The long title of our forecast for October reflects the ambitious, wide-ranging agenda that the international community has taken on this month.

As we anticipate many of the discussions coming up this month, we are also keeping an eye on what has come before. Among the inputs and exogenous forces feeding into intergovernmental decision-making processes are the recent natural disasters that frame several of the key events taking place in October. Participants attending the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group in Bali, Indonesia, were rocked awake by an earthquake as they gather to address disaster financing, among other issues. Meanwhile, on the eve of the adoption of the Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report (SR15) on Global Warming of 1.5°C by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world reeled from impacts of a series of weather disasters, including devastating floods that came on the heels of Hurricane Florence in the US, Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines and Hong Kong, and Typhoon Trami in Japan.

As we reported last month, September was full of efforts to build momentum for the Katowice Climate Change Conference in December, with a number of high-level events taking place around the world. In early October the IPCC adopted SR15, which will feed directly into the Talanoa Dialogue process, as it shifts from its preparatory process to its political phase at COP 24. The Katowice COP is expected to adopt operational guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement. Governments will also likely consider SR15’s messages during the pre-COP in Krakow, Poland, where they will gather to galvanize political will ahead of the COP. SR15 outcomes are also relevant to the meetings of the UNFCCC-constituted bodies convening ahead of COP 24, including the Adaptation Committee.

September also saw concerning news about the continued reversal of progress on global hunger. After more than a decade of continued decline in the number of hungry people in the world, the UN’s annual State of the Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report showed that 2018 marked the third consecutive year in which both hunger and malnutrition increased around the globe. The main drivers of hunger are conflict and climate change, often reinforcing each other.. The findings of the report will be discussed during the 45th Session of the Committee on World Food Security, which will also review progress on the Human Right to Food. On 16 October, World Food Day will be an opportunity to showcase successful approaches to combat hunger under the theme “Our Actions are Our Future.”

The discussions during the Second World Data Forum, which is taking place later in October, will be fed by the growing landscape of data platforms, indexes and data sets that are coming online to measure SDG implementation. Discussions on data will then move to the eighth meeting of the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) in early November, where participants will consider data flows for the SDGs, among other agenda items.

Discussions on biodiversity are also taking place in October, including preparations for the upcoming meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 14) in Egypt. We are also watching for how the outcomes of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Standing Committee (SC70), the 2nd Arctic Biodiversity Congress, Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, and the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) feed into the larger biodiversity discussion.

The ocean will be on the global agenda at the end of October, with the fifth meeting of the Our Ocean Conference and the fourth Intergovernmental Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA). The GPA last convened in 2012, and will take into consideration a number of global developments that have taken place since the third meeting. On this topic, too, the stage was set in September with a cluster of events, announcements and launches related to plastic pollution in the ocean. An ad hoc expert group on marine litter and microplastics will hold its second meeting under UNEA auspices in early December, in Geneva.

October will also bring a focus on water and matters related to SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation). Countries and stakeholders have had over a month to reflect on the numerous outputs from World Water Week that took place in Stockholm, Sweden, in August. The eighth Meeting of the Parties to the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (the Water Convention) will continue to review the implementation of the Convention and take the necessary measures required to achieve its purposes. The recent accession to the Water Convention by Senegal and Chad has highlighted the treaty’s relevance to cross-border cooperation among riparian States outside of Europe.

The Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention is preceded by the Asia Water Forum 2018, which explored the role of innovation and technology in helping ensure a water-secure Asia Pacific region. It is closely followed by the first-ever Cairo Water Week, which will address the benefits of water conservation for sustainable development. The seventh biennial Africa Water Week convening at the end of the month will seek to shed light on achieving water security and safely managed sanitation in Africa.

Towards the end of the month, several events aim to advance circular economies and green growth. The World Circular Economy Forum will consider issues relating to a circular economy, including economic benefits and social equity, global value chains and circular trade, and circular solutions for reducing marine plastic waste. In parallel, the World Green Economy Summit will bring together experts from around the world for a dialogue on action, innovation and policies that can provide an enabling environment for sustainable green growth.

On the other side of the globe, the Asia Clean Energy Summit will discuss collaboration towards harnessing the potential of clean energy sources for the region. Heading into November, the International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference will round up considerations of SDG 7 considering how stand-alone and mini-grid systems powered by renewable energy to provide electrify remote areas.

Throughout October, you can continue to look to the SDG Knowledge Hub for stories related to the context in which decisions are being discussed along with processes that they will feed into, as we strive to keep the sustainable development community apprised of discussions and implementation efforts around the world to drive progress on the 2030 Agenda.

Elena Kosolapova, Lynn Wagner, Stefan Jungcurt and Faye Leone