FEATURE: A ‘Quick Start’ approach to implementing NDCs – Insights from Zambia
Zambia is one of the three pilot countries in Africa to undertake a readiness assessment of NDC implementation using the CDKN and Ricardo Quick-Start Guide. ADI’s Cathrine Mutambirwa reflects on the process and outcomes of the project.
Zambia is moving ahead with its efforts to plan for the implementation of its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). With support from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), Zambia undertook a gap analysis, with a broad range of stakeholders, in order to understand its “readiness” in relation to adaptation, finance and governance. This information was then used to prioritise implementation actions. The approach followed (and piloted) the guidance provided in the Quick-Start Guide on planning for NDC implementation, which was developed by CDKN and Ricardo Energy and Environment.
The preliminary gap analysis completed by the project team was used in discussions with stakeholders to gain consensus on the current and desired future state of implementation, based on national priorities, policies and strategies. A follow-up NDC Planning Workshop, held on 19th April in Lusaka, provided more in-depth analysis, and space for prioritisation of actions.
Participants made several observations when they discussed and applied the Quick-Start Guide in Zambia. One of the key observations was that the recently launched National Policy on Climate Change provided a clear vision of the country’s aspirations. The Climate Change Policy has thus created the enabling environment for the country to advance in implementing its relevant provisions under the Paris Agreement. A key outcome here is the close alignment of the NDC with the National Climate Change Policy processes – a potential success factor moving forward.
Another critical observation was that the CDKN support came at the right time – being well aligned with prevailing technical and political aspirations for NDC implementation. Furthermore, Zambia is becoming more receptive to external technical support, especially where this is demand-led and designed to work within the existing local context, and led by local expertise. These local experts, who were critical in analysing the gaps and identifying the actions to be carried out in order to implement the NDC, will continue to be key in the implementation, monitoring and development of future NDC-related plans.
Tools like the Quick-Start Guide are helpful in strengthening national capacity to implement NDCs. The Zambia project was valuable in this respect. The use of the Guide should be encouraged elsewhere in order to build countries’ capacities and also to guide the identification of actions to implement NDCs. In Zambia, project participants commended the use of the Guide as a training and support tool.
Finally, the Zambian government welcomed the NDC Quick-Start Guide pilot project as it built on ongoing planning processes and assisted in tackling the preparatory work for the NDC implementation plan, including guiding the identification of key actions. The application of the Quick-Start Guide stimulated deeper interrogation of the finance, governance and adaptation issues in Zambia and their alignment with existing processes, policies and institutions, as well as inter-sectoral linkages. The process revealed the enablers and barriers to NDC implementation.
In his closing remarks during the NDC Planning Workshop held earlier this year, the Chief Natural Resource Officer, Mr Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, noted that the actions identified will guide Zambia towards addressing some of the gaps and building on on-going processes to fully meet its climate change commitments.