1 May 2018
Monthly Forecast May 2018: Climate, Clean Energy and HLPF Preparations
story highlights

The Bonn Climate Change Conference will seek to make progress on operationalizing the Paris Agreement on climate change, particularly through the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) and furthering the Talanoa Dialogue process.

Energy issues will take center stage during a number of events in May, beginning with the fourth Sustainable Energy for All Forum.

Expert Group Meetings on SDG 12 and SDG 15 will review progress ahead of the 2018 HLPF.

Preparations for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development’s (HLPF) review of the SDGs on energy, biodiversity, and sustainable consumption and production will be in full swing during May. At the same time, the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany is expected to advance efforts under SDG 13 (climate action).

Climate Action (SDG 13)

The Bonn Climate Change Conference will comprise meetings of three bodies: the 48th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 48) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 48), and the fifth part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-5). The meeting will seek to make progress on operationalizing the Paris Agreement on climate change, particularly through the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) and furthering the Talanoa Dialogue process.

The Talanoa Dialogue, a global conversation about the efforts to combat climate change involving both Parties and non-Party stakeholders, is expected to continue deliberations on its three questions related to countries’ efforts to combat climate change: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? Its preparatory phase started in January 2018 and will last until December, followed by a political phase at the Katowice Climate Change Conference.

Other major issues under negotiation in Bonn relate to Parties updating their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) at five-year intervals, regularly reporting on progress under a transparency and accountability framework, and convening a global stocktake (GST) every five years to assess collective progress towards the Paris Agreement’s goals.

Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7)

As the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies continue to discuss the long-term ambitions for climate change, energy issues will take center stage during a number of events in May. The fourth Sustainable Energy for All Forum will kick off the month, bringing together leaders from government, business and civil society to exchange ideas about providing access to affordable and clean energy for all and supporting a “revolution in energy productivity.” Participants will discuss the latest innovations in energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and how to scale up solutions rapidly to provide all populations around the world with access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy in line with SDG 7.

Later in the month, the Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) will invite energy stakeholders to a special session focusing on SDG 7 and its role in furthering inclusive and sustainable industrial development. Intended as a contribution to the in-depth review of SDG 7 at HLPF 2018, the Special Session will focus on three themes: energy system transformation, climate technology and innovation, and partnerships.

VEF will be followed by the ninth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM9) of the G-20 and the third Mission Innovation Ministerial (MI3). CEM9 will convene in Copenhagen, Denmark, under the theme ‘Energy Integration and Transition: towards a competitive and innovative low carbon economy,’ and will bring together ministers to focus on policies and measures to accelerate the green energy transition. MI3 will convene immediately before CEM9 in Malmo, Sweden, and will assess progress in achieving the commitment made by its member countries at the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015 to double their investments in clean energy research and innovation by 2021. In parallel with CEM9/MI3, Nordic Clean Energy Week will provide an opportunity for policy makers, businesses and stakeholders to discuss clean energy solutions.

Life on Land (SDG 15)

Another Goal to be reviewed during HLPF 2018, SDG 15, will also be prominent in May. The official review of progress on SDG 15 will be informed by the UN’s Expert Group Meeting on SDG 15. This event will develop messages for the HLPF on improving SDG 15 implementation, including: success stories, good practices and challenges; areas of concern; and suggested ways forward in terms of policies, partnerships and coordinated actions at all levels.

Also in May, the UN’s Environmental Management Group’s Nexus Dialogue Series will look at the role of biodiversity conservation for human security and wellbeing, exploring how UN agencies and partners can support implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The UN Forum on Forests will dedicate a part of its thirteenth session to develop proposals for halting deforestation and increasing forest areas to inform HLPF discussions on this specific ecosystem. The discussion of biodiversity-related issues in May will be topped off by International Biodiversity Day on 22 May, with the theme, ‘Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity.’

Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12)

Finally, the preparations for reviewing SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production) will shift into high gear with the UN’s Expert Group Meeting on SDG 12. The meeting will look at the state of SDG 12 implementation and its linkages with other SDGs, including climate action, sustainable transport (SDG target 11.2), ocean actions and plastic pollution in the ocean (SDG 14), and food loss and food waste (SDG 2 and SDG 13).

Also in May, 47 governments will begin releasing the main messages of their Voluntary National Reviews of progress in implementing the SDGs in their countries. In 2017, the VNR main messages highlighted the adoption of institutional arrangements, as well as measures related to monitoring, financing, accountability, integration in planning and legislative documents, localization and inclusion, according to our summary of the documents.

We look forward to reporting on all the ways in which Member States, international organizations and stakeholders are getting ready to review efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda.

Stefan Jungcurt, Elena Kosolapova, Lynn Wagner, and Faye Leone

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