Six long months ago CAN published a briefing on climate change and the SDGs which rightly sought to bring the discussion way beyond goal 13 on climate change. In this, it argued that efforts to achieve all the goals are dependent on efforts to respond to global heating. The clue is in the ‘sustainable’. Similarly, responding to the climate crisis depends on advances made towards the development goals.
As the IPCC 1.5ºC report said: “sustainable development supports and enables the fundamental societal and systems transitions and transformations that will help limit global warming to 1.5°C. It can achieve ambitious mitigation and adaptation in conjunction with poverty eradication and efforts to reduce inequalities”.
Several SDG themes (i.e. socio-economic sectoral categories) are addressed by numerous climate actions, indicating that there are multiple opportunities for policy coherence. This can be a major contribution of climate action to the delivery of coherent delivery of Agenda 2030.
Analysis has shown that links between existing NDCs and the SDGs are found in the areas of water, food and energy.
Despite environmental goals being represented in a bunch of the NDCs, many countries do not make explicit plans to realise potential for nature-based solutions that could help deliver SDG 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land), as well as contributing to climate mitigation and resilience.
The social SDGs are highly under-represented in NDC commitments compared to the environmental and economic goals; in particular health, education and gender equality (SDGs 3, 4 and 5, respectively).
NDCs should reflect the findings of the IPCC on climate-resilient development pathways and “the importance of addressing structural, intersecting inequalities, marginalisation, and multidimensional poverty” to “transform the development pathways themselves toward greater social and environmental sustainability, equity, resilience, and justice”.
Given the multiple connections between climate vulnerability and poverty, more ambitious NDCs should account for social as well as the environmental goals of Agenda 2030.