As the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on, urgent unfinished business piles up. Two vital issues demand our attention. The first is coping with the climate emergency by moving towards zero emissions and adapting to the changes that are already occurring. The second is ending world hunger, eliminating poverty and achieving the rest of the demanding Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Both the climate and SDG agendas require massive investments in new technology and infrastructure. Both will require transformative reforms in governance and management to ensure that these agendas are equitable. Which raises the question: in the face of shrinking resources during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, is it possible to coordinate and align these two huge efforts or must they compete for scarce resources?
To provide answers to this question, the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP), a joint initiative between the University of Sussex and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), together with the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development (CISD) at Utrecht University, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCSD), and other national and international partners, are organising an online international symposiumon 20-22 July 2021 entitled ‘Evidence for Action: Aligning the Climate and SDG Agendas’.
We call on the academic and international development community to join us in this symposium and provide evidence on particular policies and measures that can achieve the climate goals and SDGs at the same time. Particular attention will be given to those processes that encourage coordinated and accelerated action for transformative change at local, national and global levels, advance justice and protect rights, and ensure that no one and no country is left behind.
The Symposium will provide input to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1-12 November 2021 which will bring together Heads of State, climate experts, campaigners and stakeholders from around the world to agree on coordinated action to tackle climate change. The COP provides a unique opportunity to inform an important community about how climate policies can be better coordinated with the SDGs, and thereby save resources and achieve accelerated action on multiple goals. With this in mind, the topics to be discussed at the Symposium will be linked with the themes of the COP.
The Symposium will build on recent UN activities in this area (including the 2019 UN Conference and the 2020 UN Consultation), as well as the Global Goals 2020 International Symposium co-hosted by the CISD, SSRP and partners. It will identify specific policies and measures to align and accelerate the two agendas. It will cover not only the green recovery, but also dive deeper into the synergy between climate and environmental justice, linkages between climate and health goals, and the mutual benefits of climate adaptation and development strategies.