SDG Implementation and Climate Action in Times of COVID-19 Recovery

On 29 April 2021, the International Movement ATD Fourth World and Franciscans International held a Virtual New York-Geneva Dialogue on SDG implementation and climate action in times of Covid-19 recovery. This Global Community Dialogue brought together UN Member State representatives in New York and Geneva, UN agencies, and NGOs to informally share concrete recommendations and discuss ways in which the international community can effectively reach out to those living in extreme poverty. The event opened with statements from the Member State representatives of Madagascar and Haiti, and from two community organizers working on the ground with communities affected by climate change. Following these keynote statements, break-out sessions were held to discuss three main subsets of questions:

  • How do the contributions shared today by our keynote speakers resonate with your personal or work experience? For example, what would be the priorities for you to address in policy or in advocacy work?
  • What difference can human rights-based approaches to climate action and sustainable development make for people living in extreme poverty? Do you have any success stories in your work where you were able to ensure that human rights were at the center of climate or development projects or policy?
  • How can we ensure better policy coherence between Geneva and New York on issues related to climate action, SDG implementation and human rights in times of Covid-19 recovery?

Participants underscored the severe impacts of Covid-19 and climate change on communities already living in extreme poverty, for whom the virus has compounded preexisting precarity related to climate change events such as floods, droughts, locust invasions, etc. The accumulation effects of the pandemic and climate change on people living in extreme poverty show that these issues must be addressed holistically rather than in isolation. Discussions also explored the essential role of the human rights framework in addressing structural inequalities and violence against people living in extreme poverty, and as a tool for community empowerment. Read the notes here.

This frank conversation between a variety of stakeholders constitutes a step towards working together for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and more dialogues are to be expected in the future.

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