The SD Talks Special Series on Climate Action series was launched by the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, in partnership with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It was the first in a series of 7 webinars on climate action.

The SD Talks on Climate Action aim to advance knowledge and further dialogue around climate action, in the lead up to and beyond COP 23,  taking place this November in Germany. Ms. Mohammed and Mr. Nick Nuttall spoke to online participants across the globe and discussed the importance of efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals, and the targets of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in an integrated manner.

Ms. Mohammed encouraged looking at the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) within the dimensions of sustainable development and integrating them from social, environmental and economic perspectives. Taking a hard look at the root causes of the issues, examining where to achieve balance, and providing the right support where needed can drive the achievement of the sustainable development roadmap that the world created together.

Ms. Mohammed invited participants to look back at where the Millennium Development Goals left off and stressed the need to maintain achievements, to address all remaining challenges and to ensure that we do not reverse what was attained through inadequate attention to climate action. Although the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development were negotiated separately, they are all implemented together at country level. “Climate action and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin. At the country level, these things happen together”. Watch the full webinar here.

Climate action is unstoppable

The Deputy Secretary-General emphasised that, “climate action is unstoppable because it makes business sense. This is not charity. This is profit-making, but it is in the context of seeing a safer world involving people at the center of it, ensuring that they have jobs and that their environments are cleaner.”  In fact, “business is moving ahead, faster than we could ever as a multilateral institution, she added.

This means that investments in opportunities that reinforce an integrated approach are key to the achievement of sustainable development and achieving climate action.

With regard to the role of the UN System in supporting multi-stakeholder approaches in support of member states, she underlined that “the UN System can become much more efficient at the country level through the [UN] country teams in convening those spaces, in communicating better between the different parties in a language that we can all understand. The Deputy Secretary-General remarked, “Because the language of the UN is not well understood in many constituencies.”

Approaches to localisation

On approaches to localisation, she underlined the great importance governments play, along with national actors, in implementing the agenda at the local level and underscored that it is less about processes and much more about the results we want to achieve. “We’ve got the tools. It is really now about how we come together to make [it] happen.”

Ms. Mohammed called on different actors to be very specific about the partnerships they create in terms of the results they want to achieve in people’s lives. Her experience in Nigeria showed that bringing sectors together in the initial stages is very tough but once the actors start to implement, countries become more ambitious. She invited the audience to seek integrated solutions that further social and economic development, while protecting the planet and opening economic opportunities through more innovative and green solutions at the same time. “There are no borders in climate change. This is what we must remember. What you do on one side of the world has serious effects on the livelihood and the lives of the people on the other side of the world. So while we look for the gains from the climate agenda for ourselves, we must also understand that there is a collective responsibility to act so that others may know the same freedom that [we] have.”, the Deputy Secretary-General underlined.

Participants raised several questions around the issue of means of implementation, particularly on financing in developing countries where institutional incentives may be lacking. Mr. Nuttall provided context with regard to the big gap between the finance that is needed and the finance that is currently available for programmes addressing climate change. The challenge remains that trillions of US dollars would need to be shifted towards what is broadly called the “green space”. Mr. Nutall provided examples of financial instruments and innovative tools such as the issuance of green bonds and “greening” of pension funds and underlined the key role of regional development banks in the transition to a greener space by de-risking some investments the private sector is not yet willing to take on-board.

The role of youth

Ms. Mohammed concluded with a word of encouragement to young people. “Do not assume a government knows it all. Find a way of engaging. When you do that, they will draw on you. […] [as long as] you are constructive in your ask and you provide solutions, that [are realistic].” Emphasising the role of youth as multipliers among their peers, the Deputy Secretary-General told the young people attending the webinar, “You have a big role in knowledge sharing. There is not enough knowledge out there about climate change and its interplay with sustainable development. Know it and share it!”

Watch the full webinar here.

Join the next SD Talks webinar

The second SD Talks on Climate Action titled National Climate Plans (NDCs): Blueprints for a Global Transformation will happen on 7 June 2017 from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. CEST at the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany. The Paris Climate Change Agreement sets the goals, and now countries must translate them into action. The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) set out what each country plans to do as part of the Paris Agreement to contribute to the international effort to secure a sustainable future for all. This webinar will explain how NDCs open up a new universe of economic and cooperation opportunities to realise the mitigation and adaptation plans and increase climate resilience.

If you would like to attend this event online, please register in advance here.

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