mitigation

Framework to identify mitigation-adaptation synergy potential

Study develops an analytical framework of enabling conditions necessary for synergies between mitigation and adaptation

By Elizabeth Kahurani

The new IPCC report calls for “sustainable-development trajectories that combine adaptation and mitigation to reduce climate change and its impacts."

Indeed, it is becoming more apparent that linking mitigation and adaptation is a more effective and efficient approach to climate change. Discussions at UN climate talks are heavy on the benefits of synergy; and climate finance mechanisms are increasingly looking for projects with linkages to both.

A field extension officer (middle) explains cacao agroforestry farming methods in Cameroon. Findings of a new study show that in developing countries, institutional setup is an area with strong potential for synergy between mitigation and adaptationGiven that initial framing has had the two elements working in parallel, there is need to identify where there exists strong potential to actualize harmony needed to optimize strengths and benefits of mitigation and adaptation approaches.

In a journal paper titled “A systematic analysis of enabling conditions for synergy between climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries” published in Environmental Science and Policy, Dr Lalisa Duguma and  his colleagues from the ASB Partnership have developed an analytical framework within which they explore four conditions necessary for integrating mitigation and adaptation. These are: i) policies and strategies ii) institutional arrangement iii) Financing iv) Programs and projects.

“After a comprehensive review of publications on climate change integration, particularly those on mitigation and adaptation, it was clear that these four conditions are crucial for countries to move towards synergy,” says Dr Duguma.

The four conditions were examined using eight indicators (see table below) to score the synergy potential of 53 developing countries that were selected based on national communications submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Overall, the countries had strongest potential for synergy between mitigation and adaptation on institution setup, mainly because countries had committees to work on national level climate change strategies and also to participate and ensure compliance to mutual climate agreements and submissions to international conventions. Moreover, two thirds of the countries surveyed had programs dealing with both mitigation and adaptation.

The countries were found to be weak on the potential to finance both strategies simultaneously and to develop policies. “This weak link in potential could be because most of these countries are in the early stages of developing policies on climate change and normally funding/budget allocation is informed by already existing policies. Moreover, majority of these countries are almost entirely dependent on multilateral funding, most of which is given for mitigation activities,” explains Susan Wambugu, a co-author in the study.

A comparative assessment between the countries showed interesting variations, with middle-income countries having strong potential to synergy. “Other studies that we have done show that these fast growing economies exhibit strong potential for synergy as they want to boost their image to be seen as responsible global citizens; also to maintain credibility and attract more climate funding,” says Dr Meine vanNoordwijk who was part of the study. Strong potential was also identified with countries exposed to high climate change vulnerability such as the small island states. “Having been among the most affected by climate change already, these countries have no much option but to take on adaptation even as they implement mitigation approaches,” Dr vanNoordwijk explains.

Other least developed countries had a weak potential score for synergy. According to the authors, this is contrary to expectations given that they are also among high climate risk countries and they are strong proponents for adaptation in international policy debates. However, the study is quick to point out that limited large-scale programs within which they implement climate objectives could explain the tendency seen in these countries.

Further analysis of the synergy score against development and environmental indices such as GDP, Human Development Index, and Environmental Performance Index (EPI) confirm the findings of the study. “Among the countries studied, Indonesia and Jamaica are exceptional on this assessment. Indonesia for example has an independent body reporting directly to the office of the president. Such institutional measures with political will and commitment have largely contributed to a high EPI score for the country,” says Dr Peter Minang, one of the study co-authors. “ A similar trend is seen among least developed countries, with countries like Malawi and Ghana emerging with strong synergy potential scores in an environment where the governments have made deliberate efforts to integrate development and climate strategies,” he says.

As climate change discussions focus on ways to generate meaningful impact from actions to deal with the challenge, this framework and evidence presented is among pioneer studies that governments and practitioners could benefit from in an endeavor to gain lost opportunities from the previous siloed approach to mitigation and adaptation and embrace far more beneficial avenues of a synergy approach.

“With the push for global climate communities towards synergies between mitigation and adaptation measures in order to effectively address climate change, it is important that the necessary enabling conditions be known and made to use. This paper is therefore the first attempt to come up with such key elements to promote synergies particularly from developing countries context” Says Dr. Duguma. 

 

Enabling conditions with their respective indicators used to determine countries’ synergy potentials 

Enabling conditions

Indicators used for each of the enabling conditions for synergy

Policies and Strategies

Does the country have a climate policy that addresses both M+A?

 

Is there a common climate strategy/action plan for both M+A?

 

Has the country submitted NAMA (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions)/REDD+

 

R-PP (Readiness Preparation Proposal) and/or NAPA to the UNFCCC?

Institutional arrangements

Is there a national-level committee addressing both M+A

 

Is there an implementing body (institution/agency/department/unit) addressing M+A together?

Financing (Funds)

Is there a climate fund for both M+A?

Programs and projects

Is there a joint program addressing M+A?

 

Are there subnational projects addressing both M+A

 

 

Available on open access

Duguma, L. A., Wambugu, S. W., Minang, P. A., van Noordwijk, M. (2014) A systematic analysis of enabling conditions for synergy between climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries.Environmental Science & Policy 42 (2014) 138-148.

 

UN talks make inroads for Landscapes

At the UNFCCC COP 19 talks, negotiations on Land use, Land-use change and Forestry (LULUCF) saw a decision made to have ‘modalities and procedures for possible additional LULUCF activities under the CDM’ Read more here

“This move is encouraging as it means developing countries will have a pivotal role and more value placed on the role of landscapes in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts,” says Peter Minang, Co-leader, Environmental Services at the World Agroforestry Centre and Global Coordinator, ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins.

