One week into the United Nations climate negotiations at COP24, the importance of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in implementing the Paris Agreement is receiving increased attention. This is because the African Development Bank hosted an event on 10th December designed to encourage cooperation between regional NDC hubs (African, Pacific and, Caribbean) and to strengthen their roles in integrating NDCs into national development plans.
"The promise of $100 billion per year by 2020 is not aid! Our regions are endowed with national resources that can hold down global emissions. For example, the peatlands of the Congo Basin in Central Africa store about 30 gigatons of carbon equivalent to 15 years of US emissions. If we can make the market mechanisms in the Paris Agreement work, we would monetise these natural assets in our regions; create new revenue streams for our communities and thus increase their adaptive capacities", said Amadou Hott, the African Development Bank's Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth.
Regional NDC Hubs were created to mobilise regional efforts to drive climate action, focusing on the regional strengths and challenges of specific geographies. Regional hubs embody the essence of the Paris Agreement, which calls for the strengthening of regional cooperation and the establishment of regional centres and networks, in particular in developing countries.
The Director General of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Dr. Frank Rijsberman, highlighted the importance of translating NDCs into investment plans to get the private sector on board, saying that "public finance, if deployed together with the right set of policies, can leverage significant amounts of private capital towards green investments."
At the event, the three regional NDC hubs shared experiences, best practices and common strategies, finding much in common in terms of climate change vulnerabilities and the limited capacity to adapt of the communities they serve. "It has been exciting to hear from the countries how they are planning and implementing their NDCs," noted Jahan Chowdhury, country engagement director at the NDC Partnership. "The success of NDC hubs will depend on their ability to bring about convergence by taking all stakeholders on board. Exerting leverage by mobilising resources for implementation is of prime importance. NDC hubs should be platforms where different entities find their ideal leverage opportunities. Finally, NDC hubs must deliver these services with urgency and efficacy."
Veronica Jakarasi, representing the African group of negotiators at the UN climate negotiations, explains: "For us what really matters is not the developed-developing country difference but the realisation that we all have different starting points. There is also need for a career-growth-ability approach."
Partnerships are central to the initiative, with peer exchanges and country level exchanges facilitating south-south cooperation, as well as helping to streamline and scale up countries' NDC's. Ms. Jakarasi added "When guiding parties on the features of their NDCs, we are trying to find a balance between pushing for important elements to be included, such as human rights and gender issues, and giving countries enough room to determine for themselves what contributions they are willing to commit to."
For developing countries, achieving progress and scaling ambition on climate action means that concerted efforts have to be invested in deploying means of implementation. Climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building are central to vulnerable countries' capability to deal with climate change. The regional NDC hubs and NDC partnership programme provide sufficient scope for achieving this goal, and recall the urgency of climate action and the pressing need for co-operation.