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Four years since the world came together to agree the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement, development co-operation remains at risk of supporting development trajectories that are unsustainable, undermine effective action to address the climate crisis, and thus push urgent development goals out of reach.

The severe impacts of climate change are being felt today across the globe. Yet our collective efforts so far do not measure up to the necessary ambitions of these interlinked and mutually reinforcing agendas. It is becoming ever more evident that climate-resilient development is not only a necessity for humankind but also presents fresh opportunities to achieve both climate and sustainable development goals.

This report “Aligning Development Co-operation and Climate Action: The Only Way Forward” focuses on how development co-operation providers can align their strategies, programmes and operations’ climate objectives to build a truly sustainable development pathway. It identifies what “Paris alignment” means for development co-operation, and underscores the importance of ceasing decisions that tie countries to outdated, risky high-emissions activities and to insufficiently adaptive development. The report also argues that while official development assistance is important as a financial resource to address critical resource gaps, its fundamental purpose is to support developing countries. To help in the critical task of overcoming key financial, capacity and policy constraints, development co-operation needs to focus on contributing positively to developing countries’ transition to low-emissions, climate-resilient societies.

The changing climate is an emergency that affects everyone and demands a concerted approach by all development co-operation providers. I commend the governments and organisations that are already working to align their development and climate action; and I urge all development co-operation providers to act on this report’s recommendations to better deliver on their mandates and support sustainable development that confronts the climate crisis.

This is a moment of immense opportunity for development co-operation to respond to the evidence that sound climate policy is sound development policy and that ambitious climate action reinforces countries’ economic growth and development. The transition to 100% sustainable development is not an option. It is the only way forward. It is time for governments and for institutions working on development co-operation to urgently make the necessary pivot to support the transformation that societies need.

Angel Gurría

OECD Secretary-General

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© OECD 2019

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