We live in a world increasingly affected by climate change, and if we fail to take decisive measures, the temperature rise will continue and soon exceed the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5°C and even 2°C.
It becomes ever less useful to talk about development plans and climate policies in a vacuum. The objectives of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals must be the hinge of all climate change policies and plans.
Linking the two agendas of climate action and sustainable development is imperative.
Climate action is the 21st century’s
greatest opportunity to drive forward
all the Sustainable Development Goals.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
New report | 13 September, New York
We must solve the climate emergency and sustainable development challenges together, or we will not solve them at all.
The new report launched by UNDESA and UNFCCC marks a significant step towards positive change. The evidence is clear: addressing climate change and achieving the SDGs are inextricably intertwined. Co-benefits far outweigh trade-offs. The independent group of 14 diverse experts - the Expert Group on Climate and SDG Synergy - clearly demonstrates through this report that aggressively acting on climate and development in an integrated and synergistic way is an important opportunity to achieve the course correction the UN Secretary-General has called for. By providing compelling data, case studies and overview of existing barriers, the report offers 10 recommendations to support enhanced coordination, policy coherence, and revised governance frameworks at national and international levels.
This first edition lays the foundation for deeper analysis, expanded and systematized data, and refined recommendations leading up to the 2024 UN summits and beyond, fostering ongoing dialogue and engagement for a sustainable future.
Orchestrating Global Synergies for Climate Action and SDGs
16 September, New York - A side event co-hosted by UNDESA and UNFCCC on 16 September as part of SDG Action Weekend provided an opportunity for a deeper conversation about how to build greater climate and SDG synergies following the launch of the expert group report. Representatives from the Governments of Denmark, Japan and Brazil offered their views, and several NGOs, academics and a youth climate activist stressed the need to address inequalities, climate justice, accountability and lack of finance. COP28 was seen as an important step ahead to integrate SDG indicators into the climate process.
Fourth Global Conference on Climate and SDG Synergies
16 July, New York - The Fourth Global Conference on Climate and SDG Synergies was held at the United Nations on 16 July 2023, bringing together Ministers and high-level representatives from government, business and civil society, among over 400 in-person and nearly 4,000 virtual participants from 140 countries. Building the evidence base for win-win synergies that tackle both the climate emergency and the Sustainable Development Goals, participants shared experiences and viewpoints, and made recommendations for how to break down silos and advance integrated action. The Conference was co-convened by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as a special event of the 2023 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
Accelerating Climate and SDG Synergies as an Enabler for Just Transition
12 June, Bonn - UNDESA and UNFCCC convened a side event on “Accelerating climate and SDG synergies as an enabler for just transition” in the margins of the Fifty-eighth session of the Subsidiary Body (SB58) UNFCCC negotiations on Monday, June 12th. The event posed at its heart the need to mainstream the interlinked climate and SDG agendas into intergovernmental processes as well as on the ground practices for maximum impact. This event also served as a platform to present the scope of work and preliminary recommendations of the first-ever Global Report on Climate Action and the SDGs, under development by newly launched Expert Group. The side event was a crucial pit-stop for reflection on the transition to just and equitable societies through synergistic climate and SDG actions.
Global Online Consultation in support of the First Global Report on Climate and SDG Synergy
7 August - A global consultation for the First Global Report on Climate and SDG Synergy was established to ensure the inclusiveness of a wide array of perspectives and viewpoints, contributing to the report's recommendations and key messages. By gathering inputs from Member States and all stakeholders, this report sets the groundwork for a cohesive and authoritative global resource that encompasses diverse experiences, needs, and priorities. [Deadline to participate was 24 August, all responses are now made available at the link below]
G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Encompasses Synergies
12 June, Varanasi - The resolution from the Varanasi G20 Development Ministerial Meeting on 12 June 2023, underscores the pressing need for synergistic action in light of the setback in SDG progress caused by crises like COVID-19, climate change, and economic challenges. Developing nations, particularly LDCs and SIDS, are disproportionately affected. This emphasizes the vital importance of coordinated efforts to achieve global agendas and transitions, while optimizing synergies and minimizing trade-offs.
Expert Group to Prepare Report Analysing Climate and SDG Synergies, Aiming to Maximize Action Impact
15 May, New York - An international group of fourteen experts from diverse backgrounds has been appointed by the United Nations in April 2023 to prepare a report building the evidence base for how action tackling both the climate emergency and sustainable development challenges synergistically can be a win-win solution, maximizing impact.
