DIE | Climate Policy special issue : The 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement: voluntary contributions towards thematic policy coherence

Ambition alone is not enough, argue Pieter Pauw and Richard Klein in their powerful guest editorial to Climate Policy’s forthcoming special issue on lessons learned from the first round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Effectiveness, transparency and coherence are needed too. Clara Brandi, Senior Researcher at the Bonn based German Development Institute DIE, contributed to this article which is now available here at Taylor and Francis Online.

What it is about?

In 2015, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were adopted, bringing about a shift from legally binding emission mitigation targets based on common metrics for developed countries only, towards voluntary commitments for all. Our content analysis of countries’ climate activities in 164 nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement reveals that these are closely connected to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda). This article explores the connections between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda at a global level, across all NDCs, and also analyses detailed connections at SDG target level for a subset of six developing countries. At the national level, focusing on developing countries that have not yet drafted a National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) and taking account of both overlaps and gaps, the article suggests ways to promote thematic coherence between both agendas and make use of this unique window of opportunity to draft NSDSs and update NDCs, making them more ambitious.

Key policy insights:

  • NDCs propose many activities that also contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Underlining the connection between NDCs and SDGs can strengthen buy-in among various stakeholder groups in society for more ambitious NDCs.

  • At the target level, energy efficiency (SDG 7), sustainable forest management (SDG 15), sustainable agriculture (SDG 2), sustainable transport systems (SDG 11) and water-use efficiency (SDG 6) are priority areas for thematic coherence between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.

  • An assessment of thematic policy coherence between the voluntary domestic contributions regarding the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda should be integrated in national policy cycles for sustainable and climate policy-making to identify overlaps, gaps, mutual benefits and trade-offs in national policies.

  • The periodic updates of NDCs and the drafting of National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDSs) should be used by countries to align their domestic contributions in order to implement the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda coherently. Our ‘three-step linkage framework’ offers a method for this.

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Source: Climate Policy, 07 February 2020