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FEATURE: Identifying the best routes to climate compatible development

In the first of two pieces reporting on CDKN’s workshop on Climate Compatible Development (CCD) in Ethiopia, Mónica Andrade, Regional Coordinator of CDKN Latin America and the Caribbean, outlines delegates’ views on the drivers of, and barriers to, successful CCD implementation

More than 30 representatives from countries across Africa, LAC and Asia met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week to share experiences and promote collaboration related to climate compatible development (CCD) strategies and plans. CDKN and the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) convened the gathering of government representatives, NGOs, multilateral organisations and donors. A key message to emerge is that climate change is not an environmental issue; rather it is an economic and planning challenge that requires ministries of finances and planning to play a leading role.

In his opening speech, Mr. Ato Dessalegn Mesfin, Deputy Director General of the EPA, highlighted the commitment of his country to increase resilience to and build capacity to adapt to climate change while following a green growth development path. Ethiopia is developing a Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy, addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives. The goal is to improve the living conditions of people and achieve middle-income status by 2025, based on carbon-neutral growth.

Participants at the two-day meeting discussed the drivers for adopting CCD and the opportunities presented by doing so, using as a reference CDKN’s Working Paper on CCD. Three case studies of CCD implementation were presented: the Kenyan National Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan; Colombian Adaptation Plans – the case of Cartagena; and Nepal’s Climate Change Policy and National Adaptation Program of Action. Although the characteristics of these countries are very different, the factors that drove them to adopt CCD, and the challenges they have faced, are very similar.

Drivers and opportunities

Increasingly, countries are recognising that they must adapt to become more resilient to climate change, achieve growth via a low greenhouse gas emissions pathway and reduce poverty. Participants identified specific drivers of CCD as: the need to have sufficient energy and food and to manage natural resources efficiently; strong leadership and political will; plus the desire to benefit from new economic opportunities and to improve access to climate finance. They considered south-south and global collaboration to be key to promoting CCD within and across regions, as this would encourage sharing of lessons learned, best practice and information.

They also deemed accountability to be a driver for ensuring CCD implementation. For example, in Colombia, the government entity that controls budget execution and performance (Contraloría) also ensures implementation is conducted properly when public resources have been allocated to pursue CCD. Delegates discussed the importance of a sub-national approach to support CCD at national level. They felt that sub-national policy should inform national policy from a sectorial and territorial perspective.

The factors identified as leading to successful CCD initiatives included: clear allocation of resources; provision of incentives; access to user-friendly information that is well packaged and presented; identifying individuals beyond institutions, with convening power, who will act as champions for CCD; understanding the needs of target groups; and using good quality data to make the business case for CCD. Having access to relevant information was deemed imperative to putting in place effective CCD processes. More than 100 tools for CCD planning are now available around the world. In 2011, CDKN, IDS and Ecofys launched an Online User Guide for National Planning. This tool was explored and discussed by the participants during the workshop. Other knowledge-sharing tools, such as the Climate Change Knowledge Navigator, were also presented.

Barriers and challenges

Participants considered the barriers to CCD to be linked to high transaction costs; the complexity of processes; pressure for delivery of products; opposed interests; trade-offs; deficiency of private-sector involvement; a lack of awareness, trusted information about risks and state capacity; short-termism; institutional and technological constraints; and ineffective or absent systems for monitoring and evaluation. The challenge of human resources and inter-institutional coordination was also highlighted.

In Colombia, project coordination is a real challenge, as a small team within the Climate Change Directorate has to work with over 70 coordination committees. In the case of Kenya, the Ministry of Environment is also very small, and must work closely with other institutions to make the processes more efficient. Participants also identified language as a barrier; specifically jargon about CCD that is not generally well known or understood.

Carl Wesselink, Regional Director of CDKN Africa, closed the meeting by calling for action to encourage more strategic south–south collaboration. In the coming years he said that CDKN would focus on providing a platform for strategic thinking, where all those engaged in promoting CCD could reflect, engage, discuss, learn, and then go back and do better.

Read the second part of this feature – OPINION: Learning lessons in climate financing from Africa where Louise Brown, Research Analyst with the World Resources Institute, relates her experiences at CDKN’s workshop on climate finance in East Africa.

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