Developing countries exploring pathways to climate compatibility

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Co-benefits lab: sharing methods and learnings

During May MAPS hosted a research lab on the topic of co-benefits and mitigation actions. The three day workshop was held in Bogota, Colombia and organised by South African MAPS researchers. The Co-benefits Lab brought experts and decision-makers together from Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Chile, South Africa, Brazil, India and Sri Lanka in order to share their experiences in identifying, selecting and prioritising actions to mitigate climate change.

At the core of the workshop stood the question of how climate change policies can benefit socio-economic development. Decision-makers and researchers have tried to understand so-called “co-benefits” of public policies for emissions reductions for a couple of years now. Understanding the climate policies and their co-benefits is necessary when it comes to choosing nationally appropriate mitigation actions which can qualify for international support under the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Research and practice in climate policy indicates that a simplistic perspective on emissions reductions does not advance the implementation of mitigation policies. A possible key to successful implementation is aligning the mitigation measures with other development goals and policies. Identifying, selecting and prioritising mitigation actions is key in many climate policy processes in developing countries at the moment. This workshop brought the developmental perspective back to the centre of the discussion as we try to better understand the trade-offs between reducing emissions and promoting socio-economic development.

The first of the three days consisted of countries sharing their nationally developed approaches to the identification, prioritisation and selection of mitigation actions. This revealed a high level of uncertainty and a great need to support initial thinking with elements from matured processes. The second day continued with mini-training sessions on Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), the Action Impact Matrix (AIM) and Gold Standard methodologies which enriched perspectives and discussions. Afterwards, countries went back to the drawing board to present their take-home messages and, where possible, how they are planning to integrate the newly learnt tools and methods into thinking and processes back home.

Going forward, the common plan in all MAPS-affiliated countries is to improve stakeholder consultation and qualitative information collection processes by applying some of the elements of MCDA and AIM. Additional, intensive discussions around the opportunities and limitations of identifying the financial value of co-benefits of mitigation actions took place, and are expected to be continued in the future. Subsequently, quantitative data collection and research associated with the monetisation of co-benefits was identified during the workshop as a major topic for future work and immediately added to the work plan in some of the countries.

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