On 30 July 2020, the Caribbean NDC Support Virtual Exchange Platform held its 3rd Session: Linking Sustainable Development and NDCs. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all UN Member States in 2015 with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its heart, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

Currently, countries are in the process of implementing and tracking sustainable development performance as well as introducing national sustainable development strategies. Hence, the 3rd virtual exchange was designed to address how sustainable development and NDCs can be aligned.The NDC Partnership, IOM-UN Migration, World Resources Institute, UNDP, UNICEF, OECS, WHO-Pan American Health Organization and AOSIS partnered with RCC St. George’s to bring together this event.

The virtual exchange hosted 95 representatives from Caribbean countries andother invited International partners.Prior to the exchange, pre-recorded presentations were made available to registered participants to enhance their understanding on how sustainable development can best be integrated within NDCs and then explore how topics such as gender, youth and children, education, health and migration can be incorporated into NDCs. The recordings of the presentations can be assessed here.

During the live exchange, UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the OECS, Didier Trebucq highlighted three main points that would lead to achieving the linkage between NDCs and sustainable development:

  1. develop guidelines for the thematic topics considered within the NDC and SDGs; 
  2. foster international solidarity to address climate change; stand up for inequalities and end all forms of poverty; and
  3. reach a wide cross-section of stakeholders to exchange best practices, especially in the Caribbean region that is highly prone to extreme weather events. 

He also said that "The risk we are now facing with COVID-19 is that of competing priorities for resource allocation to recover, which could be at the detriment of longer goals such as carbon neutrality. Hence, to avoid lasting setbacks in the area of climate change we need to build back better, greener and more resilient."

The Chief Sustainability Development and Environmental Officer for the Department of Sustainable Development in Saint Lucia, Annette Leo, shared experiences on how St. Lucia is integrating sustainable development in their NDCs. With regard to this, the two main areas her country is focusing on are (1) gender responsiveness and (2) means of aligning the NDC with SDGs. She stated that for the revision, they are currently implementing projects which support women as well as quality stakeholder engagements, all of which have been identified to promote NDCs and sustainable development.

During the interactive discussions, panellists and participants shared information on challenges faced and future actions to address these challenges. Some shared insights on how NDCs can be measured with specific indicators as well as ways of transitioning to the new pathway of sustainable development. In the closing remarks, participants were also invited to the 4th session which will be held on 27 August 2020 focusing on accounting and tracking progress of NDCs.

For more information on the RCC St. George’s virtual exchange, please contact: rccstgeorges@unfccc.int or james.vener@undp.org

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