Goal 17: Strengthen partnerships to promote global action on sustainable development
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Why this goal is important
Diverse and inclusive partnerships are required at the local, regional, national and global levels to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This Goal's focus on strengthening partnerships to promote global action on sustainable development directly supports SDG Global Indicator Framework targets:
- 17.2: Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries; ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries
- 17.3: Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources
- 17.4: Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress
- 17.10: Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda
The impacts of climate change are being increasingly felt around the globe, particularly in developing countries that are least equipped to respond to the consequences. In 2009 as part of the Copenhagen Accord under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developed countries, including Canada, committed to jointly mobilize climate finance from a variety of public and private financial sources, reaching USD$100 billion annually by 2020 to support climate efforts in developing countries.
This commitment was reaffirmed in the Paris Agreement, where Parties agreed that the USD$100 billion goal would be continued through 2025. The Climate Finance Delivery Plan, prepared jointly by Canada and Germany and published in October 2021, clarifies when and how developed countries will reach this collective climate finance goal through 2025. Canada and Germany prepared a Climate Finance Delivery Plan Progress Report with developed countries to demonstrate continued progress towards the goal in the lead-up to COP27.
Another aspect of partnership relates to trade. The linkages between trade and the environment are complex and the subject of international discussions and negotiations. Countries and international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization, G7, G20, OECD and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, are working together to promote mutually supportive trade and environment objectives such as environmental protections in bilateral and regional trade agreements and multilateral initiatives on trade and environment.
Any agenda focused on reducing inequalities must consider Canada's role in global affairs and in alleviating inequalities among countries. Despite some global measures that have reduced inequalities, such as international assistance and preferential trade status that benefits low-income countries, inequalities persist worldwide. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have deepened inequalities, especially where weakened health systems or existing humanitarian crises have increased the risk of people being left behind or dying.
Developing countries are particularly exposed to the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss. They also have fewer financial resources and less technical capacity to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Canada's international engagement on climate change, including its climate finance commitment to developing countries to support their climate mitigation, and to foster resilience among those most at risk from the effects of climate change, is important to reduce global inequalities.
Climate-related disasters such as droughts, floods, extreme weather events, and food and water insecurity have a greater and differentiated effects on at-risk groups, especially women, girls, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and people with reduced incomes. These groups face greater vulnerabilities, including the burden of managing the shocks of climate change and the health impacts of indoor and outdoor pollution. Therefore, individuals and groups in vulnerable situations stand to benefit the most from climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, and from measures to protect and restore nature.
Finally, in a time of constant change, open data is an important mechanism for enhancing transparency, and ensuring evidence-based dialogue and collaboration between governments and civil society. In Canada, open data helps foster multi-stakeholder collaboration to better understand and contribute to solving public challenges. Open data also provides critical information to help achieve the SDGs and to measure progress in meeting them. These insights can inform priorities and help determine the most effective paths for driving innovation and action to resolve issues. The quality and relevance of available open datasets is of particular importance for informed decision making.
How the Government of Canada contributes
Canada recognizes that meeting the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement will require a global effort. In 2019 to 2020, Canada contributed more than $700 million in bilateral international assistance to address climate change. Canada also provides institutional support to multilateral organizations, which support initiatives to address climate change. However, the transition to low-emission, climate-resilient economies will require substantially more financing, from all actors and sources. That is why the Government of Canada has committed to providing $5.3 billion in climate finance over 2021 to 2026 and is working with partners to tap into the significant potential for investment in climate solutions by the private sector and helping to mobilize additional climate finance in developing countries.
In support of the Paris Agreement, Canada's climate finance commitments encompass a wide range of climate mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. On June 13, 2021, Canada announced a climate finance commitment of $5.3 billion over 5 years, including increased support for adaptation as well as nature-based climate solutions and projects that contribute to biodiversity co-benefits. Canada's climate finance commitment will be delivered across four main thematic areas: clean energy transition and coal phase-out, climate-smart agriculture and food systems, nature-based solutions and biodiversity, and climate governance.
Canada's commitment is delivered through a variety of bilateral and multilateral initiatives, including the Green Climate Fund, the largest dedicated climate fund in the world. Canada's approach includes partnering with Multilateral Development Banks, such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank Group, to establish Canadian climate funds to leverage private sector financing by removing market barriers to private climate investment in developing countries.
To date, under its $5.3 billion commitment, Canada has announced investments of up to $372.5 million to help the world's poorest and most vulnerable countries adapt to the climate crisis and increase their resilience, including funding to the Least Developed Countries Fund, Adaptation Fund, National Adaptation Plan Global Network, and Partnering for Climate. Canada is also supporting clean energy transitions and coal phase-out in developing countries, including up to $1 billion to the Climate Investment Funds - Accelerated Coal Transition Initiative.
Canada's climate finance commitment aligns with its Feminist International Assistance Policy, which guides Canada's overall approach to international assistance. Canada's international climate finance has a strong focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Canada's $5.3 billion climate finance commitment will ensure that at least 80% of its projects integrate gender equality considerations.
