SDG Update – 16 May 2017 – IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub


Promoting Public Participation to Make the Paris Agreement Work

Harro van Asselt, University of Eastern Finland and Stockholm Environment Institute; and Sébastien Duyck, Center for International Environmental Law and Arctic Centre, University of Lapland

The adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 marked a significant shift in the recognition of the role of so-called “non-Party stakeholders,” including civil society, local governments, academia, businesses, and others, in addressing climate change. In Paris, Parties to the UNFCCC put the spotlight on the climate actions taken by non-Party stakeholders, and established various processes to scale these up.

FEATURED  Vienna Energy Forum Discusses Sustainable Energy for SDG, Paris Agreement Implementation

15 May 2016: Participants at the the Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) 2017 emphasized the role of sustainable energy in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, with discussions highlighting synergies among the SDGs and the importance of joint and integrated approaches for successful implementation.

ICSU Report Identifies SDG Synergies, Conflicts

12 May 2017: The International Council for Science (ICSU) released a report that examines the interactions among Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to evaluate both synergies and conflicts. The publication rests on the premise that a science-informed analysis of interactions across the SDGs can increase policy coherence and promote effective decision-making and follow-up and monitoring of progress, to ensure long-lasting sustainable development outcomes.


Arctic Council Reaches Fairbanks Declaration, Agreement on Enhanced Scientific Cooperation

15 May 2016: The 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting concluded with Ministers from the eight Arctic States adopting the ‘Fairbanks Declaration 2017′ and signing the ‘Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation.’ At the conclusion of the meeting, the US transferred the Arctic Council Chairmanship to Finland, whose priorities for 2017-2019 include environmental protection, connectivity, meteorological cooperation and education.

UN-Habitat GC26 Discusses Reforms, New Urban Agenda Implementation

12 May 2017: The Governing Council of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) held its 26th session, with a focus on implementing the New Urban Agenda. Officials highlighted the work of the independent panel to assess and enhance the effectiveness of UN-Habitat with regard to the Agenda’s implementation.

ESCAP Identifies Seven Priorities to Fast-track SDGs in South Asia

12 May 2017: Through a policy simulation process, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has identified the top policy priorities that will enable South Asian countries to fast-track action on the SDGs. The recommendations include a push to create 56 million new jobs through sustainable industrialization policies. Among other priorities, ESCAP highlights the need for infrastructure for transport, water and sanitation, electricity, and information and communication technology (ICT) services.

World Congress Calls for Integrating Climate, Resilience in Hydropower Planning

11 May 2017: The 2017 World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, highlighted the promise of hydropower for sustainable energy and structural transformation in Africa. Governments, businesses and NGOs issued their own commitments to planning better hydropower. The International Hydropower Association (IHA) launched its annual status report at the Congress, noting steady worldwide growth in hydropower development.

UNEA-3 Preparations Progress on ‘Pollution-Free Planet’

8 May 2017: Preparations for the third session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-3) in December 2017, on the theme ‘Toward a Pollution-Free Planet,’ are moving forward. Edgar Gutiérrez-Espeleta, UNEA President and Costa Rica’s Minister for Environment and Energy, has circulated points for possible inclusion in a ministerial outcome document, based on Member States’ input. Meanwhile, permanent representatives in Nairobi discussed ways to strengthen UNEA and UN Environment.

IAEG-SDGs Reclassifies Tier III Indicators, Sets Plans to Add Indicators

5 May 2017: The Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has issued the report of the fifth meeting of the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). The report includes a set of next steps on the SDG indicators through March 2018. U

NCTAD Calls for Ending Fisheries Subsidies

2 May 2017: In advance of the UN Conference on Oceans, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlighted the role of fisheries subsidies in overfishing. Other activities in preparation for the Conference include a podcast on actions to save the ocean by Sylvia Earle, the founder of Mission Blue and the former chief scientist of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and continued commitments to the Registry of Voluntary Commitments.

Capacity Building and Technology Update: Africa Promotes Climate-Friendly Technologies, CBIT Implementation Initiated

May 2017: The past few weeks have seen climate change technology development and transfer and capacity building focus primarily on the African continent and covered mitigation, including renewable energy and industrial energy efficiency, as well as on adaptation and climate resilience in agriculture. The first technical workshop on the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) commenced CBIT implementation, and climate change education featured prominently among activities. This update discusses these events and includes a selected list of educational courses in its concluding section.

SEI Briefs Apply Planetary Boundaries Framework to SDGs

April 2017: The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) released two policy briefs on how the “planetary boundaries” framework can help in setting national and EU strategies for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Planetary boundaries refer to the “safe operating space” within which the Earth system must remain, the authors write, in order to function as humans’ life-support system and avert the risk of large-scale or irreversible environmental change.