SDGs in focus: SDGs 12, 13, 17 and interlinkages among those goals and with other SDGs

Climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste are three interlinked emergencies driven by human activities. Despite a temporary reprieve due to the pandemic, preliminary data shows that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued to grow in 2020, and that 2015-2020 was the warmest six-year period on record. Domestic material consumption per capita and total global material footprint as well as food waste and e-waste all continue to rise around the world. Addressing these crises will require major structural transformations in the way people live, work, produce and consume.

Experts estimate that global emissions must fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit global warming to 1.50C. At the same time, countries must take aggressive action to reduce resource use per unit of GDP, enhance the sustainable use of natural resources, and address all forms of pollution and waste in order to achieve the sustainable consumption and production (SCP) targets contained in SDG 12. This is also necessary to bend the development curve toward a version of society where people live in a more balanced and harmonious relationship with nature. Such efforts must include proactively managing novel pollutants, and resource demands associated with new products and materials.

The necessary transformations are deep and far-reaching, and they need to take place on an accelerated timeline. Many of these transformations are technically feasible but difficult to implement if left entirely to the market. The pandemic recovery period may provide an unprecedented opportunity to overcome inertia if governments respond with the requisite political will and direct recovery investments toward renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and green jobs, as well as international cooperation for a truly global impact. SDGs 12 and 13 can be achieved only with a strengthened global partnership (SDG 17), the private sector’s genuine commitment to shift to sustainable production practices, and changes in consumption patterns. The current session will address progress towards SDGs 12 and 13 and the interlinkages with other SDGs notably SDG 17. It will also discuss concrete policies and actions needed to make meaningful progress in sustainable consumption and production and in combatting climate change. It will explore the vital and interrelated roles of governments, business, communities, civil society and the multilateral system.

Proposed guiding questions:
  • What have been the trends on SDG 12 and 13?
  • What broad-based economic and social transformations are needed to make consumption and production systems more sustainable, to arrest climate change, reduce waste, and restore the relationship between human society and nature?
  • How can transformations towards carbon neutrality also promote sustainable consumption and production, including with new materials and products?
  • How can these transformations also promote gender equality and ensure that no one is left behind?
  • What are the opportunities to be realized (and pitfalls to be avoided) in the immediate and medium terms towards these ends? How can international cooperation support?
Chair:
  • H.E. Ms. Pascale Baeriswyl (Switzerland), Vice President of ECOSOC
Remarks:
  • H.E. Mr. Malik Aslam, Minster for Climate Change and Special Assistant to the Prime Minster of Pakistan
Highlights:
  • Presentation of the report of the Secretary-General on progress towards the SDGs - Goals 12, 13 and 17: Ms. Heather Page, Statistician, SDG Monitoring Section, Statistics Division of UNDESA
  • Video of children and youth climate activists

Interactive panel discussion

Moderator:
  • Ms. Jennifer Morris, CEO, The Nature Conservancy
Panellists/Resource persons:
  • Mr. Bruno Oberle, Director General of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of ECE
  • Mr. Nikhil Hirdaramani, Director, Hirdaramani International Group, Sri Lanka
Lead discussants:
  • Ms. Ligia Noronha, Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UNEP New York Office
  • Ms. Louise Mabulo, Chef, Farmer, Entrepreneur, UN Young Champion of the Earth, Philippines
  • Mr. Kossivi Adessou, Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR)’s West and Central Africa Regional Coordinator, Togo (Sendai Stakeholder Mechanism)
Respondents:
  • H.E. Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
  • H.E. Ms. Annika Jacobson, State Secretary to Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister Per Bolund of Sweden
  • H.E. Mr. Rodrigo Rodriguez Tornquist, Secretary of Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Innovation, Argentina Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, and Chair of the 10YFP Board
  • H.E. Mr. Alexandre Leitão, Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal
Biographies
H.E. Mr. Alexandre Leitão
Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal
H.E. Mr. Alexandre Leitão

Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal

Alexandre Leitão is a portuguese diplomat, born in Coimbra (08-12-1965). He is currently the Portuguese Special Envoy for Climate and executive member of the national organizing committee of the 2nd UN Ocean Conference (Lisbon, 2022).

Master in Political Science and International Relations (Catholic University, Lisbon), he has also a License in Geography (University of Coimbra) and a diploma of Advanced Studies in Public Policies (ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon).

Alexandre Leitão started is professional career in 1983. Among his several jobs:

- 1994-98: Deputy Mayor of Coimbra for Environment and Tourism and CEO of the Municipal Company for Water Supply and Sanitation;

- 1994-96: Member of the board, ERSUC SA (waste management);

- 1996-98: Member of the board, Municipal Services for Urban Transports, Coimbra

- 1997-99: Member of the board, Tourism in the Center of Portugal;

- 1998-99: Adviser of the Secretary of State for Public Administration;

- 1999-00: Office for Special Political Affairs / Timor-Leste, MFA;

- 2001-02: Adviser of the Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities, MFA;

- 2002-05: Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Portugal, Dakar, Senegal.