G7 to Jointly Act on Leveraging Synergies
16 April, Sapporo - The G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers' Communiqué of 16 April 2023 features a paragraph titled "Leveraging Synergies" , by which the G7 Ministers committed to that approach as they pursue actions to address climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, land degradation, the energy crisis and energy transition, in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. This commitment reflects a growing recognition of the value of leveraging synergies, a concept that has been advanced at the 3rd Global Climate-SDG Synergy Conference organized by UNDESA and UNFCCC in Tokyo in 2022 and the process leading up to it.
The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world’s plan of action to achieving sustainability and resilience for people and planet, are closely linked with climate. Maximizing on the interlinkages between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement by leveraging Climate and SDG Synergies, has the potential of achieving both agendas and guaranteeing a livable future for next generations by leaving no one behind.
UN DESA is working to support the implementation of these interlinked SDG and climate frameworks through the Climate Action and SDGs Synergies Platform, created with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Platform acts as a multi-stakeholder partnership catalyst with the aim at supporting the coherence, alignment, and monitoring of the interlinkages between climate action and the SDGs. The three focus areas of the Platform are:
Advocacy: mainstream climate and SDGs synergies in key UN intergovernmental processes and outcomes.
Analyses: develop a comprehensive and systemic global assessment on climate and SDGs synergies.
Capacity-building: enhance knowledge sharing at all levels through global conferences, regional seminars, and workshops.
The First Global Climate and SDGs Synergy Conference, held in Copenhagen, Denmark, emphasized that taking climate and SDG development action simultaneously and in an integrated way is not a theoretical concept, but a practical guideline for all forms of decision making. The success and impact of the conference led to a decision to make this an annual event.
Addressing the urgency for action to pursue synergistic approaches in order to recover better and faster from COVID-19, UN DESA, UNFCCC and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) co-convened a series of three webinars and launched an e-learning course on the theme of ‘Harnessing Climate and SDGs Synergies’. These events pointed to a variety of options for synergistic policy interventions in different sectors using an integrated nexus approach.
Building on the outcomes of the first Climate and SDGs Synergy Conference in 2019 and the virtual consultations in 2020/2021, the Third Global Conference on Synergies, held in Tokyo, Japan, provided a unique opportunity to take stock of practical measures that are being implemented to advance climate and SDG synergies in regional, national and subnational efforts, including through COVID recovery plans and the NDCs.
The Fourth Global Conference on Climate and SDG Synergy was convened on 16 July 2023 as a special event of the 2023 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and prior to the SDG Summit and the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 28), which will conduct a Global Stocktake of progress. The Fourth Global Conference sought to feed into these processes with an assessment of progress made against recommendations from the previous conferences, including the need for principles of just transition at the center of each integrated planning.
Commitments on combatting climate change have increased in an encouraging way in recent months across the world, but at the global level they still fall way short of what is needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Policy makers need to urgently address the interrelated major challenges of poverty, inequality, climate change, and the recovery from COVID-19 pandemic simultaneously. Today, synergistic and integrated policy making, and action is more important than ever before.
Development policies and projects need to be well coordinated across ministerial portfolios, be based on genuine public participation, and deliver co-benefits beyond their main objectives. Resources need to be used in targeted and effective manner and advance a fair transition from a “grey” economy to a “green” economy, leaving no one behind.
Policy makers seeking to advance climate action will need to identify the most economically feasible and socially acceptable solutions that also generate SDG co-benefits. Similarly, stakeholders seeking to advance economic and social progress towards one or the other SDG will need to anticipate the impacts of such action on future climate emissions. Pursuing climate and SDG synergies is not only a guideline for national or local policy makers, but also for industrialists, investors, service providers, and private consumers.
An international group of fourteen experts from diverse backgrounds has been co-convened by UN DESA and UNFCCC secretariat in May 2023 to prepare a report building the evidence base for how action tackling both the climate emergency and sustainable development challenges synergistically can be a win-win solution, maximizing impact.
The initial report will be launched in September 2023 on the margins of the UN SDG Summit, marking the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Climate Action Summit being convened by the UN Secretary-General in support of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The report was called for as a recommendation of the Third Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, held in 2022 in Tokyo, Japan.
The members of the expert group are shown below.
