30.03.2019

On a High-Level Meeting on the Protection of the Global Climate for Present & Future Generations of Humankind in the Context of the Economic, Social and Environmental Dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

2019 presents a range of the opportunities to discuss the synergies between the climate and sustainable development agendas in the context of the incoming High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July and the HLPF Summit in September, the Climate Summit, the SAMOA Pathway Mid-Term Review, and the Mid-Term Review of the Vienna Program of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries. (UN, 2019) Another key event, High-Level Meeting on the Protection of the Global Climate for Present & Future Generations of Humankind in the Context of the Economic, Social and Environmental Dimensions of the 2030 Agenda, was held on March 28 in New Your, the UN Headquarters. It was mandated by the UNGA  Resolution A/RES/72/219  that invites the President of the General Assembly to convene a high-level meeting during the seventy-third session of the General Assembly

The meeting sought  to achieve the following objectives: (i) highlight the interlinkages between climate and economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development for present and future generations including the synergies between the climate agenda and Agenda 2030; (ii) promote the adoption of an intergenerational approach to climate action, taking into account recent report findings, and including mainstreaming tools, by providing an interface for dialogue and pledges between policymakers, leaders and representatives of present and future generations; (iii) highlight practical, as well as gender and age responsive means of implementation, notably: Climate Finance, Low-carbon energy and technologies and capacity building; (iv) provide a bridge in close coherence with other UN climate platforms, other.

In their opening remarks by the top UN officials underscored the urgency of the climate action and the role of the intergenerational approach to it. “We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet,” General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Ecuador), stressing that 11 years are all that remain to avert catastrophe.  Highlighting the meeting’s theme, Ms. Espinosa called for an intergenerational approach to climate change.  “Climate justice is intergenerational justice,” she said, calling on States to act collectively and responsibly.

The first panel of the meeting focused on the interlinkages and the synergies between the 2030 Agenda, SDGs and climate change. During the first discussion, the participants asserted that the time for discourse has passed: now is the time for action.

The member states put the light on their national measures, priorities and plans. It is important to admit several messages delivered by the Member States and stakeholders. For instance, Canada promised to ensure that peace and security issues related to climate change are among its priorities as it runs for an elected seat on the UN Security Council for 2021-2022. Probably we can expect some developments in international political discourse on security-climate change nexus at the Security Council. Please, see my previous post on climate-security nexus and the role of the UN Security Council here.

Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders Group, underscored the need to mainstream young people in climate action: “no partnerships should come to the Climate Summit without young voices [and] visions.” She stressed the value of an intergenerational lens for creating synergies between climate and sustainable development, and called for looking to 2050, not only 2030, when addressing impacts on the climate. (see the event coverage by the IISD)


The second panel was dedicated to the means of implementation with the following key messages delivered by the panelists:  (i) intergenerational equity should be captured in national policies on climate change; (ii) future NDCs shall express greater ambitions in order to incentivize greater investments; (iii) climate considerations should be integrated in national budgets and plans, (iv) governments should prepare and come to the Climate Summit in September with the action-oriented pledges,  and not speeches. The UN Secretary General asked leaders to demonstrate how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade and achieve net zero global emissions by 2050, to ensure no one is disadvantaged by climate action and to demonstrate how such action leads to job creation, lower air pollution and improved public health.

After the second panel. the floor was open to the interactive exchange. Please, read the official coverage fo the event by the UN.

By Katsiaryna Serada

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