Isabella Lövin has been given a new title. Instead of a Minister for Development Aid, Sweden now has a Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate. The title opens up new opportunities, writes Mattias Goldmann, CEO of the green and liberal think tank Fores, which here in an open letter delivers five challenges to the minister.
Hello Isabella and congratulations on your new title, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate! It opens up new opportunities and we want to deliver five concrete challenges to you in a positive spirit.
- Climate-proof development cooperation. Recently, development assistance has come a long way towards climate protection. Electrification of rural areas in Africa, for example, is renewable, and support for fossil energy is being phased out. But other parts of our international cooperation have not come as far, and are poorly captured by the Swedish climate goals because they do not measure what we do abroad. Isabella, was the driving force in climate-securing all Swedish development cooperation, regardless of organizational form.
- Show the world the way. Many countries turn to Sweden for leadership in the adjustment work, which was not least shown at the climate summit in Paris when we launched "Fossil independent transport sector - Sweden leading the way". This goal, which seven of eight parliamentary parties are behind, is of global relevance because almost all countries among their climate promises have a shift from fossil to renewable, with a focus on the transport sector. As a small country, this type of leadership is our chance to make climate investments that are important far beyond our own emission reductions. Isabella, initiate a global "helpdesk" to end dependence on fossil fuels in the transport sector. Here, the Swedish experiences of switching to renewable fuels, streamlining vehicles and changing means of transport can be of international benefit.
- Take command in the EU. The EU's target of a 30% reduction in climate impact by 2030 has not yet been shared between Member States and there is a concern within the EU that many Member States would oppose too clear a governing issue. Sweden can and should, perhaps together with Austria under its newly elected green president, be a country that breaks the deadlock by voluntarily taking on a greater reduction in emissions than the EU would demand, and faster implementation. This should be done as a direct follow-up to the Environmental Objectives Committee's final report, in which there is a sufficiently broad parliamentary agreement behind the climate goals for the government to be able to act quickly. Isabella, as a former EU parliamentarian, you have an insight and a network that provides particularly good opportunities to present and anchor a distribution proposal for emission reductions in the Union, which also announces Sweden's individual climate commitment to the UN and the next climate summit, COP22.
- Fill Fossil-Free Sweden with content. The initiative "Fossil-free Sweden" was launched with pomp and circumstance at the climate summit in Paris as part of highlighting Swedish leadership in the climate issue. The initiative now has over 150 signatories (including Fores and the 2030 Secretariat for a fossil-independent vehicle fleet with about 50 partners) but has not yet received any actual content. Every actor who has a single small climate commitment can participate and shine in the initiative's brilliance, no matter how high - and perhaps rising - its total climate impact is. This, of course, needs to be steered before the fundamentally laudable initiative loses momentum or is even accused of greenwashing; not to be as radical and far-reaching as it may seem at first glance. Fossil-free Sweden should be given joint custody by the Minister for International Development Cooperation and the Minister for the Environment. Isabella Lövin and Karolina Skog should decide on concrete commitments for the initiative; real emission reductions and a slogan filled with content.
- Global development for all. Just as important for long-term sustainable development as the Paris climate summit was that last autumn we agreed on 17 global goals for sustainable development, which also go by the name of the 2030 agenda. The goals cover all sectors of society, all people and all countries. But when Stefan Löfven signed the agreement, he immediately emphasized that Sweden prioritises work with water purification in developing countries. It is a regrettable limitation that runs counter to how the goals are intended to be used, and which reduces the value of the civil dialogue that Minister of Civil Affairs Ardalan Shekarabi is intended to initiate. Isabella, clarifies that we do not have the narrow priority that Löfven so unfortunately stated. Utilize the 2030 goals for the broad societal discussion that development issues would feel so good about.
We know you have other challenges on your table as well; you will lead a party and you will occasionally step in as deputy prime minister. But being able to deliver on these five challenges is very much gained. Good luck - we look forward to the collaboration!