In addition to implementing its climate finance commitment, the Government of Canada pursues an ambitious trade and investment agenda and actively promotes trade and investment in goods and services needed to protect Canada's natural environment. Canada's overall approach to environment in its free trade agreement negotiations is based on the guiding principle that trade and environment should be mutually supportive, incorporating environmental considerations and obligations to ensure that strong environmental standards are upheld by all Parties. Canada also champions trade and environment at the World Trade Organization's Committee on Trade and Environment and the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions, as well as the OECD's Joint Working Party on Trade and Environment.
Through its International Business Development Strategy for Clean Technology, the Trade Commissioner Service is helping more Canadian clean technology firms pursue export opportunities and scale up internationally, including by connecting them with sources of global climate finance to support projects in developing markets.
Canada's Feminist Foreign Policy
Canada currently applies a feminist approach across all of its international policies and programming, including diplomacy, trade, security, development, and consular services. It is being operationalized through a suite of complementary international policies, programs, and initiatives. These include Canada's Inclusive Approach to Trade; its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and Elsie Initiative; and its Feminist International Assistance Policy. These policies place a focus on dismantling persistent systemic barriers, discriminatory norms and practices, and inequalities based on sex and gender—including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics—as well as on the basis of other intersecting aspects of identity such as race, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, language, or disability.
Canada's feminist foreign policy is the international expression of ongoing, coordinated, and whole-of-government efforts to advance human rights, diversity, inclusion and gender equality domestically. In doing so, it reinforces Canada's overarching objectives of strengthening a rules-based international system, supporting lasting peace and security, fostering prosperity, and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
As communities around the world experience the destabilizing effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss in different and costly ways, gender-responsive and inclusive action, and diverse partnerships, are necessary to develop strong, inclusive, and sustainable solutions.
Canada is party to a number of international agreements and initiatives to reduce inequality in relation to global climate and environmental challenges. These include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement. Canada is a strong proponent of international climate action by Indigenous Peoples and played a key role in launching and operationalizing the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform in the UNFCCC. The platform aims to strengthen the capacity of local communities and Indigenous Peoples to address and respond to climate change, exchange best practices and knowledge with respect to mitigation and adaptation, and enhance their engagement in the broader UNFCCC process.
Canada also continues to actively promote 2SLGBTQI+ rights in a number of multilateral fora, and collaborates closely with civil society organizations in Canada and abroad to advance 2SLGBTQI+ rights. In line with the Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada has continued to implement the LGBTQ2I International Assistance Program which represents $30 million in dedicated funding over five years (2019-2024) aiming to advance human rights and improve socio-economic outcomes for 2SLGBTQI+ people in developing countries.
To promote inclusive partnerships and collaboration within Canada, the Government Canada maintains the Open Government Portal as a single point of entry for open data and information published by federal organizations, as well as from some provinces and territories. For example, the Federal Geospatial Platform includes a collection of federal, provincial, and territorial geospatial information that provides quick and easy access to economic, social and environmental data on a range of complex issues. Since the Open Government Portal was relaunched in June 2013, more than 80,000 datasets have been published. Following a series of consolidations of small data sets into more comprehensive series, individuals can now access more than 30,000 open data and information assets online. In particular, data for Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators that are used to measure progress on the FSDS are available through the Open Government Portal.
Relationships with Indigenous Peoples
Environment and Climate Change Canada has a long history of working in partnership and consulting with Indigenous Peoples with the intent to uphold Aboriginal and Treaty rights, such as access to traditional territory and the harvesting of plants and animals. Indigenous Peoples also participate in Environment and Climate Change Canada's international work by informing policy positions and participating in international discussions. This includes work related to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation. Environment and Climate Change Canada also engages with Indigenous groups through other mechanisms, such as:
- Distinctions-based Senior Bilateral Tables on Clean Growth and Climate Change
- the National Steering Committee for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas
- the Indigenous Guardians Working Group
- the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
Stakeholder perspective: UN Global Compact Network Canada
The UN Global Compact is a call to companies to align their strategies and operations with ten universal principles related to human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals and the implementation of the SDGs. With more than 16,500 business and 3,500 non-business participants based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative. The Canadian chapter, the UN Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC) is dedicated to building the capacity of the Canadian private sector to embrace sustainable business practices by convening and accelerating opportunities for multi-stakeholder collaboration. Their programming delivers a range of activities to guide businesses on how to embed the sustainability principles into core business management and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. For instance, by signing the CFO Principles on Integrated SDG Investments and Finance, GCNC members can join the CFO Coalition for the SDGs on their mission to develop principles, frameworks and recommendations to integrate the SDGs in corporate finance and create a market for mainstream SDG investments. The United Nations has estimated that the world will need to spend between $3 trillion to $5 trillion annually to meet the SDGs by 2030. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased those estimates by an additional $2 trillion annually. Since launching in December 2019, the CFO Taskforce has addressed this financial gap, re-envisioning the role of CFOs as the architects of long-term sustainable value creation.
Source: UN Global Compact Network Canada