The success of the Paris Agreement hinges on all countries’ ability to transform their economies and engage their societies in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Making this happen requires a whole-of-society approach – one in which climate considerations are mainstreamed into all relevant decisions across the national government and from a national to local level.
NDCs act as vital entry points for a whole of society approach. By setting clear targets and objectives, they can provide a roadmap for governments to integrate climate priorities across relevant ministries, sectors, and budgets, and to mobilize wider society around transformative climate action.
MOBILIZING WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT CLIMATE ACTION
As countries in the NDC Partnership work to turn their NDCs from plans into action, mainstreaming climate activity is at the top of their agenda. Each country is unique, and the approaches governments take depend on local circumstances and needs.
Many are breaking new ground as they find ways to embed climate planning and budgets across relevant ministries, sectors, and at every level of government. As they navigate this complex process, often hampered by capacity and budget constraints, Members are turning to the Partnership for support. More than half of all requests for support relate to cross-ministry coordination and multi-sector policies to deliver holistic climate action.
Below, we describe how the NDC Partnership supports countries in improving climate governance, engaging wider society on what form climate action should take, and sharing solutions that work.
SUPPORTING EFFECTIVE CLIMATE GOVERNANCE
Effective climate change governance is one of the most common challenges countries face. To deliver on NDCs, country ownership, high-level buy-in, clear role division, and strong coordination across government are all vital to success. In particular, it is imperative to engage finance and economic development ministries, in charge of planning and budgets, as well as sectoral ministries that will execute climate policies. Yet many governments lack the capacity and technical know-how to achieve this alone.
The NDC Partnership is helping bridge this gap. We support ministries responsible for NDC implementation in bringing together all relevant departments and agencies to develop whole-of-government approaches to climate planning. Implementing and Development Partners provide technical and financial support to develop the cross-government systems and coordinating mechanisms needed to deliver economy-wide action. They also support coordination with local governments that will need to feed their practical experience into the decision-making process and will be called upon to deliver programs and projects on the ground.
Through 2018, the Partnership saw exciting, scalable approaches to climate governance take shape in many countries where we are active on the ground. Some common approaches are described below.
Countries are starting to coordinate planning, policy, and programs across sectors that are either climate vulnerable or offer mitigation potential. Typically, governments consult widely, often with Partnership support, on how to deliver this economy-wide approach. This brings on board all relevant players and constituencies in planning the mitigation and adaptation activities they will need to deliver. It also marks a departure from the traditionally siloed approach to climate action, in favor of maximizing economy-wide impact.
In the Republic of the Marshall Islands, for example, all ministries that deal with climate change, including the Ministry of Finance, sit on the Tile Til Eo Committee (translated as “lighting the way”) in charge of NDC implementation. The Committee’s efforts are informed by broad consultations and conducted in close collaboration with the Partnership.
Similarly, Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations, and Sustainable Development has established a multidisciplinary team to steer a course for the country’s NDC Partnership Plan. Ministries and agencies represented include Economic Development, Transport, Public Utilities, Renewable Energy, Finance, Tourism, Forestry, Agriculture, Water, and the Bureau of Standards, alongside representatives from academia. Drawing on nationwide consultations in early 2018, the climate roadmap is seen as a far-reaching national planning and monitoring tool.
Other Partnership countries adopting similar approaches include Colombia, Tunisia, Viet Nam, and Peru, whose NDC Multi-Sectoral Working Group encompasses 13 ministries and the National Strategic Planning Center.
FIELD OF SUGARCANE IN HONDURAS. THE GOVERNMENT IS PROVIDING FARMERS WITH CAPACITY BUILDING TRAININGS AND OTHER SUPPORT TO ENSURE THEY ARE ABLE TO ADAPT TO A CHANGING CLIMATE WHILE SUSTAINABLY PRODUCING CROPS.
LEADERSHIP FROM THE TOP
Some countries are establishing climate governance systems led by heads of state to maximize political will for action. Honduras, for example, has created a Presidential Office for Climate Change to lead mainstreaming efforts and set up climate change units in key ministries. As it implements its NDC, Honduras is drawing on the experience of the Dominican Republic, which has had a comparable system in place for a decade.
In Viet Nam, the Prime Minister chairs an inter-ministerial National Climate Change Committee overseeing the rollout of a society-wide plan for implementation of the Paris Agreement.
All relevant line ministries, government agencies, subnational actors, and stakeholders have dedicated responsibilities under the plan, carried out with coordinated support from the NDC Partnership.
The ambitious roadmap encompasses 68 specific tasks to achieve Viet Nam’s NDC. Progress and outcomes will be charted through a comprehensive monitoring framework under development, with leadership from GIZ. (See also Kenya case study).
ONLINE COORDINATION PLATFORMS
Some Members are launching comprehensive, transparent online platforms to track climate activity across government and coordinate among ministries, Development Partners, and other stakeholders.
