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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: achieving the industry-related goals and targets

UNIDO’s vision to address today’s economic, social and environmental challenges is enshrined in the Lima Declaration, which was adopted by UNIDO Member States in December 2013. On this basis, the Organization pursues Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID) to harness industry’s full potential to contribute to lasting prosperity for all. The mandate is based on the recognition by Member States that poverty eradication “can only be achieved through strong, inclusive, sustainable and resilient economic and industrial growth, and the effective integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.” The present document summarizes the contribution of UNIDO’s mandate as well as current and planned future activities vis-à-vis the SDGs, with a special focus on SDG-9, which highlights and affirms the critical importance of ISID and its contribution to all 17 goals.

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Trade remedies: targeting the renewable energy sector

The study and the meeting are part of a larger effort by UNCTAD to analyse issues arising at the interface of trade policy and green economy, more specifically renewables, which is shorthand for goods and services used in conjunction with renewable energy sources. There can be little doubt that trade remedies are a sensitive area. Trade remedies may have a significant effect on value and job creation throughout the supply chain as a whole. Trade remedies are bound to have competitive implications. Trade remedies against renewables provide a counterpoint to the initiative to reduce tariffs on environmental goods, particularly since some of the most active users of trade remedies participate in the initiative. Trade remedies shatter the alliances among interest groups. On the dispute settlement front, clearly what we see there is disputes on trade remedies that happen to involve renewables rather than disputes about renewables that happen to involve trade remedies. These disputes are about how trade remedies work and in many ways are a continuation of discussion and negotiations that have been going on for the past 12 -13 years about issues such as public interest test, lesser duty etc., which suddenly become relevant again in the context of renewables. The study is far from an exhaustive examination of these issues, of course. In many areas, the analysis is speculative, aimed at raising questions and suggesting areas where policy makers and analysts may need to consider undertaking further analysis.

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The oceans economy: opportunities and challenges for Small Island Developing States

This report underlines the importance of sustainable oceanic activities for the development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other coastal states. Both opportunities and challenges for SIDS are identified in existing and emerging trade-related sectors such as sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, renewable marine energy, marine bio-prospecting, maritime transport and marine and coastal tourism. It also points at the need to consider the formation of regional economic groupings that combine their "economic exclusive zones" under a common oceans economic space in order to be able to seize, manage and sustainably use joint resources and build common infrastructures.

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Closing the distance: partnerships for sustainable and resilient transport systems in Small Island Developing States

This report informs about the maritime transport situation in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and underscores the strategic importance of this economic sector for SIDS economies and communities. It provides an overview of the maritime transport situation in SIDS and presents data on relevant aspects, including shipping connectivity levels, direct and indirect shipping services, port issues, as well as trade structure and patterns. Relevant cross-cutting concerns such as SIDS high dependency on fossil fuel energy imports, exposure to climate change impacts and natural disasters as well as financial and human capacity constraints are also addressed. The report points to relevant opportunities which could be capitalised upon to support SIDS sustainable development and “blue growth”. Finally, the report concludes with a number of suggestions and recommendations for the way forward.

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Science, technology and innovation for sustainable urbanization

This report aims to contribute to the sustainable urbanization discourse by addressing the specific role of science, technology and innovation. It is based on literature review and an analysis of cities in developed and developing countries that provide examples that can be reapplied elsewhere. The report provides a fresh perspective on the discussion on sustainable urbanization, drawing on current research and case studies from around the world. The report identifies key sectoral planning challenges posed by rapid urbanization, particularly in developing countries, and proposes practical guidelines to city planners and other decision makers for addressing these challenges through the use of science, technology and innovation.

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Developing business linkages for green affordable housing in Zambia

This report investigates the potential for building business linkages between micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the construction industry in Zambia and large domestic and international companies and investors. It adopts a step-by-step methodology, taking international firms and property developers through the full process of doing business in the low and middle income housing sector in Zambia – highlighting opportunities to partner with local MSMEs and others stakeholders. Partnerships are vitally important at all levels and they have a crucial role to play in capacity building and creating sustainable employment which also align with the aims of the Zambia Green Jobs Programme. From the outset it is understandable that there is no “one-size fits all” approach which can be taken; a number of innovative business solutions already operating in other developing countries offer considerable potential for Zambia. The four short case studies presented in the report, illustrate different but successful approaches taken to the provision of affordable housing, with particular reference to low and middle income affordable housing solutions.

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Enhancing the contribution of Export Processing Zones to the Sustainable Development Goals

This exploratory report suggests that changes taking place in the global market mean that Export Processing Zones (EPZs), and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) more generally, can be restructured as centres of excellence for sustainable development. Such restructuring would increase the appeal of EPZs to multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their suppliers, while simultaneously contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as 'Global Goals'.

