United In Science 2023: Sustainable development edition – World
United In Science 2023: Sustainable development edition - World ReliefWeb
We stand at a pivotal point in history – the halfway mark for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With only 15% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on track, we are down at half-time and far from meeting global climate goals. The most recent Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 highlights the increasing impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, along with other interlinking global challenges, which are setting back development gains and threatening the full achievement of the SDGs by 2030.
At the half-time point of the 2030 Agenda, the science is clear – the planet is far off track from meeting its climate goals.
Anthropogenic climate change has resulted in widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere, affecting many weather and climate extremes, with adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people (IPCC, 2023). The years from 2015 to 2022 were the eight warmest years on record, and the chance of at least one year exceeding the warmest year on record (2016) in the next five years is 98%. With a warm start to 2023 and the emergence of the El Niño phenomenon, there is an increased likelihood that 2023 will be among the warmest years on record. In addition, the chance of the annual mean global near-surface temperature temporarily exceeding 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels for at least one of the next five years is 66% and is increasing with time.
There has been very limited progress in reducing the emissions gap for 2030 – the gap between the emissions reductions promised by countries and the emissions reductions needed to achieve the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. To get on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to well below 2 °C and preferably 1.5 °C, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 30% and 45%, respectively, by 2030, with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions getting close to net zero by 2050, compared with current policy projections.
Urgent and ambitious mitigation and adaptation action is needed. Limiting global warming will require large-scale, rapid and systemic transformations to reach net zero anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and adaptation is crucial to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change and prevent loss and damage. Some future changes in climate are unavoidable, and potentially irreversible, but every fraction of a degree and ton of CO2 matters to limit global warming and achieve the SDGs.
The impacts of extreme weather and climate change are undermining progress towards achieving all of the SDGs
Changes in the global climate system affect efforts to achieve the SDGs, and the increasing impacts of extreme events, in particular, are disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities. Between 1970 and 2021, there were 11 778 reported disasters attributed to weather, climate and water extremes, causing over 2 million deaths and US$ 4.3 trillion in economic losses. Over 90% of these reported deaths and 60% of economic losses occurred in developing economies.
- The impacts of these extreme events lead to losses of lives and livelihoods, exacerbate poverty and inequality, amplify food and water insecurity, trigger economic instability and, ultimately, undermine sustainable development.
2023 has already seen record-breaking extreme weather-, climate- and water-related events across the world. Cyclone Freddy, the longest-lived tropical cyclone in recorded history, impacted vulnerable communities across southern Africa. In Asia, Typhoon Doksuri triggered record-breaking rainfall in Beijing – the heaviest rainfall recorded since records began 140 years ago. July was the hottest month on record, with scorching temperatures across Europe, North America and China that have become increasingly common but would have been extremely rare without human-induced climate change. In eastern Canada, climate change more than doubled the likelihood of extreme fire weather conditions, and recordbreaking sea-surface temperatures led to serious marine heatwaves in the Mediterranean and off the coast of the United States of America. These extreme events had significant impacts on human health, ecosystems, economies, energy, agriculture and water supplies, threatening sustainable development globally.
Advances in weather-, climate- and water-related sciences can boost our game to achieve the SDGs
The world is equipped with science, technology and knowledge that are unprecedented in history. Weather-, climate- and water-related sciences and services, in particular, have undergone revolutionary advancements over the past few decades. Scientific advancements, satellites and supercomputers, as well as an increase in observational data, have improved our ability to forecast hydrometeorological events with remarkable accuracy and project future changes in climate with reduced uncertainty. Advances in early warning systems have decreased mortality rates, and new technologies, such as nowcasting, artificial intelligence and high-resolution modelling, are revolutionizing the way we predict high-impact weather and water hazards. Although often under-recognized, weather-, climate- and water-related sciences and services play a crucial role in achieving the SDGs, as highlighted in Figure 1.
However, barriers prevent the full, effective and equitable use of weather-, climate- and water-related sciences for sustainable development, which limits progress towards achieving the SDGs. Gaps in global surface-based data remain due to insufficient observations in parts of the world and restricted data exchange and access, which significantly impact the quality of weather-, climate- and water-related services locally, regionally and globally. Insufficient data, particularly in lowerincome countries, results in knowledge gaps and ineffective policymaking, limiting progress towards achieving the SDGs. Additionally, reaching local communities with understandable, affordable, applicable and real-time weather, climate and water information remains a significant challenge, as does effectively integrating local, contextual and Indigenous knowledge. Failure to fully engage local stakeholders and integrate their knowledge limits the effectiveness of science. And finally, a lack of scientific capacity has prevented many countries from using weather-, climate- and water-related sciences effectively in support of ambitious action to achieve the SDGs.
As the final whistle draws near, investing in and mobilizing the scientific community will super-charge the achievement of the SDGs
In August 2023, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that designates 2024 to 2033 the International Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development. Moving forward
SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
- SDG 13: Climate Action
- SDG 1: No Poverty
- SDG 2: Zero Hunger
- SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
- SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
- SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
- SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
- SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
- SDG 14: Life Below Water
- SDG 15: Life on Land
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
- Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
- Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.
- Target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising, and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning.
- Target 13.b: Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing states.
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
- Indicator 13.1.1: Number of deaths, missing persons, and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population.
- Indicator 13.2.1: Number of countries that have integrated mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning into primary, secondary, and tertiary curricula.
- Indicator 13.3.1: Number of countries that have communicated the strengthening of institutional, systemic, and individual capacity-building to implement adaptation, mitigation, and technology transfer.
- Indicator 13.b.1: Number of least developed countries and small island developing states that are receiving specialized support, and amount of support, including finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building, for mechanisms for raising capacities for effective climate change-related planning and management.
Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 13: Climate Action||Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.||Indicator 13.1.1: Number of deaths, missing persons, and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population.|
|SDG 13: Climate Action||Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.||Indicator 13.2.1: Number of countries that have integrated mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning into primary, secondary, and tertiary curricula.|
|Target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising, and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning.||Indicator 13.3.1: Number of countries that have communicated the strengthening of institutional, systemic, and individual capacity-building to implement adaptation, mitigation, and technology transfer.|
|Target 13.b: Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing states.||Indicator 13.b.1: Number of least developed countries and small island developing states that are receiving specialized support, and amount of support, including finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building, for mechanisms for raising capacities for effective climate change-related planning and management.|
|SDG 1: No Poverty||–||–|
|SDG 2: Zero Hunger||–||–|
|SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being||–||–|
|SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation||–||–|
|SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth||–||–|
|SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities||–||–|
|SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities||–||–|
|SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production||–||–|
|SDG 14: Life Below Water||–||–|
|SDG 15: Life on Land||–||–|
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