United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

France, Germany and Switzerland

Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
7th session
6-10 January 2014, New York
Constituency: France, Germany, Switzerland
Common Statement on Climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Post-2015 Agenda
To be delivered by Minister Pascal Canfin (France)
Honorable co-Chairs,
Your Excellencies,
Dear colleagues,
It is a great pleasure for me to take part in this especially important session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. I am honored to speak on behalf of the constituency composed by Germany, Switzerland and France.
First and foremost, I would like to thank the UN task support team for preparing an excellent issue brief that enlightens us on the core matters of climate change and disaster risk reduction.
As you are well aware, France has a special responsibility as the host of Paris Climate 2015. We hope that the conference will see the adoption by all parties of an ambitious and legally-binding agreement on climate change, which is necessary to reach our common objective to limit the global surface temperature increase below 2°C compared to the pre-industrial average.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reminded us last September that “We have five minutes before midnight.” And I would add that we have five minutes before midnight regarding women and men – especially in the LLDCs – exposed to climate change. We cannot ignore the alarming scientific observation made in the fifth IPCC report. The latter does not rule out a global surface temperature increase of almost 5°C. Such a disastrous scenario would ruin most of our efforts in favor of development.
It seems impossible to develop SDGs without taking climate change into account, considering its impacts on societies. We must pave the way for a development that is compatible with our objective to limit global temperature increase below 2°C. We will not be able to eradicate poverty and ensure a sustainable development for mankind without making climate change and disaster risk reduction part of our future agenda. It is all the more necessary because the LDCs are the very first victims and especially those whose populations largely depend on agriculture. Without substantial efforts to mitigate and to adapt to climate change, a global surface temperature increase of 4°C would trigger a sea level rise up to one meter, threatening all coastal countries, especially the existence of SIDS. The multiplication of natural disasters threatens human lives and progress achieved in the field of MDGs, destroying human settlements and infrastructures, leading to more recurrent food crises and higher pandemic risk and insecurity.
We also consider that DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) must be integrated in the post-2015 agenda, notably through supporting appropriate policies to reinforce the adaptive capacities of societies in terms of human and economic losses. DRR
policies thus contribute to poverty alleviation and creating environmental sustainability.
Clearly, we are not going to duplicate the negotiations on climate change.
A stand-alone goal on climate change would not bring much added value. It is nevertheless highly necessary to include targets on climate change. It is necessary to reach the goals and targets of the agenda. It equally involves our capacity to meet our commitments regarding climate change :
- Developing infrastructures resilient to climate change and natural disasters should, for instance, be a priority. The initial cost will be inferior to the costs associated with future reconstructions. It is also substantial for populations’ security.
- A sustainable energy for all, including the development of renewable energies and increasing energy efficiency, should also allow for decoupling growth and the aggravation of carbon footprint.
- More transversally, a sustainable environment, through land preservation, forest protection, marine environment, sustainable consumption and production patterns, as well as sustainable cities - issues that have been addressed in the first two days of the current session - all imply targets that are necessary to fight climate change.
- As mentioned in the UNSG report, food security and agriculture, universal access to water and sanitation and health are also themes that cannot be tackled without taking into consideration climate change.
We hope that climate change and disaster risk reduction will be addressed in an ambitious and cross-cutting manner in the post-2015 agenda. The future SDGs should encourage all countries to engage in low-carbon development models resilient to climate change and natural and human disasters.
I thank you for your attention.