Climate change is the defining issue of the millennium, and in order to stay below the 2°C goal, it will require actions at a global level. Scientists worldwide are warning governing instances of the need for a more united approach to tackle problems raised by unsustainable development.
This urgency is partly reflected in international actions. In the wake of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20,the Member States began to develop a set of goals, building upon the Millennium Development Goals,which were meant to be achieved by 2015.
In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.The agenda offers a blueprint for sustainable development by presenting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) divided according to the triptych of sustainable development: economic growth, environmental protection and social development (UN, 2015). The agenda lays out 169 targets to be reached in the process of achieving the SDGs and also has indicators to keep track of their implementations.
These goals shine a light on global common issues, namely, issues that affect countries worldwide and need to be assessed on a global scale. These include concerns such as climate change, freshwater resources, food security (on land and in the sea), pandemic threats, biodiversity (fauna and flora), but also human security (Goldin & Reinert, 2012). Despite being divided into 17 separate goals, each possesses at least one component related to another with one recurring theme. Climate Action, being the focus of the Sustainable Development Goal nº13, is explicit in at least 8 out of the 17 goals. To achieve these goals and take appropriate actions towards climate change, there has to be deep cooperation put in place at a global level with a specific focus on countries that are home to unique and rich ecosystems, such as Peru.
Goal n°13: Climate Action
As previously mentioned, the climate change crisis endures, and cooperation between countries is needed in order to combat it. Sustainable Development Goal nº13 aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.It has been estimated that, in 2020, the global average temperature was at 1.2 ºC above the pre-industrial baseline. With the continuous increase of greenhouse gas emissions that have been surging for decades, shifting economies towards carbon neutrality is a vital necessity.
This goal comprises different areas such as food security and production, terrestrial and wetland ecosystems, freshwater resources, human health, and, finally, key economic sectors and services. It requires national climate adaptation plans in every country; so far, 125 developing countries are implementing and formulating those. However, the global economy needs to urgently adapt to this issue.
The implementation of SDGs, as stated earlier, can be monitored by the examination of targets and their indicators. For this specific goal, we can mention three main targets:
- Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
One of its indicators would be the number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population. Another indicator would be the proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies.
- Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.
One of the indicators would be the total greenhouse gas emission per year.
- Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.
One of the indicators would be the extent of global citizenship education, education for sustainable development etc.
Peru and the SDGs
In this sense, the Government of Peru has aligned its General Government Policy to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. CEPLAN (Centro Nacional de Planeamiento Estratégico), the specialized technical agency that acts as the governing, guiding and coordinating body of the National Strategic Planning System and the principal entity in Peru for the 2030 Agenda, annually publishes a National Report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Peru is part of the ten most diverse countries globally and has the second largest share of Amazon Forest which, combined, make up 70% of the planet’s total biodiversity. Peru’s Andes mountains, cold oceans, and tropical locations feature diverse ecosystems, flora, and fauna.
This wealth of biodiversity provides essential ecosystem services that contribute to both a healthy natural environment and human wellbeing. However, Peru’s biodiversity and ecosystem services are under threat due to land use change and different threats. The main threats to Peru’s mountain and forest ecosystems are land use change, climate change, deforestation, and extractive activities. The main threats to its continental water ecosystems relate to pollution, degradation, damming and overfishing.
While Peru contains the second largest segment of the Amazon Rainforest with extensive biodiversity, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has been increasing over the past years.
Photo by Paula Nardini
To monitor progress towards achieving the SDGs, the Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI), with the support of the UN in Peru, has developed an online platform to monitor and track the indicator based on statistical data obtained from household surveys and national censuses.
Unfortunately, Government driven business engagement around the 2030 Agenda has been minimal. Basic sustainability practices are being implemented, such as the Superintendencia de Mercado de Valores (Superintendency of Securities Market) that requests sustainability reports from all companies trading in the Peruvian Stock Exchange as a first step towards more disclosure and transparency from businesses.
Peruvian businesses tend to place more weight on SDGs related to social impact over environmental priorities because companies recognize the importance of satisfying particular basic human needs for their employees and consumers before having the ‘climate action dialogue’. Some companies, however, do recognize and engage with the SDGs as an integral system in which all aspects – such as people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships – are connected.
