SCAN-tool: Linking Climate Action and the Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, leaders from the member states of the United Nations agreed on objectives to shift all economies and societies toward sustainable and decarbonised development through the adoption of the Agenda 2030 on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on limiting climate warming to well below 2°C. Both frameworks are highly interlinked, meaning that failure in one process can easily undermine the success of the other.

With a view to the climate agenda, mitigation actions contemplated in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are more likely to receive international finance if directly benefiting national development plans and targets. Understanding where mitigation actions can reinforce the achievement of the SDGs may increase countries’ confidence and political buy-in to put forward more ambitious NDCs, as required every five years under the ambition mechanism of the Paris Agreement.

The SDG Climate Action Nexus tool (SCAN-tool) has been designed to provide high-level guidance to policy makers on how mitigation actions can impact the achievement of individual SDGs, where potential synergies or trade-offs may exist, and where to base further work to take these potential links to their national circumstances.

For more information on the SCAN-tool and key findings, please visit the following links:

  • SCAN-tool website: SCAN-Tool (download the methodology and results note, the SCAN-tool for mitigation and explore the online visualisation interface)
  • NDC Update Report (special edition: Linking NDCs and SDGs): NDC Update Report

Several other studies and initiatives have been undertaken to map the interrelationships, synergies, and trade-offs between Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement (or more concretely, countries’ NDCs). Most of these studies take the current submitted NDCs as a starting point to identify linkages with the SDGs based on whether the NDC text explicitly mentions specific keywords related to particular co-benefits or the SDGs. Here we provide an overview of the most relevant tools available in the field of SDG and NDC linkages and their main features:

Examining the alignment between the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions and Sustainable Development Goals (WRI, September 2016)

WRI published a working paper on the degree of alignment between (I)NDCs and SDGs. The paper identifies examples of alignment in 92 (I)NDCs based on key word searches and their relevance to specific SDG targets. By using text analysis, the paper informs on linkages to SDGs that were explicitly mentioned by those developing the (I)NDCs.

For more information, see WRI Paper and Link.

SDG footprint of Asian NDCs: Exploring synergies between domestic policies and international goals (TERI, July 2017)

TERI carried out a study to explore the linkages between NDCs of Asian countries and the SDGs. The analysis was done using a content-textual approach, i.e. keywords were identified and searched for in the text of each NDC. The findings were further analysed for the strength of the match, i.e. whether they were direct matches (explicitly referenced in the NDC goals) or indirect matches (referenced in the background information on NDC goals).

For more information, see Link.

UNDP Climate action impact tool: Assessing climate action contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (UNDP, October 2017)

The bottom-up tool enables stakeholders to identify and quantify direct impacts, define indicators, set targets and track the progress of actions towards the SDGs. The tool is separated into various impact categories that are linked to the relevant SDGs allowing policy makers to track the impact of NDC mitigation actions on the SDGs. The robustness of the output depends on the quality and extent of quantitative and qualitative data provided by the user. This tool enables users to undertake their own detailed assessments and could be quite complementary to the more generic initial guidance provided by the SCAN-tool.

For more information, please see: Link.

Climate Watch: Data on climate action (WRI, November 2017)

Climate Watch is an online platform managed by WRI in collaboration with several partners under the NDC Partnership. A section on sustainable development objectives identifies actual alignment between countries’ NDCs and the SDGs. This assessment is based on findings of WRI's (2016) working paper described above.

For more information, please see Link.

NDC-SDG Connections: Connecting climate action to the Sustainable Development Goals (DIE/SEI, November 2017)

NDC-SDG Connections is a joint initiative to highlight synergies between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, and thus to identify potential entry points for more coherent policy-making and action. The database is based on the identification of “activities” in the (I)NDCs, meaning statements on future (conditional or unconditional) activities under the NDC. The NDC-SDG Connections initiative uses mainly text analysis, counting the frequency of key words as well as the volume of committed activities of a country in a certain policy sector.

For more information, see Link.

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