On 17 July 2023, a side event of the 2023 UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) explored synergistic action for addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and related challenges in Asia and beyond. It discussed ways to strengthen the connection between evidence and action for solutions that leverage synergies across multiple issues.
The event advanced discussion around the 4th Conference on Climate and SDGs Synergies and provided inputs for the “Expert Group Reports — Climate–SDGs Synergies for Maximal Impact”, which will be launched in September 2023 alongside the UN SDG Summit.
In opening remarks, Akira Yanagimoto (Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Environment, MOEJ) referred to the Third Climate–SDG Synergy Conference, held in Tokyo, and the fourth conference, which had taken place the previous day in New York. He noted that both events had highlighted the importance of synergies between climate change and biodiversity initiatives, and the need to accumulate lessons for promoting such synergies.
Kazuhiko Takeuchi (President, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies) delivered a framing presentation, underlining the importance of harmonious co-existence between people and nature — a vision pursued by the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI). He introduced the event topics, including the core question of how to strengthen connections between evidence and action.
Sharing experiences and lessons learned from countries including India, Kazakhstan, and the Republic of Korea, participants discussed opportunities to maximise synergies. They highlighted that the Asia-Pacific was at the forefront of the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, and that the region was not on track to achieve the SDGs.
Key messages included the importance of placing nature at the centre of efforts to translate evidence into action, and the need to integrate ecosystems and the services they provide in sustainable development. Participants also emphasized considering country-specific contexts when designing policies.
Closing remarks by Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) recognised the rich dialogue on the critical theme of translating evidence into action for climate and SDG synergies. She outlined the contribution of UNU-IAS as a panellist at the Fourth Climate & SDGs Synergy Conference and welcomed the building momentum on synergistic solutions across regions. Prof. Yamaguchi identified key milestones in this ongoing policy debate, including the 2023 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the 2023 SDG Summit, and the Global Stocktake to be undertaken at COP28. She stressed that these would be important opportunities for reflection, assessment, and renewed commitment to action. Introducing the new UNU-IAS postgraduate degree specialisation on Climate Action for the Paris Agreement, to be launched in September 2023, Prof. Yamaguchi called for redoubled commitment on synergistic action for climate and the SDGs, in Asia and beyond.
The side event was organised by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) with the Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MOEJ), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and UNU-IAS.