In September 2015, the Member States of the UN agreed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to address economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced and integrated manner. Included are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets, most of which have a deadline of 2030, though 21 expire in 2020 or have no explicit deadline.
There are 12 targets that integrate elements of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. These 12 targets fall within five goal areas - SDG 2 (Food security), SDG 6 (Water and Sanitation), SDG 12 (Consumption and Production), SDG 14 (Life in Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land). Alignment with existing UN agreements is an important feature of the SDGs and supports greater policy coherence and integration across UN frameworks.
Given that most of these targets will not be achieved by 2020, a clear process is required to extend efforts to 2030. New targets must drive delivery on the environment-related SDGs - without success on this front, the delivery of all the other SDGs will be threatened.
The UN’s High-Level Political Forum meets annually to review both the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. In 2017, six goals falling under the banner of Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world were reviewed.
In July 2018, the progress of five further goals will be evaluated – namely:
In 2019, the final five goals will be reviewed at the HLPF on Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. A decision on the process to review the 2020 targets under the SDGs needs to take place in either the 73rd Session (2019) or the 74th Session (Sep 2020) of UNGA.
The deadline of 21 SDG targets in 2020 represents the first real political challenge to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The decision on updating these targets ultimately lies with UN Member States meeting in the General Assembly.
At the same time, in October 2020 at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the CBD, Parties are expected to agree on a post-2020 framework that will include a set of targets to succeed the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Preparatory work to define the new targets will start in 2018.
It will be important to align the UNGA process and the CBD post-2020 targets to ensure a coordinated set of goals moving towards 2030.
WWF works at both a global and national level to with governments, private sector and consumers to address the governance challenges affecting development and advocate for sustainable decision-making.
In the Inuit communities of Arviat and Igloolik, northern Canada, WWF is working closely with organisations, governments and communities to keep citizens and polar bears safe by reducing encounters between polar bears and communities.
The Inirida Fluvial Star in Colombia is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. For the past nine years, WWF has facilitated co-operation between local government authorities and 12 communities to promote the sustainable management of the area.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, WWF has worked with the Ministry of Rural Development to design a tool for indigenous and local communities to monitor progress on SDGs implementation. The tool helps local and indigenous communities collect data which is used to inform policy analysis at the provincial and national levels.
Over the past two years, WWF has brought together 10 UK companies buying leather in India, to form the Leather Buyers’ Platform. This Platform is improving water quality along the Ganga River by reducing pollution from local tanneries and promoting sustainable leather production.
For the past 11 years, WWF has partnered with local communities and the Government of Nepal Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) to deliver a programme promoting sustainable water management.
Cities are the front line of tackling climate change. In 2011, WWF launched the One Planet City Challenge initiative which invites cities to publicly report on their contributions to global climate targets. The initiative has increased the amount of quality data available on cities’ contribution to national and global action on climate change
Zambia is ranked as one of the countries with the highest food security problems. The Western Provinces is one of the most remote areas of the country, with a very high variability of rainfall. For the past five years, WWF Zambia has trained 2.500 families of smallholder farmers on Conservation Agriculture. The main focus is to increase natural soil fertility, avoid shifting cultivation and halt human-wildlife conflict.
In 2015, WWF started working with biscuit producer Bahlsen to make its palm oil supply chains sustainable and transparent from the small, local farmers in Sabah through to the refineries in Europe and ultimately to Bahlsen itself. By using better planting material and with good fertiliser management, smallholder farmers can also increase their yields and maintain the fertility of their soils for a long time.
Over the past five years, WWF has supported conservation agriculture in the Atlantic Forest ecoregion in Paraguay through the cultivation of Yerba Mate, or Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis) concentrate extract in form of edible powder. The farming techniques used for Yerba Mate help protect and restore the Atlantic forest, watersheds, and its species.
The Sustainable Consumption and Production Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines (SCP TIP) project aims to improve capacity to integrate SCP principles in politics, private businesses and civil society as a means for living up to national climate strategies. Through the whole campaign, multi-sectoral awareness on the environmental impacts of the food service industry is created, and ways to reduce this footprint are demonstrated, across South East Asia
There has never been a more globally important set of aims than the ones behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each SDG has specific aims and targets, but it’s important to understand them as part of an indivisible, interlinked package. Taking a holistic view of the SDGs in the spotlight at HLPF 2018 will allow stakeholders to benefit from potential synergies and advance objectives in several areas at once.
The average person thinks about the value of land in dollar terms because we are conditioned to think of land as a tradeable commodity, yet its value goes far beyond a dollar sign. Land is black gold, quite literally supporting our livelihoods. It is the resource on which nearly all of the world’s economies have grown and thrived. But we are depleting it at an alarming rate.
With this year’s UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) to review the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) starting next week, it’s timely to reflect on some critical aspects regarding the need for integration in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Simply put, saving our planet is a formidable challenge. It requires an integrated approach and a good understanding of the trade-offs involved. It is a big, complicated and, frankly, scary topic but one that we can't shy away from. There are many complex solutions that can be applied but, in some ways, sustainability is as easy as one, two, three.
In fewer than 900 days, the world will have halted deforestation, taken urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity, and ensured that ecosystems are being conserved, restored and sustainably used. So how is it going? Not too well, unfortunately. This should set alarm bells ringing. Failure to meet these targets wouldn’t simply be a setback towards achieving SDG 15. It would also threaten our ability to meet the other SDGs.
Water is key to the success of all the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, and therefore essential for delivering on the 2030 Agenda that aims to transform our world into the future we want. To achieve this, a new way of managing water is needed, to make societies more resilient, sustainable and inclusive. This open letter calls for action and takes a closer look at how this can be achieved.
The 2018 UN High-Level Political Forum to review the SDGs is underway and next week 47 countries will present voluntary national reviews, to demonstrate their progress in meeting goals 6, 7, 11, 12 and 15. However, we can not expect governments alone to achieve the goals. We need to go a step further — we must coalesce to drive success.