December 17, 2021
On Nov. 4, 2021, a virtual side event entitled "The Challenging Issues of Environment/Climate Change Institution and Policy Under SDGs Regime," at the Japan Pavilion, was held during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. The event was jointly organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, J.F Oberlin University, Hosei University and the Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center, Japan.
Since 2019, the JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development (JICA Ogata Research Institute) has embarked on a research project, which shares the same title with the side event, to investigate domestic policies that address environmental and climate change in emerging countries. Adachi Ichiro, an executive senior research fellow and the lead researcher of the research project, shared with the audience an overview and progress made so far.
Adachi introduced the approach taken by the project to adopt a series of case analyses to examine various countries' efforts and identify practical challenges in implementing environmental and climate change policies and measures on the ground. He underscored that while implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement relies on self-efforts of developing countries, there are observed operational challenges and difficulties. Given the diverse nature of challenges facing developing countries, the importance of tailoring design of assistance to fit with individual circumstances and shape activities to best support nurturing such inherent capacities are highlighted. Adachi emphasized this flexibility approach is applicable to supporting developing nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which are national plans on climate actions, and conducting monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of climate change mitigation.
Kawanishi Masato, senior advisor at JICA, shared lessons from JICA's technical cooperation on national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. Analyzing how and under what conditions technical cooperation can catalyze endogenous capacity development in developing countries, he took up the case of Indonesia. In this technical cooperation, outsourced external experts initially undertook the task of producing the inventories but eventually the Ministry of Environment and Forestry took over the task, with JICA's cooperation serving as a catalyst for longer-term capacity development. He illustrated a pilot activity where a methodological improvement in GHG inventories led to a noticeable reduction of the reported emissions in the waste sector, which convinced the Ministry officials of the urgent need for capacity development.
Fukuda Koji, chief advisor of JICA’s technical cooperation project to support the NDC implementation in Vietnam, currently spearheading JICA's technical cooperation to support the NDC implementation in Vietnam, shared the key findings from his analysis, which selected Hai Phong city and Ho Chi Minh city as case studies to examine key factors influencing the implementation of city-level climate change action plans (CCAPs) and their deviations. He shared the findings of divergence in both implementation rate of CCAPs, and the maturity of CCAP at the time of approval expressed in budgetary certainty. Among the six indicators examined, Fukuda also stated that the types/nature of proposed measure subscribed in the CCAP (investment budget vs environment budget), local leaders' commitment, and the capacity of local officials to localize the CCAP by connecting the plan with the local priority development agenda were identified as factors influencing implementation. Based on the findings, he further tapped on potential avenues by which international support could help close the observed implementation gaps.
Following the presentations of the findings, many participants took part in a Q&A session. Speakers responded to comments and questions, including whether there are any cases for GHG inventory development or capacity development cooperation regarding GHG inventories for African countries. The discussion provided numerous practical suggestions as to how to build the capacity needed for successful planning and implementation of governments’ strategies to further climate actions.