By Kimbowa Richard, Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development / East African Sustainability Watch Network
During the Bonn Civil Society Meeting: Advancing the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda (March 22 – 23, 2013), Global Civil Society participants pointed out that climate change is an urgent an urgent issue for humanity.
“It is a justice, political, economic and security issue which is already hampering the fulfillment of social, human and economic development, as well as the realization of some basic human rights, such as the right to food’ according to the preamble of the statement.
The statement further notes that climate change amplifies existing social, political and resource problems and will increase poverty and inequalities if it is not dealt with satisfactorily. For example, it exacerbates the effects of poor governance, conflict or market failures, and increases poor people’s vulnerability and intensifies development challenges. It hinders economic growth and puts poorer countries at risk of becoming more dependent on aid. We cannot solve poverty without solving the climate crisis.
It adds that climate change has multiple equity dimensions on international and national levels; as well as across intergenerational and intragenerational lines. Groups who have done the least to cause climate change, such as the world’s poor, women and indigenous people, are most vulnerable to its impacts.
‘At the same time, climate change will prevent our youth from having the same quality of life that we enjoy today,’ added the statement
Therefore, Global Civil Society calls upon the world to move away from business as usual and adopt a sustainable development pathway which features the more equal distribution of resources within existing planetary boundaries, in order to provide dignified lives and human rights for all. In connection with this, the statement notes the need for new definition of progress for all nations.
“We must move away from solely economic values like GDP and instead reflect a more appropriate measure for quality of life, which incorporates sustainability and well being.
Civil Society underscore the need to ensure that the post 2015 sustainable development agenda fosters climate resilient lives and livelihoods, and ensures a low-carbon future. To do so, they call for acknowledgement of the fundamental interlinkages between development and the environment and move away from a siloed approach to these issues’, the statement emphasizes.
Climate change and the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda
In relation to the post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, the statement calls for a vision that is compatible with what we know about climate change. Because climate change affects almost every aspect of human existence, it requires a holistic approach that must be addressed across all of the future goals.
All goals should:
· Be subject to an environmental resilience test,
· Contribute to making progress towards a low-carbon global economy;
· Contribute to making vulnerable communities resilient to external shocks
including those sparked by climate change;
· Respect the global commons and planetary boundaries;
· Acknowledge that development and access to resources to date has been unsustainable and unequal and therefore there is a need to shift into an equitable and sustainable consumption and production patterns;
· Acknowledge groups who are most at risk in the status quo including women and indigenous communities.
Climate Change and Energy goals
The Global Civil Society Statement also calls for specific goals dealing with climate change and energy.
A climate goal should:
- Be ambitious in line with the latest science on climate change;
- Be complementary to but also go beyond what has already been achieved in other fora, such as theUNFCCC, such as featuring a global emission reduction target, for example for, 2050. Longer termgoals should feature interval targets;
- Provide compensation and support, particularly to people living in poverty and vulnerability, whosuffer loss and damage, if and when adaptation to climate change impacts fails.
An energy goal should:
- Aim to provide safe, clean, affordable, reliable, sustainable, low carbon energy access for all;
- Contain an ambitious global target for adoption of renewable energy and phase out of fossilfuel use.
Means of Implementation for the Post 2015 agenda
In order that the sustainable development agenda be implemented in a transparent and cohesive manner, the statement put across a number of factors that should be considered. First of all, ensuring that financial support is provided for the equitable and thorough implementation of the post 2015 sustainable development agenda. Finance provided should be new and additional to other commitments, i.e., it should not be double-counted towards other commitments.
Secondly, civil society should be a new key dimension of means of implementations, and have a clearly defined role in the development and implementation of Post 2015 goals.
Thirdly, to enhance effectiveness and coherence of the post 2015 agenda, the process to develop the post 2015 MDGs and the SDGs should be merged.
The full global civil society statement on climate change can be accessed from: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/Bonn2015
Individuals and organizations are invited to express their support to the statements from the Bonn meeting. Please go to www.worldwewant2015.org/Bonn2015 to read and endorse it.