Policy Brief #2 | Biodiversity Conservation
Global biodiversity loss is a key threat to food security, human health, and the sustainable development agenda in general. Biodiversity loss reduces the biosphere's resilience as biotic components or assemblages of life forms lose components and therefore lose production and cycling capacity, including water and carbon cycling. The effective mainstreaming of biodiversity in sustainable development policy, and the full and effective implementation of SDGs 14 and 15 and the Aichi targets of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) is essential in this respect. Mainstreaming should be a two-way process: policy efforts should not only focus on mainstreaming biodiversity into broader sustainable development policies, but also on mainstreaming socially, economically and environmentally sound and rights-based sustainable development approaches into biodiversity policy.
Policy Brief #3 | Sustainable Cities and Communities
Over half of the world population is currently living in cities, and this is expected to rise to 70 per cent by 2050. Urban sprawl is changing landscapes and livelihoods in peri-urban and rural areas. Peri-urban areas offer new opportunities for innovation and agricultural niche markets, but their expansion also puts pressure on open areas and green spaces. Deficient planning, particularly in the Global South, jeopardizes access to basic services for growing numbers of slum dwellers at the peri-urban fringe, threatening the overall goal of leaving no one behind. The ecological footprint on rural areas, including from distant places, is at odds with global efforts to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 15).
Policy Brief #4 | No Poverty
The first SDG aims to eradicate poverty for all. While the number of people living in extreme poverty has dropped by more than half – from 1.9 billion in 1990, to 836 million in 2015 – too many are still struggling for the most basic human needs. Participatory approaches in poverty
research have gained ground alongside money-metric approaches to poverty primarily as complementary to provide contextual understanding of causes of poverty and its multiple dimensions. However, at the level of national and international economic analysis and policymaking, traditional poverty indicators still feature most prominently, and the ‘voices of the (poorest of the) poor’ remain largely unheard for reasons of subjectivity. Furthermore, their knowledge, potentials and aspirations remain invisible. This policy brief aims to provide insights into how to make poor people visible and heard through research and development interventions, at multiple levels of statistical poverty research and socialeconomic policymaking.
Policy Brief #6 | Inclusive Development Lessons from Water
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specifically require that the goals are achieved in an inclusive manner (Gupta and Vegelin 2016) and ‘the furthest behind first’. This raises the question: What does Inclusive Development (ID) imply? The SDGs require an understanding of ID. This Brief outlines what needs to be taken into account.
Policy Brief #7 | Adverse Inclusion
Sustainable Development Goals mention that all goals should be achieved in an inclusive manner. The word ‘inclusive’ is mentioned 41 times. This applies to all Goals including those on water, food and climate change. Inclusion sounds easy, but it is very challenging. An inclusive society for sustainable development requires social, ecological and relational inclusiveness. We should therefore recognize the risk of adverse inclusion.
Policy Brief #8 | Climate Justice: Achieving 1.5 Centigrade
Just climate change action implies acceptance of the Right to Promote Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) state that the goals are integrated, interrelated and indivisible. This implies that the Climate Goals cannot be met at the cost of other Goals.
Policy Brief #9 | Stranded Assets and Climate Change
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change requires countries to aim at reducing the rise of global temperatures to 2°C and if possible 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This implies a rapid phase out of fossil fuels worldwide, thus making them stranded resources and assets.
Developing countries (DCs) that have just discovered oil and gas want to become fossil fuel rich countries. Following countries that have become rich through the exploitation of oil and gas, countries like Mozambique, Kenya, Ghana, Ecuador, China and India are seeking ways to exploit their newly discovered domestic or international fossil fuel resources to become rich. From an equity perspective, they may have the legitimate right to exploit their resources, but this may leave them with stranded assets if they invest in fossil fuel infrastructure with lifetimes of over 80 years.
Policy Brief #10 | Public-Private Partnerships
Around USD 2-3 Trillion are needed annually to finance the global Sustainable Development Goals. This has led to an overwhelming focus on public private partnerships (PPPs) and blended finance, where billions of public money aim to leverage trillions of private money. While PPPs can contribute to sustainable development, evidence and experience to date suggests that they have far greater potential for perversity and increasing global inequalities. They often promote a commercial agenda for the developed countries, rather than a sustainable development agenda which maximizes synergies and minimizes trade-offs. Recent Dutch development cooperation policy has taken a commercial direction.
Policy Brief #13 | Export Credits and Fossil Fuels
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change (PA) calls for aligning financial flows with the broader objective of limiting average global temperature rise to 1.5-2°C. Export Credits (ECs) fall within this realm of financial flows. Based on an in-depth assessment of three case studies (Netherlands, UK, and Canada), this policy brief argues that G20 ECs fail to align with commitments to the PA. Given that ECs are government-backed, this misalignment is directly relevant for policymakers to understand and address.