ALP 2017: Summary and Highlights

Day 1

Inaugural Session

Dr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General, Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Government of Vietnam started the day by presenting important questions that the forum can address. These questions delve on stakeholder mobilization, integration, monitoring, and technical support. He reminded every one that both LEDS GP and ALP are platforms for collaboration and these events should be maximized to identify the most effective mechanisms to ensure that peer-to-peer learning takes place.

Ron Benioff, Director of LEDS Global Partnership (LEDS GP), on the other hand, brought forth the question, “Why are we here?” He shared that countries from all over the world are facing critical development challenges and there is an urgent need to take action to address climate change. According to him, LEDS GP is there to help countries and different levels of government to be “successful in the goals set out in their NDC and to build their confidence and ambition.

Lead Director of Asia LEDS Partnership (ALP), Mr. Emani Kumar gave a brief overview of ALP, starting with its launch in September 2012 as a voluntary regional network active in designing, promoting, and/or implementing LEDS in South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Central Asia and Pacific (including Australia and New Zealand). ALP aims to facilitate enhanced coordination, collaboration, and partnerships, identify and disseminate tools, models, approaches, and best practices in priority LEDS topics to enable peer-to-peer learning and application. It also envisions to foster capacity building of practitioners to make Asia a leader in designing and implementing LEDS and green growth. ALP, as a network, strengthens support for LEDS.

Plenary Session 1: The NDCs- Impact on Accelerating Low Emission Development in Asia
Key Messages:

The NDC Action Plan should not be viewed as a separate plan from the overall development planning of each country. It should be integrated into existing/proposed development plans and not compete with other sectoral plans.
Most national government representatives highlighted the need to strengthen involvement of subnational and local actors in the NDC implementation.
Multiple modalities need to be explored to ensure that finance is mobilized. These modalities can include unlocking private investment, structured government procurement, donor financing, among others.

Quotes from Speakers:
“Success of NDC implementation depends on how well the measures development are integrated and owned and driven by sectoral agencies and stakeholders—infusing climate change goals into outgoing development planning and implementation.” – Ron Benioff, Director, LEDS GP

“We need to identify linkages within [different] sectors for implementation: different sectors need to be harmonized to implement the NDC.”- Dr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General, Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Government of Vietnam.

“In terms of NDC implementation, we have the 3R approach: Revisit, Reconstruct, and Report. For operationalizing the NDC, we have the 3Ps: policy, private sector, and purse (finance). Lastly, we also look at the 3Cs to see where we need to do further work and these are: capacities, convergence and collaboration, and connection.”- Sandee Recabar, Planning Officer V and Chief, Implementation Oversight Division, Climate Change Office, Climate Change Commission, Government of Philippines.

Plenary Session 2: Climate Budgeting and Expenditure Tracking as a Tool for LEDS and NDC Investment Planning

Key Messages:

Climate budgeting and expenditure frameworks are seen as a useful tool towards effective monitoring, prioritization and mainstreaming of climate and NDC priorities into budget allocations and sectoral, sub-national implementation plans.
A number of Asian countries have taken a lead in this regard through innovative approaches that track public as well as private expenditure at national, sub-national and sectoral level; though considerable challenges exist and the process takes time.

Climate Public Expenditure and Investment Review (CPIER) and private climate expenditure and investment review (PCEIR) can be used as tools for planning and budgeting.

Challenges in this regard is that most governments have little experience in undertaking climate-related expenditure and investment review and limited capacity and access to data for undertaking such assessments.

Quotes from Speakers:
“Implementing Climate Change Financing Frameworks and reforms is a long term process and it takes time to bring about the full-scale of reforms but Asian countries are taking the lead in implementing innovative approaches this regard.” – Glenn Hodes, UNDP

“Lessons learned in climate change expenditure tagging (CCET) in the Philippines include the importance of acquiring the buy-in of key government agencies, timing the process by considering the budget cycle at the local level, clarifying attribution and metrics, and harmonization with other monitoring systems and development plans.” – Sandee Recabar, Planning Officer V and Chief, Implementation Oversight Division, Climate Change Office, Climate Change Commission, Government of Philippines

“Undertaking a climate expenditure and investment review is not a bed of roses. However, this exercise is a useful planning tool which promotes sustainable private and public climate investment and access climate finance.” – Dr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General, Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Government of Vietnam

Dr. Tauch Chan Kresna, Deputy Director, Investment Division, Ministry of Economics and Finance, Royal Cambodian Government shared that CPEIR has already been applied to Cambodia through a UNDP-supported initiative. Through the process, Cambodia has continued this intervention even without any external support.

Day 2

Asia LEDS Forum takes on strategies, opportunities, and challenges on NDC implementation in Asia

The Asia LEDS Forum 2017 drew on a successful close as it held its last day on December 6, 2017 at Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. The two-day forum, with the theme, Resource mobilization for NDC implementation in Asia, showcased a multitude of tools, methodologies, implementation frameworks, and success stories from the region. Recognizing the importance of the implementation and monitoring of NDCs in Asia, the forum created a platform for the participants to share knowledge, learning, solutions, and resources that they have proven effective in their respective contexts.

