In 2015, the member states of the United Nations adopted “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” based on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Seventeen SDGs are at the core of the 2030 Agenda, setting high expectations for all countries in addressing challenges such as poverty, health, education, women’s empowerment, growth, inequality, environment protection and governance. Lebanon has adhered to the agenda and launched an assessment project in 2017 titled “SDGs in Lebanon: Analyzing Gaps and Reporting Progress” and is focused on the following priority areas: “Tailoring the SDGs – Mapping Policy to Support Target Setting” as well as “Supporting GOL’s capacity for monitoring, evaluation, and reporting on SDG’s implementation”. Moreover, Lebanon has already established its SDG committee by Council of Ministers’ decision 69 (22/6/2017) which will be responsible for facilitating the implementation of the SDG-related policies and track their progress.
Moreover, the Paris Agreement on climate change has entered into force in 2016, aiming at holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5ºC. All Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which indicate the mitigation and adaptation targets they are willing to reach to achieve the Paris Agreement goals as soon as possible. Lebanon has submitted its NDC in 2015 and has received further support to improve the assessment, genderizing, financing and reporting of its NDC through the Nationally Determined Contribution Support Programme (NDCSP). Currently, the NDC Follow-Up Working Group on Mitigation is being formed as per the mandate of the Ministry of Environment as NDC coordinator (Council of Ministers’ decision 33 dated 20/12/2017). The mandate of the working group is to follow-up on the NDC implementation.
The adoption of these two major international policy frameworks in 2015 provides a key opportunity for tackling the interlinked twin challenges of sustainable development, poverty eradication, and climate change. Connecting the thematic implementation of both agendas holds the potential to identify and support leverage points, to identify critical gaps and shortcomings in implementation, and to foster a truly integrative implementation of the social, economic and ecological dimension of these two agendas.
Links between the two multilateral agreements have already been established at a global level; the Paris Agreement mentions that it aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development, and the 2030 Agenda includes of a stand-alone climate change goal (SDG 13), and many targets linked to climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation under other SDGs. Lebanon intends to submit its progress on implementing its SDGs in a Voluntary National Review in 2018, and will be legally bound to submit information on its NDC progress under the Paris Agreement starting 2022.
It is therefore timely and important for Lebanon to synchronize its efforts for the implementation and reporting of its SDGs and NDC in order to avoid duplication of efforts, request targeted support and enhance delivery. This activity entails the identification and formalization of the common entry points for joint NDC and SDG implementation responses through policies, strategies and activities, and the generation of recommendations for the way forward.