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Sustainable Development Goal 13

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The 2015 Paris Agreement has been ratified by 186 nations that pledged to address the threats presented by climate change. All these countries have committed to specific measures to prevent the worst impacts and to adapt to a changing climate, but much more must be done to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius, or ideally closer to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Addressing climate change is central to WRI’s work and to our global Strategic Plan. WRI’s Climate Program is focused on accelerating the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient world, at the pace and scale commensurate with the goals of the Paris Agreement. WRI hosts the NDC Partnership, which is supporting over 50 countries in delivering on and enhancing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). WRI is also supporting countries through guidance, case studies and data to help them identify long-term, low-carbon development strategies; to link their NDCs with their long-term strategies; and to build their resilience to climate impacts. Our technical assistance strengthens institutional capacities and awareness to catalyze transformative approaches to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change (SDG 13.3). WRI’s ClimateWatch platform provides the latest data, tools and maps to assess and compare progress towards climate goals.

WRI serves as managing partner of the Global Commission on Adaptation, which is accelerating adaptation action and building political support for climate resilience. Our PREPdata platform displays data visualizations to support increased climate resilience, and the Urban Community Resilience Assessment amplifies vulnerable communities’ voices in decision-making to advance effective, equitable and resilient urban development.

Our Forests and Water programs use advanced data technologies to forge solutions that protect water and terrestrial ecosystems and build resilient communities (SDG 13.1, SDG 13.3). WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities produces research for urban leaders on how to create resilient, low-carbon cities. The WRI Finance Center is working to shift private and multilateral financial flows towards sustainable activities, while encouraging high-income countries to meet their climate finance commitments (SDG 13.A).

Our Land and Resource Rights Practice shows how securing community land rights supports SDGs 13 and 15. Tenure-secure community land promotes forest conservation and climate mitigation, while titling indigenous peoples’ land can significantly reduce clearing and disturbance. Indigenous communities granted tenure security can play a key role in protecting forests that act as carbon sinks (SDG 13 and 15).


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WRI President and CEO Dr. Andrew Steer recently joined the IMF Podcast to explore ways fiscal policies can help countries implement climate strategies. The big takeaway: Done smartly, rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions will actually benefit the economy.

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With the U.S. Congress largely silent on the subject of ambitious climate legislation—at least since the 2009 push for a federal cap-and-trade program—the idea of a Green New Deal has stirred attention to climate change like never before.

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Investors increasingly view global sustainability challenges as material to long-term financial performance, as the visible impacts of climate change—extreme heat, droughts, floods and sea level rise—become ever clearer. But do they have enough information to manage the risks and capitalize on the opportunities of a world in transition?

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There is a strong and compelling environment and development case to be made for securing indigenous and community lands. Securing collective land rights offers a low-cost, high-reward investment for developing country governments and their partners to meet national development objectives and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Securing community lands is also a cost-effective climate mitigation measure for countries when compared to other carbon capture and storage approaches.

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