Tag: SDGs

Sustainable energy access for all and the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda

Integrating climate change into the post-2015 agenda: HOW and WHY?
With special focus on sustainable energy access for all

Time and Date: 27 Nov 2013, 1.15-2.30 pm, 

Location: Conference Room 7, UN HQ, New York

This side event during the 5th session of the Open Working Group on SDGs will tackle two crucial topics that are prerequisite to eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development: climate change and sustainable access to energy for all. Climate change is an existential threat that will continue to disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable people and places, impacting negatively on those least responsible for the climate crisis. 

Securing universal access to modern energy services and transitioning energy systems away from fossil fuels will central to solving both the climate change crisis and the global poverty crisis. Without addressing the causes of climate change and all its impacts, comprehensively, goals on eradicating poverty – including any goal on energy access for people in poverty – will be ineffective and short term, and fail to ensure sustainable development.

It is essential to start finding concrete ways to integrate climate protection, energy access and poverty reduction in a holistic development framework. During this side event, the panellists will outline government, UN and civil society perspectives on such concrete ways, followed by a short questions and answers session.

David Hallam, Special Envoy on post 2015, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Janine Felson, Ambassador of Belize and special adviser to the UN PGA
David O’Connor, Chief, Policy and Analysis Branch, Division for Sustainable Development. UN-DESA
Minoru Takada, Senior Policy Adviser, Sustainable Energy for All
Wael Hmaidan, Director, CAN-I
Bernadette Fischler, Post-2015 Policy Analyst, CAFOD, Co-Chair of Beyond 2015

Dominic White, Chair of Bond

RSVP to bfischler@cafod.org.uk

Integrating sustainable energy and climate change into the Post-2015 agenda: how and why?

Integrating sustainable energy and climate change into the Post-2015 agenda: how and why?

Time: 26 November 2013, 8am-9am
Location: Amartya Sen Conference Room, FF Building, New York. 

The aim of the post-2015 development framework is to “eradicate extreme poverty in all its forms while ensuring a sustainable development path for all countries”. However, climate change is an existential threat, that is and will continue to disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable people and places the most, impacting negatively those least responsible for the climate crisis. Further, securing universal access to modern energy services and transitioning energy systems away from fossil fuels is central to solving both the climate change crisis and the global poverty crisis.

A goal on energy access for people in poverty and many other goals on poverty eradication will only be effective in the long run if it addresses also the causes of climate change and all its impacts. It is essential to start finding concrete ways to integrate climate protection and human development needs in a holistic development framework.

A group of environment and development organizations convened by CAFOD and WWF UK with the support of Beyond 2015 and CAN-International put together a set of concrete recommendations on how to meaningfully address energy access and climate change across the post-2015 framework. The resulting discussion papers form the basis for a conversation on these pertinent topics during the November sessions of the OWG on SDGs.

This breakfast meeting will provide a space for open and informal discussions on concrete suggestions to integrate sustainable energy access for all and tackling climate change into the post-2015 development framework.


  • 8:00am – Welcome and introductions, Corinne Woods, Director UN Millennium Campaign
  • 8:05am – Concrete suggestions on how to integrate energy access and climate change into the post-2015 framework, Bernadette Fischler, CAFOD/Beyond 2015
  • 8:15am – Open Discussion moderated by the Chair, Corinne Woods, Director UN Millennium Campaign
  • 9:00am – End of event

*The discussion will be held under Chatham House rules to encourage an open dialogue 


Intervention: Remarks by Jeffery Huffines of CIVICUS on behalf of CIVICUS, Climate Action Network and Beyond 2015 at Environmental Sustainability Briefing, 19 April 2013


Remarks by Jeffery Huffines of CIVICUS on behalf of CIVICUS, Climate Action Network and Beyond 2015

Briefing on Environmental Sustainability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

19 April 2013


Jeffery Huffines is Main Representative of CIVICUS: World Alliance For Citizen Participation at UN Headquarters in here in New York and has served as Rio+20 NGO Major Group Organizing Partner since October 2011. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, CIVICUS is a global alliance of citizens and civil society groups striving to protect, enable and enhance civic action and civil society around the world. Moreover, as a member of the Beyond 2015/GCAP UN Working Group and the UNDG Post-2015 Outreach Strategy Planning Group set up for the purpose of facilitating the participation of key stakeholders in the post-2015 global conversation, CIVICUS was invited to participate in two of the eleven thematic consultations on governance in Johannesburg and on environmental sustainability last month in San Jose, Costa Rica.


