Good practices for climate action and development were at the core of the COP26 discussions. Latin America and the Caribbean provide a territory of endless solutions aimed at promoting adaptation and mitigation that both large and small countries can replicate and adapt according to their needs and contexts. Including climate change in development issues is already a priority for many countries that consider environmental impacts in infrastructure investments and in the most vulnerable sectors.
In this regard, the OAS and the IDB have been working together for a couple of years to support the countries of the region to increase their climate ambitions, as well as to provide a platform to facilitate the exchange of good practices that are coherent and effective from a sustainability and climate change mitigation point of view.
In the framework of the COP26, both organizations jointly held an event with the participation of the environment ministers of Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Uruguay to discuss good practices in climate and financial strategies to reduce carbon emissions by 2050. In this post you will find a summary of the main contributions, reflections and points of convergence during this event, which was attended by more than 400 participants from 31 countries.
1. A wide range of adaptation and mitigation solutions
Each country’s climate challenges are different. Faced by this diversity of environmental, climatic, political, social, cultural and economic scenarios, various actions have been promoted to encourage good practices for climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as win-win opportunities for the public and private sectors.
These include the promotion of knowledge management initiatives to improve understanding of future climate scenarios and strengthen disaster risk management, the increase in climate ambitions through the formulation of long-term strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the importance of citizen and private sector involvement in climate governance decisions.
Nature is also key to climate action. A recent IDB-led report highlights that nature-based solutions (NBS) can play an essential role in maximizing the impact of capital invested in the region’s infrastructure. The IDB’s Infrastructure and Climate Change and Sustainable Development Sectors invested $813.23 million in green and green-gray projects between 2015 and 2020, which mobilized an additional $436.77 million in external financing, which secured a total of nearly $1.25 billion in financing earmarked for projects with NBS components.
2. Regional dialogue and integration
Climate change is complex, and its management requires greater integration between sectors to address its adverse effects. In response to this, the diversity of good practices promoted by the countries presents a scenario of opportunities for regional dialogue and integration in LAC.
The exchange of experiences through platforms can contribute to provide experts in each country with a database of lessons learned and recommendations to strengthen legislative and governance processes, national and regional adaptation and mitigation programs and projects within the framework of climate action and the NDCs.
3. Comprehensiveness and intersectorality for climate action
Good practices contribute to both the climate change adaptation and mitigation agendas. They are comprehensive because they promote actions that generate multiple benefits and address problems that, although fall under different portfolios, are related to each other.
In this sense, their design, implementation and monitoring require intersectoral processes at two levels: first, at the level of governmental institutions in the country itself and, second, at the level of dialogue and coordination between different conventions for development and the environment. The purpose of this is to ensure that a good practice contributes to the fulfillment of goals and commitments assumed by the countries under different multilateral environmental agreements.
4. Citizenship and cross-cutting approaches
In Latin America and the Caribbean, climate change has a daily impact on the lives of millions of people, threatening their health, sources of employment, growth opportunities and even their chances of staying in their places of origin. Therefore, climate change adaptation and mitigation require the participation of the population, as it involves all of us. This calls for the creation of initiatives that guarantee equal conditions and opportunities for women and men, taking into consideration cultural and gender diversity in the countries and territories.
The transition towards green development and zero net emissions economies opens important opportunities for new labor markets, with challenges that involve reconverting and redirecting workers towards these new opportunities. While it is estimated that 15 million new jobs will be created in a carbon neutral economy in the region by 2030, one of the challenges is to ensure a just transition and ensure that the change is as equitable as possible and based on a participatory approach.
Jointly promoting social and environmental objectives must be based on social dialogue, involving the private sector, trade unions and governments to design sustainable and climate-resilient solutions that are in line with sustainable development objectives and widely accepted by local stakeholders. In this regard, education and public information are essential to achieve a net-zero emissions economy.
5. Technical and financial innovation
The formulation of long-term strategies requires greater technical and financial innovation in all sectors, in order to reduce GHG emissions. Under this logic, innovation in technologies and knowledge management in the face of climate risks, as part of the adaptation agenda, are also fundamental.
It is key to continue the development of quantitative analytical models and frameworks for sound and informed climate change planning and decision making, both at the national and subnational levels. Policy planning must continue to be a participatory circle based on models and data that objectively inform decision making and the selection of technologies that reduce GHG emissions, as well as achieve the short- and medium-term goals of NDCs and global objectives towards 2050.
As governments and the private sector increase their ambitions and face new climate challenges, it is necessary to promote collaboration and discussion between public and private actors to protect and sustainably manage natural assets while achieving social and economic development goals.
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