The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) together with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in El Salvador recently held a workshop to help stakeholders improve the understanding of the Paris Agreement and discuss how mitigation measures such as Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) can serve as vehicles for implementing El Salvador’s national climate plan or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
The importance of linkages between climate actions and sustainable development priorities was emphasised in all discussions.
As one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, El Salvador incorporated adaptation to climate change as a key priority in its NDC. The country faces severe floods, droughts and water scarcity, with the latter potentially necessitating the import of water in the near future. El Salvador’s energy mix may have to be diversified as well, as energy production from hydropower plants has been falling due to a decrease in precipitation. Combined, these factors have a negative impact on the economy, which has not grown since the civil war ended in the early 1980s.
Focus on a combined Mitigation and Adaptation approach
In light of these developments, El Salvador has decided to focus on greenhouse gas emission reductions which offer adaptation benefits as well, with the goal of enhancing the country’s resilience to climate change.
One such example is El Salvador’s effort to scale up an existing cook stove project into a NAMA. Working with UNDP with funding from the Government of Spain, El Salvador is currently exploring potential interventions, including sustainable consumption of firewood and sustainable forest management. In addition to mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration, improved management of forests could also offer important adaptation benefits, such as reduced risk for flooding and soil protection.
It is in this context that the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is preparing a preliminary NDC Implementation Roadmap with the support from UNDP and the European Union. As part of the exercise, the following activities will be undertaken:
- Identification of a list of climate actions which are aligned with national and sub-national development plans for each key sector
- Establishment of sectoral emission reduction targets
Lina Pohl, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, emphasised the need for a “permanent”, transformational change in each sector, so that project interventions become rooted and further diffuse after a NAMA project has been implemented. This will be much easier to achieve if environmental outcomes are linked with tangible sustainable development benefits for El Salvador’s population.
Over the next year, UNDP will assist the Government in establishing emission reduction plans which align with national development plans and advance NDC implementation readiness. This support will be provided through UNDP’s Low Emission Capacity Building Programme, with funding from the European Union the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the Australian Government.