Developing countries exploring pathways to climate compatibility

Mitigation Actions

Mitigation actions: Understanding the variables that affect policy implementation

Mitigation actions are currently a source of both academic and ‘on-the-ground’ interest, especially as they arise within the UNFCCC context as nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs). Committing to action at the international level remains, however, an empty contribution to global mitigation efforts unless it is translated into domestic public policy interventions.

Mitigation actions, much like other public policy interventions, require a sequence of stages from identification, promulgation, planning and financing all the way through to operationalisation. In an earlier case study of South African mitigation actions (SAMAs) the authors suggested a series of variables to assess the likelihood of implementation for consideration at an earlier stage in the process (Tyler et al, 2011). Precisely how to consider these variables and incorporate them into the design process in order to move mitigation actions closer to implementation remains unclear given the paucity of existing operationalised mitigation actions. In addition, this paper focuses on developing countries, and therefore mitigation action-related policy interventions take place within a contested policy space which also includes policies addressing a broad range of socio-economic issues. Thus it would be advantageous if, at the stage of their identification, policies intended to create or facilitate mitigation actions were also designed to be ambitious in terms of both emission reductions and socio-economic objectives, thereby achieving multiple national objectives simultaneously.

This working paper was conceived of as a result of interest in the SAMA paper shown by members of the Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) Programme that operates in South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru, exploring avenues of thought around implementing mitigation actions in developing countries. This paper is the first output of an implementation work-stream and is intended as an initial thought piece from which this stream can evolve.

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