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Second-generation biofuel markets: state of play, trade and developing country perspectives

In 2015, countries made commitments toward a more environmentally balanced future through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and now seek to expand policies for low-carbon development after the agreement reached in Paris at COP21. The year also marked a milestone in the bio-economy, as the point in time when the production of second-generation biofuels (2G) finally took off at commercial scale. Developing countries now face a new set of market opportunities and policy dilemmas to enhance their usage of biomass, which can now be transformed into more valuable products. This report focuses on how these market opportunities can be capitalized on and how to promote technology transfer for developing countries interested in engaging in advanced biofuel markets for the attainment of the SDGs, and as an instrument to meet their commitments under COP21. By carrying out a non-exhaustive mapping of cellulosic ethanol projects and recent policy lessons around the globe, this report seeks to provide public and private practitioners with a macro-picture of the advanced biofuels sector, with a specific focus on cellulosic ethanol as of 2015-2016. The report concludes with five suggestions for the responsible development of the second-generation biofuels industry.

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Establishing a workable follow-up and review process for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Open Working Group document proposes that governments will set its own national targets. They will be guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances. To make the Post-2015 agenda actionable, much more thought needs to be given to the process of target-setting, different actors’ responsibilities, implementation and accountability.

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Can fracking green China’s growth?

This paper analyses the best available technical, scientific and engineering literature on the risks and opportunities posed by shale gas, and what policy environment could maximise the opportunity and minimise the risk. It also analyses China’s current policies and practice to understand whether the conditions for greener growth are in place. We conclude that many of the environmental risks shale gas poses are manageable, and amenable to conventional environmental law and policy tools. Its development could in principle offer significant net environmental benefits if the gas produced permanently replaces coal and helps set China on a pathway to a renewable-dominated energy system. The greater impediment is political, hinging on whether China has the political will and capacity to dramatically cap coal generation, invest in renewable energy and enforce strong environmental regulations and targets. We therefore emerge from our analysis with a healthy dose of scepticism about unconventional gas greening China’s growth: truly making it work requires a broader set of practical commitments to sustainability, pollution control and low-carbon energy.

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Speaking truth to power: why energy distribution, more than generation, is Africa’s poverty reduction challenge

Energy is important to reduce poverty, but increasing electricity generation alone will not solve the problem. In this paper, ODI uncovers that most investment in electricity generation in Africa is not geared towards serving the basic energy needs of the poor, but is instead focused on providing power to growing industries and existing consumers. This paper, therefore, argues that tackling energy poverty will have less to do with ambitious expansion of electricity capacity, and more to do with ambitious distribution of energy services to poor people. A second key conclusion is that distributed, clean energy interventions – both renewable energy systems and clean cookstove technologies - are best suited to tackling energy poverty – and poverty more generally. It is here that we should be focusing energy investment, to tackle poverty and close Africa’s energy gap.

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On the path to progress: improving living conditions in Peru’s slum settlements

This study explores the improvements in living conditions in slum settlements located in the outskirts of cities in Peru from 1990 to 2010. This period saw significant progress in access to utilities in these areas. Positive changes were recorded in water piped directly to households, and in access to sanitation (piped sewage systems), the share of slum households with electricity and dwellings made of durable housing materials. These improvements were the result of action at different levels: political will to increase public provision of water, sanitation and electricity (financed with contributions from multilateral banks and donor resources, but increasingly with governments’ own resources); continuous pressure from community organisations; and investments in housing upgrades by households themselves. The case study offers a number of useful lessons for other countries, particularly on the fact that improving the living conditions of existing settlements is a necessary but not sufficient condition to deal with increasing urban populations; urban planning and the provision of affordable housing (ownership and rental) needs to take place in tandem with slum upgrading.

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Mind the gap? A comparison of international and national targets for the SDG agenda

The stretch required for low-income countries (LICs) to achieve SDG targets is generally greater than for middle-income and high-income countries (MICs and HICs). The gaps identified indicate where most work is needed to alter political priorities in order to realise the SDGs. Most hard work will be needed in areas that are highly politically contentious (climate policy) or expensive (secondary education, electricity and sanitation). This has implications for how governments structure a review process and how resources are mobilised for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The report also found a great deal of variation in the approach to measuring targets at the national level. A standardised approach would make comparisons easier and hold governments more readily to account.

