.org, phone: +90 53626 88406


Climate Action Network Welcomes to the UNSG's High Level Report on SDGs

Climate Action Network has welcomed the launch by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon of the Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General On the Post-2015 Agenda, titled ‘The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet’.

This report is the culmination of a number of strands of work over the last year, which started with Rio+20 in 2012, and will drive the next nine months of negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will be agreed in September in New York. The Sustainable Development Goals will act as the world’s to-do list to end poverty and will come into effect in January, 2016 and run til 2030.

The report places action on climate change at the heart of a set of principles to achieve sustainable development. The report not only keeps the door open for a standalone goal on climate change and also to ensure that all the SDGS are aligned with climate action. It thereby builds momentum towards both the agreement of strong and effective SDGs and a comprehensive, global agreement on climate change due in Paris in December next year.


Climate change and poverty: why action is needed

A set of Sustainable Development Goals to be agreed next year offer a vital opportunity for the international community to tackle the way that climate change is driving people into poverty, saysa new report.

‘The Right Climate for Development: why the SDGs must act on climate change’ released ahead of the twin UN meetings for Heads of State in New York – the UN Climate Summit on 23 September and the opening of the General Assembly debate on post-2015 development on 24 September 2014.

The work is in response to the latest findings of the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that has warned climate change is a massive threat to poverty reduction and sustainable development.

“Fact is the solution to extreme poverty, climate change and environmental degradation requires an integrated response if we are to get lasting change. Often we find climate change is a common cause but it is how this manifests itself which is key: changes in climate play out through natural resources – the underlying environment that particularly people in poverty most directly depend on” said David Nussbaum, CEO of WWF-UK to representatives of the public, private and NGO sector at the launch of the report in London on 10 September 2014.

The new report, written by Christian Aid, WWF-UK, Greenpeace, Oxfam GB, CAFOD, Practical Action and CARE International, says it is now clearer than ever that without action to tackle climate change, efforts to eradicate poverty will be fruitless.

The greater plight for poor and vulnerable people caused by climate change can be already seen now. They are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, suffering the loss of their homes, jobs and crops, along with ill-health from the spread of disease exacerbated by climate change.

The report says rising sea levels and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as typhoons and floods – all the result of global warming – are claiming lives, destroying or damaging homes and infrastructure, reducing crop yields, and ruining employment prospects.

These impacts will only increase, it warns, if action is not taken to cut carbon emissions and support is not given to communities to adapt to the changes that they are already experiencing.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will succeed to the Millennium Development Goals that expire at the end of 2015, must therefore include a standalone goal on tackling climate change. And they must also commit governments to robust action to support emission cuts and build the resilience of communities affected by climate change.

For developing countries which must not be deprived of the opportunity of progress, the SDGs need to signpost how progress can be achieved without adding carbon emissions. They must be a blue print for low carbon development the world over, encompassing all sectors affected by climate change, including health, agriculture urban development, energy, water access and income generation.

Specifically, the report says, the goals should:

  • Include a standalone goal on climate that will encourage all countries to follow a low carbon development pathway.
  • Take on board that most of the new infrastructure for low or zero-carbon development will need to be built or start development during the SDGs timeframe of up to 2030.
  • Recognise the many benefits increased access to sustainable, affordable, reliable and safe energy will bring to poverty reduction, education, health, women’s empowerment and sustainable livelihoods.
  • A goal already proposed on growth and employment goal should recognise the benefits that low carbon development, particularly investment in renewable energy production and energy efficiency, can have in creating decent employment.
  • And a proposed goal to ‘ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’ needs to address expressly the role that unsustainable consumption and production in richer societies plays in driving climate change.
  • Acknowledge the fact that to decarbonise electricity by up to 100 per cent by 2050, is crucial if temperature rises are to be kept below 2 degrees Celsius.

This blog has been reproduced with the kind permission of WWF International. The original is here: http://climate-energy.blogs.panda.org/2014/09/10/climate-change-poverty-action-needed/

Post-2015 CAN reaction document OWG13

CAN welcomes the efforts of the Members of the Open Working Group on SDGs to provide a coherent and comprehensive list of goals and targets in their report to the UN General Assembly. In advance of the next OWG session we would like to offer comments and suggestions on behalf of CAN to support the process and provide constructive input.


