Impacts of Climate Change on Sustainable Development Goals highlighted at high-level political forum
22 July 2019 | Mitigation
The UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the largest annual gathering tracking progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), wrapped up in New York on Thursday, with calls for increased climate action as a critical factor in achieving the goals.
Climate change is more than just one of the 17 SDGs specified in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is a threat multiplier with the potential to worsen some of humanity’s greatest challenges, including health, poverty and hunger.
Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive-Secretary of UN Climate Change, who attended the event, said:
“We do not have time to lose, and urgent climate action is absolutely critical and necessary. What benefits the most vulnerable will benefit us all.”
Two flagship reports were launched during the Forum. The opening day saw the release of the annual report measuring progress on the SDGs, which warned that the impacts of climate change are undermining progress on the sustainable development agenda, threatening to reverse many of the gains made over the last decades that have improved people’s lives.
A second flagship report on the state of food security and nutrition launched a week later cites climate change as one of the main drivers of food insecurity, together with conflict and economic inequality.
Climate change and sustainable development have multiple inter-linkages and this is reflected in two transformative agreements adopted by nations within months of each other in 2015: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa commented on these synergies in a recent op-ed with UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin:
”In the bigger picture, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement are really about the same things. They provide our biggest opportunity for positive, systemic change that will ensure a resilient, productive and healthy environment for present and future generations.”
The High-Level Political Forum will inform several other critical meetings on the topics of climate change and sustainable development, including the Climate Action Summit convened by UN Secretary-General on 23 September, the SDG Summit on 24 and 25 September, both in New York, and COP25 in Chile in December.
In his closing remarks at the Forum, Mr. Sarmad said:
“We have heard many calls for creative and concrete actions by many countries and also calls for support from many Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. We greatly appreciate the engagement and commitment of member states and other stakeholders who have come forward to share their experiences and call for greater climate action and ambition.”
Increased calls for action on climate emergency
While the HLPF was taking place, UN Secretary-General António Guterres made a two-day visit to Mozambique to witness first-hand the damage caused by devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which hit just a few weeks apart in March and April 2019, and to take stock of recovery efforts.
“Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique are clear examples of what’s in store for all of us unless we take urgent Climate action: more frequent, intense and damaging natural disasters. The time to act is now.”
The need for increased climate action at all levels of society have led to initiatives such as the #ActNow campaign, a global call for citizen action on climate change.
Source: UN Climate Change