There were two objectives for the discussion. First, to discuss the link between climate change and sustainable development. Second, to discuss the various challenges and opportunities related to climate change and sustainable development goals.
Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement
Last year, as many as 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously adopted a global agenda, 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future. Whereas, 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted a landmark deal, the Paris Agreement, to combat climate change, and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future.
The Sustainable Development Goals not only contain a distinct climate change goal (Goal No. 13), but climate action is also integral to the successful implementation of most of the other SDGs under the agenda.
The UNFCCC Secretariat outlined three factors that affect every goal:
- Climate Impacts Eat Away at Every Positive Human Goal
- Sustainability Demands Rapid Progress to Low-Carbon State
- Inequality, Ignorance and Injustice Kill Effective Climate Action
As stated by the Executive Director of the UNFCCC: “Key actors across government, the private sector and civil society, are shaping their vision on how they can best contribute to that objective. We have a short window of opportunity to align strategies and to sharpen the focus on the urgency of implementation. Strategic approaches developed this year will shape the overall path for years to come.”
Rachmat Witoelar, President’s Special Envoy for Climate Change welcomed participants and encouraged stakeholders to collaborate, including national government, sub-national governments as well as non-state actors, to address climate change and to achieve sustainable development goals.
The roundtable discussion had two eminent resource persons:
Dr. Shiv Someshwar, Director, Climate Policy at the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Dr. Jatna Supriatna, Chairman of Research Center for Climate Change, University of Indonesia and Chairman of the Sustainable Development Solutions Indonesia Network (SDSN).
A changing climate (variability of climate), according to Dr. Shiv Someshwar, is the dominant rival for development in developing countries. In addition to mitigation and adaptation that continue to be the concerns of the global community, three other aspects important for developing countries:
- Complexity, encompassing population growth; aspirations of communities to achieve social welfare similar to developed countries; exchange of ideas, information and knowledge; and the economic relation between supply and demand.
- Uncertainty in the social, environmental and political aspects of economic growth.
- Spatiality in terms of local complexities in the context of global climate change.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jatna Supriatna stressed the importance of understanding that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are interrelated, not only as the root causes relationships but also in their system dynamics.
As an example, the system approach is beneficial in recognizing the complexity of the energy sector, which demonstrates the need for a shift from fossil energy to renewable energy (by looking at the variables of climate change, air pollution, energy security, and affordability).
In the current critical situation of climate change, the need for dissemination for public awareness becomes vital. Because climate change is likely to change all aspects of human life.
Last September, as Chairman of SDSN Indonesia Dr. Jatna Supriatna launched the Indonesia SDSN Youth Network. Its mission is to empower Indonesian youth to create sustainable solutions. Through education and cooperation it aims to amplify the tremendous energy and capabilities of youth in generating broader buy-in for the Sustainable Development Goals.
The round table discussion on Climate Change and Sustainable Development was well attended by representatives of Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Communication and Information, Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Ministry of Public Works and Housing, Civil Societies, and Universities.
Indonesia is obliged to put forward its national interests, while continuing to contribute to the fight against climate change and achieving sustainable development goals. It would be ideal if all developing nations replicate these measures, and in turn push developed nations to do more and to take the lead on necessary actions.
Text: Amanda Katili Niode. Manager, The Climate Reality Project Indonesia.
Image: United Nations