Collage with images from SDGs, ACP and EU websites. Credit: INPS-IDN. - Photo: 2019

ACP, EU Point to Crucial Linkages Between Sustainable Development and Climate Action

By J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) – More than half of the UN members have issued a joint declaration in support of the 2030 Agenda, 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) endorsed by the international community in September 2015, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change adopted three months later.

The joint declaration by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU) carries significant weight in terms of demonstrating a commitment to Agenda 2030 by countries which together account for over 1.5 billion people, one-fifth of the global population.

“Recognizing the linkages between sustainable development and climate action, we REITERATE our strong commitment to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change fully and effectively,” says the declaration introduced at a press conference on September 24, 2019.

The ACP and EU furthermore reiterate their shared commitment to “MOBILISE in line with the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda a full range of means of implementation in the spirit of partnership”.

The Agenda establishes a strong foundation to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It provides a new global framework for financing sustainable development by aligning all financing flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities.

The ACP- EU joint declaration recognises “the importance of domestic resource mobilisation, development finance, development effectiveness and of strengthening existing partnerships such as North-South cooperation, South-South and triangular cooperation including multi-stakeholder partnerships, for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement”.

The joint declaration adds: “The establishment of new multi-stakeholder partnerships including public-private partnerships is key for diversifying and transforming the economies of ACP countries and EU Member States.”

The emphasis of the ACP-EU declaration on SDGs and Climate Action corresponds to highlights of the ongoing 74th session of the UN General Assembly: Climate Action Summit on September 23 and the SDG Summit the following two days.

As ACP Secretary-General Dr. Patrick I Gomes told the United Nations Trade Forum from September 9-13, 2019 in the Session ‘Climate Action and Trade’ in Geneva, Climate change is the most significant challenge, this century, for the achievement of sustainable development on planet Earth. The painful reality is that its adverse impacts are more severe in the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

Droughts, desertification, hurricanes, floods, agricultural losses, reduced water resources and sea level rise are major concerns for the ACP Group of states. Many of these countries continue to face serious impacts on lives and livelihoods.

Harsh evidence of this has been the two deadly consecutive tropical cyclones that hit Southern Africa in March and April this year. Cyclone Idai in March and Cyclone Kenneth in April are considered as two of the top five worst storms to ever hit Mozambique.

Cyclone Kenneth is on record as the strongest storm to hit the African continent. Together, they have caused an unprecedented amount of damage and devastated the lives of 2.2 million people and killing at least 700 people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. (according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).) Cyclone Kenneth also caused significant damage in the Comoro Islands and Tanzania.

The ACP-EU partnership seeks closer political cooperation on the world stage to tackle major global challenges, aiming to be a shining example of multilateralism as the cornerstone of a rule-based world order.

Dr. Gomes further pointed out that hundreds of thousands of people were displaced in Southern Africa. They had to be gathered in transit camps, with little or no access to clean drinking water or sanitation services, heightening the risk of water-borne diseases. The threat of a cholera epidemic is high with over 7,000 cholera cases reported in Mozambique so far.

Against this backdrop, as accentuated in September 2018 at the beginning of the negotiations for the new Partnership (post-Cotonou) Agreement, the ACP-EU partnership “seeks closer political cooperation on the world stage to tackle major global challenges, aiming to be a shining example of multilateralism as the cornerstone of a rule-based world order. In concrete terms, this will notably mean working jointly towards the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The ACP is also hosting a joint side event with the European Commission (EC) and the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) on September 26. The side event, themed, “ACP Countries leading by example: Supporting 1.5 to Stay Alive”, is intended to share and exchange information on efforts undertaken at national levels to enhance Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), taking into account the special Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – IPCC Report on limiting global warming to 1.50C by 2020.

The event also aims at identifying the financial, technological and capacity building resources needed to contribute to the implementation of NDCs and identify gaps, needs and possible areas of support needed to update and/or revise the NDCs.

The ACP and EU groups will meet to advance the ongoing post-Cotonou negotiations which began in the margins of the 73rd UN General Assembly in New York in 2018. These are expected to be concluded in 2020.

The ACP will also hold a meeting of the 6th ACP Ministerial Central Negotiating Group, which will be followed by a joint meeting of the Chief Negotiators. Neven Mimica, the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, is the Chief Negotiator for the EU, and Professor Robert Dussey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, is his ACP counterpart. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 September 2019]

Related article > EU Joins 79 ACP States in Calling for ‘Bold Decisions’ to Achieve SDGs

Collage with images from SDGs, ACP and EU websites. Credit: INPS-IDN.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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