Putting the spotlight on Asia: Success stories on financing green growth and low-emission development

The first plenary session of the second day focused on the successful approaches to financing green, low emission urban development as well as policy models applied in green urban development projects in Asia. Meanwhile, Kinlay Dorjee, Mayor of Thimpu Bhutan shared his city’s journey towards being a smart and eco-friendly city. He mentioned that Bhutan itself is rich in renewable energy sources and they even supply some to India. Bhutanese have a high regard for the environment since it is considered as one of the pillars of their Gross National Happiness. They are also working on waste management and they envision that in three and a half years, no more waste will go to the landfill. Mayor Dorjee noted that Thimpu is a small city and while some may consider this as a disadvantage, they are actually treating this as an opportunity to bring about holistic and inclusive development.

Nanda Jickhar, Mayor of Nagpur, India told a story about Nagpur being an emerging health and education hub as it develops into a smart city. The first model solar city in India, Nagpur is building its reputation as a city that focuses on smart environment, smart living, smart mobility, and smart governance.

Talking About the Purse: NDC Finance, opportunities, challenges, and way forward

Financing is always a key issue for implementation. The second plenary session for the day delved into synthesizing key findings from the Energy Finance track of the workshop. The LEDS GP membership echoed feedback on key challenges and priorities for 2018 engagements. Alexia Kelly, Co-Chair of LEDS GP Finance Working Group put forward that transitioning to low-emission actually opens up a lot of opportunities for investment. In fact, the private sector is looking to be involved in this as they are not concerned about profit anymore but about impact as well. “Attracting the private sector into NDC finance requires returns that are adjusted risk,” she said.

Bringing the discussion at the city level, Jan Pavlik of GIZ talked about the development of GCF country profile in Vietnam. He recommended that in developing project proposals for the GCF, local governments should look into the direct impact of mitigation and adaptation measures, adopt a paradigm shift in setting the project’s goals, and consider wider environmental, social, and economic benefits.

“Projects which are efficient, effective, and economically and financially sound are those that usually get priority for GCF,” Pavlik shared.

He recommends that projects should be harmonized in line with company management and that information campaign towards the private sector should be prioritized. She also reiterated the need to build capacity in terms of accessing the Green Climate Fund in acquiring financing for projects.

Signifying the importance of policy for the energy sector, Trinh Quoc Vu, Deputy Director, Department of Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development of Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade shared policy development efforts that Vietnam is making in terms of renewable energy. He mentioned several frameworks in place including the law on energy efficiency and conservation, Vietnam Green Growth Strategy, and the National Renewable Energy Development Strategy.

Tools and resources: LEDS and NDC Energy Planning

Mr. Alexander Ochs from LEDS GP EWG shed some light on the energy toolkit and several leading tools for NDC and energy-sector planning.

“This session showed again the high demand for our toolkit. Its simplicity and accessibility as a first reference guide for those seeking help for how to gather proper information and data as a basis for smart energy planning. Introducing individual tools and training to practitioners on how to use them is essential for building successful energy LEDS”, he said.

Ending strong, sending the right messages

To synthesize the past two days, the four working groups of LEDS Global Partnership namely energy, transport, finance, and sub-national integration shared their main takeaways.

In terms of energy, the role of renewable energy in achieving NDCs was explored including an analysis of barriers to and enablers of RE deployment. Discussions also looked at both generation and consumption side vis-à-vis energy planning. On the other hand, Ms. Angela Enriquez of the World Resource Institute (WRI) emphasized the need for a framework to coordinate national and subnational mobility efforts. “Urban transport is a priority in the region and there is strong interest in improved technologies for transport,” she noted.

There was strong interest to explore blended capital and green banking according to Ms. Alexis Kelly, of the LEDS GP Finance Working Group. She echoed the need to accelerate private sector investment as well as risk mitigation instruments that will allow suitable financing mechanisms to implement the NDCs.

Mr. Scott Muller, representing the sub-national working group, called for more coordination and collaboration among different actors in order to redirect trajectories of GHG emissions explaining: “Emissions per capita is shooting up… There is a lot happening at the local level but the growth of emissions show that significant coordination and collaboration challenges still exist.”

Following this, country representatives provided feedback on their LEDS priority areas in order to further shape the work planning and service delivery of LEDS GP.

Gino van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General, echoed how the recently concluded COP23 in Bonn served as impetus to show that there is no stopping the Paris Agreement. He also recognized the immense potential of local governments working hand in hand with the national government to create more ambitious targets. In closing, Ron Benioff, Director of LEDS Global Partnership expressed hope that the network can ‘interact in a sustained way that adds value to each one’s program.’

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