Climate promise in Papua New Guinea: Lessons learned from enhancing their NDC
Papua New Guinea showcased its commitment to global climate action by being one of the first countries, to submit its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) in 2015.
This high level of commitment has since continued, and the country has been one of only eight countries to submit its Second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2020.
Supported by UNDP’s Climate Promise and under leadership of the Government of Papua New Guinea’s Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA), the NDC enhancement process involved focused engagement and partnerships across government agencies, civil society, the private sector, and development partners, including FAO, USAID, GGGI, NDC Partnerships, GIZ, IRENA, UNEP, DFAT and the NDC Regional Pacific Hub.
Through this process a number of key lessons learned have been identified looking at how to ensure timely and ambitious NDC revisions that have full national ownerships. These lessons include:
1. The Importance of robust and meaningful stakeholder consultation
In July 2020, the CCDA set out a clear structure on how the NDC revision process would take place. Sub-technical working committees of key government, private sector and civil society representatives fed into a broader and comprehensive stakeholder consultation process, with updates regarding progress and key issues provided to decision makers on a regular basis. More than 200 stakeholders (35% female), representing respective government agencies on energy, forestry, climate change, agriculture and land – use have thoroughly been consulted in the revision of NDC and setting targets.
The consultation process allowed all stakeholders to gain a clear understanding of how the revision process would occur and helped to focus technical discussions and consultation events on a clear pathway between these events and the decision-making process on NDC revisions and the implementation of the PNG’s NDC.
The use of a technical steering committee also allowed for key technical issues to be addressed at the expert level and for the broader consultation to focus more on a clear set of high-level targets and key policies and programmes.
A key example of this was a discussion on how forest growth could be included in PNG’s NDC targets; a complex issue due to how reforestation is addressed within PNG’s reporting process. By gaining clarity on this at the technical level, the team were able to present a concise set of options and recommendations to decision makers and other stakeholders, taking into account reporting complexities without burdening non-specialists with technical reporting issues. This kept the stakeholder consultation process both efficient and meaningful.
2. The value of shared capacity building and development
While the development process brought together a wide range of experts, within their own areas, it did not immediately present a platform for effective NDC revision.
A process of shared capacity building and learning was critical to ensure that sector specialists were able to understand the nature of mitigation and adaptation targets, while climate specialists were also able to gain a clearer understanding of sector-specific targets and potential areas for change.
This capacity building was greatly aided by a series of two to four day ‘lock-down’ sessions held outside the capital which provided time and space for key stakeholders to fully engage in ‘formal’ capacity building training, supported by international experts, as well as ‘informal’ peer to peer knowledge sharing and capacity building opportunities during breaks and after-workshop discussions.
This process helped to enhance both technical understanding of key issues as well as key contextual or cultural challenges that occurred across institutions and sectors, in addition to enhancing personal understanding and strengthening relationships between participants.
At the senior decision-makers level, the provision of briefs, and regular engagement, also helped to ensure that they were informed and understood the nature and objectives of the NDCs, and proposed approaches, prior to any formal review or endorsement process.
3. The value of coordinated international support
Papua New Guinea received support in revising its NDC from a wide range of partners. Early action by government to bring these groups together – and to ensure communication and coordination between groups providing technical support - was crucial to avoid the proliferation of consultation events, data requests and technical inputs. It also allowed for clear and coherent advice and guidance to be provided to the Government and partners, and enabled development partners to more effectively target their support to the Government, in terms of capacity building, financing of key activities and document drafting. This helped take the pressure off key government actors, allowing them to focus on facilitation, coordination and document review.
4. The importance of building upon existing domestic policy
While the NDC process helped to drive Papua New Guinea’s climate agenda forward it also built on, and benefited from and built upon key existing government policy documents and initiatives.
By grounding initial work in these documents, the process was able to gain rapid buy-in from key government agencies, while also helping to build on existing capacity and understanding of policy options – and linkages with climate action that were developed through these processes. Examples of this include Papua New Guinea’s SDG13 Climate Action Roadmap, the National REDD+ Strategy, and Forestry Reference Level - all developed since the first NDC was submitted in 2015.
In 2021, Papua New Guinea will continue their commitment to climate action, through the implementation of their newly enhanced NDC. It is hoped that the lessons learned can inspire other countries currently working on improving their NDCs.