A number of key examples include:
Costa Rica, where the Ministry of Environment is creating a transparent, data-based platform to account for climate change action and enable evidence-based decision-making.
Viet Nam, where an online NDC portal developed with GIZ will streamline and track how multiple agencies across levels of government will implement NDCs through the Plan for Implementation of the Paris Agreement. The platform will also encourage results-orientated dialogue between ministries and Development Partners.
São Tomé and Príncipe, where an online database supported by the World Bank will strengthen the technical capabilities of the government’s coordinating Climate Change Committee.
Mongolia, where the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, with assistance from the NDC Partnership Support Unit, is creating an online platform to coordinate government and partner efforts toward the country’s climate goal.
SCALING SUCCESS THROUGH PEER LEARNING AND REGIONAL ACTION
“No one is an expert when it comes to climate change. We need to support each other in confronting such a monumental challenge.”
DR. MARLON ESCOTO Presidential Delegate for Climate Change, Honduras
The NDC Partnership supports cooperation between, as well as within, countries. In 2018, we hosted our first peer-to-peer dialogue, between the Dominican Republic and Honduras, so that the governments could learn from each other’s experiences of mainstreaming climate action. Such peer-based knowledge exchange provides a unique opportunity for countries to share lessons learned in a safe and candid space as they implement their NDCs.
Regional approaches also offer opportunities for Members to collaborate at different levels of governance and explore ways to showcase best practices toward low-carbon and climate-resilient development. The Partnership engages in several such initiatives, including:
The Regional Pacific NDC Hub: In November 2017, 14 island nations launched the hub to coordinate climate action by integrating their NDCs into regional plans and leveraging finance collectively. Affiliated with the NDC Partnership, the initiative receives assistance from GIZ, the Pacific Community, the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and GGGI with funding from Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
The Africa NDC Hub: Eleven countries launched this regional initiative to catalyze funds for climate action and projects across African nations. Participants include regional bodies such as the AfDB; UN agencies such as the FAO, UNDP, and UN Environment; and NGOs such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States: Ten countries are embarking on a regional NDC finance initiative to catalyze investments in climate-resilient and low-carbon infrastructure. Support is coming from Germany through an NDC Assist project and the World Bank through its NDC Support Facility.
HONDURAS AND DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SHARE LESSONS
Through the NDC Partnership, Honduras sought to learn from the Dominican Republic’s experience as a pioneer of whole-of-government climate action. In 2008, in the wake of an economically devastating tropical storm, the Dominican Republic established a National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism to drive adaptation and mitigation efforts
A decade on, Honduras has established its own Presidential Office for Climate Change (Clima+) to coordinate efforts across government to deliver on its Paris commitments. In August 2018, a Honduran delegation met with counterparts from several finance, planning, and sectoral agencies in the Dominican Republic. Facilitated by the NDC Partnership, the two-day meeting focused on key aspects of effective climate governance including presidential committees, inter-institutional coordination, climate laws, and budget integration. Dr. Marlon Escoto, Presidential Delegate for Climate Change, headed the Honduran delegation and called for more regional collaboration.
MOBILIZING WIDER SOCIETY
As they turn climate commitments into actions that will ripple across their economies, governments are mindful that these critical decisions cannot be made in national capitals alone. Civil society groups that reflect the views of vulnerable citizens, including women and indigenous peoples, must have their voices heard. The private sector, NGOs, and academia can add valuable perspectives, expertise, and support.
The NDC Partnership collaborates with governments on climate engagement activities ranging from public awareness-raising campaigns to large-scale stakeholder forums or consultations. In many countries, including Nepal, Mali, and Mongolia, stakeholders have welcomed these forums as a first opportunity to join in NDC discussions.
SUPPORTING PUBLIC AND STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
Some highlights from around the world in 2018 include the following:
In Guatemala, wide-ranging consultations and ground-breaking partnerships have accompanied the design and rollout of the NDC Partnership Plan, which sets clear and ambitious climate objectives, milestones, and priority activities. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), supported by the World Bank, gathered input from sector ministries and finance and planning departments, as well as from academia, NGOs, and Development Partners. MARN, the World Bank, UNDP, and GIZ are collaborating on support for the climate roadmap, which aims to update Guatemala’s NDC by 2020 and achieve its current commitments by 2030.
In the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the government staged a second National Climate Change Dialogue, led by the inter-ministerial Tile Til Eo committee with Partnership support. This brought together ministry officials and 100 civil society representatives including traditional leaders, mayors, women’s and youth groups, academics, students, the private sector, and international partners. The forum’s key takeaways were fed into the government’s economy-wide Partnership Plan.
In the Dominican Republic, government outreach to prioritize sector-based climate strategies and needs included convening more than 100 delegates from 60 institutions. International organizations, civil society, and the private sector joined ministry officials to gather inputs for the Partnership Plan.
