United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

France, Germany and Switzerland

FR-DE-CH intervention – 10th OWG

Comments regarding the co-chairs proposal dated March 19, 2014

Thursday 3 April


Cluster 5 : Focus area 13 “Sustainable cities and human settlements”, Focus area 14 “Promote Sustainable Consumption and Production”, and Focus area 15 “Climate”

Focus area 13 “Sustainable cities and human settlements”

We support the definition of a goal on « sustainable and inclusive cities and territories », that would address, among others, challenges related to inequalities, violence, climate and disaster, and infrastructures.

We would like to suggest the following targets:
- Build the capacities of local and regional authorities for planning and implementing urban policies, while supporting their institutional and financial capacities;
- Support the development and the implementation of urban and territorial planning policies, through participatory processes to create more compact and inclusive cities, better integrated and connected, with sustainable infrastructure, transports and other services, encouraging social cohesion and resilience to climate change;
- Improve the living conditions in deprived settlements and support access to decent housing for all;
- Support access to basic services for all and healthy living conditions by following the recommendations of the “International Guidelines on Decentralization and Access to Basic Services for all” ;
- Improve air quality and reduce the burden of air pollution related diseases, inter alia by reducing the particulate concentration and SO2, NOx and Ozone in urban air;
- Improve resilience to climate change and reduce risks of disasters : encourage the initiatives of local and regional authorities for mitigation and adaptation to climate change; implement territorial climate plans; develop sober, sustainable mobility and networks; reduce the risks of disasters and build mechanisms to prevent and respond to them;
- Strengthen sustainability of land use and achieve a land and soil degradation neutral world, as well as preserve and develop soil capacity for carbon storage.
- Make cities and territories more attractive: ensure urban renewal and development of green spaces, promote heritage and culture, and support local economic development

Focus area 14 “Promote Sustainable Consumption and Production”

➢ We welcome the document proposed by the co-chairs, which includes a dedicated area on sustainable consumption and production patterns. Targets related to SCP are critical to shift towards more sustainable economic models, which will be more inclusive, low-emission and resilient and will improve people health, well-being and welfare.

➢ Emphasis on SCP contributes to the development of green technologies, circular economy, social and solidarity economy, inclusive and sustainable business models, which are much more resource and energy-efficient, create strong added-value, and offers new opportunities while creating news markets, for instance for organic farming or sustainable housing. Therefore SCP generate strong and sustainable potential for job creation and growth generation.

➢ Supporting innovations and incentives for further technological breakthrough is essential in that respect.

➢ The transition towards SCP, which is absolutely critical and urgent for every country, should be of course particularly promoted by the richest populations.

➢ Low-carbon and resource-efficient economies are also a long-term enabler for development through fighting climate change. This implies a life-cycle approach and considering the whole chain of consumption and production.

➢ Furthermore, the central role of the private sector in achieving sustainable consumption and production and the importance of creating adequate framework conditions for a dynamic and sustainable development of the private sector, should be emphasized.

➢ Raising awareness, education and consumer information are also central to allow for a progressive ecological transition.

➢ Based on this vision, we recall the SCP targets of our proposed goal on “sustainable and inclusive growth” regarding the decoupling of economic growth from the use of natural resource, the life-cycle approach and circular economy, increasing market share of sustainable products and services and sustainable public procurement; We also stress the importance of targets on increasing investments and innovation for green, inclusive and climate resilient economy, as well as the sound management of chemicals and toxic waste;

➢ We also would like to highlight the targets related to resource efficiency already mentioned with regard to energy, water and sanitation, and sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition

➢ With regard to the sustainable consumption, we recall two targets: one related with awareness raising on sustainable development, including on wise use of natural resources, and the one on enabling consumers through the provision of relevant information, notably on products, standards and labels.

