World leader’s need to harness historic opportunity for humanity

CARE, WWF joint report lays out pathway for tackling poverty and climate change

(23 June) This year, the world’s leaders have a historic opportunity at their fingertips. They must grab the chance to set humanity on a trajectory towards a more sustainable and equitable planet by tackling climate change hand in hand with poverty reduction, urge development and environment organisations CARE and WWF in a joint new report released at the beginning of an international negotiation meeting in New York this week.

The fate of our common future will be impacted by two important government summits, which should reach agreement on strong global sustainable development goals and a global climate deal in New York and Paris, respectively. But for these two processes to be successful they must be mutually reinforcing, demand the two organisations.

In the joint report “Twin Tracks: Developing sustainably and equitably in a carbon-constrained world”, CARE International and WWF International lay out the mutually beneficial opportunities in both the Post-2015 Development and the UN Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) processes. The report outlines in detail the specific areas where both policy arenas can support delivering on key desired outcomes, such as overcoming poverty while phasing out fossil fuel emissions, or building resilience to climate change impacts for safeguarding development progress. It also identifies political gaps to be addressed for ambitious agreements, and institutional synergies.

“Poverty and climate change go hand in hand. To overcome poverty means that we have to seriously tackle the reality of a rapidly changing climate; and to fight climate change means we have to take into account the lives, livelihoods and rights of those in communities on the front line of climate impacts,” says Dr. Wolfgang Jamann, CARE International Secretary General and CEO. “If governments understand and take this rationale seriously, they can deliver ambitious forward-looking agreements and action.”

On 22 June, governments from around the world will meet in New York for an important round of intergovernmental negotiations on the Post-2015 Development framework, discussing, for the first time, the Zero draft for this framework prepared at the UN level. This is supposed to conclude in an agreement signed by all heads of states and governments in New York in September, just a few weeks before the climate summit in Paris in December.

“Government delegates negotiating this week in New York must recognise the synergies between sustainable development, poverty eradication and climate action and put ambitious proposals on the table to reflect this in the framework. They should seek to strengthen the Zero draft they will discuss by more clearly highlighting the fundamental threat of climate change for sustainable development, and include limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees and phasing out fossil fuel emissions as a key objective,” says Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator with CARE International.

“While CARE supports the inclusion of a distinct goal to tackle climate change, the draft currently also fails to establish climate action as a cross-cutting theme to be taken into account in the implementation of other crucial goals such as poverty eradication, food and nutrition security and sustainable energy.”

World leaders are running out of chances to ensure humanity takes the right direction on the road toward a more equitable society on a viable planet. We urge our leaders to act with foresight and take responsible action now for our common good, CARE International says.