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Climate policy is inundating the SDGs

As climate-induced shocks and stresses increasingly occupy media attention, funding, national and global policy, and technical practice are shifting towards alignment with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC’s) Paris Agreement and away from the more narrowly sectoral Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Water resilience is emerging as a critical delivery mechanism for the Paris Agreement as the importance of adaptation and resilience accelerates. The SDGs, in contrast, have been unable to make use of either water resources or climate resilience as enabling tools for cross-sectoral integration and development coherence.

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Fig. 1: Malheur National Wildlife refuge in North America’s Great Basin.

John H. Matthews


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I would like to thank I. Timboe for her comments on an earlier draft.

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Correspondence to John H. Matthews.

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J.H.M. worked as an advisor to the Asian Development Bank and World Bank on water and climate change issues. He is currently working with a coalition of national party, private sector, and NGO groups on a set of cases and recommendations to articulate water resilience as an operational economic concept, which is funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, GIZ, and the Kingdom of Spain.

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Matthews, J.H. Climate policy is inundating the SDGs. Nat Water 1, 216–218 (2023).

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