28 Sept 2015


NEW YORK – As the UN’s Sustainable Development Summit closed in New York today with a bold new global sustainability roadmap, world leaders now need to focus on fulfilling that vision. The task ahead is clear, but not easy – world leaders must go home and make the necessary administrative, legal, regulatory and fiscal decisions, and spend the next 15 years implementing and enforcing this agenda.

“Most importantly in the coming months, countries need to figure out how they’re going to contribute to achieving these goals and set benchmarks and indicators so they can report on their efforts,” said Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International. “We’re in the race and can finally see the finish line – but we need some runners at the starting line if we’re going to make this happen in 15 years.”

Every country is required to develop national indicators and programmes of implementation through individual development plans. In March, countries will crucially agree a set of indicators that will allow the UN to report annually on global progress in coming years.

“Setting these indicators means striking a delicate balance between what is manageable and what will actually demonstrate progress toward holistic goals,” explained Kakabadse. “For example, for ending hunger it might be tempting for a country to use an indicator like tons of food produced: the data is more or less available, and the statistics are easy to measure. However using only an indicator like this would undercut the linkages built into the SDGs by not tracking the health of soils, genetic diversity and water systems vital for long-term food production and issues such as labor conditions, land access and market prices that also influence food security."

“The indicator question will be challenging, but if countries can unite to solve the financial crisis, they can figure this out. The crucial part will be working together and being as transparent with data as possible,” said Kakabadse.

In the short-term, delivering on these new global goals will require a complementary climate agreement in Paris. Anything less than a strong, science-based global agreement in Paris to rapidly slash carbon emissions would deflate the buoyant spirit of this week’s development plan.

“You cannot have economic security without food and water security, but you cannot have any of these without combatting climate change,” said Kakabadse. “If 193 governments can unify around how to address dozens of the world’s most difficult and complex challenges, they should be able to show that same collaborative spirit in the Paris climate talks and put us on a path to a clean energy future.”

With strong targets to protect the ocean, freshwater and forests now agreed as part of the 2030 Agenda, targeting climate change should be a top priority in the global effort to protect people and the planet. World leaders must complete a climate deal that is equally as fair and ambitious as the development package.

“By including climate change throughout the new deal, climate action becomes a driving force behind future development,” said Samantha Smith, leader of WWF International's Global Climate and Energy Initiative. “Governments must now carry forward the momentum generated around the new sustainable development deal to the climate negotiations in Paris.”

Critical climate measures in the new sustainable development deal include calls for a substantial increase in renewable energy use and a rise in global energy efficiency. The deal also puts the responsibility on wealthy countries to provide assistance against climate-related hazards in vulnerable countries and their promise to raise $100 billion annually by 2020 to support developing countries cutting carbon emissions through the Green Climate Fund.

For more information:

Ian Morrison, WWF-US, Ian.Morrison@wwfus.org

Lorin Hancock, WWF-US, lorin.hancock@wwfus.org

Anand Mishra, WWF International, anand.mishra@wwfus.org

David Hirsch, WWF International, dhirsch@wwfint.org