I am here to represent Wael Hmaidan, Director of CAN International, Climate Action Network, which is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations working together to promote government action to address the climate crisis, with more than 700 member organizations in over 90 countries. Together with Beyond 2015 representing more than 570 organizations from 95 countries, CAN International helped organize civil society participation in the thematic consultation on environmental sustainability. To kick off preparations for this thematic consultation, CAN International and Beyond 2015 produced a paper that served as a basis for civil society participation in 4 weeks of online e-consultations that took place immediately beforehand.

In contrast to the preparations of the MDGs where neither Member States nor civil society or the private sector had an opportunity to provide advance input into the formulation of the goals, UNDP and the UN Environment Programme, together with the co-hosts of the Governments of France and Costa Rica, are to be commended for organizing a comprehensive series of consultations on the theme of environmental sustainability, the seventh Millennium Development Goal. With over 30 leading and emerging thinkers from civil society representing both grassroots movements and international networks from regions around the world, the consultations in Costa Rica represented the culmination of the first phase of a continuing conversation.

The diverse participation of leading civil society representatives, UN officials, government officials and business leaders, brought to the fore the complex trade-offs among growth, poverty and the environment that confront policy decision makers.  Civil society representatives were unanimous that there needs to be a fundamental paradigm shift in the current economic model if the three dimensions of sustainable development are to be effectively rebalanced and integrated. Radical changes in consumption patterns where the wealthiest 20% account for 80% of global consumption must be complemented by the use of more holistic criteria than GDP for measuring success. A central challenge, therefore, is to reduce the impacts of consumption and production to maintain human wellbeing, while operating within the limits of sustainability set by the planetary boundaries, and redistribute consumption towards the poorest and most marginalized.

A number of innovative ideas were considered. To overcome the myth that environmental protection means the loss of economic prosperity, the question of putting into place proper price incentives was discussed that would change consumer and business behavior by such means as eliminating perverse subsidies and enforcing carbon taxes. One participant proposed making natural resources cheap or free for those that use very little, and expensive for those that use excessive amounts, thus respecting planetary boundaries without affecting the poor. Another pointed out that sustainable companies are outperforming their unsustainable peers. Common support was expressed for the role of diverse local economies; respect for the global commons, the importance of changing attitudes, behaviors and consumption patterns; the shift towards an equitable green or “smart” economy, and taking an ecosystem approach. 

With regard to MDG 7, the consensus was that the design of this goal was fundamentally flawed as it was not integrated with other goals, lacked environmental measurements and data, and was narrowly focused on conservation to the exclusion of other core issues, such as climate change, natural capital, SCP and oceans. On barriers to the implementation of MDG 7, participants cited the “silo syndrome”; the lack of integration of global targets into domestic policies, and the need for an accountability framework.

Participants recognized that if sustainable development is to be realized, than all stakeholders must challenge their preconceived notions of “business as usual.” Members of the environmental and development sectors must go beyond their own set of biases if they are to bring they are to more effectively integrate their respective agendas. For example, one participant suggested that labeling goals as “environmental” automatically flags them as a “last priority” for many governments, particularly from developing countries, while another person pointed out that some in the development arena will not accept that limits on consumption exist. The new goals must highlight links with environmental sustainability, economics and poverty.

With the national and thematic consultations now concluding and with the HLP report being prepared for release next month, our attention turns to the intergovernmental negotiations now taking place by the Open Working Group on the SDGs, on the high level political forum for sustainable development, and the formation of the Expert Committee on a Sustainable Development Strategy. A strong institutional framework and means of implementation are critical for the success of any SDGs. If the high level political forum is going to serve as the cornerstone of the post-2015 development agenda, Member States must ensure the equal participation of ministers of finance, development and environment at its meetings, and integrate decision-making across ministries at home to reduce separation of thematic goals in “silos”.

Any plans for SDGs coming out of Rio+20 must be fully integrated into the global overarching post-2015 development framework. Civil society demands that the new post-2015 framework must recognize shared global challenges and include the obligations, ownership and accountability of every country to respond to the needs of all. Contextualized national targets are needed for different countries, reflecting challenges and strengths, and inspired by the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities. The framework must have human rights at it center, be coherent overall, with goals and targets promoting synergies between sectors which contribute to a holistic and collective approach to achieving our purpose.

