Climate change resilience strategies a tool towards achieving SDGs

Every country needs to review its progress towards achieving sustainable developments goals by assessing challenges facing its policies in combatting climate change. There is a need for continued technical support, close monitoring of the implementation of all commitments, adequate resource mobilization and mainstreaming of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), their targets and indicators within the strategy.

We have seen global demands over the past years for a paradigm shift to more sustainable patterns of development that will ensure that the economic progress that countries would continue to make in the coming years will no longer compromise unduly environmental sustainability and would adhere to the principles of equity, the 2012 Rio+20 Summit’s outcome document, “The Future We Want”, recognised “green economy” as an important avenue for sustainable and inclusive development as well as accelerated poverty eradication by promoting improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental deterioration and ecological risks.

Recent publications by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reconfirm the imperative for accelerated transformation to a green economy for achieving the various global agenda, notably the Sustainable Development Goals. Within the context of these debates, active discussions are ongoing on “inclusive green economy”, which highlights elements of a socio-ecological and economy-wide transformation firmly underpinned by principles of sustainability and energy saving technologies and processes.

They, thus, call for radical changes in production and consumption patterns, strong institutional and capacity building, wide spread introduction of energy saving technologies and accompanying economic, fiscal policy reforms and legislative changes that are specifically geared towards safeguarding the above principles of sustainability, environmental protection and social equity. We need to promote greener development, transformation processes and climate resilience.

The rationale for all this is derived from the increasingly apparent adverse effects of climate change on human lives, livelihoods, social capital and physical infrastructure as well as over reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels, such as petroleum and coal.

There is by now incontrovertible scientific evidence that the effects of climate change being progressively experienced today in all parts of the world are caused by rising and volatile temperatures from an accumulation of Green House Gases, dominated by carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere. Several scientific studies indicate that this process of releasing Green House Gases intensified with effect from the industrial revolution.

The argument is thus made that the releasing of Green House Gases into the atmosphere has principally been the responsibility of the advanced industrialized countries as well as the newly industrialized ones. This notwithstanding, there is no doubt that the responsibility for effectively responding to the increasingly devastating effects of climate change lies with all the nations around the world.

This responsibility should be discharged through reduction of carbon footprints, adaptation and mitigation of risks of damage to crops, homes and other property, infrastructure, loss of livestock, wildlife and other biodiversity and above all, to human lives. This means systematically incorporating climate change considerations into all development and transformation strategies. It is also crucial that changes in our mind-sets, behaviors and cultural practices in consumption patterns and economic activities are urgently effected.

In this regard, we must endeavour to use resources efficiently in consumption and production and ensure that our production processes and other economic and lifestyle activities are low-carbon generating, meaning the release of the minimum possible greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

 

/ Frank Habineza

Honorary Doctorate in Democracy and Human Rights, Bethel collage, USA 

President, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

President African Greens Federation

A world where no one needs to flee but everyone has the right to move – My favorite idea of the Swedish Greens thoughts on migration

Who would expect a well-paid doctor from Bagdad to come to Sweden to live on welfare if he was not forced to do it? And who would expect a mother from Latin America to leave her kids to go to Spain to clean our houses if she was able to maintain herself at home? Most people want to live in their home countries if they’re not forced to leave because they fear for their lives or for economic reasons. It’s a little minority that leaves their homes voluntarily to study, work, build a family etc.

In the current situation where Europe sees migrants as a threat to our societies, be it people leaving war zones or economic migrants, the answer European leaders gives is to do their utmost to keep them all out. We close our borders, we destroy the smugglers’ boats, we mix military and civil operations to patrol our external borders, we make a dubious deal with the Turkish president Erdogan to send people back etc. The idea is of course to keep migrants out (and potential terrorists, even though they are mostly born here) and when migrants manage to reach us to send them back. Some so called “real refugees” from Syria will have the possibility to stay in Europe, if a country accept them, but most others will be sent back where they last came from.

Last year the Commission suddenly started to talk about addressing the root causes. I was thrilled to hear that, but I soon got disappointed when I realized that they were only talking about the bad conditions in the Turkish refugee camps that made great amount of people leave Turkey. That is not a root cause. The root cause is the war in Syria and we cannot expect that Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan should cope alone with millions of refugees while some European countries are doing very little or nothing. We have to share the responsibility in solidarity.

As Greens we have always claimed that we need to address the root causes to conflict, oppression, poverty, climate change, bad governance and lack of respect for human rights. It’s the only way to stop the non-voluntary migration at the same time as it would make it easier to open up easier legal ways for the voluntary one.

There is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. We urgently need an inclusive political dialog led by the UN that puts peoples’ security in the forefront. We need lasting peace with respect for all different groups in the country. Goal 16 (peace and justice) in the Sustainable Development Goals could provide a lasting framework for finding solutions and addressing the real root causes of the migration in the eastern Mediterranean.

/ Bodil Valero 

Member of European Parliament, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance; Member; Sweden Miljöpartiet de gröna;

Presentation Matilde Baján

Presentation Vesna Jusup

Presentation Frank Habineza