In November 2021, COP26 will bring together experts and world leaders to discuss progress towards combating climate change, set ambitious targets for climate action and agree coordinated efforts to reduce carbon emissions. It is now widely acknowledged that climate action and the wider sustainability agenda must work cooperatively, with a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needing to be addressed in tandem if they are going to be successfully met. The road to achieving the SDGs requires significant climate action, and the road to fighting climate change requires an understanding of the bigger picture of sustainability.

It is therefore crucial to understand the ways that climate change and sustainable development intersect and the benefits which can be achieved for both agendas if they are approached from a systems perspective. This briefing provides a quick overview of the SDGs, how they relate to climate action, and some of the synergies and trade-offs which will need to be considered as discussions about COP26 continue to develop over the coming year.

This briefing paper was prepared with the support of the COP26 Community of the IES.