To conclude, we will continue to urge civil society to engage in these consultations and use their results to hold their own governments accountable to the promises they will make and therefore keep on behalf of their citizens.



CAN Position: Joint with Beyond2015 for UN Thematic Consultation on Energy, January 2013


1.  Introduction
This paper is a response by the international civil society, represented by CAN-International and Beyond2015, to the thematic consultation on Energy launched by the UN, in relation to the work of the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons.
Climate Action Network International (CAN) is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations working together to promote government action to address the climate crisis, with more than 700 members in over 90 countries.
Beyond 2015 is a global civil society campaign, pushing for a strong and legitimate successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals. The campaign brings together more than 570 organisations from over 95 countries. Whilst participating organisations have a range of views regarding the content of a post-2015 framework, the campaign unites behind one vision:
  • That a global overarching cross-thematic framework succeeds the Millennium Development Goals, reflecting Beyond 2015’s policy positions.
  • That the process of developing this framework is participatory, inclusive and responsive to voices of those directly affected by poverty and injustice.
2. Centrality of energy to development
Energy is a key driver of human and economic development. It powers communities, homes, businesses and industries, schools, hospitals, and transportation. Businesses across subSaharan Africa see the lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity as the biggest obstacle to operations. Access to energy is key to eradicating poverty, and levels of access closely correlate to rankings on the human development index and other measures of development progress. Energy’s status as an enabler – catalysing access to clean water, education, public health, and sanitation – has led it to be widely described as the ‘missing’ Millennium Development Goal.



CAN Position: Beyond2015 Position-UN thematic consultation-Sustainable Environment Post Rio, December 2012


This paper is a response by international civil society, represented by CAN-International and Beyond 2015, to the thematic consultation on Sustainable Environment launched by the UN in relation to the work of the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons.
We want to note that the siloed approach to the 11 thematic consultations, while understandable for practical reasons, should be re-considered by the UN. One of the greatest challenges and opportunities for the post-2015 development framework is precisely to break down the fragmented approach of the MDGs to fully capture the cross-cutting synergies between and among the different themes. In order for the consultations to be effective, we need to move to a holistic, sustainable, approach and advance one global development agenda that is people-centered, inclusive, and sustainable.

UN Launches Online Platform for Environmental Sustainability Thematic Consultation

UNDP and UNEP invite civil society to the Post-2015 environmental sustainability global consultation through their online platform.  The platform allows civil society to participate in the consultation, provide papers and input, as well as comment through the process.  Click on the link http://www.worldwewant2015.org/sustainability and register today!

SDGs or MDGs the goal AND process is one and the same

Governments came together in Rio to agree on basic principles and process forward for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the foundations for the process is that it should not divert attention, funding or other resources from accelerating progress towards the current set of 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This MDG process and the related MDG review process are one track for the time pre-2015.

Reviewing the 2015 goals is good, but we need to also plan for the future. The post-2015 process aims to design a global development framework to succeed the MDGs in 2015. This thinking obviously needs to happen now, rather than after 2015. The UN has already set these wheels in motion even before the SDGs appeared on the horizon. Last year they appointed a UN task team on post-2015 that produced a report on the post-2015 roadmap which will be published shortly. A UN high-level panel on post 2015 was appointed with three co-chairs and further members to be announced after Rio+20. Further, the UN SG appointed a Special Advisor on post-2015, and post-2015 stakeholder consultations have already begun to take place.

From its onset, the SDGs were meant to be part of this post-2015 track. Columbia was clear about that and so was everybody else. SDGs are meant to ensure that the post-2015 development framework, the new set of goals, will genuinely integrate environment and poverty concerns.  Hence it is paramount that Rio+20 indicates clearly how and when the SDG process will be integrated into the post-2015 track.

This is where it gets tricky. At the moment Rio+20 runs the risk of setting up a third track. This should be avoided at all costs. Having one SDG process in addition to the existing post-2015 process would be a waste of time, effort and resources and will lead to duplication, confusion and delays. And after all, creating a third track poses very real risks of distracting from achieving track one, the current set of MDGs.


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