Connect climate action to sustainable development to get the world on track for global goal attainment

Press release of 5 July 2023

Bonn, 5 July 2023. Climate action should account for all dimensions of sustainability. Without strong action on climate change the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda cannot be successfully implemented. The NDC-SDG Connections tool identifies synergies between the international climate and sustainability agendas aiming to boost the effectiveness of national action planning.

The newly updated tool’s release precedes the Global Climate and SDG Synergy Conference and the High-Level Political Forum in New York, which begin next week.

The NDC-SDG Connections tool, developed by the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), visually maps the links between climate action plans (the Nationally determined contributions, NDCs) under the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. The latest update enables a comparison between the initial and updated NDC submissions, allowing the tracking of the development of these connections over time. Currently, data for 63 updated NDCs are included, and more are being continuously added.

“Progress on the climate and sustainable development goals has stagnated and, in some cases, even decreased over the past three years. This raises questions about political will and commitment to implement both agendas. The NDC-SDG Connections show both the low-hanging fruits and the gaps that need to be filled. It is particularly important to strengthen action on the social dimension of sustainability to change course while leaving no one behind,” said Adis Dzebo, Research Fellow at Stockholm Environment Institute.

Recent research reveals that an increasing number of countries recognise the need to address the links between climate action and the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development. The number of climate activities in general increased significantly, and in particular with contributions to SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). However, there is a decline in climate activities linked to some critical SDGs, notably those within the environmental dimension like Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), and Life on Land (SDG 15). This decline, especially regarding forest-related activities and conservation, is concerning since achieving the Paris Agreement demands significant efforts to reduce carbon emissions and protect carbon sinks.

“This is problematic, because agriculture, water, land use, biodiversity and ecosystems are crucial sectors for efforts to reduce emissions and increase resilience. In the updated climate plans, countries are framing climate risks in unspecified and general terms instead of building climate action in agriculture, land-use and water and sanitation,” said Adis Dzebo.

Additionally, although climate activities across the social dimension of sustainable development have increased significantly, the SDGs related to this area remain under-covered. Emphasising these links is essential to ensure a just transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient societies.

“The issue of just transition is now addressed by more countries in their national climate plans and so is inclusive participation in decision making and implementation. Nonetheless, we recommend that more countries adopt such measures to leave no one behind in the transition to low carbon and resilient economies,” said Gabriela Iacobuta, Associate Researcher at IDOS.

Evaluating a country’s progress on both the climate and sustainability agenda requires the ability to measure the implementation of national plans. However, quantifiable activities in most countries’ NDCs remain low.

“Having quantified or measurable activities is essential for transparency, accountability and for the Global Stocktake,” Gabriela Iacobuta highlights.

To accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda, countries should:

  • Enhance future NDCs by defining specific, measurable and quantified activities across all dimensions of sustainable development.
  • Balance their climate actions better across socially, environmentally and economically oriented SDGs.
  • Increase efforts to formalise the interaction between climate and sustainability, by mandating active exploration of climate-SDG interactions in policy processes and outcomes.


The NDC-SDG Connections tool

The NDC-SDG Connections explores the connection between national climate plans under the Paris Agreement (NDCs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and compares individual goals as well as between countries, regions and country groupings. It supports efforts to maximise synergies and minimise trade-offs between climate change and sustainable development. NDC-SDG Connections is a joint initiative of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). Explore the tool and listen to statements on the updated climate contributions to the SDGs.


Stockholm Environment Institute is an international non-profit research and policy organisation that tackles environment and development challenges. We connect science and decision-making to develop solutions for a sustainable future for all. Across our eight centres in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, we engage with policy processes, development action and business practice throughout the world. @SEIresearch @SEIclimate

The German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) is one of the world’s leading research institutions and think tanks for global sustainable development. It contributes, through research, policy advice and training, to finding answers to global questions affecting our future. https:// IDOS_research