Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI)
Gold Standard is part of the Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI), which aims to explore Party and other stakeholder views on options to implement the sustainable development provisions for Article 6. The recommendations put forward by the SDI draw from a series of workshops with Parties and other stakeholders held under Chatham House rules since July 2017. SDI will continue to raise awareness on the opportunities associated with strong SD provisions in Article 6 through a combination of Party driven policy dialogue, piloting of approaches, and outreach activities to relevant carbon market players.
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.
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.
Progressing SD provisions in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement
Building on work to date, in Feb 2021 SDI has published Good Practice Guidance for the Preliminary Assessment of Sustainable Development in Article 6 actions. These include the key areas to consider in robust activity design, implementation and Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV), helping ensure climate action delivers real progress to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On September 22, 2020, UNEP-DTU and SDI hosted a webinar to discuss carbon markets beyond GHG mitigation. You can listen back to this webinar below or access the presentations for the most recent views of sustainable development provisions in Article 6.
SDI recommendations for SD provisions in Article 6
In 2019 the SDI examined existing sustainable development impact assessment tools and approaches for use in Article 6. The results are published in the report “Assessment of Sustainable Development Approaches for use in Article 6”.
The report concludes that further research and testing of approaches is needed to drive the use of best practice tools and approaches and build knowledge and experience on benefits associated with credible SD impact assessment.
The negotiations at COP25 aim to conclude the rulebook on Article 6. The rulebook is an important opportunity to establish a framework for the required knowledge sharing on tools and approaches to promote SD in Article 6. The SDI is recommending the launch of a work programme to develop a voluntary tool or approach that addresses SD assessment.
For commentary on the current state of sustainable development provisions in the Article 6 'rulebook' negotiations following the 50th Meeting of the Subsidiary Bodies to the UN Climate Convention in Bonn, Germany see Commentary - current state of SD provisions in Article 6>> - published June 2019
For the text recommendations presented to Parties and stakeholders during workshops and a series of roundtable discussions held at COP24 in Katowice. View COP24 Text Recommendations for SD provisions in Article 6>> - published December 2018
For previous text proposals developed by the Dialogue see SD Dialogue_Text Proposals_COP 24>> - published December 2018
For more information on the rationale for the recommendations proposed for COP24, see the full position paper published in the Carbon Mechanisms Review #3 October 2018>> - published October 2018
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>>
TOOLS AND GUIDANCE:
GOOD PRACTICE GUIDANCE FOR THE PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ARTICLE 6 ACTIONS
Since 2018 the Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) has developed good practices to create the conditions for sustainable development in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. This new guidance, published in Feb 2021, includes the key areas that should be considered in the robust design of activities and their subsequent implementation, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) for sustainable development.
The Sustainable Development Initiative and its supporting policy dialogs are 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.