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Sustainable Development

Volume 587: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2014

5. What recent discussions she has had with her international counterparts on including climate justice in future sustainable development goals. (905892)

I regularly discuss the sustainable development goals with my international counterparts, most recently doing so with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, at the UN General Assembly. Of course, ensuring that environmental sustainability and climate change are integrated into the sustainable development goals is a key priority for the UK Government.

I thank the Secretary of State for that response. Does it mean she supports the inclusion of climate change or a climate-related sustainable development goal as a stand-alone goal, or is this just something that she sees factored into other elements that will be in the goals?

We think that making sure we have targets on areas such as climate change is vital. We also recognise that millennium development goal 7, on sustainable development, was ineffective, because people did not focus on it and it needed to be better mainstreamed into the rest of the framework. It is important that we focus on ensuring that sustainability is mainstreamed right the way through the post-2015 framework.

Climate change disproportionately affects the poorest people in the world, so will the Secretary of State act on the calls of supporters of Christian Aid, including those from St Andrew’s church in Chippenham who met me recently, to do what she can to help make sure that next year’s Paris climate talks deliver an agreement that will tackle this threat and look after the very people her Department seeks to help?

My hon. Friend is right to say that next year’s meeting in Paris is crucial to finally getting the international deal we need to tackle climate change. He will also be aware of a lot of the work my Department does on helping people cope with and adapt to the problems of climate change. The poor are always hit hardest and hit first by climate change, and they have the least wherewithal then to get their lives back on track.