Image of field with green grass and arid land symbolizing desertification
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


Climate change is affecting every country in the world. It is disrupting ecosystems, economies and people’s lives, and in the future its impact will be even more severe. The effects of climate change include rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and more extreme weather events. Climate change is being driven by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities and the concentration of these emissions has now reached unprecedented levels. If we do not act immediately, the temperature of the world’s surface could rise by as much as 4°C on average by the end of this century, and by even more in some parts of the planet. The adverse impacts of climate change will hit the poorest and most vulnerable people hardest.

Regional indicators

Key messages from the region on the issues addressed by SDG 13 and its targets

      • The region is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, even with global warming of 1.5°C.

      • The current development pattern worsens environmental crises.

      • Climate change exacerbates inequalities.

      • Growth can be compatible with environmental sustainability, but only if rapid and profound changes are made.

      • There are synergies between the fight against poverty and the fight against climate change.

      • A balance must be struck between mitigation and adaptation actions.

      • A globally agreed framework exists; now it is time to implement it.
      • Partnerships must be sought across sectors to pursue more ambitious measures to limit temperature rises, as provided in the Paris Agreement (to keep the average global temperature rise well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to continue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels).

      • The Caribbean and Central America are the subregions most exposed and vulnerable to extreme climate events.

      • Achieving climate goals is closely bound up with achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Climate policies must be integrated with development policies: it is important to stop working in a fragmented way and adopt a comprehensive approach.

      • The transformations necessary to address climate change offer an opportunity for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and for bringing about systemic and positive change (better health, sustainable energy, better cities).

      • Countries should be evaluated not only on the basis of per capita GDP, but also in terms of vulnerability to natural disasters.

      • The multilateral system bore fruit with the Paris Agreement. It is important to uphold the political consensus achieved in 2015.

      • Public policies with a territorial approach are crucial to addressing the challenges posed by climate change.

    Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts in Latin America and the Caribbean

    Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts in Latin America and the Caribbean

    The analysis of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) presented here is the outcome of the discussions held within the framework of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and Caribbean on Sustainable Development, convened under the auspices of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Challenges and opportunities for the implementation, follow-up and review of SDG 13 and its targets

    • Challenges

      • El análisis sobre los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) que aquí se presenta es el resultado de los debates que tuvieron lugar en el marco del Foro de los Países de América Latina y el Caribe sobre el Desarrollo Sostenible, convocada bajo los auspicios de la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).

      • Monitoring advances requires progress on territorial disaggregation of data and avoiding their production in isolation.

      • Transforming the region’s transport sector, as it is currently very intensive in carbon dioxide emissions.


      • The countries of the region have established NDCs and institutional frameworks to implement those commitments.

      • Decarbonization offers opportunities for a new development pattern.

Lessons learned and good practices with respect to SDG 13 and its targets

      • The progress made by the region on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 and the global monitoring platform. For example, Colombia has managed to record the 38 indicators of the Sendai Framework.

      • In Uruguay, the energy strategy enabled the transition to renewable energy in a short time span.
      • Chile is preparing climate change legislation by means of a participatory process.

      • Costa Rica submitted its National Decarbonization Plan 2050 in February 2019.

Recommendations from Latin America and the Caribbean to achieve SDG 13 and its targets

      • Revise NDCs with a new territory-based approach and a focus on vulnerable populations.