Today is the first day of COP24! Technical experts and policymakers come from around the world with one goal in mind – progress. Progress in building solutions that give us that extra step toward a solution to climate change. There is no one solution, and discussions occur at multiple fronts over a range of topics.
The decision in COP21 started a shift toward low emission development (LED), which seeks to fundamentally change human behavior as well as industry practices to seek ways to minimize emissions. LED utilizes both mitigation and adaptation strategies. LEDs are also flexible where they can integrate with other planning tools and strategies. Successful execution of LED varies by country but has been widely known to depend on three factors: participation, prioritization, and implementation. Now at COP24, the LED project is bearing fruit. Tunisia successfully implemented LED and now serves as a case study for other counties to benchmark from.
One reason why Tunisia was so successful in adopting LED was that it simultaneously campaigned for public participation, petitioned to political powers, and targeted the youth. Early involvement of stakeholders is key to gain LED traction. LED is best approached by lobbying. Tunisia hosted workshops for the public and designed activities for children to learn the value of conservation. Tunisia’s approach propelled LED to the point where Tunisia added language combating climate change into its constitution!
The second factor requires careful prioritization and scheduling. LED is data heavy and inputs vary significantly depending on the country conditions and available resources. For some developing countries, LED may not be cost effective to implement. However, case studies like the success in Tunisia help strengthen viable LED strategies. Over time, as the LED strategy matures, LED becomes scalable and ultimately lowers the costs in its implementation.
The final and most difficult factor is implementing the LED. Implementing the LED can be messy because it requires careful coordination of multiple stages. The best way to overcome obstacles from implementation is to maintain good record keeping practices and concurrently build the institutional framework creating LED laws and regulations. Establishing the institutional framework helps build trust and hold the parties accountable. This cross-government work is critical to support LEDs.
Moreover, LED is attractive because it works synergistically with any economy. LEDs focuses on national priorities for sustainable development and simultaneously serves as a road map that spurs economic development by driving the economy in minimizing waste and pollution. LEDs are known to guide diversification of an economy.
Finally, LEDs is a pathway for funding and capacity needs. Since LEDs apply both mitigation and adaptation tools, LEDs can benefit stakeholders and prepare the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) that help qualify for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF). LEDs can be eligible for numerous financial sources such as the World Bank ESMAP, US Country Studies program, and “fast start” funding under the UNFCCC.
Tunisia has already implemented the LED strategy in February 2018. Ukraine, Guyana, Indonesia, Mexico, and the UK have already adopted LED strategies, and more parties are following suit.