- 2005-08: Chargé of the European Parliament (EP) affairs and representative at the General Affairs Working Group of the Council (GAG), Permanent Representation of Portugal to the European Union; Chairman of GAG and Council representative at the EP Interinstitutional Coordination Group during the 2007 Portuguese Presidency.

- 2008-12: Consul General of Portugal in Benguela, Angola.

- 2012-14: Head of the Consular Emergency Office, MFA.

- 2014-15 Director, Cypher and IT Services / CIO, MFA.

- 2015-16: Deputy diplomatic adviser of the Prime Minister.

- 2016-19: Ambassador of the European Union / Head of Delegation, Timor-Leste.

- 2019-…: Executive member and MFA’s representative, Steering Committee of the United Nations Ocean Conference.

- 2020-…: Special Envoy / Ambassador at large for Climate, MFA.

H.E. Mr. Malik Aslam
Minster for Climate Change and Special Assistant to the Prime Minster of Pakistan
H.E. Mr. Malik Aslam

Minster for Climate Change and Special Assistant to the Prime Minster of Pakistan

Malik Amin Aslam is currently the Federal Minister and also Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Climate Change. He is also serving as the elected Global Vice President of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). He has previously chaired the flagship "Green Growth initiative" for the KPK in Pakistan – which included the mass a forestation "Billion Tree Tsunami" project. He has served as a Member of Parliament and from 2004-07 as the Minister of State for Environment (Government of Pakistan) and, in this capacity, has been the architect of the country's National Policies on environment and climate change. During this period Malik Amin Aslam, worked as the Prime Minister's special envoy for reform of the UN governance system. Malik Amin Aslam has also had the privilege of chairing the G77+China negotiations group and leading Pakistan's climate change negotiations at various COP meeting since 1999. He has recently been chosen to serve on the high level “International Advisory Council” for the Eco-Forum Global – the leading environmental think-tank advising the Government of China. Mr. Malik is an electrical engineer with an MBA from McGill University and an MSc from Oxford University where he completed his thesis on the utility of the “emissions trading” concept within the context of managing the Climate Change issue

H.E. Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius
European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
H.E. Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius

European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

Virginijus Sinkevičius is the present Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, at the European Commission. Mr Sinkevičius was from 2017 to 2019 Minister of Economy, and before he was leading the Committee of Economy at the Parliament of Lithuania. Mr. Sinkevičius was elected to the Parliament in October 2016. Prior, he was a Team Lead for Regulatory Affairs at Invest Lithuania. Mr. Sinkevičius holds BA in International Relations and Affairs from Aberystwyth University and Master‘s degree in European International Affairs from Maastricht University.

H.E. Ms. Annika Jacobson
State Secretary to Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister Per Bolund of Sweden
H.E. Ms. Annika Jacobson

State Secretary to Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister Per Bolund of Sweden

Ms Annika Jacobson is the State Secretary to Sweden’s Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Per Bolund, and a member of the Swedish Green Party. Ms. Jacobson is the State Secretary responsible for climate policy and the 2030 Agenda.

Ms Jacobson was born in 1976. She has an advanced vocational education diploma in project management and leadership.

Ms Jacobson served as Chief of Staff at the Ministry of the Environment between 2019–2021 and Political Adviser at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs 2017–2019.

In her previous assignments she has served as Head of Greenpeace Sweden (2012-2016), acting Secretary-General at ActionAid (2012), Campaign Chief and Head of Influence at ActionAid (2010-2012), Campaign manager at ActionAid Sweden (2009-2010), Press Secretary for the Swedish Green Party in the Riksdag (2008-2009 & 2006-2007), Campaign Coordinator for the Swedish Green Party (2005-2006) and Campaign Manager at Greenpeace Sweden (2000-2004)

Mr. Bruno Oberle
Director General of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Mr. Bruno Oberle

Director General of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Dr Bruno Oberle assumed office as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in July 2020.

He brings over 40 years of experience to IUCN at a time when redefining humanity’s relationship with nature is more urgent than ever. Before joining IUCN, Dr Bruno Oberle served in some of Switzerland’s most prestigious positions related to the environment. Between 2005 and 2015, as State Secretary for the Environment and Director of the Federal Office for the Environment for Switzerland, he represented Switzerland in leading international institutions and international negotiations, playing a key role in the Global Environment Facility and in the establishment of the Green Climate Fund.

Dr Oberle is a leading expert in the fields of sustainable resource management and green economy and has explored and shaped the interface between environmental policy, economic development and social equity from the perspective of state regulator, entrepreneur and scientist.

