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Source: Small Island Developing States

September 2019: The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) issued a working paper that explores how climate actions contained in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) connect to the 17 SDGs. The paper demonstrates that NDC actions foster synergies with national development priorities that reflect the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Authored by Adis Dzebo, Hannah Janetschek, Clara Brandi and Gabriela Iacobuta, the paper titled, ‘Connections Between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda: The Case for Policy Coherence,’ illuminates potential overlaps, gaps and conflicts between the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda to increase policy coherence of plans and strategies, and improve effectiveness of implementation of the two agreements.

Evidence of effective orchestration between NDCs and the SDGs is largely absent at the national level.

NDCs are considered the “primary means” for governments to indicate to the international community their specific steps for tackling climate change and achieving the Paris Agreement. The SEI working paper reveals that activities proposed in countries’ NDCs most prominently cover six SDGs:

  • SDG 2 (zero hunger);
  • SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation);
  • SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy);
  • SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities);
  • SDG 15 (life on land); and
  • SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals).

In addition, several climate activities contribute “to a limited extent” to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 3 (good health and well-being);
  • SDG 4 (quality education);
  • SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth);
  • SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure);
  • SDG 13 (climate action); and
  • SDG 14 (life below water).

The paper further notes that some SDGs are “far less connected” with NDC activities, and focus mainly on the social and political issues. These are: SDG 1 (no poverty); SDG 5 (gender equality); SDG 10 (reduced inequalities); and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). For instance, the authors reveal that only 2% of total NDC activities address SDG 1, and they call on policymakers to take into account the adverse effects of climate change on poor households, such as measures that can affect the poor by raising prices through energy or carbon taxes, or by using more expensive technologies for electricity production.

The authors also find that evidence of effective orchestration between NDCs and the SDGs is largely absent at the national level. Per them, an integrated approach offers greater leverage for advancing the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda, as it simultaneously allows governments to step up ambition and impact, and to avoid costly and counterproductive trade-offs. In order to improve policy coherence, they suggest that countries should design their future National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDSs) in ways that align with their NDCs and complement NDC activities, and vice versa. They outline the need to avoid uncoordinated “and costly” duplication of efforts, and to more closely align climate actions with the SDGs in NDCs. They also call on countries to learn from each other’s approaches to policy planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting. [Publication: Connections Between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda: The Case for Policy Coherence]

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