The stars are aligned for the world to take historic action

5 December 2014

The stars are aligned for the world to take historic action to transform lives and protect the planet. I urge Governments and people everywhere to fulfil their political and moral responsibilities. This is my call to dignity, and we must respond with all our vision and strength.

Did you think that was ECO speaking? No, it was actually Ban Ki-moon launching his Synthesis Report — ‘The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet’ — on the Post-2015 development agenda in New York yesterday.

The report marks the culmination of several strands of work that started at Rio+20 in 2012. It lays out the challenge of replacing the Millennium Development Goals with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ECO is pleased that he got it right by putting climate change action at the heart of his report. So pleased, that ECO would be willing to forget about the stubbornness of some countries not wanting a climate change goal in the Open Working Group document. If only we were sure that you, dear Parties, really understood the message this time: we want a climate change goal and mainstreaming in the SDGs. Please take note of that for the next year and the 9 months of negotiations to come!

If ECO can’t convince you, let the Secretary General guide you. He calls for a set of principles that, applied together, can bring about a truly universal transformation for sustainable development. For Ban Ki-moon this includes addressing “the drivers of climate change and its consequences” and keeping the door open for both climate change mainstreaming throughout the SDGs and a standalone goal.

Some of the highlights that you need to know off by heart include:

  • “To respect our planetary boundaries we need to equitably address climate change, halt biodiversity loss, and address desertification and unsustainable land use.”
  • “Adaptation can reduce some risks and impacts of climate change. Most urgently, we must adopt a meaningful, universal climate agreement by the end of 2015.”
  • “An expert technical group should be tasked with developing and presenting to Member States a coherent framework that accounts for climate finance and Official Development Assistance.

Other highlights: reiteration of the need to phase out harmful fossil fuel subsidies, and also the approach to ‘prosperity’ which clearly states that the strength of an economy is not in gross domestic product alone but in its impact on sustainability and equality.

ECO believes that this report can build momentum towards the agreement of strong and effective SDGs and a call for greater ambition in Paris.

The stars are aligned for the world to take historic action

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