10 July 2018
Regional Dialogue Highlights Synergies between Climate and Development Agendas
Photo by Ivetta Gerasimchuk | IISD
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The Government of Georgia, with UNDP and UNFCCC, hosted a Regional Dialogue on NDCs for Eurasia.

The Dialogue featured sessions linking the SDGs and NDCs and other topics that relate to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including energy, gender and finance.

Country participants showcased how their governments were increasing ambition on their NDCs and challenges faced to date, including coordination across ministries to jointly implement the SDGs and NDCs.

23 May 2018: A Regional Dialogue on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) showcased Eastern European, Caucasus and Central Asian countries’ climate actions taken to date and demonstrated their linkages to the SDGs. The dialogue served as a springboard for knowledge exchange among countries in the region as they push forward on increasingly ambitious long-term development strategies.

During a session on integrating the NDCs and SDGs at national level, Michael Comstock, UN Development Programme (UNDP), noted that SDG-related efforts contribute to NDC goals and vice-versa, given the “distinct but interlinked” processes. He highlighted research from the World Resources Institute (WRI) that finds climate actions align with 154 of the 169 SDG targets. However, he underscored challenges that hinder implementation, particularly the siloing of parallel processes with little communication between ministries despite substantive overlaps and potential duplication. Comstock outlined UNDP support to both the SDG and NDC processes, closing with a preview of a UNDP report titled, ‘Aligning NDCs and SDGs: Lessons Learned and Practical Guidance,’ to be launched later this year. [Presentation on Dialogue Objectives by Michael Comstock, UNDP]

Lee Cando, NDC Partnership, also stressed countries’ challenges of coordination, both horizontally across ministries and development partners, and vertically between national, sub-national and local governments. She flagged NDCs’ interdisciplinary nature, emphasizing that they cut across issues, and are not stand-alone climate or environment issues. Rather, they encompass a wide range of topics, including agriculture (SDG 2), water (SDG 6), energy (SDG 7), transport (SDG 11) and forestry (SDG 15). [Presentation on Transforming NDCs into Action by Lee Cando, NDC Partnership]

Dialogue participants highlighted “the need to mobilize the trillions of dollars of private investment” needed in order to collectively realize countries’ NDCs and the SDGs.

Sofia Gonzales, NewClimate Institute, presented the SDG Climate Action Nexus (SCAN) Tool for linking climate actions to the SDGs. The tool allows for analysis of trade-offs between SDGs that are in conflict, where progress on one may detract from or undermine that of another. However, for all SDGs, she noted, the synergies outweigh the trade-offs. [Presentation on SCAN Tool by Sofia Gonzales, NewClimate Institute]

Representatives from Georgia and Armenia shared their countries’ experiences. Tea Avazashvili, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Georgia, reviewed steps that the country has taken towards diversifying and improving its energy sources and security, noting policy developments around energy efficiency and renewables, which align closely with SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy). Georgia’s key challenges for incorporating NDC and SDG actions, Avazashvili delineated, include low levels of awareness and lack of human, institutional and regulatory capacity. Asya Murudyan, Ministry of Nature Protection, Armenia, emphasized the country’s actions around adaptation as highlighted in its NDC. [Presentation on Integrating NDCs and SDGs into National Development Planning by Tea Avazashvili, Georgia] [Presentation on Integrating NDCs and SDGs into National Development Planning by Asya Muradyan, Armenia]

With finance often being seen as an opportunity to join up implementation efforts towards the SDGs and Paris Agreement on climate change, participants in the session on private sector engagement acknowledged “the need to mobilize the trillions of dollars of private investment” needed in order to collectively realize countries’ NDCs and the SDGs. Discussions covered strategies and means of implementation that are broadly recognized as contributing to both the climate and development agendas, such as public-private partnerships (PPPs), an enabling policy environment and cooperation on green technologies to accelerate society’s transition towards more sustainable economic growth.

The Dialogue also featured discussions on how to integrate gender equality (SDG 5) into NDC implementation. Natasha Olofinskaya, UNDP, highlighted that gender is an enabling factor for all 17 SDGs, noting that it is not only supportive of climate mitigation and adaptation measures, but also has positive impacts on poverty reduction (SDG 1), hunger eradication (SDG 2) and health (SDG 3). [Overview of NDCs from the Region by Natasha Olofinskaya, UNDP]

Convened from 21-23 May 2018 in Tbsilisi, Georgia, the Dialogue was hosted by the Government of Georgia and co-organized with the UNFCCC and UNDP. Supported by the Governments of Germany, Japan and Norway, in collaboration with the NDC Partnership, it was the 17th in the series, which will continue into 2019. [Regional NDC Dialogue for Eurasia] [UNDP and UNFCCC Dialogue Report] [Regional Dialogue Agenda]

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