The UN discusses environmental issues and the Sustainable Development Goals

The seventh session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals took place in New York in January 2014 and focused on environmental issues. Trade Unions were represented in this meeting by Sustainlabour.

Regarding cities and urbanization, there was much discussion on whether municipalities should have specific goal on sustainability (universal provision of basic services, greenhouse gases emissions reduction, inclusive economies) or whether to include municipal targets in thematic goals.
The trade union movement insisted that sustainable cities require quality and affordable public services to all (such as housing, energy, water, sanitation, transport and mobility).

On climate change, governments discussed the best way forward in the two related international processes (the SDGs discussions and the Climate Change negotiations), in order for one process not to hinder the other. The time frame for decision making is difficult and due to this and other reasons, the majority of governments expressed the convenience to mainstream the issue in the Sustainable Development Goals and to discuss a global goal in the Climate Convention. The most vulnerable countries reminded that mainstreaming is fundamental. Targets for emissions reduction and funds for adaptation policies paid by the contaminators are essential to build just societies.
Trade unions hope that governments will respond to the climate challenge with the necessary ambition and responsibility in both processes.

Sustainlabour, jointly with the Women`s Major Group and IPEN, also organized a side event to highlight the need to include sound chemicals management in the Sustainable Development Goals. The side event was attended by representatives of civil society, governments and the UN.

Further information can be found on Sustainlabour website.