Prior to joining IUCN, Dr Oberle served as Chair of the Green Economy and Resource Governance programme at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) from 2016, where he also headed the International Risk Governance Centre. Since 2019, he has chaired the Global Tailings Review, which aims to establish an international standard for the safe management of tailings storage facilities that can be applied to dams around the world. He was also the lead author of the Global Resources Outlook 2019, written in his capacity as an active member of the International Resource Panel, which he joined in 2015.

Preceding his academic and government roles, Dr Oberle founded and managed companies in the fields of environmental consulting and environmental management, using the expertise gained from his doctorate in environmental sciences at ETH Zurich.

Mr. Kossivi Adessou
Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR)’s West and Central Africa Regional Coordinator, Togo (Sendai Stakeholder Mechanism)
Mr. Kossivi Adessou

Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR)’s West and Central Africa Regional Coordinator, Togo (Sendai Stakeholder Mechanism)

Adessou Kossivi Nevaeme is a specialist of International Environmental Law. Since 1994, Kossivi is working for Global Network for Disaster Reduction (GNDR).

Previously, he has worked in Togo and in Mozambique on Climate Change essentially with other CSOs. He is currently the Regional Coordinator covering West, Central and North Africa and North Asia. Adessou is based in Dakar, Senegal

Mr. Nikhil Hirdaramani
Director, Hirdaramani International Group, Sri Lanka
Mr. Nikhil Hirdaramani

Director, Hirdaramani International Group, Sri Lanka

Nikhil Hirdaramani has served as a Director of the Hirdaramani Group for over 20 years. The group’s main business interest is the manufacture of apparel in its 38 facilities spread across Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Ethiopia and in recent years there has been further diversification into other sectors such as hospitality, sustainable power and retail.

During his tenure Nikhil has overseen key function areas including marketing and supply chain which involved developing and managing relationships with many customers and suppliers from various markets such as Europe, USA, India and Japan. With a strong passion and interest for sustainability Nikhil has led the group’s sustainability initiatives and is extremely proud of the achievements: Mihila, one of its newer facilities in Sri Lanka was the 1st ever carbon neutral facility in Asia and in 2019 the entire Sri Lanka operation was verified as net zero from greenhouse gas emissions. Its key social initiative –WOW (Wonders of Well Being) has also received global recognition. Nikhil led the recent development of the 2025 sustainability strategy.

Been an avid advocate of sustainability Nikhil felt his voice needed to be heard within the wider industry and has been fortunate to have had this opportunity by serving on the boards of key multistakeholder initiatives including SEDEX, The Sustainable Apparel Coalition where he was the Vice Chair and presently sits of the board of Higg.co and the council of the Social and Labor Convergence Project (SLCP) . Nikhil also has participated as a speaker or panelist at many international conferences including at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit and at the United Nations.

Nikhil is an active member leader of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) since 2012 and has taken on various local, regional and global leadership roles. At present he is leading the global external relations subcommittee and is responsible for setting up partnerships with the United Nations. IFC, World Economic Forum and Global Entrepreneurs Network as well as leading the sustainability strategy and implementation for the whole organisation.

Nikhil has a BA in International Relations from Tufts University in the USA and a MBA from Imperial College, London UK.

Ms. Jennifer Morris
CEO, The Nature Conservancy
Ms. Jennifer Morris

CEO, The Nature Conservancy

Jennifer Morris is Chief Executive Officer of The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization working with partners around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Jennifer leads nearly 4,000 global staff who are dedicated to creating a world where people and nature thrive together. Her teams bring diverse groups together in a collaborative way to transform business practices, shape government policies, and leverage rigorous science to prove and scale on-the-ground conservation work. Jennifer brings more than 25 years of conservation leadership experience to her role as CEO. Previously, she was president at Conservation International, where she developed some of CI’s most enduring programs, partnerships, and innovative strategies using business development as a tool to protect nature for the well-being of humanity. Jennifer is a passionate storyteller, avid outdoors enthusiast, and mentor to the future generations of conservation leaders.

Ms. Ligia Noronha
Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UNEP New York Office
Ms. Ligia Noronha

Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UNEP New York Office

Ligia Noronha is the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UNEP, New York Office, an economist with over 30 years of international professional experience in promoting environmental sustainability.
She was appointed in April 2014 as Director of the UN Environment Programme, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics - now known as the Economy Division. The Division works to shift economies from brown to green with a strategic focus on decarbonizing, decoupling, and detoxifying. Ms. Noronha acted as Lead Director of two of the seven UN Environment’s sub-programmes, namely chemicals and waste, and resource efficiency, and leads the emerging agenda on Environment/Pollution and Health. Until 2018, she also led the climate change sub programme.

