Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), The Current Column of 6 November 2017
Bonn, 6 November 2017. Today sees the beginning of the UN climate conference (23rd Conference of the Parties, COP 23) in Bonn, with the presidency held by Fiji. The Paris Climate Agreement strives to use national climate plans, the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as a basis for limiting the global rise in temperature where possible to 1.5 degrees above the level prior to industrialisation, in order to avert the most hazardous consequences of climate change. Currently, the sum of the nationally-determined commitments is not sufficient to achieve this goal, whilst individual countries, including Germany, are not doing enough to fulfil even these inadequate commitments. This year’s climate conference therefore needs to show how seriously the Paris Climate Agreement is being taken by the global community, and it should also be used as an opportunity to achieve better dovetailing of climate protection and sustainable development.
Fiji’s own situation as a vulnerable island nation shows: climate and development are intrinsically linked to one another. The ecological and economic components of climate protection also need to incorporate social dimensions, to ensure that no country is left to face the effects of climate change alone. The climate summit in Bonn should therefore act as a key marker for the close interlinking of climate protection and sustainable development, in order to also set the course for the next SDG progress reports for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) of the United Nations in New York. There is consequently a need for a global understanding, in order to initiate integrated and far-reaching sustainability strategies and climate plans.
Paris climate treaty and 2030 Agenda - moving ahead faster together
These two historic agendas form the guidelines for preserving our planet: the SDGs call for the integrated realisation of the ecological, economic and social dimensions of sustainability, as well as climate protection measures and sustainable development, and need to extend far beyond ecological and economic components. The agendas therefore require joint implementation approaches.
This is also highlighted by a new analysis undertaken by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in co-operation with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). Under the title NDC-SDG Connections more than 160 climate plans were analysed with regard to their content-related contribution to the goals and sub-goals of the 2030 Agenda. This analysis is visually portrayed in an interactive online tool and presented for the first time at the COP 23 in Bonn.
NDC-SDG Connections enables the interfaces between NDCs and SDGs to be investigated on three levels: Firstly, the tool shows the degree and manner in which the over 160 NDCs submitted contribute to the 17 SDGs. A second level shows what type of climate measures can contribute to the implementation of the individual sub-goals of the SDGs. This insight enables a rapid estimation of the areas in which climate measures are already making a major contribution to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda; it also shows how the content of both agendas interlinks in order to ensure complementary realisation. A third perspective underscores the interlinked nature of the 17 SDGs; as well as showing how synergies with multiple sustainability goals are already contained within the climate measures.
Emphasising interdependencies - strengthening implementation
A glance at the climate measures from the perspective of the SDGs in the scope of NDC-SDG Connections makes it possible for political decision makers, civil society and other stakeholders to achieve a rapid overview of how the content of the Paris Climate Agreement supplements that of the 2030 Agenda.
The backwards-looking SDG review process for the HLPF should therefore be utilised as an opportunity to provide systematic information regarding the regular adaptation of the binding climate plans – and vice versa. Only when measures to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs interlink is it possible for potential conflicts of goals between the two agendas to be identified and lessened.
In addition to the official negotiations, we can all make our voices heard in the scope of the numerous opportunities for discussion in Bonn during the COP 23. These include the official UN side events as well as events in the so-called “Bonn Zone”, an interactive exhibition in the “Climate Planet”, planned demonstrations and the “Interconnection Zone“ at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Encompassing more than 40 events, it is specifically intended for the debating of interrelations between climate protection and sustainable development.
Let us join together in taking a co-operative step for planet earth!
Clara Brandi und Hannah Janetschek are Researchers at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Adis Dzebo is Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).