As the country examples throughout this report bring to life, climate change impacts are already profoundly affecting people and economies around the globe. Yet the current commitments by 176 countries under the Paris Agreement fall far short of the goal to keep warming well below 2°C, and preferably no more than 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels. To bridge this gap and contain climate change damage, countries must not only meet their current NDCs but also raise the bar – as quickly as possible.
Encouragingly, governments are finding ways to rise to this difficult task, raising ambition even as they turn their current climate plans into action. From Central America to Africa and the Pacific, Partnership countries are starting to use NDC implementation to adopt stronger climate targets, accelerated timelines, and pursue more transformative actions. As they do so, they set a path that countries everywhere, including the largest economies, can and should adopt with urgency.
NDCs AS AGENTS OF AMBITION
The five-year cycle built into the Paris Agreement encourages countries to present more ambitious NDCs by 2020. As Partnership countries deliver on their current NDCs, they are finding ways to raise ambition now, by:
- Embedding clear and strengthened mitigation targets in Partnership Plans;
- Accelerating timelines for meeting climate targets or implementing actions; and
- Broadening NDCs to include additional sectors or targets.
It might seem surprising that the process of implementation encourages greater ambition. But for Partnership members these are two sides of the same coin. Once countries lay the foundations for economy-wide climate action, including cross-government planning, budget tracking, data collection and reporting, as well as coordination with finance partners, they have the building blocks in place to take further action.
INCREASING AMBITION, TOGETHER
The planning processes countries embark on with the NDC Partnership are proving a catalyst for raising ambitions.
By bringing together key in-country actors, these processes often mobilize political will for climate action which can lead, in turn, to enhanced ambition. In some cases, as they use Partnership Plans to turn climate targets into concrete actions, governments are identifying new or bigger opportunities to reduce emissions or pursue climate-smart development.
As a result, some Members are assembling Partnership Plans more ambitious than the NDCs from which they originate. Others, like Honduras (see below), aim to upgrade their NDCs as they roll out climate action.
KNOWLEDGE PORTAL: GOOD PRACTICE DATABASE TO INSPIRE AMBITION
As nations emerge as leaders in NDC implementation, designing creative mitigation and adaptation solutions, other countries can learn from their successes.
The Good Practice Database is a searchable repository of such good practices, including lessons learned as governments overcome obstacles.
This brand-new product is a joint initiative of the NDC Partnership, the German Environment Ministry’s International Climate Initiative (IKI) NDC Support Cluster, the Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement (PATPA), and the Low Emissions Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP).
AMBITION IN ACTION: HONDURAS
In May 2018, Honduras made a pioneering commitment to raise ambition through its NDC Partnership Plan. The Central American country announced a stronger mitigation target as one of five priorities, along with improving institutional coordination, developing roadmaps for priority mitigation and adaptation actions, and signing memoranda of understanding with key development partners. Honduras was the first NDC Partnership country to finalize its Partnership Plan, approved by the Presidential Office for Climate Change and Secretariat of Natural Resources and the Environment.
The plan will become the roadmap to deliver on, and enhance, the government’s Paris Agreement commitments. With technical support from Partnership institutions including
GIZ, UNDP, and UN Environment, Honduras will present stronger climate commitments at the UN Climate Conference in November 2019 (COP25), a year ahead of the Paris Agreement deadline. Partners will help generate better baseline emission data and 2030 business-as-usual projections, enabling the government to strengthen its 2030 mitigation target of a 15 percent drop in GHG emissions excluding forestry and land use.
Forestry is a critical sector for the resource-rich nation, and a new REDD+ strategy will also scale ambition. With Partnership support, Honduras plans to expand its NDC target to achieve 1 million hectares of reforestation and afforestation by 2030, delivering socio-economic benefits for more people as well as greater climate mitigation.
HONDURAS: A WOMAN PICKS COFFEE BEANS IN SAN MARCOS. THE GOVERNMENT IS SUPPORTING FARMERS IN CAPACITY BUILDING AND AGRICULTURAL TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE CROP YIELDS, AND ULTIMATELY THEIR LIVELIHOODS, IN A CHANGING CLIMATE.