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Low-carbon development in Sub-Saharan Africa: 20 cross-sector transitions

Sub-Saharan Africa is at a critical point, experiencing rapid population growth, particularly in urban areas, and a young and growing workforce. At the same time, the growing risk of catastrophic global climate change threatens to weaken food production systems; increase the intensity and frequency of droughts, floods, and fires; and undermine gains in development and poverty reduction. Although the region has the lowest per capita greenhouse gas emission levels in the world, it will need to join global efforts to address climate change, including through actions to avoid significant increases in emissions. This report reviews agriculture, forestry, energy, transport, extractives, construction and manufacturing, based on their importance to countries' economic development and their contribution to current and future greenhouse gas emissions. Based on this sector-specific analysis, we identify 20 cross-sector transitions that can be undertaken to promote low-carbon development in the region.

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Building electricity supplies in Africa for growth and universal access

Although Africa has enormous energy resources, more than half of the continent’s population do not have any access to electricity and generation is often unable to meet the demand of those who do. Growth and poverty reduction will be constrained if this deficit continues. The purpose of this paper is to outline the nature of the opportunities and challenges for expanding the supply of electricity to meet development objectives, taking into account recent reductions in the costs of renewable energy. The two challenges of expanding electricity generation and distribution for economic growth, and extending electricity supplies to those who do not yet have access, are inter-related but require different policies and interventions.

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Empty promises: G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production

This research discovers that G20 country governments’ support to fossil fuel production marries bad economics with potentially disastrous consequences for climate change. In effect, governments are propping up the production of oil, gas and coal, much of which cannot be used if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. This report documents, for the first time, the scale and structure of fossil fuel production subsidies in the G20 countries. The evidence points to a publicly financed bailout for some of the world’s largest, most carbon-intensive and polluting companies. It finds that, by providing subsidies for fossil fuel production, the G20 countries are creating a ‘lose-lose’ scenario. They are directing large volumes of finance into high-carbon assets that cannot be exploited without catastrophic climate effects. This diverts investment from economic low-carbon alternatives such as solar, wind and hydro-power. In addition, the scale of G20 fossil fuel production subsidies calls into question the commitment of governments to an ambitious deal on climate change.

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Piecing together the MDG puzzle: domestic policy, government spending and performance

Policy-makers in most of the developing countries surveyed report that the MDGs were influential in setting priorities domestically. Analysis of the education and health sectors suggests these statements are not merely tokenistic as countries reporting high influence saw increases in budget allocations. However while many countries experienced increases in government spending in social sectors over the MDG period, the majority still spend less than the recommended international benchmarks. Significant increases in government allocations will therefore be required to match the ambition of the SDGs. Recommendations for the SDG period include ensuring better data on domestic use of targets, government spending and performance are available to better assess their influence over the next 15 years and ensure the 'leave no one behind' agenda will be fulfilled.

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National MDG implementation: lessons for the SDG era

As we approach the deadline for the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the start of the Sustainable Development Goals, at the end of 2015, this paper asks: how did governments respond at the national level to the set of global development goals in the form of the MDGs? Using five case study countries: Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Nigeria and Liberia, to reflect a mix of regions, income classifications and MDG performance, the paper draws out common trends and suggests five lessons for the post-2015 era.

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Rethinking power markets: capacity mechanisms and decarbonisation

This report introduces capacity mechanisms, a policy instrument for power markets, to a non-expert audience and considers their implications for meeting parallel objectives of security of supply and decarbonisation. It focuses on capacity mechanism developments in the EU and is directed at those who want to advance climate objectives, but who have a limited background in power markets. Our review suggests that capacity mechanisms risk undermining parallel energy and climate objectives by locking in dependence on high-carbon, inflexible power generation assets. The introduction of these tools is often politically motivated and not based on a rigorous analysis of their need. Finally, the uncoordinated introduction of capacity mechanisms risks undermining wider efforts to integrate energy markets, which, paradoxically, are meant to ensure a more efficient use of resources and improve security of supply. As a number of EU member states are moving ahead with the design and implementation of domestic capacity mechanisms the European Commission has launched an investigation into these developments. Its findings will feed into its electricity market redesign proposals for the end of 2016. This is therefore a key moment to influence this process.

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Projecting progress: the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean

This paper presents Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) likely progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, if trends continue on their current trajectories. There are significant disparities across the globe in progress both between and within countries; LAC is no exception. There are a number of disparities across sub-regions and there are disparities within countries – ethnicity, for example, is a crucial factor in determining whether someone is likely to benefit from development gains. During the Millennium Development Goals era considerable gains were made in a number of countries in LAC. However, already strong outcomes in some areas compared with other developing regions will make continued progress towards the new goals difficult.

