Framework for Low Emission Development Strategies for LDCs

The governments of least developed countries must wage their battle against climate change on several fronts. The sustainability strategy of a host country must include tactics designed to strengthen both its ability to prevent and respond proactively to the threat of climate change (resilience), and its ability to adapt to that threat over time. In addition, the strategy must include actions that mitigate the harmful effects of its CO2 emission.

These adaptation and resilience strategies (NAPAs) and mitigation strategies (NAMAs) fit together to create a holistic approach that is a low- emission development strategy [LEDS]. By creating and implementing a LEDS at the regional or national level, the government of LDCs and developing countries can establish a comprehensive, integrative plan that will steer its transition to low-carbon economic development.

As tools for adaptation, NAPAs should clearly identify the changes that a country must make in order to prepare for and respond to the environmental, economic, and social effects of a changing climate. A clearly articulated NAPA improves decision-making process by increasing vision, strength, visibility, and communication. The NAPA process should be informed by threats and driven by capabilities, building on the current strengths while reducing risk. Planning should be in line with a nation’s specific priorities. Moreover, the NAPA shall focus on measures to improve a nation’s resilience—its fundamental capacity to rebound from disaster and respond to urgent needs.

STRATEGY-I: Adaptation vs. Resilience

The LDCs and developing countries must adapt to cope with the enormous threat posed by climate change. Yet there is an increasing awareness that while adaptation is a fundamentally necessary process, it is not the kind of call to action that climate change requires. Even with the most careful and thoughtful planning, adaptation will take time. Meanwhile, the nature and pace of climate change grow more severe by the day. Increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events and temperatures lead directly to drought, flooding, melting glaciers, forest fires, severe storms, and natural disasters. Indirectly, climate change leads to crop failure, food and water short- ages, loss of land and infrastructure, disease, and political instability—in essence, the destruction of the basic building blocks of our societies. The safety and security of our communities are at grave risk. Clearly, there is immediate work to be done. As such, there is a growing sense of urgency around resilience. Country like Bangladesh, Nepal and other LDCs must be resilient in the way they recover from and respond to the changing environment and climate change–related events, and they can—and must—take specific and immediate actions to bolster that resilience.

Therefore, developing countries and LDCs need a Holistic Climate Change Resilience Model through which it can enable them to prevent and respond to disaster in ways that draw on their resources and compensate for their vulnerabilities. With that in mind, the below capabilities-driven framework for resilience will be relevant in the context of LDCs. The resilience capabilities and measures within this framework should be well integrated and span the breadth and depth of the nation and its region.
The elements of this framework include the following:

Impact and risk assessment: Critical vulnerabilities, resources, and services are mapped out at the national, regional, and local levels, and national adaptation priorities are defined.

Risk management: The threats and potential impacts of climate change are understood, and risk management strategies are prioritized and developed. Risk is identified, communicated, and addressed through contingency planning.

Adaptation and development: Long-term strategies for adapting to a changing climate are developed. Implementation programs are designed and carried out.

Response management: Risks are clearly understood, and management strategies are put in place to manage their impacts. Incidents are managed in an integrated way with well- developed interagency coordination. Plans are tested and exercises conducted to gauge readiness and to guide future planning.

Prevention and protection: Climate change risks are reduced to the maximum extent practicable. Integrated measures protect essential infrastructure, services, and resources.

Management, capability, and preparedness: Stakeholders work together to proactively identify, assess, and address climate change risks and define strategies that promote resilience.

Performance measures are in place; the right people are in the right roles.

Governance: Roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities are clearly defined and understood. Governance structures and processes are adhered to throughout disruptive events.

Nepal is less advanced in its resilience capabilities—and which face added difficulty in implementing the strategies— can benefit significantly from the use of a climate change resilience model and the development of NAPAs.

