‘First impressions’ from new LEDS GP Director Janet Strachan
Newly-appointed LEDS GP Co-Director Janet Strachan shares her impressions of her first two weeks on the job.
It’s been a whirlwind start as a Director of the Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP). The week started with my coming on board at the new co-secretariat at the Climate and Development Knowledge Network in London (our sister being the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) which has been providing support to LEDS GP members since the very beginning). It ended when I flew to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for the LEDS GP Annual Event, and the LEDS Latin American and Caribbean Regional Meeting.
As a Co-Director of the LEDS GP, I am charged with creating dynamic linkages among experts and practitioners, to facilitate active learning on the implementation of LEDS. One tool for this is our refreshed website, which was launched in Punta Cana. We are aiming for a lively, community- focused space and would love your comments on the new approach. Another is the Annual Event, which creates a space for those actively involved in LEDS to connect, share approaches and learn from each other as experts. The LEDS community in Africa, and the working groups on finance, benefit assessment and communications, and sub national working groups, will also have my attention.
The Annual Event could not have given me a better start. I had the chance to meet practitioners from across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia and to hear about their work; pick up practical tools to use in the creation of Low Emissions Development Strategies; and come to grips with the amazing value that resides in this community.
Coming out of Punta Cana (and then the Paris climate summit), getting to grips with the implementation of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will clearly be a priority, and the partnership discussed how it could provide support to help progress INDC investment plans – with a small number of countries to start with.
Another priority will be working through selected, ‘live’ LEDS processes and pulling in support from the technical working groups to create change on the ground. We explored how to actively mobilise the private sector and use the communication of benefits to motivate change and engagement. Colleagues from Egypt and Morocco would like to apply the Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) Model to estimate and communicate the benefits of constructing and operating renewable energy technologies. Others proposed the development of investment prospectuses to help crowd investment into specific LEDS. There was also a dialogue about increasing the synergies between mitigation and adaptation through more integrated action on different initiatives.
My own career has been focused especially on resilience building, and development of Green/Blue economies in developing countries, but most especially in small island developing states (SIDS). In these contexts, mitigation and adaptation are closely linked. It would be great to explore how the partnership can give strong support to SIDS in the implementation of LEDS and INDCs, given the special characteristics of these countries.
There are an extraordinary few years ahead of us, as we work our way into the Sustainable Development Goals, and deep restructuring of our economies, to ensure that our communities remain safe and able to thrive. We, the practitioners and experts of the LEDS GP, are at the very forefront of those efforts. I am looking forward to working with you all to champion low emission development and to create reflective learning that sparks transformational change.