It said achieving universal electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 (SDG 7) would require an annual investment of USD 27 billion under existing climate policies
report by a group of independent experts has outlined steps governments should
take to tackle the climate and sustainable development crises.
report released by the United Nations on Wednesday said governments must seek win-win synergies by
tackling climate and sustainable development crises together.
expert group, with fourteen
co-led by Luis Gomez-Echeverri, Emeritus Research
Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, and Heide
Hackmann, Director of Future Africa, University of Pretoria, was co-convened
earlier this year by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)
and the UN Climate Change secretariat (UNFCCC) to produce this report, the
first of its kind.
"Maximizing synergies between climate action and the SDGs has never been
more critical," said Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic
and Social Affairs.
Stiell, UNFCCC Executive Secretary suggested the need to get the SDGs on track
and keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive.
also stressed that “an integrated approach that seeks to strengthen synergies
between these two global agendas is critical to that end."
The report preface also cites UN Secretary-General António Guterres'
rallying cry that “climate action is the 21st century's greatest opportunity to
drive forward all the Sustainable Development Goals."
Evidence indicates strong synergies between addressing climate change and
achieving the SDGs, the report states, whereby advancements in one can lead to
improvements in the other.
it said pursuing the 2030 Agenda and implementation of the Paris Agreement in
concert can significantly advance both agendas. Co-benefits of climate actions
often directly achieve the SDG goals, and evidence suggests that co-benefits outweigh
trade-offs in most cases.
Among the examples cited, achieving universal electricity access in sub-Saharan
Africa by 2030 (SDG 7) would require an annual investment of USD 27 billion
under existing climate policies, but would require an additional USD 6 billion
without climate policies.
air pollution control and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation measures would help
bring 40% of the global population exposed to unhealthy particulate matter
levels below the WHO air quality guideline, with the largest improvements
realized for India, China, and the Middle East.
According to the report, the factors blocking more synergistic actions revolve
around knowledge gaps, political and institutional arrangements, and economic
particular, the main barriers include a lack of funding to analyze and finance
more integrated policy actions; institutional rigidity that puts climate and
development policy in separate silos; the dominance of top-down policy-making;
a general lack of data and indicators, and a lack of understanding about the
value of synergies and the capacity to identify and implement them.
The report calls for greater institutional coordination and policy coherence
across sectors and departments at the national level, to better integrate SDG
and climate policy development and action. It also recommends that the
governance and policy frameworks for both the Paris Agreement and the 2030
Agenda need to be changed in order to align climate action with the
The expert group suggests that country commitment and reporting mechanisms,
such as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris
Agreement and the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) undertaken under Agenda
2030 for Sustainable Development, should include synergistic targets or
Currently, only 23 of the 173 NDCs explicitly refer to SDGs, even
though they have a major impact on achieving the SDGs at regional and global
levels, and none go into detail about how climate policy affects SDG outcomes.
Among positive examples referenced, in Kenya, the Climate Change Department
conducted an SDG impact analysis of the proposed measures of the National
Climate Change Action Plan for 2018-2022.
The report also recommends that policymakers have stronger links with
researchers studying climate and development, who could assess possible
Differences across countries
The report also notes that, with some 56% of the global population
living in cities, expected to rise to 70% by 2050, the drive for sustainable
cities (SDG 11) presents a major challenge and opportunity to advance climate
action at the city level, especially in the Global South.
There are many
examples of cities around the world where these synergies have brought
significant benefits in sustainable transport, sustainable use of urban space,
lower greenhouse gases, less air pollution, and improved health.
The large investment gap in climate and development action, and
insufficient finance to enhance the synergies needed, are rooted in the deep
failure of the global financial architecture and finance fragmentation that
makes policy coherence difficult, the report finds.
Current efforts to address
these failures at the international level should include measures that
encourage multilateral development banks and international financial
institutions to introduce instruments that enhance climate and development