In 2015, the international community negotiated and agreed a new set of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which came into effect on 1st January 2016. to supercede the UN Millennium Development Goals which expire at the end of this year]. The SDGs are a vitally important framework governing human development and the environment over the coming decades. In December 2015, the world’s governments agreed a new climate agreement at COP21 in Paris a new, ambitious and universally binding climate change agreement within the parameters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In both processes – the ‘SDGs’ and the ‘UNFCCC’ – a key role for the private sector, and private sector finance in particular, is envisaged. Key questions include the role of the banks and institutional investors in fossil fuel divestment and global investment in green energy; the role of the private sector in human development, inclusive growth and the sustainable management of natural capital; and how to shift to a long-term, resilient and truly sustainable green economy. A further challenge is to ensure the complementarity of parallel efforts underway on the SDGs and the UNFCCC: while these are separate negotiations, a strong and positive outcome is required for both to succeed. The ISU is playing an active role in commissioning research and encouraging dialogue and consensus regarding supporting the private sector to play its part in fulfilling the SDGs and the outcomes of COP21 in Paris.
HRH The Prince of Wales established the International Sustainability Unit to facilitate consensus on how to resolve some of the key environmental challenges facing the world – such as climate change, food security, ecosystem resilience and the depletion of Natural Capital.
HRH’s International Sustainability Unit was formed in 2010 to address critical challenges to development and the environment. The I.S.U. builds on the success of The Prince’s Rainforests Project (2007-2009), established to find a solution to tropical deforestation, which resulted in international commitments of US$5 billion for immediate finance for forest conservation. The I.S.U. has since implemented programmes focusing on natural capital and resilience, with strands covering food, water and energy security; resource scarcity and depletion as potential conflict multipliers; preventing and reversing deforestation; responsible agricultural investment; and the Illegal Trade in Wildlife. Further programmes address finance for sustainable development [to deliver the outcomes of the international negotiations on development goals and climate change due in 2015] to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and the outcome of COP21 in Paris and also sustainable marine fisheries. Work has recently commenced on sustainable urbanisation and on ensuring more integrated approaches to urban-rural development. Considerable success has been achieved in these areas and the I.S.U. has built an international reputation for credible, trusted and neutral convening that is underpinned by well researched and rigorous analysis, and broad consultation with key actors from governments, the private sector and civil society.