STRATEGY-II: Climate Change Mitigation for Low Emission Development [LED]

Although, NAMA is not fully applicable model of climate change mitigation in the context of LDCs (but very much appropriate for Developing countries) owing to the early stage of economic development in the country, however, NAMAs can take a wide variety of forms which can occur in any sector and can vary in terms of scale, approach, and the extent to which they are used to implement change. No formal definition of NAMAs exists, which makes quantifying their resulting emission reductions extremely challenging. The NAMAs produced to date (and submitted to the UNFCCC) tend to represent “statements of intent”— commitments or ambitions to reduce emissions, whether in a physical or policy-driven framework. They may be government endorsements, or pledges that something will happen once regional or global policies are further developed or better understood. While these commitments represent very positive and meaningful starts, they often do not clearly articulate how action will be achieved or implemented, or explicitly outline how and when funding will be spent. Indeed, few of the NAMAs proposed to date have shown the detail necessary for implementation. Setting out this detailed “nuts and bolts” type of information will be essential to overcoming inertia and enabling action.

A clear NAMA framework is the key to providing consistency across a vast range of different situations and needs of a country like Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia etc. LDCs must design its NAMAs within its unique parameters and in fact, this could be developed after fulfilling the most demanding climate change mitigation measures in the country. The figure below exhibits three verticals of ‘climate change mitigation’ aspects, which shall be addressed by the country as a priority measures. Indeed, for successfully implementing the individual projects/programmes under the three verticals, country must also have a setup of good governance, coupled with readily available investment in the form of grant and funding from multilateral financing agencies. As depicted in the figure below, country shall focus on the introduction and upscaling of Renewable Energy technologies, energy efficiency management and land use, land use change and forestry as the key areas for developing low emission environment. In addition, sectors like transportation and agriculture shall also be important to include in the portfolio mitigation strategies.

It is indentified that LDCs needs small, medium and large RE power generation projects [hydropower, wind] based on the feasibility as the first priority for LEDS. The deployment of decentralized power generation units like solar PV system, biomass based gasifier, solid waste management unit [including institutional biogas/bio-methanation plant], deployment of RETs [Improved Cookstove, CFLs] at domestic and institutional level are the top priorities of the country.

The energy efficiency [demand and supply side management] is another priority area for countries for LEDS. Countries shall have mandatory star rating system for labeling the efficiency of electrical appliances e.g., CFLs, Air conditioners [Heating and cooling system], refrigerators, water pumps etc. For this, LDCs needs an Energy Efficiency code for the appliances [connected to electricity or off grid-diesel run] under the energy policy of the country. Indeed, a similar code is necessary to the building and construction arena too, which is one of the major emitters of Green House Gases [GHGs]. Besides, the operating industries shall also make an obligatory attempt to renovate and retrofit the production/operation process to optimize the energy utilization, which will ensure energy demand management and eventually make the country benefited in the energy economics.

With increasing pervasiveness of mobile phones and the wide spread adoption of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) worldwide, the ICT sector is expected to contribute around 3% of the global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by the year 2020. While globally the telecommunication sector contributes around 0.7% of the global GHG emissions, the corresponding figure in many LDCs has not yet official estimated. While this figure might appear to be not so significant in absolute terms for LDCs, the rapid growth of telecommunications envisaged over the next decade calls for an effort to contain and reduce the carbon footprint. Carbon emissions in the telecom sector will be mainly in three areas, namely network operations, manufacturing of telecom equipments and disposal of telecom waste. Therefore as proactive measures, LDCs shall underline the need to green Telecommunications and set the broad direction and goals. For instance, in the next 10 years, at least 50% of all rural towers and 30% of the urban towers are to be powered by hybrid power (Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) + Grid power), while all rural towers and 50% of urban towers are to be hybrid powered by 2020. This has cited here as an indicative example.

Land use, land use change and forestry [LULUCF] is in a much advance stage in developing countries, especially in case of REDD. Indeed, country like Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal and India too, can consider introducing Monitoring, Reporting and Verification [MRV] system in place to get the real economic benefits from avoided deforestation. However, the afforestation and reforestation [AR] activities have not been taking place in these countries. In fact, for creating an enabling environment for AR forestry activities, country can go for developing its national/regional baseline under the Good Practice Guidelines of LULUCF sector of UNFCCC. A similar scope is present in the dedicated biofuel crop plantation and introducing blending of bio-fuel with fossil fuels. All LDCs shall have 10-20% mandatory blending, for which, a scope of separate strategy document will make sense.

