The trending topic in 2018
2018 is not like any other year in the climate action agenda. This year, for the first time, the world is taking stock of the collective efforts to implement the Paris Agreement signed back in 2015. The agreement sets ambitious goals to limit the impacts of climate change globally, and whilst this effort will expand for many years, governments know – informed by science – that action needs to start now.
The key to this global stoke-take on climate action is a constructive dialogue. This is why, following an old Fiji tradition, nations are engaging in a frank conversation under the umbrella of what has been named the Talanoa Dialogue. Through it, countries reflect on what has been done over the last 3 years and what are the challenges and pathways on the road to achieving the end goal set under the Paris Agreement. Taking the lead on this global stoke-take, Chile and Uruguay hosted two events – which had the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) support -kick-starting a busy second half of the year packed with key moments to enable this dialogue and learn about the extraordinary achievements and opportunities to boost climate action in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and across the world.
Chile and Uruguay kick-started the conversation
To start, the Government of Chile, headed by the Ministry of Environment, hosted the 7th LEDS-LAC Regional Workshop in Santiago, between August 1st and 3rd. The workshop was developed jointly with the first peer-to-peer dialogue of the Euroclima+ program. With more than 140 participants from 22 countries from LAC and Europe, including 42 experts and panelists, this event created a space to reflect on the ongoing efforts to implement the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in LAC across sectors and at a subnational level.
On the other hand, between August 20th and 23rd, the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week and Carbon Forum took place in Montevideo, Uruguay. This year, the forum brought together more than 300 participants to share cutting-edge knowledge and ongoing experiences on NDC implementation and carbon markets across the region and the world. Topical workshops, that focused on key sectors such as agriculture, transport, infrastructure, cities, and energy took place; including a regional TEM focused on the circular economy, an approach that the IDB has been applying particularly in the context of the Caribbean Islands, with a blue and circular economy.
The Main Takeaways
Both events offered a great window to learn where countries are on climate action and what are the main areas of focus and challenges. From the wide and rich conversation, 3 topics emerged as the most prevalent when it comes to current efforts on NDC implementation.
- First step: focus on the institutions and consult your stakeholders.
The experiences shared in these events evidenced that efforts to implement the NDCs have initially focus in creating the institutional framework and carrying out extensive consultations with stakeholders across the government, private sector, and civil society. This is the case in European and LAC countries that shared their experiences during the events.
The top-down process of design of the first round of NDCs limited the development of a strong dialogue and establishment of alliances with stakeholders. However, it’s expected that new NDCs design processes will follow a bottom-up approach; including consultation processes with the private sector to understand their appetite and challenges for investments in line with the objectives of the NDCs. Such approach could also capture lessons shared from experiences in the European Union, where consultations had shown to be more effective when initiated well in advance of the NDC design and implementation processes (as they could take years) and with clear messages for the private sector about the priority areas for investment.
- Approaching the climate and sustainable development challenge together
One of the main challenges that countries are tackling now is mainstreaming climate action across national development planning and public financing instruments. This could not only facilitate the effective implementation of NDCs with work across different sectoral ministries and sub-national governments, but it can help coordinate the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The alignment from the climate perspective to the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of sustainable development is seen as critical. Climate action must and can support other development objectives with creative solutions that can boost economic growth and employment, bring new clean technologies that also contribute to citizen well-being, and sustainable development.
This approach will make climate solutions more robust over time, extending the agenda to other sectors, particularly to Ministries of Planning and Finance that can have a critical role in mainstreaming climate activities as part of the vision for development. However, to advance in this front we urgently require generating tangible and robust evidence of how climate intervention contributes to general wellbeing and development objectives.
- Bringing in the private sector.
The role of the private sector in achieving the commitments under the NDCs and the Paris Agreement is critical. One of the key issues identified in the conversation is the need to translate the NDCs into a language for investors, whilst providing clarity on the opportunities and risks for local markets. This will need to be coupled with building capacity and generating incentives for the public and the private sector through fiscal incentives, recognition programs, or promotion of best practices.
Given the scope of the Paris Agreement and the NDCs, for the IDB it is clear that the objectives defined by countries won’t be achieved through individual projects. The response to support countries in their efforts to achieve those objectives will need to be comprehensive and include solutions that go from policy and institutional frameworks, robust stakeholder engagement, and integration into development planning and instruments, to bankable pipeline development, market development, and mobilization of public and private investments.
To respond to this new paradigm the IDBG has created NDC Invest, a platform designed for countries in LAC seeking technical assistance and financial resources to translate national climate commitments into investments plans and bankable pipelines of projects that can effectively contribute towards the achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement and bring development benefits.