➢ The relevant targets we suggest include:

- Increase investments and innovation for green inclusive and climate resilient economy
- Increase the market share of sustainable products and services, including through competitive and transparent public private procurement processes that follow sustainable development guidelines;
- Develop carbon sobriety and include sustainability criteria all along the chain of production and consumption; and sustainable supply chains;
- Generalize a life-cycle approach, especially through a circular economy and by increasing prevention, re-use, recycling, and energy recovery of waste and significantly reduce landfilling so that the majority of waste globally is managed as a resource;
- Based on the 2020 goal on sound management of chemicals and waste, reduce use and exposure to chemicals and toxic waste, including through the development of non-chemical alternatives;
- Decouple economic growth from environmental degradation and resources use and ensure that natural resources are used efficiently and sustainably within the carrying capacity of the planet;
- Internalize environmental external costs and promote natural capital accounting
- Gradually eliminate of environmentally harmful subsidies that are incompatible with sustainable development, including for fossil fuel
- Enable consumers to take informed decisions, through the provision of relevant information, notably on product, standards and labels, as well as education, awareness raising and appropriate incentives;
- Integrate at all levels into education, training curricula and awareness raising to sustainable development, including wise use of natural resources, climate change, health and nutrition related issues, human rights including gender equality;
- Promote green and decent jobs (in line with the upcoming UNEP and ILO definition).
- Promote corporate social and environmental responsibility in public and private sectors, notably by requiring economic, social and environmental accounts
- Ensure sustainable food systems, with agriculture, including livestock, fisheries and aquaculture as well as forests, becoming more sustainable, productive, safe, resource-efficient, diverse and climate smart and it’s resilience other shocks and disasters.This should also cover sustainable consumption.
- Halve post-harvest losses and food waste;
- Increase water efficiency in agricultural and food production, industry and energy generation, also in support of equitable and sustainable growth
- Improve and secure the status of surface and groundwater quality by preventing and reducing water pollution and the production of wastewater from household, industrial and agricultural sources and increasing treatment and safe reuse of wastewater
- Doubling the global rate of improvement of energy efficiency;
- Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix;


Focus area 15 “Climate”

➢ We welcome with great interest and satisfaction the very good revised version proposed by the co-chairs, which reflects to a proper extent our strong will to fully integrate climate change issues. Climate change is not only a priority for the UNFCCC track, it is a core issue for sustainable development and thus should be a priority for the currently discussed agenda.

➢ Fighting climate change is not only an unavoidable prerequisite for development in the long run, it also provides a basis for development per se, through concrete policy action and infrastructure delivery. Developing adaptation strategies, related to various fields of sustainable development, would prevent many countries from suffering from economic and food crises, disasters, or even, more simply, from disappearing. Building climate-resilient cities and rural areas should therefore be a key priority for this agenda. Meanwhile, let’s not forget that not addressing climate change directly can end up ruining decades of development efforts.

➢ A realistic adaptation to the dramatic consequences of climate change implies mitigating its impact on our societies and our economies as well as the environment. Mitigation of climate change is a global public good and it is therefore fundamental to hereby reaffirm our international commitments to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

➢ Commitments to reduce GHG emissions are discussed under the UNFCCC in order to adopt an ambitious, universal and legally-binding agreement in Paris in December 2015. We should avoid duplicating these discussions. While we do not see an added value in a separate SDG on climate change, many targets of the post-2015 agenda should be integrated in the agenda to provide an enabling perspective to mitigation and adaptation and tackle the problem at its very origins. Hence, an efficient and more sustainable use of resources, especially in the fields of energy and ecosystems, including forests, cannot be overlooked. Innovation and the development of new technologies – for instance renewable energies, energy efficiency, low-emissions and carbon-sober patterns of production and consumption, and national and local strategies – would be beneficial to quality of life and would foster economic growth and create jobs.

➢ The inter-linkages we have identified are another proof of the essential relation between climate change and sustainable development: not only does it concern energy, ecosystems, including forests, oceans and seas as well as sustainable consumption and production but it also cannot be departed from issues related to health, food security, infrastructures, land management, sustainable urban development and education.

➢ We recall the target to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2C above pre-industrial levels, in line with international agreements

➢ We would like to recall the climate relevant targets put forward by this constituency on sustainable energy, SCP and sustainable growth as well as the ones to ensure cities, territories, infrastructures and economies’ resilience to climate change and to raise awareness to climate change;

➢ In addition, we would like to stress the importance of, inter alia, targets mentioned under other clusters, related to: reversing the loss of forest cover through sustainable forest management; developing climate-resilient land management, including the adaptation of agricultural systems to the impacts of climate change; reducing ocean acidification as well as preserving and developing soil capacity for carbon storage.

➢ Finally we support the inclusion of a target dedicated to resilience: « Increase capacities for and access to disaster risk management in order to reduce the social and economic impacts of natural hazards and increase the resilience of societies at risk.