In the Philippines, with Partnership support, the government is employing an innovative approach to raise awareness of climate risks and solutions through the use of videos. These will be screened by cinemas and TV stations nationwide, in both English and Tagalog, launching a public campaign on climate preparedness and the government’s plans to update its NDC.
In Peru, the government conducted a participatory multisectoral dialogue across a range of sectors and with both national and local stakeholders, including the private sector, indigenous peoples, and civil society. The purpose is to establish alliances and foster agreement and buy-in across society on the government’s ambitious plans for climate mitigation and adaptation.
PARTNERSHIP IN ACTION: WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT APPROACHES
COMBINING CLIMATE ACTION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN KENYA
“The NDC Partnership brought a plethora of actions and activities and energized the partners and coordination framework… to take development of the National Climate Change Action Plan to the next level.”
PETER O. ODHENGO, Kenya National Treasury
Kenya’s economy is highly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors, such as rain-fed agriculture, tourism, and energy (including wood fuel). Four-fifths of the country is arid or semi-arid, and escalating droughts and other climate hazards have triggered economic losses estimated at 3 percent of GDP in recent years. In March 2018, flash floods displaced more than 200,000 people.
With climate change undermining Kenya’s ambition to become a middle-income country by 2030, the government views NDC implementation as a means to strengthen its roadmap for economic development. Known as the President’s Big Four Agenda, the development plan focuses investment in housing, manufacturing, healthcare, and food security.
The National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) will be executed alongside the country’s national development agenda through 2022. The ambitious plan charts a direct course for achieving Kenya’s 30 percent GHG reduction target through enabling government actions and large-scale mitigation and adaptation projects in energy, agriculture, land use, forestry, water, and disaster risk management.
PARTNERSHIP PLAN WILL DRIVE ECONOMY-WIDE ACTION
The NDC Partnership has played a pivotal role in advancing the NCCAP and generating support across Kenya’s government and from Development Partners.
Since 2017, the Partnership has supported the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MEF) in getting the plan off the ground, bringing together a cross-government, multi-stakeholder NCCAP Taskforce. Development Partners GIZ, UNDP, and USAID provided technical support to generate a robust plan based on strong mitigation and adaptation analysis, which in turn enabled ambitious cross-sector goals and actions. To ensure voices outside central government were heard, the Partnership supported consultations between MEF and local governments, women’s and youth groups, and marginalized communities.
The Partnership will continue to support Kenyan leadership. Through 2022, the NCCAP’s implementation roadmap will also serve as Kenya’s Partnership Plan. Among the planned programs and projects are a bus-rapid transit system for Nairobi, green development in the port city of Mombasa, and expansion of railways and solar and geothermal energy plants nationwide. To coordinate assistance for maximum impact, Kenya is establishing a high level Joint Sector Working Group, which will be co-chaired on a rotating basis by NDC Partnership Implementing Partners.
PARTNERSHIP IN ACTION: WHOLE OF SOCIETY APPROACHES
MAINSTREAMING IN MONGOLIA
“NDCs are not fixed and having an interactive and live tool [the online portal] is important to keep up to the challenge.”
AMBASSADOR BATJARGAL ZAMBA, Special Envoy for Climate Change, Mongolia
In landlocked Mongolia, whose three million people and rural economy depend on natural resources, climate change is a demonstrable, ever-present threat. Seventy percent of pastoral land is degraded, threatening the country’s more than 60 million livestock. Amid hotter, drier summers, a fifth of Mongolia’s lakes and 12 percent of rivers have dried up, and forests are shrinking as fires and pest outbreaks rise. Extreme weather events, including vicious winter dzuds, have doubled over the last 20 years.
Facing these multi-sector threats, the government is taking an unprecedented whole-of -society approach to climate mitigation and adaptation, supported by the NDC Partnership.
To generate national support, the Ministry for Environment and Tourism (MET) first brought together 200 stakeholders from across government, business, civil society, and Development Partners in October 2017 to chart a path for NDC implementation. Facilitated by the Partnership, the forum laid the groundwork for a comprehensive climate action plan, approved one year later. Mongolia plans to use the NDC Partnership Plan to integrate climate policies, programs, and budgets across government and align these with the country’s Sustainable Development Vision 2030. Development Partners will work with ministries on improving climate governance, accessing climate finance, and building transparency and capacity in delivering programs and projects. Development Partners offering technical and financial support include the Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Global Environment Facility (GEF), GIZ, and the World Bank.
With support from the Partnership, the government of Mongolia has tasked the MET with setting up a National Climate Committee and a supporting Technical Working Group to coordinate all climate activity. Chaired by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, the Committee will include cross-government, civil society, and private sector members. The Working Group will cast its net even wider, also including government stakeholders, Development Partners, and academic organizations.
In addition, the Partnership is supporting development of an online platform (pictured above) for the government to share key information on climate actions and progress. The goal is to improve coordination across all levels of government and with Development Partners.