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OWG 7 Issue Briefs Released

UNGAOctober 2013: The UN Technical Support Team (TST) has issued three briefs in preparation for the seventh session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The documents address the three topics for OWG 7: Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements; and Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), including Chemicals and Waste.

The brief on climate change and DRR emphasizes the close relationship between the two topics in the context of the development agenda. At the global level, it highlights work under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015 (HFA), while noting uneven efforts at national and sub-national levels in terms of implementation. On current proposals regarding the SDGs, the brief notes that climate change is mostly proposed to be integrated into more than one goal. For DRR, proposals include: a stand-alone goal on DRR supported by a limited number of targets on social, economic and environmental issues; DRR targets being integrated under other development goals; or a resilience goal, in which disaster resilience would be one of several targets. The brief emphasizes that the resilience concept provides an opportunity for the development agenda to overcome the current compartmentalization of topics and focus on a common, cross-cutting and coherent outcome. The brief argues that a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector approach is necessary to address the underlying causes of climate change and disaster risk.

The brief on sustainable cities and human settlements reviews current trends on urbanization, their unequal impact on people depending on sex, age, and socio-economic situation, and the negative environmental implications of unplanned urbanization. The brief highlights the importance of integrated urban and territorial planning, which requires transformative policies at multiple levels of governance and a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder approach. Proposals to address sustainable cities in the SDGs fall along three complementary lines: a specific goal on sustainable cities; supplementary targets on sustainable cities in other goals; and urban/rural disaggregated indicators throughout the SDGs. On the way forward, the brief urges taking account of emerging themes and recommendations as discussed in several of the Global Thematic Consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, such as those on population dynamics, inequalities, and environmental sustainability.

The brief on SCP, finally, discusses: international efforts on waste and chemicals management; increasing and inequitable resource use; environmental, economic and social consequences of unsustainable production and consumption patterns; and the importance of inclusive and evidence-based governance. While not present in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the brief says, SCP should be included in the SDGs, and it highlights proposals such as: the Ten-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) adopted at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20); initiatives of the UN Secretary-General, including the Zero Hunger Challenge and Sustainable Energy for All  (SE4All); and the Manila Declaration on Green Industry in Asia as adopted by 21 Asian governments. The brief highlights that achieving SCP patterns will entail, inter alia: adopting a life-cycle approach; mainstreaming SCP in decision-making at all levels; addressing market failures; engaging all stakeholders; changing approaches and perspectives on waste; emphasizing resource productivity; and addressing inequalities. [Publication: TST Issues Brief: Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction] [Publication: TST Issues Brief: Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements] [Publication: TST Issues Brief: Sustainable Consumption and Production, including Chemicals and Waste] [OWG Website]