ACCELERATING TARGET TIMELINES
By April 2016, 190 countries had submitted intended climate commitments (INDCs) to the Secretariat of the UNFCCC. With a few exceptions, these established target dates of 2030 for meeting goals to reduce national GHG emissions and achieve specific adaptation objectives. However, as countries establish policies and design plans, programs, and projects to meet these goals, some, such as Uganda (see below), are shortening their original timelines.
AMBITION IN ACTION: UGANDA
Uganda’s Vision 2040 is a roadmap toward a sustainable, prosperous nation and middle-income economy that advances climate resilience in sectors including agriculture and livestock, forestry, tourism, infrastructure, water, energy, and health. In parallel, Uganda’s NDC prioritizes adaptation and sets mitigation targets including a 22 percent cut in GHG emissions by 2030 compared to business-as-usual.
By working with a number of NDC Partnership Development Partners to turn its economic vision and climate targets into action, the government is moving faster towards NDC implementation. Relevant government ministries, departments, and agencies as well as non-state actor representatives identified 49 key interventions to meet the country’s NDC targets. These are all included in Uganda’s Partnership Plan, which lays out some large-scale mitigation and resilience projects which could be considered ready for investment by development partners.
The upshot of this concrete plan is a significant jump in ambition. Some NDC goals originally scheduled for 2030 now fall within the timeframe of Uganda’s Partnership Plan, which runs through 2020 on the condition that Development Partners meet their commitments. These include targets to mainstream climate change across sectors, develop extreme weather early warning systems, and access international climate finance. The key partners moving forward include the governments of Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden as well as the EU, FAO, GGGI, UNDP, and AfDB, among others.
UGANDA: MIA SITS WITH HER SOLAR PANEL THAT SHE PURCHASED FROM WORKING AS A GARDENER. THIS TECHNOLOGY HAS SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED HER FAMILY’S STANDARD OF LIVING.
EXPANDING SCOPE OF CLIMATE ACTION
As countries identify sector needs and project pipelines to turn their NDC commitments into action, some are exploring ways to raise ambition in order to maximize impact and attract more funding. For example, they are using Partnership Plans to identify new sectors for climate action, or to scale programs such as renewable energy or adaptive water planning that can steer sectors in a low-carbon or climate resilient direction. These countries then work with the Partnership to attract comprehensive funding for their revised climate plans.
For instance, the Republic of the Marshall Islands has developed a Tile Til Eo 2050 Climate Strategy that sets out a pathway to 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero emissions. To achieve this goal – which goes beyond the country’s current NDC – the Ministry of Natural Resources and Commerce and the Marshalls Energy Company are working with Development Partners to draw up a detailed roadmap for electricity sector transformation.
Costa Rica, meanwhile, is working with the Partnership to map out a comprehensive approach to bring to life its long-term NDC vision of climate neutrality. Setting NDC implementation in the context of such an overarching goal helps drive progressively greater ambition.
AMBITION IN ACTION: COSTA RICA
Costa Rica is looking to take a big step toward climate neutrality by returning to the national net GHG emission levels of 2005 by 2021. In parallel, the government has set ambitious targets to increase resilience to climate change impacts, particularly among the most vulnerable populations and economic sectors.
To achieve these goals, Costa Rica has mapped out 28 priority actions in three areas with potential to transform the country’s approach to development: resilient and low-carbon cities; climate-smart rural territories; and integrated and adaptive water and territorial management. The NDC Partnership is supporting detailed analyses for potential supporters of each priority action. Together, these will form a comprehensive Investment Plan, including bankable projects. Building on this work, the IDB is assisting Costa Rica with laying the groundwork for a national strategy to achieve full decarbonization. The World Bank through its NDC Support Facility is supporting this effort via measures to electrify the transportation sector.
Costa Rica’s broad approach to a low-carbon transition holds promise for replication across Central America, where the World Bank and other Implementing Partners are building capacity to develop low-carbon policies and address market barriers.