Ahead of a series of important meetings at the UN, Climate Action Network (CAN) International, aided by Islamic Relief, has published a briefing telling decision makers that they need to harness the natural synergy between climate action and sustainable development.
Global warming must be limited to 1.5°C if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Exceeding this threshold risks reversing development achievements and excluding millions of people from social wellbeing, economic prosperity and environmental protection.
Countries must plan their contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. Taking SDG commitments into account can help countries ensure that climate actions promote wider social, economic and environmental ambitions.
Using climate plans to reinforce the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the SDGs can be a major contribution to the coherent cross-goal delivery of Agenda 2030.
A 1.5°C pathway of low energy demand, low material consumption and low greenhouse gas-intensive food consumption brings together SDG3 (health), 7 (clean energy), 11 (cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 14 (oceans) and 15 (life on land). Links between existing climate plans and the SDGs are already found in the areas of water, food and energy.
We must also add the social goals in particular health, education and gender equality (SDGs 3, 4 and 5) along with the multiple connections between climate vulnerability and poverty. Environmental goals need explicit plans for nature-based solutions to help deliver SDG 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land) and must contribute to climate mitigation and resilience.
An SDG lens and an integrated approach can support a just transition. The poorest, most marginalised and most climate vulnerable will be considered in national targets for greenhouse gas reduction. Specifically, decent and quality job creation (SDG 8), education and vocational training (SDG 4), and social protection (SDG 1) need to be included in immediate and long-term climate planning.
Islamic Relief is also clear that the commitments of countries to disaster risk reduction (DRR) should be factored into climate action plans. At last week’s UN Global Platform on DRR, we were part of a consensus calling for the term ‘climate sensitive risk informed development’ to replace ‘DRR’.
SDGs 2 (food security), 6 (water and sanitation) and 9 (resilient infrastructure) provide additional targets for such developments.
Islamic Relief and our partners in CAN will take these messages to countries before the September Climate and SDG summits in New York. We believe that it will help leaders to come to the summits with bold and clear plans to enhance their contributions by 2020, in line with the 1.5°C threshold, reflecting the urgency of this climate crisis.