CDKN Workshop Addresses Climate Change, SDGs Interlinkages

CDKN7 April 2014: At a workshop on climate change, the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) organized by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), participants underscored interlinkages between climate change and development, and the importance of ensuring harmony between the two policy fields. The workshop took place on 19 March 2014, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

During the workshop, Ilmi Granoff, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), said climate change “will determine whether we achieve our development goals in coming years,” and that managing climate change depends in part on development decisions. The discussions highlighted, however, that while the “inextricable link” between climate change, sustainable development and poverty reduction is clear, the role climate change will play in the post-2015 development framework remains unclear.

Participants discussed the option of incorporating climate change into the SDGs by framing it either as a stand-alone SDG or as a goal combined with other areas, such as disaster resilience, water and sanitation, and/or biodiversity. According to Stephen Rodriques, UN Development Programme (UNDP), Indonesia's REDD+ programme could offer useful lessons in considering the stand-alone option. On climate change as a cross-cutting issue across various SDG areas, participants suggested ensuring that all goals are “climate smart,” and that targets could be tagged to goals to deliver “climate compatible development.” Some participants said this is less ambitious than the stand-alone option, but still a practical option for unifying climate change and the SDGs into a common framework.

Gordon Manuain, Office of the President's Special Envoy on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Indonesia, argued that what matters is that the SDGs are actionable and have “robust mechanisms to ensure coherence, accountability and enforcement,” not whether climate change is a stand-alone goal or a cross-cutting issue. He said that the SDGs should not become “another forum for entrenched country positions and unproductive negotiations.”

Participants also discussed: moving to green GDP systems in national planning with human well-being as a central priority; the SDGs recognizing the role of local-level problem solving, enabling local solutions to climate change and empowering local groups; how developing countries can influence both the climate change and the SDG processes through strong commitment; bottom-up leadership and ambition; and advantages and disadvantages of pursuing an integrated climate change and SDG agenda.

CDKN supports decision-makers in designing and delivering climate compatible development by combining research, advisory services and knowledge management in support of locally owned and managed policy processes. [CDKN Press Release]