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Issue Papers

Integrated Approach for Well-Being, Environmental Sustainability, and Just Transition

Task Force: Wellbeing, Environmental Sustainability, and Just Transition

Authors:

Kazuo Matsushita ,
 Dennis Snower
Shinobu Yamaguchi

Abstract

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement established a strong foundation for the coherent implementation of climate action and sustainable development objectives across all levels and sectors. However, recent global crises, such as climate, energy, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and environmental crises, have hampered actions for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), carbon neutrality, and human well-being.
The world has crossed several planetary boundaries undermining the Earth’s ability to support human life.
Environmentally sustainable solutions are prerequisites to achieving other key Group of Seven (G7) priorities, such as economic prosperity, energy security, global health, and Environmental sustainability measures should be implemented to achieve a just transition while promoting human well-being, especially job creation. Integrated solutions are required to achieve these priorities simultaneously.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine should be a turning point in seizing the opportunity to address the world’s unfolding climate crisis by rapidly reducing the reliance on fossil fuels. The Russian invasion of Ukraine does not change the nature of the needed solutions but increases the urgency of sustainability crises.
The G7 leaders, in close collaboration with other Group of Twenty (G20) leaders, should reignite actions for the SDGs, carbon neutrality, and climate-resilient development through an integrated and holistic approach considering well-being, environmental sustainability, and a just transition to staying within planetary boundaries. These actions must include effective measures related to finance, science and technology, governance, capacity building, and education based on scientific evidence.
To deliver such measures, the G7 countries should (i) decarbonize energy systems for carbon neutrality through accelerated investment in clean energy systems and electric public mobility, and strengthen regulatory frameworks to promote a circular economy, low-carbon built environment, and artificial intelligence-enabled human-positive world; (ii) foster sustainable food systems and biodiversity conservation to significantly reduce carbon footprints, strengthen natural carbon sequestration, and achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets; (iii) enhance resilience, social protection, and social security to mitigate the disruption caused by the transition; (iv) finance the promotion of a just transition; (v) create a consistent mechanism that annually measures just transition, environmental sustainability, and well-being; (vi) strengthen partnerships for climate and sustainable development; and (vii) promote capacity, education, and youth empowerment.
Our recommendations in this issue paper thus require the G7 to substantially increase its support for developing countries to address climate change and other high priorities. The support could also significantly reduce the risk of climate insecurities.