A global gathering of governments, non-state actors and development partners rallies countries to reflect on low-carbon development trajectories for future generations.

10 July 2018, Bangkok — Focused on incorporating efforts to address climate change into long-term development plans, representatives of governments, non-state actors and development partners gather today in Thailand to exchange initial ideas and experiences on formulating mid-century strategies for low-emission development.

First called into action by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, these mid-century Long-term Strategies (LTS) invite countries to communicate, by 2020, their vision for achieving a low-emission, sustainable economy. While many countries have developed similar strategies for the next decade, few have taken this opportunity to lay out ‘next generations’ scenarios.

“We need to act now, to start on this journey, and have flexibility on long-term pathways to avoid locking down carbon-intensive pathways or pathways that may not meet our economic goals,“ noted Ron Benioff, Co-Director Low-Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership.

Stephen Gold, UNDP’s Head of Climate Change, matched this sentiment, emphasizing that “the timing of this discussion on Long-Term Strategies is opportune. These strategies can help countries ensure that both the 2030 sustainable development goals and long-term climate objectives are fully embedded in national development planning processes.”

The two-day gathering is organized by the 2050 Pathways Platform, the LEDS Global Partnership, the NDC Partnership, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Resources Institute (WRI), in cooperation with the UN Climate Change (UNFCCC). Participants shared experiences, best practices, and expert views, while building a community of practitioners and a pool of knowledge from which all countries can benefit.

“It's very tempting just to take one step at a time and say, ‘well, we hope we'll get there’. Unless you know where you're going, unless you understand the whole point of decarbonization, it's going to be quite difficult for countries to get there” said Andrew Steer, CEO of the WRI, underlining why Long-term Strategies, although not mandatory under the Paris Agreement, are crucial to achieving its goals.

The workshop provided an opportunity for countries to brainstorm on critical building blocks for these mid-century strategies and share experiences. “Countries have to deal with similar issues: how to build a grid that can integrates 100 % renewable energy, how to deal with employment shifts, how to use land – for food, energy or carbon removal. Now is the time for all countries to start working on what it means for them to respond to the climate challenge while deciding what kind of development they want for their economy and their people, ensuring the 2050 strategy addresses national priorities”, noted Laurence Tubiana, Convener of the 2050 Pathways Platform and CEO, European Climate Foundation.

In 2015, nearly 200 countries took the critical step towards limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C by submitting a first round of national climate commitments to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. Countries’ climate targets, embedded in these pledges, are to be ramped up every five years and require a long-term, whole-of-society approach to transition to a low-carbon and resilient development pathway. “While the 2050 Strategies are not mandatory under the Paris agreement, everybody needs to work together because we need this long-term perspective to make the Paris Agreement a reality”, stated Martin Frick, Senior Director, UN Climate Change.

The opportunity to lay out a long-term vision for a low-carbon development pathway to guide next generation climate and development planning is now. “The 2020 due date for the first round of country commitments is quickly approaching, and if countries can have their Long-Term Strategies ready, they will be able to demonstrate increased ambition in the next round of national climate plans,” said Pablo Vieira, Global Director of the NDC Partnership, who along with the other organizers hope that the countries leave the workshop with a clear understanding of how Long-Term Strategies can help guide the global transition towards a low-carbon development pathway.

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