Sustainable development is a challenge for diverse rural communities living in frontier regions of tropical forests (Meredith, 2020).
As an example, the Interoceanic Highway cuts through the region. It is more than 2,600 kilometres long and connects the Brazilian part of the Amazon to the Pacific coast. Experience in past decades shows that with improved accessibility, deforestation for agriculture and illegal logging tend to follow suit. The concessions stretch over 100,000 hectares covered by dense rainforest. Effective surveillance of this area to prevent unlawful dwelling and destructive forest use is only possible with the support of carbon certificate revenues.This effective surveillance helps develop initiatives that increase the value of the healthy forest and the income from the sustainable harvesting of Brazil nuts. And enables small farmers to protect and maintain their forest. Regional families benefit from a secure source of income. Illegal deforestation becomes therefore unattractive. To support this economic redirection, the project has implemented a significant outreach campaign to educate the local population on the benefits of an intact rainforest, holding workshops in each town within the region (Ozga, nd).
It has become evident that there has been substantial progress made throughout the Amazon basin. Herein, we can witness a shift from the intense and unchecked industrialization and over-liberalist policies toward a raised awareness of sustainable development approaches. Indeed, numerous indicators related to the MDGs have improved such as access to health care (MDGs 5 and 6), lower child mortality rates (MDG 4), and halving poverty rate (MDG 1).However, the road is still long regarding the achievement of the Agenda 2030, especially as it relates to climate change.
With several social and environmental indicators in the Amazon scoring relatively low, such as the indicators 15.2.1 concerning sustainable forest management, 15.3.1 on the proportion of land that is degraded over total land area, we face a substantial loss of ecosystem services. The consequences of such a loss are of immense concern for the global community. Still, they are also, for States directly concerned like Perú, cause for social concern, especially among indigenous and rural communities. Indeed, these threat on the ecosystem bring with them the risk of disrupting ancestral practices. Social consequences that can be monitored for example through indicator 11.4 focusing on strengthening efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
For the Amazonian rainforest and the States on which it lies, the main challenge for the coming years is finding the fragile balance of development that combines environmental protection and poverty reduction, leaving no one behind. In this research, the blueprints of the SDGs, and notably the goal nº13, are a welcome help but cannot stand alone. When looking back at the targets proposed for the goal n º13, it becomes evident that consequent participation and strong will from both public and private entities will be necessary in order to achieve “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (UN- Bruntland, 1987).
The 2ºC goal has been the flagship of environmentalists for the past decade. The idea being to limit the production of greenhouse gases and adopt greener policies to obstruct the rise of the global average temperature to keep it below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
Scientific evidence is increasingly displaying a correlation between the different issues faced by the Earth as a global entity. Indeed, the effect of climate on food production and access to water, to only cite a couple, are undeniable which makes climate change a prior consideration for future politics
Held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012
The Millennium Summit led to the elaboration of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce extreme poverty by 2015. See the list of the MDGs: https://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/mdgmomentum.shtml
The UN SDGs webiste list a total of 247 indicators including 12 which are repeated under multiple goals: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/Global%20Indicator%20Framework%20after%202021%20refinement_Eng.pdf
COOPERATIVE FUND FOR FOREST CARBON (FCPF).
The FCPF began to be designed in 2006, by the World Bank, at the request of a group of donors that includes developed countries, non-governmental organizations and development entities. It was created with the objective of supporting developing countries in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
For a in depth review of how successful the MDGs were, see: :https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2017/01/11/how-successful-were-the-millennium-development-goals/
Goldin, I. and Reinert, K. (2012). Globalization for Development, Meeting New Challenges. Oxford University Press
Meredith, G. (2020). Analysing Sustainable Development Goals in the Peruvian Amazon. University of Sussex. Available at: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/broadcast/read/52499
Ozga, E. Sustainable Forestry in the Amazon Basin in Peru. ABN Resource Recruitment Redefined. Available at: https://abnresource.com/38/sustainability/peru-sustainable-forestry-in-the-amazon-basin-in-madre-de-dios-province/
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300