From Bonn to New York

As we wrap up in Bonn, New York is preparing to host an equally important process, the penultimate session of the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ECO’s done its homework and can tell you that the linkage between climate change, poverty eradication and sustainable development makes it clear that the post-2015 sustainable development framework will fail if climate change is not adequately addressed within it.

In an open letter, more than 170 civil society organisations and networks, from over 50 developed and developing countries, have called for the “framework to address climate change in a manner that recognises the urgency and importance of dealing with the most fundamental challenge of our time”.

They call for a separate, stand-alone climate change goal, and for climate elements to be included in other relevant goals: “A robust framework of this nature will help to support the scale of ambition needed to achieve the UNFCCC’s aims and help to ensure the delivery of a strong climate deal at COP21 in Paris in 2015”.

ECO expects negotiators in New York to take note: strong and ambitious climate goals need to be part of the SDGs.

Related Newsletter : 

SDGs? Whazit? And what’s climate got to do with it?

In a land far far away, a bunch of busy bees are currently negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This brainchild of the Rio+20 Summit should provide for a successor to the MDGs, and is supposed to end poverty and bring on sustainable development. Since March last year, the members of the Open Working Group on SDGs have been working on an inspirational, aspirational and otherwise brilliant ‘To Do List’ (the goals) for international development over the next 15 years. Their recommendations are due to be delivered to the UN General Assembly by September 2014. The next round of negotiations starts on 16 June.

What will end up on the goals list, depends on a battle that is yet to come. There are already some things in place like gender, health, education, food and agriculture, energy and water. There’s also some new kids on the block too, like climate change, ecosystems, forests and cities. Amongst all of these, the climate change goal is having the hardest time staying alive. At the moment the working group’s report’s zero draft has it on life support but a number of powerful countries are trying hard to pull the plug. These murderous intentions are only being kept at bay by a handful of brave countries and groups, like the LDCs, some island states, Bangladesh and Guatemala. Far too many others are just watching the battle from the sidelines.

It’s time to do some soul searching on why a climate goal is worth having.

Is it because addressing climate change is a pre-requisite to ending poverty and achieving sustainable development? Or because the IPCC has hammered it home, time and time again, that climate change disproportionately affects the poorest and that action cannot wait another minute? Or because some leaders agree that climate change is the greatest threat to development? Heads of States will find it hard to credibly justify the SDGs in September 2015 without climate change goals while academia, civil society and even the private sector (and of course, ECO too!) realise that this is the most pressing challenge of our generation .

Now that we get that, what’s that got that to do with the UNFCCC?

A set of climate-blind SDGs agreed in September 2015 wouldn’t set a nice stage for an ambitious climate agreement a few weeks later in Paris would it? Since the SDGs cover areas like energy, agriculture, water, forests, oceans, cities and economic growth, they can, and will, massively contribute to both mitigation and adaptation action. If you strive for low-carbon and climate-resilient DEVELOPMENT, you might throw the occasional side glance at those DEVELOPMENT goals.

Both processes are currently looking at the same pots for money and they intersect during implementation where (hopefully!) the same national strategies will guide climate and development action.

For ECO, it seems pretty straightforward that climate change must be strongly and credibly reflected in the SDGs and we want to encourage the Bonn clique to connect with their mates in New York - go!

Related Newsletter : 

Doubling Climate Ambition - How the Post 2015 and UNFCCC processes complement each other.

April 2014:

There is growing global recognition that climate change is a critical development challenge and one of the most important issues that could undermine sustainable development and poverty eradication if not properly addressed. Furthermore, choosing sustainable development pathways will in turn lead to action on climate change so both must be considered together. 


CAN Position: Climate Change and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, April 2014


Key Points

Climate Action Network (CAN) thinks that the Sustainable Development (SDGs) frameworks should include a goal on addressing climate change as well as mainstreaming climate action across all other relevant goals. Only then will action on climate change get the visibility that it deserves due to its importance, relevance and urgency.

CAN further believes that bringing the post-2015 development process and the UNFCCC process into alignment can help deliver the scale of ambitions needed to achieve the aims of both processes, namely preventing dangerous anthropogenic climate change whilst eradicating poverty, and achieving sustainable development.

For CAN, climate action in this context means that all countries, respective to their differentiated responsibilities and capabilities, ensure the transition to low/zero-carbon development with a view to phase out net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, build adaptive capacities and resilience to environmental shocks and stresses, especially of poor and vulnerable communities.

