A joint agenda for the Post-2015 Agenda and COP21 Climate Change Conference

The below resolution was passed at the EMI Federal Assembly 2015 and can be downloaded here.


 

2015 is an important year for the future of Europe and the world. Important summits will take place to decide on a new blueprint to tackle climate change, new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and development financing. 2015 offers the opportunity to end poverty, reduce inequality and to avert the destructive effects of a global temperature rise.

The European Movement International, resolved to contribute to the success of binding global agreements on climate change and Sustainable Development Goals, calls upon the European Union, United Nations and leaders of states and governments worldwide to heed the following principles, and aspirations of civil society, in their negotiations:

Pursue one integrated and comprehensive agenda

  • Climate change and development are interlinked, with climate change exacerbating existing threats and environmental aspects relating to all parts of the development agenda. The new climate objectives and SDGs should be fully coherent and supportive of each other.
  • The conclusions of the three 2015 summits[1] should formulate, as far as possible, mutually beneficial goals and a coherent approach on development and environmental issues, and integrate economic, social and environmental aspects, so as not to work separately on interlinking problems.

Stick to ambitious and binding goals

  • The main goal of the climate objectives – to keep the rise in global average temperature below 2°C – and the main goals of the SDGs[2] – including poverty eradication by 2030 – should be central to all measures and cannot be compromised. Both poverty and climate change are caused primarily by human activities, and 2015 offers the chance to definitively address these challenges.
  • Present universal agendas, with a far-reaching set of binding targets applicable to all countries. Each country shall implement them according to its capacities, and support should be given to developing countries, paying special attention to the most vulnerable countries.
  • As a long-term goal, the latest IPCC target of below zero emissions by 2100 should be adopted to achieve the below 2°C objective. A regular review and strengthening of mitigation commitments (every 5 years) shall be adopted, with a regular upward correction of the national contributions based on evolving global economic and geopolitical circumstances, to ensure progress to achieve the 2°C target.
  • The adoption of a regular review and strengthening of mitigation commitments is positive, but cannot offset insufficient nationally determined contributions, if these fail to add up to limit the global average temperature rise to below 2°C.
  • Action cannot be delayed. Ambitious and concrete pre-2020 climate action is essential. All countries, especially industrialised nations, should commit to step up their pre-2020 ambitions in Paris.

The European Movement welcomes the integrated set of six elements presented for the SDGs by the UN Secretary General[3], the five transformative shifts for the SDGs proposed by the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons[4], and the priorities for the COP21 Paris Conference as laid out by the EU[5].  The following important principles should complement these aims:

  • Address the roots of poverty and inequality, with a basis on human rights for both agreements. In addition, equality, economic, social and cultural rights, good governance, the rule of law, and peaceful and inclusive societies – reaching also to the poorest and most excluded – should be central elements.
  • Include the local and regional level in the work towards all targets through the recognition, engagement and empowerment of local and regional governments. This includes a central role for cities and urban development in the SDGs and climate objectives, as well as the ‘localisation’ of both to assess the impact on the local level and to increase local ownership and support for implementation.
  • Emphasise education, including non-formal and informal learning, across the development agenda, as well as a focus on tackling youth unemployment and creating decent jobs.
  • Include the right to social protection for all in the SDGs, and an implementation target on universal and comprehensive social protection systems and social protection floors.

Develop a common European position and act as a united force in the international arena

  • Promote a common European position at all three summits, taking the opportunity to consolidate the position of the EU as a global actor and leader.
  • Increase European climate diplomacy, and reach out to as many partners as possible ahead of the conferences to promote the European position and be responsive to other countries’ priorities.
  • The European Commission must ensure the implementation of the agreements after the conferences and propose concrete measures increasing the interlinkage and coherence of relevant EU policies, enabling Europe to contribute to the attainment of global environmental and development objectives.

Implementation and monitoring should be transparent, democratic and based on participation

  • Implement the climate objectives and SDGs via a global partnership between all levels of government, civil society, businesses and individuals. Ensure that participation and transparency are central elements in implementing, monitoring and evaluating both.
  • Ensure that the monitoring, reporting and verification of the agreed targets is based on transparency, inclusiveness and participation. A voluntary and state-led monitoring approach is not sufficient in order to ensure the set objectives are reached. An appropriate pressure mechanisms is needed to ensure national commitments are reached.
  • Enable the genuine participation of citizens by ensuring the multi-tier approach proposed for SDG monitoring includes global, national, regional as well as local level accountability. Cities should be central in both implementation and monitoring of both SDGs and climate objectives.
  • Include NGOs and other CSOs in the design, implementation (where possible), monitoring, reporting and evaluation of specific objectives on which they are experts.

Financing commitments are crucial for the implementation of the climate objectives and SDGs

  • Hold all developed countries to their earlier commitments to contribute at least 0.7% of their Gross National Income to the aid budget by 2015, and to jointly mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020 into climate financing.
  • Set up the EU as a global leader by committing to more ambitious financial targets after 2015 and 2020. Supplement this in other, innovative ways to fund both sustainable development and the fight against climate change, such as private investment and a carbon tax – starting with a European carbon tax. More financial resources are essential for the implementation of these agreements.
  • Complement financial commitments with a more equitable multilateral trading system, more equitable distribution of resources, and economic redistribution. Better development financing also requires addressing illicit capital flows and combat tax evasion.
  • Ensure that developing countries, especially the least developed countries, have access to finance, and ensure that support in terms of finance, technology transfer and capacity building is provided to them, to facilitate the implementation and achievement of the SDGs and climate objectives.
  • Ensure that climate funding is accessible for local and regional governments, such as cities.

This year’s summits offer the opportunity to address the roots of poverty and climate change, as well as the causes of crises and conflicts in Europe and around the world. The proposed sustainable development agenda goes beyond ‘helping the poor’ and completing the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals, while the draft COP21 takes an innovative approach with the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’. Despite this, ‘real commitments’ are yet to be shown – and this needs to start at the July summit in Addis Ababa. Finally, and most importantly, European institutions and Member States must, together with all relevant stakeholders, define a strategy showing how these interlinked agendas will be implemented in Europe, and how our continent will reach the objectives set in 2015.


 

[1] The Third International Financing for Development Conference (July, Addis Ababa), the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development (September, New York) and the COP21 Climate Conference (December, Paris).

[2] See for a list sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgsproposal

[3] dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice and partnership

[4] leave no-one behind; put sustainable development at the core; transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth; build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all; forge a new global partnership

[5] See for example European Commission Communication “The Paris Protocol – a blueprint for tackling global climate change beyond 2020”, 25 February 2015.