The Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Development
Global goals for climate change and sustainable development (SD) were reached in two historical agreements in 2015; the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C and the United Nations 2030 Agenda to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The political aspiration for a transformational change to low carbon and sustainable development is recognised in both agreements.
The Paris Agreement indicates a political change towards an enhanced focus on sustainable development as a means to raise ambition for climate mitigation. This is a change away from the Kyoto Protocol era, where sustainable development was mentioned to reassure Parties that climate mitigation should not conflict with development aspirations. In this context, the aim of the Dialogue is to explore Party and other stakeholder views on options to implement the sustainable development provisions for Article 6. These recommendations put forward draw from a series of workshops with Parties and other stakeholders held under Chatham House rules since July 2017.
Provisions for sustainable development in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement are essential if we are to keep global temperature rises well below 2°C and meet the ambitions set out in the SDGs.
Why operational SD provisions in Article 6 are important?
There are four reasons why, operational sustainable development provisions in post-2020 mechanisms are important:
- Public acceptance of market mechanisms depends on strong safeguards and real sustainable development benefits;
- Sustainable development is a primary lever for raising climate ambition. The assessment and the recognition of sustainable development benefits of mitigation actions is very often a prerequisite to unlock host country ownership and ensure, these actions receive long-term support;
- Quantifying and valuing sustainable development impacts can unlock much needed private sector funding and can lead to higher market value of units;
- International guidance on sustainable development is already available (Agenda 2030) and endorsed by 193 countries; synergies can be derived from aligning sustainable development approaches in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement with global and national level Agendas 2030.
Text Recommendations for SD provisions in Article 6
The draft negotiation text contains elements ensuring the promotion of sustainable development and the avoidance of negative impacts. Efforts to ensure respect for human rights are commendable. Nonetheless, several important changes and additions are needed to warrant adequate implementation of the SD provisions, these include:
- The use of ‘shall’ provisions for SD requirements
- Minimum quality requirements for stakeholder consultations
- Second or Third party assessment of SD contributions
In addition, the Dialogue recommends the following specific provisions:
Article 6.2 – Reporting:
- Ex-ante assessment of expected SD contributions of the collaboration;
- Periodic ex-post reporting of the SD contributions;
- Development of tools and approaches (for voluntary use) to support SD reporting and to avoid/mitigate negative impacts catering to various types of collaboration (project level, sectoral level, policy level.
Article 6.4 - Roles and responsibilities:
Facilitative role of the Supervisory Body, mandated to
- Foster knowledge exchange and support development of tools and approaches for SD assessment to promote SD goals and priorities of host Parties that follow common best practice standards;
- Develop minimum SD requirements for activities for no-harm-done.
For more information on the rationale for these recommendations, see the full position paper published in the Carbon Mechanisms Review #3 October 2018>>
For detailed text proposals developed by the Dialogue see SD Dialogue_Text Proposals_COP 24>>
SD Dialogue Policy Briefs
The following series of Policy Briefs were published in fall of 2018, summarising outcomes of the series of SD Dialog workshops with Parties and other stakeholders held under Chatham House rules since July 2017.
Please note, views stated in these documents are those of the authors and do not represent any consensus among the Parties involved.
Rationale and recommendations for sustainable development provisions compatible with the national prerogative in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Download here>>
Best practice, tools and guidance for safeguarding principles and do-no-harm assessments of climate actions and relevant considerations for negotiations under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Download here>>
Best practice, tools and guidance for sustainable development assessment of climate actions and relevant considerations for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Download here>>
Defining criteria for sustainable development nationally and using the SDG framework for implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Download here>>
Ensuring the consultation of relevant stakeholders when implementing activities under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Download here>>
Transparent reporting of sustainable development elements within voluntary cooperation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Download here>>
The Dialogue is organised by UNEP DTU Partnership and the Gold Standard Foundation in close collaboration with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD). The Dialogue is made possible by contributions received from donors including Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
The author team is Marion Verles of Gold Standard, Sven Braden, and Fatima-Zahra Taibi and Karen Holm Olsen from UNEP DTU Partnership.
We’d also like to thank Laurence Mortier (Switzerland), Thomas Forth (Germany), Mandy Rambharos (South Africa), Sophie Closson and Olivier Kassi (Belgium) and Sandra Greiner (Climatefocus) for their insightful and valuable contributions.