2030 Agenda

Statement COP26: Challenges of Climate Change

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4 October 2021, Vienna; download the statement here

An NGO statement to the 2021 UN climate change conference, COP 26, in Glasgow

For many years the scientific community, the Member States of the United Nations, and civil society have discussed the impact on our planet of climate change and identified measures needed to protect the world in which we live.

To date, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have convened 25 conferences. They have signed and ratified decisions, protocols and agreements on the reduction of CO2.

Measures and actions to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change need to be taken without delay. The undersigned NGOs admitted with Observer Status by the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC and joined by other NGOs in Consultative Status with the United Nations thus urge the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC to act promptly on the following challenges:

1) Mitigation

The scientific community worldwide should coordinate research and innovation so as to draw up procedures to reduce CO2 emissions. Systems need to be developed that are sufficiently robust to operate under varying conditions, e.g., excessive drought or flooding, changes in flora and fauna due to rising temperatures, and the loss of biodiversity. The ultimate aim should be to halt global warming and achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

2) Adaptation

Recent months have shown that the impact of climate change is palpable on every continent and in every region, and is driven by the physical environment, such as mountains, oceans, and permafrost. Therefore, local decisions are critical to effective adaptation to changing weather and climate conditions. The regional focus should be on planning, land use, settlements and infrastructure, as well as forestry and agriculture. The global rise in temperatures and the related changes in the spread of disease pose an inordinate challenge for public health systems. Moreover, it is evident that with regard to energy systems, limiting changes to electric vehicles alone will not suffice.

3) Participation and cooperation

Action plans for adaptation may result in significant changes to regional patterns of settlement and lifestyles and may have a disproportionate effect on marginalised populations including minorities, women and children. New formats for democratic participation are thus called for. They should be so designed as to inform all stakeholders and secure their participation in the decision-making processes. Only if the consistency of such measures is upheld can aims be reached ensuring that the most marginalised groups do not bear the brunt of the climate crisis.

On the international level, UN cooperation in particular needs to be reliable and accountable. International treaties and conventions must be respected, reports must be verifiable, obligations implemented without delay, and enforcement transparent. Matters would be improved where an international panel set up empowered to monitor progress independently and make reluctant states confront their responsibilities.

4) Financial frameworks

The costs for all necessary measures and actions will be very high, yet far lower than the costs of damages incurred in the case of “business as usual”. Countries should provide sustainable, long-term financial plans, which may require modifying tax systems. An international fund – administered by the UN – should provide assistance to the developing countries.

The challenges posed by climate change are global and cannot be successfully met by countries or regions in isolation, and even less by competition between nations. Cooperation and transparency are critical and indispensable to solving climate change.

The statement is also supported by CoNGO

Submitted by NGOs in Observer Status with the Conference of Parties of UNFCCC:

  1. Association pour le Développement Durable (ADD)
  2. Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD)
  3. Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation, Inc. USA
  4. International Council of Women (ICW)
  5. Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, Inc.
  6. Nurses Across the Borders (NAB)
  7. UNANIMA International
  8. Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)
  9. United Methodist Church—General Board of Church and Society (UMC-GBCS)
  10. VIVAT International

Endorsed by NGOs in Consultative, Associated and Observer relations with the United Nations:

  1. Abraham’s Children Foundation
  2. African Action on Aids (AAA)
  3. Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS)
  4. Arab Society for Academic Freedoms(ASAF)
  5. Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs
  6. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  7. Asociación Latinoamericana para Los Derechos Humanos (ALDHU)
  8. Association of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand
  9. Awaz Centre for Development Services (AwazCDS-Pakistan)
  10. Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI)
  11. Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO)
  12. Congregations of St. Joseph
  13. Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute (CBCI)
  14. Dianova International
  16. Election Network in the Arab Region(ENAR)
  17. GCS International
  18. Global Action on Aging (GAN)
  19. Graduate Women International (GWI)
  20. Initiatives of Change
  21. Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Loreto Generalate
  22. International Alliance of Women (IAW)
  23. International Council on Environmental Economics and Development (ICEED)
  24. International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW)
  25. International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
  26. International Federation of Women in Legal Careers (FIFCJ)
  27. International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
  28. International Inner Wheel (IIW)
  29. International Presentation Association, The (IPA)
  30. International Progress Organization (IPO)
  31. Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP)
  32. League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS)
  33. Organization for Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV)
  34. Pan Pacific South East Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA)
  35. Pax Romana
  36. Servas International
  37. Sisters of Charity Federation
  38. Society for International Development (SID)
  39. Socialist International Women (SIW)
  40. Soroptimist International (SI)
  41. Temple of Understanding
  42. Tiye International
  43. Universal Peace Federation (UPF)
  44. Verein zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung
  45. Women’s Federation for World Peace International (WFWPI)
  46. Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO)
  47. Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
  48. World Association for Psychological Rehabilitation (WAPR)
  49. World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ)
  50. WUZDA Ghana
  51. Zonta International

The statement above was drafted and finalized by the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development in Vienna and was officially endorsed by the following NGO members with ECOSOC consultative status: Graduate Women International, Initiatives of Change, International Inner Wheel, International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Pax Romana, Servas International, Soroptimist International, Society for International Development, Socialist International Women, Verein zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung, Women’s Federation for World Peace International, Women’s International Zionist Organisation, and World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Warming of 2 degrees Celsius achievable?

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The IPCC (Weltklimarat) comes to the conclusion that even a warming of two degrees Celsius has severe consequences for our planet and with the currently planned measures of two-degree-celsius-limit cannot be achieved. The focus is therefore on urgency. Ms. Alzbeta Klein, Director of Climate Business at the World Bank Group’s International Financial Corporation (IFC) mentioned in an interview in the Wiener Zeitung 27/28 October 2018 “Climate change is a financial risk!” two technologies to mitigate the climate change problem: one is the storage of solar energy (including for the household) and the other Off-shore-wind power. For both, the World Bank Group is launching a $ 5 billion investment program. Ms. Klein notes a lot of movement at the corporate level citing several reasons: leadership vision and increasing pressure from customers. In summary, Ms. Klein enumerates three levers:  visionary business leaders, a government that takes the climate change seriously, and finally the consumer who demands a greenhouse,green car, and food with a good carbon footprint.

Roland Leithenmayr VFV 

Austrian Court of Auditors (Rechnungshof) confirms failures to implement the SDGs in Austria

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Austrian Court of Auditors: From June to September 2017, the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) carried out an audit of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Austria. The audit aimed in particular at assessing the legal framework conditions and the national recognition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the responsibilities of the Federal Government and the coordination across all levels of government. A further objective was to evaluate the initial situation (stocktaking and gap analysis), the implementation plan and the target attainment monitoring system, as well as the inclusion of the civil society, the reporting system and the impacts of the SDGs. The audit was carried out at the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs – in their capacity as coordinating entities regarding the national implementation of the SDGs – as well as at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology – as federal ministries selected as examples by the ACA. The audited period largely spanned the years from 2016 through 2017.


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Roland Leithenmayr VFV