Paris, 30 January 2019
We are at the eve of a decisive decade for the Planet.
This year gives our countries the opportunity to gain a head start on the adoption of transformational policies in anticipation of a reinvigorated Environment Agenda in 2020. In many global environmental domains, we will see new goals and targets up for adoption by international regimes.
Following the guidelines of the recently approved Katowice Climate Package, the implementation phase of the Paris Agreement will start in 2020. In line with the Agreement’s progressive five-year cycles, the global community will be anticipating more ambitious and updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), underpinned by the insights of the Special Report of the IPCC on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
Our flagship report Financing Climate Futures proposes six transformative policy areas to support governments in delivering resilient and low-carbon infrastructure and their NDCs more broadly, while fostering well-being and ensuring inclusiveness with respect to climate decisions.
The 2011-2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, under the Convention on Biological Diversity, are also coming to an end, although government actions have not been sufficient to see the targets met. The Biodiversity COP15, to be held in China in 2020, will define post-2020 targets aimed at protecting marine and terrestrial ecosystems throughout the world and provide an opportunity for governments to renew their resolve to address the global biodiversity challenge through a results-orientated framework. Related to this, life below water, as SDG 14 is phrased, is perhaps one of the most sensitive ecological issues and is one currently at the forefront of social media.
The global ocean community is responding with different initiatives to address the complexity of action required in this immense and mostly uncharted maritime space. The UN Ocean Conference, which will take place in Lisbon in June 2020, is expected to be a turning point in the efforts to establish global governance capable of rescuing coastal and marine ecosystems, including numerous endangered marine species.
Facing the whole spectrum of global environmental problems at the same time is not an easy task, as we are accustomed to tackling environmental challenges with a “silo” approach, based on sector-specific regulations. In this context, we must support the UN’s Global Environmental Pact proposal that could deliver in the future a comprehensive array of rights and obligations that will help avoid global ecological and humanitarian disruptions.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your continued interest in our work on the environment and look forward to another exciting year as we continue to support our member countries in forging transformative sustainable development pathways.
Director, OECD Environment Directorate