Another major development was the inaugural Global Landscape Forum held on the margins of COP 19. The forum brought together leading scientists and institutions as well as policy/decision makers who provided clear direction towards a landscape approach as a next best alternative and or compliment to existing efforts dealing with climate change.

Key messages highlighted ways in which a landscape approach could help move forward the UNFCCC process for instance by bringing discussions on agriculture back on the negotiating table. The approach is also essential to sustainable development goals in several ways well summed up by the recommendation “the landscape approach addresses development across scale ranging from farm to watershed and land-use systems, thus showing viable solutions to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals,” Read more here

New report on implementing Landscape Approach

Further, the ASB Partnership released a report: Towards a Landscape Approach for Reducing Emissions: A Substantive Report of the Reducing Emissions from All land Uses (REALU) project with lessons learnt and recommendations from a three year pilot study at benchmark sites across the tropics in the Amazon, WestAfrica and South-east Asia. Landscapes represent complex systems with sets of social, biophysical, human ecological and economic dimensions that interact with each other

According to the report, “Landscapes represent complex systems with sets of social, biophysical, human ecological and economic dimensions that interact with each other. Such interactions happen at multiple levels -the plot, farm, field levels and beyond. Integration enables understanding of such cross-scale interactions which determine numerous landscape-level patterns and changes. Understanding and building on interactions and feedback loops is thus important for success.”

Lessons and recommendations below are drawn from an analysis of landscape approach feasibility studies in the four countries that in a participatory way looked at potential for emission reduction from all land uses including peatlands; financial & non-financial emission reduction incentives needed at landscape level; enabling conditions for effective landscape-based strategies; as well as methodology and tools for implementing and collaborating with the various stakeholders and institutions across scales.

“One important tool generated by the project that has been recommended for use by the Indonesia government for local governments to plan their actions to reduce GHG for entire provinces in Indonesia is the Land Use Planning for Low Emission Development Strategy (LUWES) which helps to explore land use options for supporting low carbon intensive development,” explains Florence Bernard, Associate Scientist at ASB Partnership for the tropical Forest Margins.

 

Lessons

Recommendations

Incentives targeting non-forest high carbon stock land uses such as agroforestry, tree-based systems and peatlands were found to be attractive, potentially effective and efficient options for achieving REDD+, global climate change objectives and promoting sustainable livelihoods

Further linkage of REDD+ discussions in the international arena with the emerging Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) framing is needed to create rules and incentives for landscape approaches and investments.

 

Success in emissions reduction initiatives will need entry points beyond a sole emissions reduction focus given that carbon and its associated finance is unlikely to be a

priority concern for local stakeholders

Emissions reduction planning and implementation needs to be integrated into the wider development aspirations of stakeholders if it is to succeed

 

Landscape approaches would benefit from greater effectiveness and efficiency when synergy is sought between emission reductions and other environmental, social and economic objectives including climate change adaptation and green economy approaches.

 

A co-investment approach is emerging as a necessary condition for achieving multiple landscape-level objectives

Key frameworks and models should be developed to enable better private sector involvement (financing and sharing of technical expertise) in emission reductions and sustainable development schemes at the landscape level. This could allow and involve innovative financial mechanisms for public and private investments. Such a mechanism could allow integration and optimization between currently separated mitigation and adaptation funding streams for example.

 

Landscape and jurisdictional approaches to emissions reduction can be complementary

Better research is required to understand and identify potential options for landscapes and jurisdictional interactions under different political economy contexts.

 

 

REDD+ readiness (and indeed future climate change readiness –

NAMA, climate smart agriculture and others) needs to invest more in sub-national level

REDD+ designs in order to enable landscape approaches for emissions reduction to

thrive. Current readiness focuses more on international accountability structures and

national levels, which does not automatically translate to a nested-systems architecture

required to address drivers of deforestation at the landscape level.

 

ASB congratulates Prof. Fahmuddin Agus on Research Professor award

Please join us to congratulate Prof. Fahmuddin Agus, a representative of the ASB Partnership Global Steering Group on his inauguration as a research professor in hydrology and soil conservation. The inauguration was held by The Ministry of Agriculture of Indonesia and Indonesian Sciences Institute (LIPI) in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia on September 26th, 2012. 

Prof. Fahmuddin (left) being congratulated by familyDuring his inauguration, Prof. Fahmuddin talked about Soil and Carbon Conservation for Climate Change Mitigation to Support Sustainable Agricultural Development. He emphasized the importance of low carbon degraded lands for agricultural expansion and avoiding the use of forest and peatland for agricultural development. He also pointed out several mitigation options that potentially  contribute to economic development, agricultural and environmental  sustainability. These include rehabilitation of degraded lands for plantations, intensification of agriculture, especially among the smallholders and soil organic matter management. He added that appropriate selection of the options of mitigation-adaptation interface will contribute to Indonesia's national pledge of 26% emission reduction by 2020. 

Born in Bukittinggi, Sumatera,  Fahmuddin  earned his BS degree from Andalas University in Indonesia in 1983. His master and doctoral degrees in soil science were from North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, USA  in 1989 and 1993.  He is a senior soil scientist at Indonesian Soil Research Institute (ISRI). He coordinates ISRI’s climate change related research under the ASB Partnership consortium and under the national research programme. He is also actively engaged in sustainable natural resources management and climate  change mitigation fora, including the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and a lead author of the 2013 IPCC Supplement on Wetland Emissions.    

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