UNFCCC, UNDP Highlight Long-Term Strategies to Meet Climate Goals
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
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In a series of articles, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa explains that LTSs and NDCs are mutually reinforcing, in that LTSs provide a framework and direction for subsequent NDCs, while “increasingly ambitious” NDCs are a means to achieve LTSs.

Benin, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Mexico, the UK and the US have already submitted LTSs.

According to UNDP LTS experts, it is critical to integrate adaptation into LTSs along with mitigation goals.

17 April 2018: The World Resources Institute (WRI) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the UNFCCC, are developing resources to help policymakers integrate long-term strategies (LTSs) into national development plans. A recently launched WRI website details information, publications and perspectives on LTSs. In a series of op-eds, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa describes how LTSs can help achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Espinosa highlights the Paris Agreement’s three longer-term goals, namely: limiting the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C; increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and foster climate-resilient and low emissions development, in a way that does not threaten food production; and making financial flows consistent with low emissions and climate-resilient development pathways. She reiterates that achieving the 2°C temperature goal will require global emissions to peak by 2020 and decrease to zero by the end of the century, while limiting warming to 1.5°C will require reducing emissions to zero by 2050.

Integrating adaptation into LTSs provides a way to align with long-term national development plans, as well as with the SDGs and Sendai Framework.

Espinosa underscores that LTSs and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are mutually reinforcing in that LTSs provide a framework and direction for subsequent NDCs, while “increasingly ambitious” NDCs are a means to achieve LTSs. She notes that LTSs must also, inter alia: convey a clear signal to economic actors; reflect the long-term aspirations of all sectors of society; achieve a balance of emissions and removals as quickly as possible; address how each country will meet its energy needs; address transport challenges; transcend political cycles; and go beyond the interests of groups and individuals. [WRI Blog Post by UNFCCC Executive Secretary] [UNFCCC News Article by UNFCCC Executive Secretary] [Climate Home News Article by UNFCCC Executive Secretary]

In order to help policymakers integrate LTSs into national policymaking, WRI is collaborating with the NDC Partnership to develop a suite of resources. A WRI LTS website features numerous resources, including news, working papers and expert perspectives. [WRI Website on LTSs]

According to UNDP’s experts on LTSs, it is critical to integrate adaptation into LTSs along with mitigation goals. If adaptation is not included in development planning decisions in the context of low-carbon growth, the impact of investments will be lost, they caution. Countries can integrate adaptation through such instruments as LTSs and national adaptation plans (NAPs), and the choice of policy instruments, the experts say, should be grounded in “principles that serve the context” and help countries best achieve their climate resilience goals. They note that integrating adaptation into planning provides: a way to scale up local adaptation actions; a platform to channel private-sector investments; and a way to align with existing long-term national development plans, as well as with the SDGs and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

UNDP experts explain that, while LTSs focus on a low-carbon future in 2050 to help guide policy decisions, and seek to align short-term policymaking with longer-term goals, NAPs include appraising and prioritizing adaptation options, determine the costs of various actions, lead to adaptation investments on the ground, and are usually aligned with countries’ five- or ten-year planning frameworks. While the two can be complementary, experts warn that LTSs and NAPs still represent a “siloed” approach by separating mitigation and adaptation. However, developing countries’ LTSs, more of which are expected to be submitted by 2020, will integrate adaptation more fully. Both LTSs and NAPs provide frameworks for iterative planning, which enables lessons to be “captured and translated” into future policymaking. [WRI Expert Blog] [UNDP Expert Blog]

Several countries have already communicated their mid-century strategies, including Benin (12 December 2016), Canada (17 November 2016), the Czech Republic (15 January 2018), France (28 December 2016), Germany (17 November 2016), Mexico (16 November 2016), the UK (17 April 2018) and the US (16 November 2016). [UNFCCC LTS Website]

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