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Africa’s new climate economy: economic transformation and social and environmental change

Africa’s 'growth miracle' in the 21st century has reversed a long-standing narrative of pessimism about the region. GDP growth reached around 5% annually from 2001-2014. Rates of extreme poverty fell substantially. Yet big challenges remain. Growth slumped in 2015 and 2016. The region lags far behind on most measures of human development. Climate change is also taking an increasing toll on many countries: the region is warming faster than the world as a whole, and many areas will experience more frequent and intense droughts and floods. The economic impacts of climate change are expected to be severe, with agriculture and poor people especially at risk. This report lays out five key action areas for economic transformation and social and environmental progress in Africa: 1) getting the fundamentals right; 2) transforming agriculture and land use; 3) diversifying into manufacturing and other high-productivity sectors; 4) unleashing the power of urbanisation; and 5) fostering a modern energy transition.

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Unexpected allies: fossil fuel subsidy reform and education finance

Despite the urgency of transitioning to low-carbon societies, global fossil fuel subsidies are still significant – estimated at $646 billion in 2015. At the same time, governments have made high-level commitments to increase public spending on working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including that on education. The government spending gap to reach universal, good quality education in low and lower-middle income countries by 2030 is estimated at $39 billion a year between 2015 and 2030. Although the need for subsidy reform and elements of its processes have received extensive attention from the research community, the specific procedures for mitigating the adverse impacts of reform and using the fiscal space created through subsidy phase-out have received less attention. This is particularly important, as removing fossil fuel subsidies is likely to have a negative impact on the purchasing power of low-income households if parallel measures to protect the poorest are not undertaken. These measures include increased public spending on social protection, education and health. However, few studies have reviewed whether the promises made in the reform process, including those related to education, have been met, and if so, how. This report therefore evaluates the links between fossil fuel subsidy reforms and promised increases in expenditure on education, in particular in Angola, Ghana, Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco, Niger, Peru and the Philippines. Further, it provides two case studies of experiences that Ghana and Indonesia have had with linking subsidy reforms to increasing expenditure on education and other measures that have had indirect benefits for education, such as (conditional) cash transfers.

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Finding the pipeline: project preparation for sustainable development

Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieving the Paris Agreement objectives will require increased investment in socially, economically and environmentally sustainable infrastructure. The main barrier to investment of the kind needed is not the lack of available finance, but rather a lack of well-prepared and investment-ready 'bankable' projects. Whether or not a project is bankable – i.e., attractive enough for investors to decide to invest – depends on a number of factors including the policy and regulatory environment, consultations with relevant stakeholders, capacity to engage with investors and manage transactions, quality of project documentation, and economic development issues such as creditworthiness and willingness to pay. The international community has launched numerous capacity building and technical assistance initiatives to address these factors, but greater effort will be needed to mobilise public and private investment in developing and emerging economies for sustainable infrastructure. This report considers the complexities that underpin efforts to attract investment into sustainable infrastructure with a focus on project preparation. It reflects on experiences with project preparation support for infrastructure and potential shifts in approach needed to deliver the scale of investment required in sustainable infrastructure to achieve the SDGs and fulfil the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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Beyond coal: scaling up clean energy to fight global poverty

Eradicating global poverty is within reach, but under threat from a changing climate. Left unchecked, climate change will put at risk our ability to lift people out of extreme poverty permanently by 2030, the first target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Coal is the world’s number one source of CO2 emissions. Most historic emissions came from the coal industry in the developed world in the last century, with China joining the biggest emitters at the beginning of this one. It is widely accepted that a rapid and just response to climate change will require the urgent replacement of coal with low-carbon energy sources in rich economies. Now the coal industry claims that expanding coal use is critical to fighting extreme poverty and improving energy access for billions of people in developing countries. In fact, the opposite is true. The global commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and energy poverty by 2030 does not require such an expansion and it is incompatible with stabilising the earth’s climate. The evidence is clear: a lasting solution to poverty requires the world’s wealthiest economies to renounce coal, and we can and must end extreme poverty without the precipitous expansion of new coal power in developing ones.

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Projecting progress: are cities on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030?

This report explores for the first time the scale of the challenge for 20 cities across the world to reach selected targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More than half of the targets included will require a profound acceleration of efforts if they are to be achieved by the majority of selected cities. Targets that are not on course to be met by the majority of cities studied include ending child malnutrition, achieving full and productive female employment, access to adequate housing and access to drinking water and sanitation. The report makes a series of recommendations to increase progress towards the SDGs, including: 1) Central governments and donors should work to strengthen local governments’ capacities; 2) Government and city administrations should invest more in ways to monitor progress on the SDGs; 3) Statistical offices’ and cities’ information systems should improve the data available.

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