Developing countries exploring pathways to climate compatibility

What is MAPS

Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) is a collaboration amongst developing countries to establish the evidence base for long-term transition to robust economies that are both carbon efficient and climate resilient. In this way MAPS contributes to ambitious climate change mitigation that aligns economic development with poverty alleviation.

MAPS emerged out of the experience of the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) in South Africa, which ran from 2005-2007. The LTMS received a favourable review from the World Bank that described the process as “pioneering”, “a major achievement and deserving of support and development” (Wang et al., 2008). Following this review the team was encouraged to share the lessons learnt with other countries from the South. This led to the MAPS country processes which ran over the period 2010-2015: Implicacoes Economicas e Sociales (IES-Brasil) in Brazil, MAPS Chile in Chile, Planificacion Ante el Cambio Climatico (PlanCC) in Peru, and inputs to the Estrategia Colombiana de Desarrollo Bajo en Carbono (ECDBC) in Colombia.

MAPS is, uniquely, a programme developed in the South, for the South. At the heart of the MAPS approach is the co-production of knowledge. Inherent in this approach is deep respect for local knowledge of local context and a facilitated collaboration between researchers and stakeholders. The collaboration fundamentally transforms how knowledge is produced and disemminated, creating greater levels of buy-in through an inclusive dialogue. Professional facilitation is invaluable to design and guide the process that articulates this dialogue. The evolving conversations bring together individuals that would not traditionally interact, developing connections and bringing about new ways of working, innovation and learning – all fundamental to instigating change.

The MAPS country processes are country-owned, driven by their governments and reliant on the country teams’ ability to achieve the desired outcomes. Establishing and maintaining mandates to ensure authorizing environments for the processes is the cornerstone of MAPS.

“Learning by doing”, has been fundamental to the evolution of MAPS. Learning by doing is the willingness to reflect on action and then change if the current trajectory is not meeting objectives. Such an approach benefits from generous sharing of any relevant expertise amongst peers, humility and patience with process. The experience demonstrates that this approach develops local capacity and knowledge that is the most relevant, and the most sustainable. The outcome is the co-conception of a new approach that puts development first. A commitment to organically and domestically grown long-term goals coupled with a good dose of pragmatism enables shifts to be made despite the seemingly intractable challenges facing nation state in the South.

The MAPS Programme grew out of the experience of the South African government-mandated Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS). The ERC was commissioned to lead the research component of the process and SSN was commissioned to lead the process component. The LTMS was commissioned by the South African Cabinet in 2005 and was completed in 2008. The process was stakeholder driven, and based on rigorous research and modelling. The LTMS informed South Africa’s position for Copenhagen and is the base of much of our domestic policy. Since then, there has been a lot of interest from other developing countries on taking up this process.

The team that contributed to the LTMS process is now sharing its experiences with selected developing countries to assist them with developing similar country-level processes. The international team forms a central support base for independent government mandated processes lead by in-country teams in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru.