New study shows we need to target climate change adaptation across all sectors if we are to properly support sustainable development

New research led by Lena Fuldauer from the Environmental Change Institute and co-authored by Robert Nicholls, director of the Tyndall Centre, demonstrates that without targeted climate adaptation action across sectors, achievement of all 169 SDG targets is being threatened by the impacts of climate change.

sdgs rec
The Sustainable Development Goals

Governments and development organisations around the world are faced with the challenge of urgently making decisions on adaptation that intersect with different dimensions of development.

To avoid maladaptive outcomes, the research provides an actionable framework to help more systematically align national adaptation plans with SDG targets. This is particularly important as more countries revise their adaptation commitments under the Paris Agreement.

By placing the sustainable development agenda at the core of climate assessments that inform commitments under the Paris Agreement, application of the research framework helps governments and development organisations prioritise sector investments that both reduce climate risk and contribute to a healthy planet and a good life, now and into the future.

“Globally, application of our framework shows that all 169 SDG targets are threatened by near-term sectoral risk from climate change. To reduce these risks, we assess how adaptation of critical sectors and the services these provide can help safeguard and advance all SDG targets.” says Lena Fuldauer.

“In particular, our research highlights the importance of ecosystems, nature-based adaptation options, and strong governance arrangements as cross-sectoral components of safeguarding sustainable development in the face of climate change impacts,” she adds.

“Governments and development organisations must urgently make decisions on adaptation that intersect with different dimensions of development. To avoid maladaptive outcomes, decisions on adaptation should not only reduce risk, but also safeguard and advance sustainable development,” says co-author Robert Nicholls.

Nicholls also reminds those who will use the framework to include voices of the marginalised and indigenous peoples. “Unless the voices of local, marginalised and indigenous peoples are explicitly accounted for, any application of the proposed framework will fail in delivering sustainable development outcomes. The most successful applications of the framework will promote citizen buy-in from those already most left behind and account for issues of equity, fairness and justice,” Robert said.

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