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9 January 2014 - Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals - "Climate change and disaster risk reduction in the Post-2015 Agenda" - Statement by Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister attached to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for Development

Honorable co-Chairs, Your Excellencies, Dear colleagues,

It is a great pleasure for me to take part in this especially important session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the constituency composed by Germany, Switzerland and France.

First and foremost, I would like to thank the UN task support team for preparing an excellent issue brief that enlightens us on the core matters of climate change and disaster risk reduction.

As you are well aware of, France has a special responsibility as the host of Paris Climate 2015. We hope that the conference will see the adoption by all parties of an ambitious and legally-bindinguniversal agreement on climate change, which is necessary to reach our common objective to limit the global surface temperature increase belowof 2°C compared toover the pre-industrial average.

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the Intergovernmental Expert GroupPanel on cClimate cChange, reminded us last September that “We have five minutes before midnight.” And I would add that we have five minutes before midnight regarding women and men – especially in the LLDCs – who are exposed to climate change. We cannot ignore the alarming observation made in the fifth IPCC report. The latter does not exclude a global surface temperature increase of almost 5°C, one dramatic scenario which would ruin most of our efforts related in favour of development.

It seems impossible to conceive the SDGs without taking into account climate change, considering its impacts on societies. We must pave the way for a development that is compatible with the UNFCC objective to limit global temperature increase below 2°C. We will not be able to eradicate poverty and ensure a sustainable development without integrating climate change and the disaster risk reduction within the future agenda. It is all the more necessary that the LDCs are the very first victims and especially those whose populations largely depend on agriculture. Without substantial efforts to mitigate and to adapt to climate change, a global surface temperature increase of 4°C would trigger a rise of sea level up to 1 meter, threatening all coastal countries, especially the existence of SIDS. The multiplication of natural disasters threatens human lives and compromises the accomplished progresses in the field of MDGs, destroying human settlements and infrastructures, leading to more recurrent food crises and higher risks of pandemic and insecurity. We also consider that DRR must be integrated in the post-2015 agenda, notably through supporting appropriate policies to reinforce the adaptive capacities of societies in terms of human and economic losses. DRR policies thus contribute to poverty alleviation and creating environmental sustainability.

Therefore, as you very well understand, it is not about duplicating the negotiations on climate change. A stand-alone goal on climate change would not bring much added value. It is nevertheless highly necessary to include targets on climate change. It is necessary to reach the goals and targets of the agenda. It equally involves our capacity to meet with our commitments regarding climate change.
— Developing infrastructures resilient to climate change and natural disasters should for instance be a priority. The initial cost will be inferior to the costs associated to future reconstructions. It is also substantial for populations’ security.
— A sustainable energy, , including the development of renewable energies and increasing energy efficiency for all should also allow for decoupling growth and the aggravation of carbon footprint.
— More transversallybroadly, measures must be taken to ensure a sustainable environment, especially through land preservation, forest protection and marine environment, sustainable consumption and production patterns and sustainable cities, issues that have been addressed in the first two days of the current session, all imply targets that are necessary to fight climate change. cannot be overlooked and should allow to go beyond MDG7, insufficiently addressed.
— As mentioned in the UNSG report, food security and agriculture, universal access to water and sanitation and health are also themes that cannot be tackled without taking into consideration climate change.

We hope that climate change and disaster risk reduction will be addressed in an ambitious and cross-cutting manner in the post-2015 agenda. The future SDGs should encourage all countries to engage in low-carbon development models that would also be resilient to climate change and natural and human disasters.

I thank you for your attention.

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