Sustainable Development, from Kyoto to Paris and beyond

Marion Verles, CEO of Gold Standard, on the interconnections between sustainable development and climate policy

Seventeen years after Kyoto, the Paris Agreement shows an evolution in the way an international agreement for climate security is perceived. Climate security no longer merely safeguards against an obstacle to development. It represents the vehicle by which development is ensured.
This perspective from Marion Verles, CEO of Gold Standard, debunks the following false premises that historically limited ambition and action at the intersection of climate and development:
  • Sustainable development is a broad concept without clear definition
  • Embedding sustainable development in an international climate treaty will threaten national prerogatives
  • Sustainable development provisions are incompatible with market mechanisms
  • Sustainable development is too complex, it cannot be measured
Beyond Paris
Strong sustainable development provisions in post-2020 mechanisms can garner public and civil society support and align global climate goals with national and sub-national governments development priorities. Benefits toward the Sustainable Development Goals, robustly quantified, can also secure investor confidence to attract much needed private sector funding because of the economic and social value they deliver. These are all critical success factors for the action that’s so urgently needed.
The paper offers concrete recommendations to operationalise sustainable development within the ‘modalities and procedures’ of Article 6 through a globally accepted approach to assess sustainable development contributions of climate mitigation activities, which would empower us to:
  • Translate general requirements into detailed rules adapted to the realities of diverse mitigation activities on the ground
  • Enable third-party audits by accredited entities via a standardised certification process and accreditation guidelines
  • Develop globally accepted methodologies to not only quantify impacts such as carbon or health, but to channel finance where it’s most urgently needed to drive the transformation we need
  • Ensure transparency through a public registry of tradeable units (e.g VER/ITMOs) or certified statement of outcomes
  • Provide transparent grievance processes that empower to people on the ground to stand up for their rights
Most importantly, these provisions will help us rise to meet the ambition needed for climate security and equitable and sustainable global development.
Innovation-Solution Category: Optimising markets
Media Category: Opinion