In addition, the transportation sector of LDCs needs a paradigm shift in its operations by introducing energy efficient fuel utilization code as well as initiating a pilot mandatory mass [bus] transit system. In the agriculture sector, the irrigation pump efficiencies and replacement of inorganic fertilizer are also two interesting opportunities to test upon.

Framework for Enabling Actions:

Developing countries and LDCs shall consider the following framework to creating enable actions-

1. Establish a Solid Understanding: First and foremost, Governments of LDCs and developing countries must understand the overarching framework for action that is proposed. Without a basic understanding of the structures and tools in place, countries cannot create the kind of tailored, targeted mitigation and adaptation plans that are necessary to prevent and fight the encroaching effects of climate change. The sharing and exchange of information is the key: By asking questions and speaking to others who have already taken action and received funding, governments can better understand what they need to do in order to get support, take appropriate action, and increase their resilience. This is true for countries in all stages of development, wherever they are in the process of NAPA, NAMA, or LEDS creation. Climate change is a global issue with profound local implications. In our interconnected world, information sharing is critical.

2. Evaluate the Impact: Second, government must evaluate how these frameworks for action can be leveraged to achieve the maximum impact. As such, the risks to a country’s economy, political structure, geography, and population must be clearly understood. Appropriate NAPAs, NAMAs, and LEDS cannot be identified and designed if a country’s most pressing mitigation and adaptation pain points—its urgent risks—have not been accurately diagnosed.

3. Capture the Opportunity: Once the risks have been identified and assessed, whether quantitatively or qualitatively, the next step is to understand how to seize the opportunity and implement real action. The process shall be similar to carrying out a gap analysis: The country should evaluate what it has and what it needs. Decision makers should evaluate whether there are appropriate governance structures in place to apply for and distribute funding, as well as to implement project activities. Relevant questions include these: How can we drive this process? Do we need to set up new entities? What kind of funding is available, and how can we get what we need? How do we design, develop, and implement NAMAs, NAPAs, and LEDS? What reporting is required? Capacity building and technology transfers should be integrated into the plans, since these will impact all stages of the “action value chain”—from assessing problems, to defining what can be done, to applying for funding, to reporting on progress. When applying for international funds, it is imperative for Nepal to provide very explicit details of why the money is needed, how much is needed, and how the funding should be staged. It may be prudent to provide evidence that domestic funding alone is insufficient.

4. Realize the Benefits Once the opportunities available are seized, they can realize the benefits. For example, by sharing ideas and best practices, LDCs can enhance their credibility and standing within their region as well as internationally. Efforts to pinpoint strengths and diagnose weaknesses can ultimately lead to improved governance and accelerated development around energy and sustainability, which creates enduring economic and environmental benefits. In addition, LDCs should capitalize on opportunities to earn revenues from crediting schemes, monetizing emission reductions if possible. Money must be viewed as a catalyst for transformation: By capitalizing on the opportunity to access funding, a country can ensure a more sustainable future.
Packaged Funds and Flow

The current funding landscape is exciting and complex. Various bilateral and multilateral funds are now available, and the Green Climate Fund has the potential to act as an important financing mechanism. In addition, the fast-start funding promised in Copenhagen is now very real and has begun to move through existing channels. However, while a significant amount has already been pledged, very little has so far been deposited or spent. The existing bilateral and multilateral funds servicing mitigation, adaptation, REDD, capacity building, and technology transfer will likely be consolidated into two primary channels— one for mitigation and one for adaptation.

As the international community enters yet another round of negotiations to carve out a battle plan for fighting climate change, government of developing and LDCs should arm itself with the knowledge and tools necessary to capitalize on the unprecedented funding that is currently being made available. By understanding the tools available to effect real change, LDCs can competitively position itself in the dynamic and important negotiating landscape and tap into growing coffers.

Commitments and intentions to fight climate change are an admirable and necessary start, but the clock is ticking, and LDCs must now take action. By preparing and implementing robust and actionable plans for adaptation and mitigation that take a holistic view of its unique needs and challenges, LDCs can increase its resilience, arming itself against climate change’s myriad impacts and consequences while laying the foundation for a more sustainable economic and environmental future.

Keshav C Das


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