New opportunities in the climate and development agendas

3 November 2014

As the year begins to draw to a close, many in the international community already have their minds focused on the full agenda ahead, with two major international processes set to be concluded in 2015.

UN members are due to hammer out a post-2015 development agenda, with a list of sustainable development goals capable of integrating social, economic, and environmental concerns, slated to take over from the current Millennium Development Goals. In addition, world governments are aiming to clinch a global climate deal, geared towards slashing greenhouse gas emissions and fostering low-carbon growth.

The stakes are high. According to UN data, around one in five persons in developing economies continues to live on less than US$1.25 a day, biodiversity is in decline across many regions, and global emissions of carbon dioxide have increased by almost 50 percent since 1990. Meanwhile latest warnings from climate scientists have said that climate-related hazards will most affect the world’s poorest and vulnerable.

Developing countries face an annual investment gap of US$2.5 trillion in SDG relevant sectors, found a UN report released earlier this year, which also cautioned that public resources alone will not be able to set the world on a sustainable development path. And in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change, some additional US$44 trillion worth of investments are needed in clean energy, or more than US$1 trillion for the next 36 years.

To meet the sustainable development challenges ahead, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for new approaches. This issue of BioRes takes a look at potential opportunities for trying something different. Richard Munang and Jessica Andrews from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) outline a novel ecosystem-based adaptation approach that African economies could use to climate-proof future sustainable production and trade. Such strategies require a simultaneous wielding of economic and environmental tools.

The UN climate summit in September saw an unprecedented level of engagement from private sector actors and investors. In an interview with BioRes, James Cameron of Climate Change Capital, outlines some of the challenges and opportunities for institutional investors in the clean energy field. The interview also touches on how to bring the much-needed contribution of non-state actors into intergovernmental regulatory frameworks.

The landscape of development and climate policy is changing. How will the international system respond in the coming year?

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The BioRes Team

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3 November 2014
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