WRI Report Recommends Greater Alignment of SDG, NDC Implementation to Enhance Action
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The study notes that the SDGs and climate actions embedded in NDCs are still largely implemented under separate tracks, despite growing recognition of the strong connections between the two agendas.

The paper describes efforts to bridge the two implementation tracks, and explains that a growing number of countries have began taking concrete steps to advance both agendas as one.

The report suggests that global reporting frameworks under the Paris Agreement and the HLPF could better support national efforts to merge SDG and NDC implementation.

17 July 2018: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change should be implemented jointly to help scale up actions and impact, according to a study that finds that, in most countries, climate actions under Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and national targets under the SDGs have been defined and advanced separately.

The paper, which was developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), examines the ways in which the alignment of the two processes can be increased, despite their distinct histories, communities of actors and political dynamics.

The paper titled, ‘Connecting the Dots: Elements for a Joined-Up Implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement,’ explains that the SDGs and climate actions embedded in NDCs are still largely implemented under distinct tracks, despite growing recognition of the strong connections between the two agendas, the opportunities they present for synergies, and the “short window of opportunity” for addressing the interlinked challenges of climate change, ecosystem degradation, poverty, rising inequality and fragile governance.

Drawing on examples and lessons learned from 11 countries and the EU, the publication outlines efforts to bridge the two implementation tracks, and explains that a growing number of countries have began taking concrete steps to advance both agendas as one. More specifically, the report provides options and examples for linking institutional, policy, financial, and monitoring and reporting frameworks that support joint implementation, which can reduce transaction costs and enhance policy coherence.

The paper describes five areas where countries are taking action to jointly implement the agenda: 1) ensuring institutional coordination; 2) ensuring alignment of and synergies between nationally relevant SDG targets and climate actions; 3) mainstreaming the SDGs and NDCs jointly into national planning and budgets; 4) optimizing financial resources; and 5) designing mutually supportive monitoring and reporting frameworks.

Cross-fertilization between SDG and NDC targets can lead to greater ambition.

On coordinating institutions, the paper explains that SDG and NDC lead institutions can build on their different strengths and authorities to more effectively engage governments and other stakeholders, and calls for consistent leadership and bringing the climate and development communities together.

On alignment of and synergies between SDG and NDC targets, the paper notes that climate policymakers have acknowledged limited understanding of the ways in which the SDGs can support climate policymaking, while sector ministries often view NDCs as technical documents that are difficult for use in policy planning. It explains that cross-fertilization and alignment can lead to greater ambition, and calls for designing single long-term carbon-neutral, sustainable development strategies.

The paper states that while few countries have sought greater alignment, Mexico released a study identifying NDC actions with the greatest SDG benefits as priority “development accelerators.” In addition, Kenya undertook an SDG impact assessment for its National Climate Change Action Plan 2018-2022. Both studies, it notes, call for, inter alia, measures to maximize climate action benefits on inequality reduction and gender equality.

On jointly mainstreaming both agendas into policy planning and budgeting, the paper recommends: sector-specific guidelines; consistent use of performance frameworks and budget-tagging systems that consider the objectives of both agendas; a comprehensive gap analysis of both agendas; monitoring; and involving SDG and NDC lead institutions in planning processes. The paper discusses Colombia’s use of consistent guidelines and support for building the SDGs and NDCs into local development plans, and explains that several countries have also started reviewing and enforcing SDG-NDC mainstreaming.

On optimizing budgetary and financial resources, the paper recommends, inter alia, mobilizing and tracking SDG-related and climate finance, and integrated fiscal and regulatory reforms to help scale up finance for both agendas.

On mutually reinforcing monitoring, evaluation and reporting frameworks, the paper states that: consistent sets of SDG, climate and other development indicators and common data strategies support integrated monitoring of outcomes, and national progress reports can more systematically address SDG-climate linkages. It outlines the ways in which the Philippines, Finland and Kenya have assessed the relevance of global SDG indicators in monitoring climate actions, especially adaptation, noting that several countries have included SDG and NDC reporting in annual growth reviews and budget processes.

In addition, the report describes the ways in which international development can better support national efforts to link the two agendas, and urges development partners to support national efforts to link implementation efforts through an integrated approach to capacity building and project planning.

The report suggests that global reporting frameworks under the Paris Agreement and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) could better support national efforts to merge SDG and NDC implementation, and contends that the HLPF and Talanoa Dialogue offer near-term opportunities for countries to develop synergies to ramp up national ambitions. [Report Landing Page] [Letter from Report Publishers] [WRI Blog] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on HLPF Side Event Showcasing Integrated Approaches to Joined-up SDG and NDC Implementation]


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