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Catalyzing NDC action at the Asia LEDS Forum 2017

In this blog we identify the key outcomes from the Asia LEDS Forum 2017, which took place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from the 5-6 December 2017.

Almost 200 delegates from national and subnational governments, NGOs and the private sector came together for the Asia LEDS Forum 2017 to explore the theme of catalyzing support for NDC implementation in Asia. Participants shared experiences, knowledge, and best-practice resources related to their national NDCs in two days of lively and interactive sessions.

Mapping the state of NDC action in Asia

Dr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General, Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Government of Vietnam, kicked off proceedings by proposing several key themes for participants to think about during the forum. These revolved around mobilizing stakeholders, integrating national development plans into NDCs, monitoring NDC implementation, and accessing technical support.

The first plenary session brought together country representatives from across Asia to discuss how NDCs are shaping low emission development in the region. The session produced an engaging discussion around themes of integrating NDCs into national development plans, mobilizing climate finance, and strengthening local and subnational efforts towards NDC implementation.

Three key messages emerged from the discussions:

  • NDCs should not be viewed as separate from overall country development plans. They should be integrated into existing or proposed development strategies and not compete with other sectoral plans.
  • Strengthening the involvement of subnational and local actors in implementing NDCs is key, as they are often best placed to understand the context.
  • There are opportunities to unlock innovative streams of climate finance, including through private investment, structured government procurement, and donor financing.

Sandee Recabar, Planning Officer V and Chief, Implementation Oversight Division, Climate Change Office, Climate Change Commission, Government of Philippines, explained how the Government of Philippines is addressing these issues:

“In terms of NDC implementation, we have the ‘3R’ approach: Revisit, Reconstruct, and Report. For operationalizing the NDC, we have the ‘3Ps’: Policy, Private sector, and Purse (finance). Lastly, we also look at the ‘3Cs’ to see where we need to do further work and these are: Capacities, Convergence and collaboration, and Connection.”

Participants at the Asia LEDS Forum 2017

In the afternoon session, participants discussed climate budgeting and expenditure tracking as a tool for LEDS and NDC investment planning.

Attendees agreed that tools like the Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (CPIER) are effective towards monitoring, prioritizing, and mainstreaming climate and NDC priorities into both budgets and sectoral implementation plans. However, many countries expressed concern about the lack of experience in undertaking climate-related expenditure and institutional reviews, citing a limited capacity and access to data for undertaking such assessments.

Glenn Hodes of the UNDP offered some advice:

“Implementing Climate Change Financing Frameworks and reforms is a long-term process and it takes time to bring about full-scale reforms… but Asian countries are taking the lead in implementing innovative approaches this regard.”

How to pay for it: NDC financing, opportunities, challenges, and the way forward

The second day focused on NDC finance – a key issue for NDC implementation.

The first session showcased successful approaches to financing green, low emission urban development, as well as policy models applied in green urban development projects in Asia. Kinlay Dorjee, Mayor of Thimpu, Bhutan, shared his city’s journey towards becoming an eco-friendly city. By using renewable energy sources and focusing attention on reforming the city’s waste management system, Thimpu – although a small city – is bringing about holistic and inclusive development.

Nanda Jickhar, Mayor of Nagpur, India, described how Nagpur is becoming an emerging health and education hub as it develops into a smart city. As the first model solar city in India, Nagpur is also building its reputation as a city that focuses on smart environment, smart living, smart mobility, and smart governance.

The second session delved into synthesizing the key findings from the parallel energy and finance sessions at the workshop.

Alexia Kelly, Co-Chair of LEDS GP Finance Working Group explained that transitioning to a low carbon economy can open opportunities for new investment streams, particularly for private sector partnerships.

Jan Pavlik of GIZ talked about developing a Green Climate Fund (GCF) country proposal in Vietnam. He recommended that in developing project proposals for the GCF, local governments should consider the direct impact of mitigation and adaptation measures, adopt a paradigm shift in setting the project’s goals, and look at wider environmental, social, and economic benefits.

Gino van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General, closed the conference by echoing how the recently concluded COP23 in Bonn served as impetus to show that there is no stopping the Paris Agreement. He recognized the immense potential of local governments working hand in hand with national governments to create more ambitious targets, especially for rapidly-expanding economies in Asia.

Find out more about the Asia LEDS Partnership

Photos: Scott Muller (cover photo), Nguyen Thi Dieu Trinh (in text body)

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