In 2015, the world embarked on an ambitious climate and development agenda with the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Now, eight years later, both processes are at important milestones in terms of assessing the progress achieved so far. In December 2023, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai will conclude the first global stocktake, a process for assessing collective progress towards the Paris Agreement objectives. In September, the midterm review of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will take place at the SDG Summit in New York. Yet no pleasant surprises are expected. It is already clear that progress to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement is way off track, as countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are far too weak to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Similarly, at the midpoint to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, no country is on track. Progress on the 17 SDGs has stalled over the past 3 years. On some goals, the world has been backsliding, raising questions about political will as well as suitable options for changing course.
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