“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement together offer a once-in-a generation opportunity to end extreme poverty, create climate compatible development and avoid dangerous levels of climate change.”

Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive, CDKN

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 96 which covered the period 2000–2015, were achieved only partially. Notably, some important cross-cutting issues were inadequately prioritised and not explicitly recognised as MDGs, including combating climate change 97 and the enabling factors for this (e.g. adequate finance, monitoring and evaluation, institutional capacity).

Following on from the MDGs, September 2015 saw 193 governments agree on Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, 98  which comprises 17 global goals for sustainable development: the SDGs. The SDG framework is broad, universal and emphasises the links and synergies across the goals, as well as the importance of coherent policy, implementation and planning.

Our ability to mitigate and manage climate impacts will be crucial to our ability to achieve, by 2030, not only SDG 13 on combatting climate change, but a number of other SDGs. Hence, the NDCs provide a bridge between the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030, and an operational mechanism for countries to transition from the MDGs to the SDGs by 2030. Table A1 summarises the overlaps between the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.

Table A1. Overlaps between the SDGs and the Paris Agreement

SDGs Paris Agreement
Global coverage Adopted by 193 countries in September 2015. Adopted by 195 countries in December 2015.
Synergies between climate change and development Achievement of SDGs premised on effectively combating climate change (SDG 13), with at least 11 other SDGs directly or indirectly linked to climate change. Emphasises the intrinsic relationship that climate change has with equitable access to sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
Time frame To be implemented 2015–2030. Current NDCs generally have timeframes running up to 2025 or 2030, but with successive and updated NDCs being submitted every five years.
Nationally determined targets The SDGs are universally applicable, with each government setting its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition, but taking into account national circumstances. Each government will also decide how these targets should be incorporated in national planning processes, policies and strategies. The Paris Agreement is to be implemented in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances, and will involve countries ratifying and implementing their own NDCs.
Policy coherence and mainstreaming Premised on the effective mainstreaming of the SDGs into regional, national and subnational development frameworks, as well as coherent policy and planning. Premised on the effective mainstreaming of climate change into national, subnational and regional policy frameworks, as well as coherent policy and planning.
National reporting National reporting will commence annually in 2018. The new transparency (reporting) regime under the Paris Agreement is yet to be determined, but is likely to build on current MRV arrangements.

This Quick-Start Guide is targeted mainly at helping governments to deliver on their commitment to SDG 13 on addressing climate change responses and its impacts. It is a viable mechanism to:

  • pilot the SDG implementation process, especially SDG 13
  • road-test the scope and barriers to policy coherence across the SDGs, given the cross-cutting nature of climate change
  • provide a model for effective SDG implementation and reporting.

SDG 13 has significant implications on the extent to which a number of non-climate-focused SDGs can be achieved, especially those linked to poverty, food security, gender equality, water and sanitation, energy access, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities, and sustainable land use and ecosystems. Table A2 maps each of the SDGs across the five modules in the Reference Manual.

Table A2. Mapping the NDC implementation modules to the SDGs

SDG Governance Mitigation Adaptation Finance MRV
1. No poverty – end poverty in all its forms everywhere
2. Zero hunger – end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Good health and well-being – ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
4. Quality education – ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5. Gender equality – achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6. Clean water and sanitation – ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7. Affordable and clean energy – ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8. Decent work and economic growth – promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure – build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
10. Reduced inequities – reduce inequality within and among countries
11. Sustainable cities and communities – make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12. Responsible consumption and production – ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13. Climate action – take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
14. Life below water – conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15. Life on land – protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions – promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17. Partnerships for the goals – strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development