Climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution are deeply interlinked crises underpinned by unsustainable consumption and production.
Reaching the 1.5˚C pathways through better protection, management and restoration of natural and managed ecosystems is a feasible and sustainable means to reduce emissions and safeguard biodiversity.
The UN Joint SDG Fund will support the UN development system in taking collective actions for a just green transition by promoting innovations in climate and green financing, supporting the development of sustainable blue economies to protect marine biodiversity and ecosystems, and positioning the Fund as a potential vehicle to help countries address and respond to losses and damages through an integrated approach.
Coral degradation, driven by overfishing, coastal development, and climate change, threatens coral reefs, marine biodiversity and the communities that rely on corals. In Fiji, US$10 million of public finance provided by the UN Joint SDG Fund and the Global Fund for Coral Reefs will leverage US$50 million in investment capital to promote the financial sustainability of coral reef conservation and reef-positive livelihoods. The joint programme includes commercial investments in Locally Managed Marine Protected Areas featuring revenues from ecotourism, sustainable fisheries, and blue carbon credits.
With support from the UN Joint SDG Fund, a local conservation company, Beqa Adventure Divers, continues its operations to prevent poaching, monitor coral reefs, and preserve a locally managed marine protected area. The Fertile Factory Company received a US$750,000 loan from the UN matched by an additional US$400,000 from the company to produce a non-synthetic organic fertilizer for sugar cane production that will reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.
The UN is also supporting the set-up of Fiji’s second sanitary landfill which began its formal structuring phase after receiving an initial Government commitment of over US$1 million. By 2030, the combined impact will result in at least 30 effectively managed marine protected areas, improved food security and income for over 6,000 community members reliant upon fishing and protection of over US$1 billion in annual tourism revenue.
Papua New Guinea
In Papua New Guinea, a Blue Investment Strategy integrates blue economy principles into ocean management and is fostering a more conducive business environment for private investment. UN policy support, embedded within the national Blue Economy Enterprise Incubation Facility, will stimulate the growth of viable blue economy business models financed by the National Biodiversity and Climate Fund. The facility provides technical assistance and early stage finance to unearth, incubate and grow sustainable blue enterprises from cradle to exit with a focus on small and medium enterprises and women. Ocean businesses will gain access to credit lines that are de-risked with guarantees offered by domestic private investors.
In one of the poorest regions in the Philippines, the UN supported the design of a multipurpose cash transfer social assistance programme consisting of shock-responsive social protection for vulnerable families. Funded jointly by the Joint SDG Fund and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the multipurpose cash transfer targeted over 7,000 farmer-headed households and families with young children and pregnant and lactating mothers.
Codesigned with the Ministry of Social Services and Development, the intervention strengthened the capacity of the local institutions to analyse and monitor both natural and human-induced risks, and to improve synergy and coordination between social protection programmes, climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness and management.
The pilot helped guide the roll-out of a national emergency cash transfer programme and resulted in the establishment of a national working group that leverages the expertise of ministries and regional structures on disaster risk management. This aims to develop anticipatory action protocols for various hazards, including climate, and early warning system monitoring processes.
"The World Bank estimates that up to 130 million people could be pushed into poverty by 2030 because of rising temperatures. [...] Limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees is possible if the world takes a quantum leap in climate action, together." - António Guterres, UN Secretary-General Remarks at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, 2023
In Mexico, a UN-led analysis detailing the impact of climate change on the banking sector was endorsed by Mexico’s Central Bank for providing an opportunity for Mexican banks to assess and address their climate-related vulnerabilities. Stress testing these climate risk safeguards through identifying vulnerabilities in their portfolio can enable timely adjustment to minimise the financial losses and protect precious fiscal space for net-zero investments.
In the Maldives, Joint SDG Fund support to the government’s gender-responsive climate financing strategy is prioritising the transition to mandatory climate and disaster insurance for public assets and infrastructure, including the development of a first-of-its-kind nature-based insurance programme to insure against climate-related losses and damages. The co-creation of sustainable lending products, credit guarantee schemes and tax incentives with private investors is critical to unleash new opportunities for green, blue and sustainability-linked loans and other financing instruments.
The UN's support of Suriname’s National Climate Agreement, a roadmap to address climate change and access climate financing, has included the Resident Coordinator convening critical stakeholders, including indigenous and tribal people. The roadmap includes a forest financing strategy and explores how the forest sector can accelerate the country’s national climate targets.
Photo credits: Victor Svistunov on Unsplash, UNDP Fiji, UN in Papua New Guinea, FAO Philippines, UN in Mexico, UN Women Maldives, UN Suriname
Learn more about other examples of what the UN is doing to support this transition:
- Connecting Blue Economy Actors in Cape Verde | United Nations Joint SDG Fund (jointsdgfund.org)
- Driven by nature: the economic transformation we need by 2030 | United Nations DCO (un-dco.org)
- Harnessing the potential of the Brazilian Amazon through local and global partnerships | United Nations DCO (un-dco.org)
The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.