Luis Gomez Echeverri Bio
Emeritus Research Scholar International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Heide Hackmann Bio
Director, Future Africa, University of Pretoria
Diana Urge-Vorsatz Bio
Director, Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Policy (3CSEP)
Felix Creutzig Bio
Professor, Technical University of Berlin
Kaveh Guilanpour Bio
Vice President for International Strategies, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)
Kazuhiko Takeuchi Bio
President, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Måns Nilsson Bio
Executive Director, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
Meagan Fallone Bio
Founder, Step Up AdvisErs, Ltd. & Executive Adviser Climate Justice, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, CARE
Mercedes Bustamante Bio
Professor, University of Brasilia
Soumya Swaminathan Bio
Former Chief Scientist, World Health Organization
Tulullah Oni Bio
Clinical Director of Research, University of Cambridge & Founder, UrbanBetter
Youba Sokona Bio
Vice Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Barbara Buchner Bio
Global Managing Director, Climate Policy Initiative
Ma Jun Bio
Director, Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE)
16 September 2023
Orchestrating Global Synergies for Climate Action and SDGs
[SDG Summit side event] Co-hosted by UNDESA and UNFCCC on 16 September as part of SDG Action Weekend provided an opportunity for a deeper conversation about how to build greater climate and SDG synergies following the launch of the expert group report. Representatives from the Governments of Denmark, Japan and Brazil offered their views, and several NGOs, academics and a youth climate activist stressed the need to address inequalities, climate justice, accountability and lack of finance. COP28 was seen as an important step ahead to integrate SDG indicators into the climate process.
13 September 2023
Launch of the First Global Report on Climate and SDG Synergy
The first global report titled “Synergy Solutions for a World in Crisis: Tackling Climate and SDG Action Together” was jointly launched by DESA and UNFCCC secretariat at the SDG Studio in New York. The report launch was presided over by Mr. Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General of UN DESA and Mr. Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, along with the co-leads and a member of the Expert Group on Climate and SDG Synergy. The event was organized as a dynamic conversation with a professional moderator, offering online spectators a good understanding of the report’s scope, mission, and desired impacts.
16 July 2023
Fourth Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The Fourth Global Conference on Climate and SDG Synergies was held at the United Nations on 16 July 2023, bringing together Ministers and high-level representatives from government, business and civil society, among over 400 in-person and nearly 4,000 virtual participants from 140 countries. Building the evidence base for win-win synergies that tackle both the climate emergency and the Sustainable Development Goals, participants shared experiences and viewpoints, and made recommendations for how to break down silos and advance integrated action. The Conference was co-convened by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as a special event of the 2023 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
12 June 2023
Accelerating Climate and SDG Synergies as an Enabler for Just Transition
[Bonn SB58 side event] Just Transition is all-encompassing and is aligned with the integrated approach to the implementation on climate and SDGs synergies. This event aimed to share developments and processes in which participants can contribute towards an increased understanding and scaling up of synergistic implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement goal. The event also served as an opportunity to shape key recommendations of the global assessment on climate and SDGs synergies, which scope is to inform key 2023 milestones such as the SDG Summit, the Climate Ambition Summit, the UNFCCC COP28 and its Regional Climate Weeks, to mainstream a coordinated climate and SDG action among their processes and outcomes.
16 November 2022
Delivering in Synergy on Climate Action and the SDGs: A Pathway to Untapped Potential
[COP27 event] Building on evidence and lessons learned in the context of the Third Global Conference on Climate and SDGs Synergies, the aim of this event was to strengthen support for coordinated implementation and determine context-specific key regional priorities and opportunities for synergistic action on the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.
14 November 2022
Turning pledges into inclusive and equitable actions: Synergistic Implementation of Climate and the SDGs
[COP27 event] Lead experts from a variety of backgrounds explored how harnessing synergies across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement can at the same time help advance inclusive and just transitions. Speakers shared practical insights on incorporating a “climate and SDGs” lens into their areas of work, from science and policy to financing and delivery of development co-benefits, towards more equitable, fair, and resilient outcomes.
20-21 July 2022
Third Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Building on the outcomes of the first Climate and SDGs Synergy Conference in 2019 and the virtual consultations in 2020/2021, the joint UNDESA and UNFCCC Third Global Conference on Climate and SDGs Synergies, hosted by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, in partnership with the United Nations University (UNU) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), provided a unique opportunity to take stock of practical measures that are being implemented to advance climate and SDG synergies in regional, national and subnational efforts, including through COVID recovery plans and the NDCs. At the high-level segment of the Conference, Ministers, heads of UN organizations and agencies, business leaders, scientists and youth representatives emphasized the need for greater SDG and climate ambition. The need to urgently boost joint implementation and address gaps such as financing and capacity building was also recognized.
