Monthly Forecast: November 2017
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

This year, more than ever before, the UN Climate Change Conference is expected to focus on the interlinkages between climate action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The SDGs, targets and indicators will also be in the spotlight in Bahrain, during the sixth meeting of the UN’s Inter-agency and Expert Group on the SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs).

A final theme we will be looking for this month is that of the UN Environment Assembly’s third session (UNEA-3): Towards a Pollution-free Planet.

The main climate event of the year, the UN Climate Change Conference, will dominate the sustainable development community’s attention from 6-17 November. This year, more than ever before, the Conference is expected to focus on the interlinkages between climate action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Presided over by the Government of Fiji, the Conference will advance negotiations on operationalization of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which is expected to be finalized at the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC in 2018. Progress on the Facilitative Dialogue 2018 has been highlighted by many among top priorities for the COP.

At COP 23, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (GCA), an initiative launched by the High-Level GCA Champions during COP 22, is anticipated to contribute to implementation of SDG 13 (climate action), 2 (zero hunger) and 11 (sustainable cities and communities) through its 2017-2018 work programme. In addition to agriculture and human settlements, GCA thematic and high-level days, taking place from 10-15 November, will convene discussions that will implicitly and explicitly address SDG 13 linkages with energy (SDG 7), water (SDG 6), oceans and coastal zones (SDG 14), transport (SDGs 7 and 11), industry (SDG 9), forests (SDG 15), and health (SDG 3), as well as finance (SDG 17), resilience (SDGs 13 and 15), innovation (SDG 9) and gender (SDG 5). Discussions in side events on links between the NDCs and SDG national planning will seek to make the connections between SDG 13 and the other SDGs concrete.

The SDGs, targets and indicators will be in the spotlight in Bahrain, during the sixth meeting of the UN’s Inter-agency and Expert Group on the SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). Most of the 17 SDGs will be on the agenda, with the reclassification discussion covering indicators under all goals aside from SDG 13 and 8 (decent work and economic growth). As we have reported earlier, the IAEG-SDGs is considering reclassification of indicators based on the availability of regional and global data, as well as advancements in methodology for a number of indicators currently classified as “Tier III.” Of the 29 Tier III indicators, six have been proposed to move to Tier I (conceptually clear, with established methodology and standards available and data regularly produced), while the remaining 23 are proposed to move to Tier II (agreed methodology and are conceptually clear, but lack regularly produced data from countries).

The indicators are a crucial component for the SDG’s accountability mechanism, but as a previous guest article author noted, “on average, UNECE member countries are currently able to produce roughly one-third of the indicators. Even developed countries cannot produce more than half of them.” Events like the UN World Data Forum series seek to highlight challenges and opportunities to enhance capacity and use of data for the 2030 Agenda, and the recently issued call for proposals to be included in the programme for the second UN World Data Forum will no doubt be the focus for some in the 2030 Agenda community during the coming month. Likewise, the scientific community has been requested to provide inputs to the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) prior to 1 December 2017.

A final theme we will be looking for this month is that of the UN Environment Assembly’s third session (UNEA-3): Towards a Pollution-free Planet. In the lead up to this meeting, which will convene at the beginning of December, UN Environment Executive Director, Erik Solheim, has just released a report titled, ‘Towards a pollution-free planet,’ which explains how pollution relates to each of the SDGs.

We will help you keep track of these and other discussions where connections and linkages among the SDGs are identified, evaluated and reported, as we strive to enhance engagement in the 2030 Agenda process and, ultimately, accountability to the commitments made for 2030.

Elena Kosolapova, Faye Leone and Lynn Wagner


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