The Sustainable Development Goals – Will they deliver climate compatible development for vulnerable countries?

Submitted by CDKN Communications Team | published 16th Sep 2014 | last updated 17th Sep 2014


Summary

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) presents a new working paper, The Sustainable Development Goals: Will they deliver climate compatible development for vulnerable countries? which discusses the opportunities presented by the upcoming milestones in the climate and development agendas as an unprecedented chance to promote climate compatible development.

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges the world faces today. It affects all aspects of the development agenda, from poverty eradication to health care, to economic growth and disaster risk reduction. Meanwhile, the success of global action on climate change will depend on the development path taken by all countries. 2015 will be a crucial year for global action on both climate change and development, with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s post-Kyoto deal on climate change, the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a future framework on disaster risk reduction all set to be finalised.

This convergence of timelines offers a unique opportunity to achieve coherence between international policies on climate change, sustainable development and disaster preparedness. Some see the coinciding milestones in the climate and development agendas as an unprecedented chance to promote climate compatible development – an approach that would offer developing countries the opportunity to achieve long-term, sustainable development outcomes that are resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The Open Working Group (OWG)’s proposal for the SDGs, to be presented to the United Nations General Assembly at the end of September, features climate change as a goal and also recognises climate change impacts in some of the targets under other goals. Over the next year of inter-governmental negotiations, there is an opportunity to further refinement of the goals. CDKN held national dialogues in Colombia, Kenya and Indonesia to facilitate an exchange of views among stakeholders from across government, civil society, academia and the private sector on how best to include climate change in the SDGs in a way that encourages climate compatible development.

This paper highlights key concerns and principles that emerged in the three consultative events, and ways that these principles could be implemented in practice.

Key Principles

While the three dialogue countries have different national contexts in relation to the climate and development agenda, some common principles were articulated throughout the events:

  • Tackling climate change is recognised as critical to the achievement of the development goals.
  • Climate change should be a stand-alone goal, as well as be mainstreamed throughout the other goals.
  • Climate change goals, targets and indicators should be nationally relevant and should also aim to build local-level resilience and reduce climate risks.
  • Getting the indicators and measurement frameworks right is crucial, while accountability and governance mechanisms will underpin implementation.
  • International resources will still be very necessary for achieving climate compatible development goals, but the role of national and sub-national governments, and the private sector, will increase.
  • Within regions, countries should form a common voice to influence SDG negotiations; within countries, civil society must play a stronger advocacy role

Suggested citation

Picot, H., Moss, N. 2014. The Sustainable Development Goals- Will they deliver climate compatible development for vulnerable countries? CDKN & PwC WORKING PAPER.