The engagement and coordination between governments is essential to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement due to the complexity of global climate change and local realities. Today, eight years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, a complex landscape of cooperation on climate action has emerged.

This report analyzed over 90 climate initiatives – alliances and partnerships – designed to tackle emissions. It found that cooperation occurs across all sectors but highlights that the landscape is fragmented and lacks consistency in terms of objectives. Cooperation varies significantly from initiative to initiative depending on interests, perceived benefits, costs and only a few gather a diverse representative set of countries. Developed countries dominate the landscape although some emerging economies are actively engaged, albeit not always where it matters. The existing complex ecosystem is a good basis but it must be geared towards impact-oriented and politically viable modes of cooperation among governments. This report outlines how to enhance intergovernmental cooperation and thereby strengthen the global response to climate change.

Key Findings:

Cooperation is advancing in all economic sectors, with energy supply being the most prominent. The landscape is fragmented and not always coherent in terms of aims. Most initiatives have been established since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, generally under the leadership of a government.

Nearly all governments are members of at least one initiative; however, only a few initiatives gather a group of countries that cover a sizable proportion of the relevant sectoral emissions. Participation varies significantly from initiative to initiative depending on interests and perceived benefits and costs.

Developed countries dominate the landscape, although some emerging economies are actively engaged, albeit not always where it matters most in terms of their emissions.

Most initiatives (67 percent) have been established to share knowledge, and only a few pursue the adoption of policies or the achievement of targets at the country level. Quantified targets have been identified mostly for energy supply, although there is great variability in the indicators used and the level at which these have been established.

Finally, with few exceptions, operational infrastructure is robust except for transparency arrangements, where no evidence of related processes was found for many of the initiatives analyzed.

The cooperation landscape presents stark differences within and between sectors:

  • Energy supply includes a wide spectrum.
  • The industry sector exhibits an inverse relation between the activity index and coverage.
  • Most initiatives exclusively relevant to transport target zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), and only one addresses the whole sector.
  • Few initiatives target direct emissions from the buildings Sector.

Executive Summary:

A diverse set of initiatives have been launched by governments and nonstate entities in an effort to promote low emissions and development that is climate resilient. Yet despite global efforts, the world is not on track to keep global warming to 1.5°C. Because sector-based mitigation through intergovernmental cooperation is a relatively new phenomena, little is known about the effects and efficacy of current projects. To improve the efficacy of cooperation and support national climate ambition, closing this gap is crucial.


Preview image by Robert Foster / Winrock International USAID