6 July 2021
Launch of E-Learning Course on Harnessing Climate & SDGs Synergies
The course builds on the 2019 Climate and SDG Synergies Conference and the 2020-2021 Synergies Learning Series, going into more depth to provide policymakers with tools and evidence they may use to advocate for climate and synergies in related intergovernmental fora as well as their local context.
15 December 2020 – 2 February 2021
Virtual Learning Series: Harnessing Climate & SDGs Synergies to Raise Ambition in the Era of Paris+5 and Pandemic Recovery
Building on the Climate and SDG Synergies Conferences, this learning series provided stakeholders and practitioners with tools they can use to apply climate and SDG synergies in practice.
2 February 2021
Webinar 3: Overcoming Constraints to Implement Climate & SDG Synergies: capacity, financing and monitoring
Webinar 3 responded to the 'How' question, offering particpants tools and methods to address the re-occurring challenges of realizing climate & SDG synergies in practice.
19 January 2021
Webinar 2: How to Maximize Climate & SDG Synergies? Identifying Opportunities and Navigating Trade-offs
Webinar 2 responded to the 'What' question, introducing range of tools participants can use to identify opportunities to realize climate & SDG co-benefits; and navigate trade-offs.
15 December 2020
Webinar 1: Making the Case for Integrated Climate and SDG Action
Webinar 1 responded to the 'Why' question, providing participants with tools and evidence they can use to advocate for climate & SDG synergies.
25 May – 30 June 2020
Global Consultations on Climate & SDG Synergies for a Better and Stronger Recovery, 25 May – 30 June 2020
The Consultation aimed to advance the application of synergies in practice by collecting good practices that illustrate the potential of synergistic approaches to recover better & faster from Covid-19, accelerate enhanced climate action and transitions to sustainable development.
25 June 2020
Webinar 3: Going Forward with Climate & SDG Synergies for Covid-19 Recovery
Participants considered next steps to strengthen climate & SDG synergies in practice. Speakers propose ways to leverage intergovernmental processes on biodiversity, food, transport and oceans.
11 June 2020
Webinar 2: Synergies for Just Transitions & Economic Recovery
Diverse experts suggested policies and changes that can enable countries to realize “quick wins” for people & planet, while laying the ground for enduring climate, economic & SDG co-benefits.
28 May 2020
Webinar 1: Thinking ahead for a sustainable, just and resilient recovery
Thought leaders and practitioners shared lessons learned from integrated planning to date, and suggested ways to maximize climate & SDG synergies in recovery planning.
1-3 April 2019
First Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (informally the Climate & SDGs Synergy Conference) was organized by UN DESA and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate, Denmark. The first-ever global conference aimed to align the climate and SDG processes, and stimulate action from stakeholders at the global, regional and country levels to maximize co-benefits. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celcius above pre-industrial levels, including through scaling up climate action towards both adaptation and mitigation, is an imperative critical to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. The conference examined how best to advance joined-up efforts for both the SDGs and climate action at the global, regional and country levels, thus also helping to scale up levels of ambition towards these objectives.
SDG Pavilion at COP
The UNFCCC "Conference of the Parties" (COP) is a crucial component in the fight against climate change. It provides a platform for nations to come together and assess the progress made in addressing the issue, identify challenges and find solutions to overcome them. The COP meetings provide an opportunity for Parties to engage in constructive dialogue and negotiate binding agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The decisions made at the COP, including the setting of emissions reduction targets, financing mechanisms, and the implementation of various adaptation and mitigation measures, play a significant role in shaping global efforts to tackle the climate crisis. The annual meetings of the COP serve as a reminder of the urgency and importance of collective action on climate change, and their outcomes help to drive the necessary global action towards a more sustainable future.
UN DESA's engagement at the UNFCCC COP aims at contributing to the objectives of the conference and promoting the synergetic implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. Through its annual SDG Pavilion, UN DESA brings together global experts and policymakers leading the implementation of climate action and the SDGs for discussions on how to accelerate action across both the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
More about the SDG Pavilion
More photos from the SDG Pavilion are available here.
SDG Pavilion at COP27
SDG Pavilion at COP27
SDG Pavilion at COP27
SDG Pavilion at COP26
SDG Pavilion at COP26
SDG Pavilion at COP25