Ms. Noronha’s prior experience spans a wider-range of bodies in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining UN Environment, she served in The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) as Executive Director (Research Coordination) and as Director of the Resources, Regulation and Global Security Division. Her work focused on conducting policy research on sustainable development in India and the Global South.

From 2005 to 2011 she served as Secretary of the Asian Energy Institute focusing on policy research on energy, resources, climate change and sustainable development issues. From 2005 to 2009, Ms. Noronha served as Coordinator of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnerships (REEEP), South Asia. In 2004, she was appointed Team Leader of Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. Ms. Noronha has served on the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India focusing on the linkages between the environment, climate and security and on several expert committees of the Government of India and Goa, including the Expert Committee on Climate Change, the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, and the Task Force on Natural Resources of the Commission on Centre State Relations.

In addition, she has been a member of the Planning Board of the Government of Goa and member of the Goa Jubilee Development Council, a member of Shell International’s External Review Committee on Sustainability Reporting. Ms. Noronha served as a member of the Global Assurance Group of the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development project, which examined how the mining and minerals sector could contribute to the global transition to sustainable development. From 2009 to 2011, she was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the University of Sydney-based Centre for International Security Studies (CISS).
Ms. Noronha has published nationally and internationally on emerging issues relevant to energy and resource security, climate change, India's environmental and coastal policy, responsible mining, and resource federalism. She has also co-edited a number of books.

Ms. Noronha is an Indian national with a Masters in Economics from the University of Bombay, a Masters in Sea Use Law, Economics, and Policy, and a PhD from the London School of Economics.

Ms. Louise Mabulo
Chef, Farmer, Entrepreneur, UN Young Champion of the Earth, Philippines
Ms. Louise Mabulo

Chef, Farmer, Entrepreneur, UN Young Champion of the Earth, Philippines

Louise Emmanuelle d.G. Mabulo is a chef, farmer, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder of The Cacao Project, which cultivates resilient and Climate-smart livelihoods, positioning farmers for sustainable success in San Fernando, Camarines Sur, Philippines.

Mabulo is a Young Champion of the Earth under United Nations Environment Programme, National Geographic Young Explorer, Forbes Asia’s list ‘30 Under 30’, an honouree of Tatler’s ‘Generation T’, and one of the World’s 50 Next Game-changing Producers listed by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awarding Body.

She was awarded Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year in 2018, is a recipient of the Friend Of Humanity Award under Friendship Ambassadors Foundation New York, Social Entrepreneur award from the University of Connecticut, Champion for Sustainability Award from the Economic Times India, and on Straits Times ’30 Under 30 to watch for’ Asia list.

Mabulo has also hosted pop-up dinners that source local ingredients and highlight locally produced components of her menus. She was the host to the cooking show ‘Simply Sarap’, aimed at promoting cultural diplomacy under the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines. Mabulo strives toward empowering farmers and advancing climate action & environmental stewardship through her work.

Ms. Patricia Espinosa
Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
Ms. Patricia Espinosa

Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

On 18 May 2016, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Patricia Espinosa of Mexico as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Ms. Espinosa took office on 18 July 2016.

Ambassador of Mexico to Germany since 2012 and from 2001 to 2002, Ms. Espinosa was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico from 2006 to 2012, bringing more than 30 years of experience at highest levels in international relations, specialized in climate change, global governance, sustainable development, gender equality and protection of human rights.

As Mexico's representative on multilateral bodies and international organizations in Vienna, Geneva and New York, Ms. Espinosa has been engaged as leader in the global challenge to address climate change and its consequences, notably as President of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC leading to the adoption of the Cancun Agreements. Named by the UN Secretary-General to the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 Development Agenda, she is a tireless supporter of multilateralism as a way to improve conditions for development in all regions of the world, understanding the inextricable link between the aims of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Elected Chair of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly (1996) she played a key role in the process leading to the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action at the 4th World Conference on Women. Previous Ambassador of Mexico to Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and UN Organisations in Vienna (2002-2006), she was Chief of Staff to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1989-1991) and responsible for economic issues at the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN in Geneva (1982-1988).

Born in 1958, she has postgraduate studies in International Law from the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva and is holder of a Degree in International Relations from El Colegio de Mexico. Fluent in English and German, she is confident in French with Spanish mother tongue.

Statements
Statements
Intervention - Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism
Intervention - Local Authorities Major Group
Intervention - Women's Major Group
Talking Point - H.E. Mr. Alexandre Leitão
Talking Point - H.E. Mr. Rodrigo Rodriguez Tornquist
Talking Point - Ms. Ligia Noronha
Talking Point - Ms. Olga Algayerova
Talking Point - Ms. Patricia Espinosa
Transcript of Video Message - H.E. Mr. Malik Aslam
United Nations