15 December 2014 - MPs are right to demand that a strong ‘green thread’ runs through all the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Christian Aid says today in response to a report by the Environmental Audit select committee.
They are also right to insist on the importance of a goal focused on climate change - and to warn Ministers against oversimplifying the SDGs, which governments are currently negotiating and which will be agreed by world leaders later in 2015.
“The timing of this new report is very welcome, because the UN climate negotiations in Lima have just finished and international negotiations on the SDGs are about to resume”, said Helen Dennis, Christian Aid’s Senior Adviser on Poverty and Inequality.
“It’s also good to see the Committee’s recognition that we cannot eradicate poverty without addressing climate change and that tackling inequality is vital for social cohesion and sustainable development.”
Christian Aid believes the credibility of the SDGs will depend on their treatment of climate change – will they promote low-carbon, climate-resilient development and send out a clear message about climate as a global development priority?
Ms Dennis added: “The UK Government needs to stop dithering and come out strongly in favour of a standalone climate goal. If last week’s climate summit in Lima has taught us one thing, it’s that leadership is needed now, not later.
“While we agree that the new agenda should be compelling, we remain unconvinced by the Government’s fixation on the overall number of goals. We would like to see the debate move from quantity to quality – ensuring that the content is ambitious and responsive to the social, economic and environmental challenges facing people and planet.”
Christian Aid is also pleased to see the MPs’ insistence that the new goals apply to all countries, poor and rich alike, and that achieving them will demand joined-up work across all Government departments in the UK.
Ms Dennis said: “The new goals are not just something for other countries. The UK will need to play its part and to ensure that its policies, for instance on tax, do not undermine the development of poorer countries.”
The MPs’ new report comes just before publication of the EU Common Position on the Post-2015 Agenda and ahead of intergovernmental negotiations on the SDGs, which will resume in January.
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Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org
4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk