The Paris Agreement on climate change invites countries to communicate mid-century long-term low GHG emissions development strategies – also known as the long-term strategies or next generation scenarios. A long-term strategy includes a long-term vision of where a country aims to be by mid-century, examines pathways to raise climate ambition, advances sustainable development outcomes, and is tailored to a country’s context. A long-term strategy is developed and elaborated based on a country’s priorities and national circumstances. This strategy is essential to inform policy and decision-making to limit warming well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. In the process of developing these strategies, they begin to reveal the sheer scale of transformation required to achieve the global ambition as set out in the Paris Agreement. It is crucial to start thinking about the long-term strategies now to avoid locking in investments into carbon-intensive technologies and infrastructure that is incompatible with a climate-resilient future.
To that end, governments, non-state actors and development partners came together on July 10-11 in Bangkok to discuss and reflect on low-carbon development trajectories for future generations. The two-day gathering was organised by the 2050 Pathways Platform, the LEDS Global Partnership, the NDC Partnership, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Resources Institute (WRI), in cooperation with the UN Climate Change (UNFCCC).
There were rich discussions on: i) the process of developing the long-terms scenarios; ii) the integration with existing national and sectoral guiding policies and processes; iii) the economy-wide approach required; iv) the flexibility required to recalibrate the approach based on emerging data; and v) the prioritization of near term actions. It became apparent throughout these discussions that there is no one size fits all, however the common objectives identified thus far include near- and long-term planning and investments, directing policies at national and sector levels, and setting a vision for a just transition to a climate-resilient, low-carbon future with sustained economic growth.
For a long-term strategy to be impactful it needs to link to, and build on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) and other national and sectoral plans. The core elements to consider in a long-term strategy development process include stakeholder engagement, collecting input, good governance, developing scenarios, adaptation, sectoral strategies, and finance and investment strategies. One of the key benefits identified to developing long-term strategies is to establish a long-term vision that guides near-term actions and ensures that investments with far-sighted horizons are guided by this vision so as to avoid lock-in and stranded assets. In addition, this strategy enables countries to identify opportunities for the development and application of new technologies and to avoid possible future loss of revenue from displaced technologies and jobs.
This meeting was a first step towards understanding the building blocks for developing robust long-term strategies that lead to a climate-resilient future. If you would like technical assistance to kick-start your long term strategy planning process, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.