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POLICY BRIEF: How a high-ambition global climate deal will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

This year, governments will agree Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the period to 2030, and a new global climate agreement, to take effect from 2020. Together, these could set the course for environmental sustainability and human well-being this century. The agreements together offer a once-in-a generation opportunity to end extreme poverty, create climate resilience and avoid dangerous levels of climate change by committing to zero net carbon emissions.

This policy brief, How a high ambition global climate deal will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, explores the relationship between the level of ambition in the SDGs and the level of ambition in the global climate agreement. Written by CDKN in conjunction with Metroeconomica and HR Wallingford, it aims to provide decision-makers and negotiators at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC COP21) with a better understanding, and quantitative evidence where possible, of the implications of the outcome of the climate agreement on the SDGs. In addition, the research aims to influence the SDG negotiations because, although the goals are unlikely to change from those set out in the latest draft list, the targets and indicators are still being adjusted. Moreover, countries are still negotiating their financial commitments to implement the post-2015 development agenda. This brief encourages governments and other funders to ensure that the SDGs and associated financing deliver climate compatible development in the poorest and most climate-vulnerable countries.

Key messages:

  • The world’s governments will agree Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. The SDGs and supporting targets must contain strong commitments on low-carbon, climate-resilient development and financing for development.
  • If they do, strong SDGs will pave the way for a high-ambition global climate agreement later in the year – as well as for successful delivery on climate action.
  • In December 2015, governments are expected to agree an international climate deal in Paris, France. A high-ambition climate agreement – defined as an agreement that limits global warming to 2°C by 2100 – will be essential to achieving the SDGs.
  • New research commissioned by CDKN shows that efforts to eradicate extreme poverty, equalise gender relations and provide access to energy and water during the next 15 years will be undermined by a low-ambition climate agreement. The CDKN research demonstrates these links with a global analysis and detailed studies of the poverty– climate connection in Dominica, Jamaica, Pakistan and Uganda.

For more information on the impact of climate change on the achievement of the post-2015 sustainable development goals, please see our feature page, which includes slides, infographics and a technical report on the topic.

Image credit: USAID/Sayora Khalimova

For more information or for help using the one of our toolkits, please contact cdkn@southsouthnorth.org