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Low emission development strategies (LEDS): technical, institutional and policy lessons


This paper outlines how the concept of low emission development strategies (LEDS) has evolved in the climate policy discourse and explores how it could usefully add to the large number of existing strategies, action plans, and reporting documents that are already available.

The paper outlines gaps that LEDS could fill, the elements it could contain, and how LEDS can be prepared to ensure that they are effective and efficient in delivering their intended goals.

Although no single formula for a LEDS can apply for all countries, a crucial first step in creating a LEDS is to identify the purpose(s) and key stakeholders, which will guide the important elements to include in a LEDS. Depending on national circumstances, these could be:

  • Vision / goal: An over-arching vision or goal can help guide policy decisions across development and climate change priorities over the long-run.
  • Assessment of current situation: A clear understanding of major greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting sectors and socio-economic indicators is fundamental to determining a path forward.
  • Emission projections, mitigation potential and costs: Planned pathways for business-as-usual emissions can help provide a sense of the national emission trajectory, while mitigation potential and costs can be a first step towards identifying mitigation actions.
  • Vulnerability assessment: Indications of how a country may be impacted by climate change can help engage stakeholders, including the general public, and can help identify adaptation needs and the range of possible adaptation outcomes.
  • Priority programs and policies: An indication of policy priorities for mitigation and adaptation integrated with an economic development strategy can identify synergies and trade-offs.
  • Finance: Alignment of priority policies with national budget and an indication of financing needs can be important information to communicate to domestic and international stakeholders.
  • Institutional arrangements: An explanation of which institutions are responsible for implementing actions can provide clarity on responsibilities across government and contribute to effective policy implementation.

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