BACKGROUND: Two processes, one important year

2015 is an important year: it is the year in which intergovernmental negotiators will agree the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as priorities of the next international development framework, as well as a new, global, legally-binding climate agreement. There is much at stake as together these two agreements will shape the future of the planet and all who live on it, for generations to come.

Politically, the post-2015 and UNFCCC process are discrete processes; however, the decisions taken within one will have critical implications for the other. The agreement reached under the UNFCCC will, for example, influence whether post-2015 development will be implemented in a two, three, four (or more) degree world, and the SDGs will influence not only how resilient and well adapted to the effects of climate change poor and vulnerable communities will be, but also the pace and carbon intensity of development in all countries.

Countries acknowledged the centrality of climate change to the post-2015 development agenda reaffirming ‘that climate change is a cross-cutting and persistent crisis’ and ‘the scale and gravity of the negative impacts of climate change affect all countries and undermine the ability of all countries, in particular, developing countries, to achieve sustainable development [...] and threaten the viability and survival of nations. Therefore [countries] underscore that combating climate change requires urgent and ambitious action’.


Discussion Paper: Options for Integrating Climate Change Considerations Into the Post-2015 Development Framework

April 2014;

Author: Bernadette Fischler, CAFOD. With contributions from: Rachel Garthwaite, Save the Children, Ruth Fuller and Dominic White, WWF UK, Sven Harmeling and Kit Vaughan, CARE, Sarah Wykes, Graham Gordon and Neva Frecheville, CAFOD, Lis Wallace, Progressio. (Supported by CAN and Beyond2015 but not an official position)



At the 2012 Rio+20 conference all countries agreed that climate change is a major obstacle to sustainable development and poverty eradication. This is supported by the experience of people living in poverty and vulnerability and major UN reports feeding into post-2015.3 Science further underlines the immediate need for action in all areas, including international development. The urgency for action is underpinned by climate science and the window of opportunity for avoiding dangerous climate change is rapidly closing. Even a 2˚C world will undermine development gains and make attaining post-2015 objectives more difficult. The post-2015 framework must help to make climate action in all countries happen without further delay and must support poor people to respond to climate impacts they are experiencing already. 

The purpose of this paper is to describe different options for including climate change in the post-2015 framework, and to facilitate a more informed and constructive debate by providing suggestions for possible target areas. A series of approaches to addressing climate change are discussed, including a "light touch‟ or narrative-only approach in option 0; mainstreaming climate change targets to make all relevant goals "climate-smart‟ in option 1; and three potential options for a ‟stand-alone‟ climate goal in options 2-4. 

None of these approaches are mutually exclusive. A truly committed post-2015 development framework would do all of these things. However, recognising the political nature of this process, we highlight the benefits and trade-offs associated with each to help informed decision-making. 

This paper builds on two papers presented during a workshop in October in London and the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG on SDGs) meeting in November 2013. They have been put together by a group of development and environment organisations with the support of Beyond 2015 and CAN-International, two major global NGO networks involved in this agenda. 


Intervention at the Post 2015 Open Working Group on Energy

 -        We are concerned to hear some Parties sequencing the energy discussion, saying that we need to ensure energy access before sustainability. Creating an atmosphere of competition between the two. For us it is not the case, and we see them mutually reinforcing. For example, decentralized RE in most cases is the cheapest and most reliable way to provide energy access. Due to future climate impacts, it is not possible to achieve one without the other. Focusing on energy access without addressing carbon emissions will only increase poverty on the long-term due to climate impacts.

-          We are also concerned that there is more and more attempts to rely on the private sector (especially the Fossil Fuel Industry) to lead on the discussions in relation to how to deal with the climate crisis. We believe that governments need to be charge of the debate as well as ensure strong and effective involvement of civil society. Governments need to create the political, economic, and social atmosphere that would direct private and public investments towards sustainable low-carbon development, such as developing LCDS, reforming FFS, creating RE/EE targets, etc.

-          According to the IEA, 2/3 of fossil fuels should not be used, if we want to avoid catastrophic climate impacts. In her speech to the coal industry during the climate summit in Warsaw, Christiana Figueres also confirmed this fact, by informing the industry that the coal needs to stay in the ground.

-          Everyone is saying that the new post-2015 Sustainable Development goals need to be transformational. This means for us that in the energy sector, we need to mostly switch to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, especially that RE creates more jobs per kwh in most cases that are healthier and of better quality.

-          RE targets for 2030 need to be in-line with science, and have 5-year sub targets to help bridge the pre-2020 ambition gap.


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