The Asia LEDS Forum 2017 drew on a successful close as it held its last day on December 6, 2017 at Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. The two-day forum, with the theme, Resource Mobilization for NDC Implementation in Asia, showcased a multitude of tools, methodologies, implementation frameworks, and success stories from the region. Recognizing the importance of the implementation and monitoring of NDCs in Asia, the forum created a platform for the participants to share knowledge, learning, solutions, and resources that they have proven effective in their respective contexts.
Putting the spotlight on Asia: Success stories on financing green growth and low-emission development
The first plenary session of the second day focused on the successful approaches to financing green, low emission urban development as well as policy models applied in green urban development projects in Asia. Meanwhile, Kinlay Dorjee, Mayor of Thimpu Bhutan shared his city’s journey towards being a smart and eco-friendly city. He mentioned that Bhutan itself is rich in renewable energy sources and they even supply some to India. The Bhutanese people have a high regard for the environment since it is considered as one of the pillars of their Gross National Happiness. They are also working on waste management and they envision that in three and a half years, no more waste will go to the landfill. Mayor Dorjee noted that Thimpu is a small city and while some may consider this as a disadvantage, they are actually treating this as an opportunity to bring about holistic and inclusive development.
Nanda Jickhar, Mayor of Nagpur, India told a story about Nagpur being an emerging health and education hub as it develops into a smart city. The first model solar city in India, Nagpur is building its reputation as a city that focuses on smart environment, smart living, smart mobility, and smart governance.
Talking About the Purse: NDC Finance, opportunities, challenges, and way forward
Financing is always a key issue for implementation. The second plenary session of the day delved into synthesizing key findings from the Energy Finance track of the workshop. The LEDS GP membership echoed feedback on key challenges and priorities for 2018 engagements. Alexia Kelly, Co-Chair of LEDS GP Finance Working Group put forward that transitioning to low-emission actually opens up a lot of opportunities for investment. In fact, the private sector is looking to be involved in this as they are not concerned about profit anymore but about impact as well. “Attracting the private sector into NDC finance requires returns that are adjusted risk,” she said.
Bringing the discussion at the city level, Jan Pavlik of GIZ talked about the development of GCF country profile in Vietnam. He recommended that in developing project proposals for the GCF, local governments should look into the direct impact of mitigation and adaptation measures, adopt a paradigm shift in setting the project’s goals, and consider wider environmental, social, and economic benefits.
“Projects which are efficient, effective, and economically and financially sound are those that usually get priority for GCF,” Pavlik shared.
He recommends that projects should be harmonized in line with company management and that information campaign towards the private sector should be prioritized. She also reiterated the need to build capacity in terms of accessing the Green Climate Fund in acquiring financing for projects.
Signifying the importance of policy for the energy sector, Trinh Quoc Vu, Deputy Director, Department of Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development of Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade shared policy development efforts that Vietnam is making in terms of renewable energy. He mentioned several frameworks in place including the law on energy efficiency and conservation, Vietnam Green Growth Strategy, and the National Renewable Energy Development Strategy.
Tools and resources: LEDS and NDC Energy Planning
Mr. Alexander Ochs from LEDS GP EWG shed some light on the energy toolkit and several leading tools for NDC and energy-sector planning.
“This session showed again the high demand for our toolkit. Its simplicity and accessibility as a first reference guide for those seeking help for how to gather proper information and data as a basis for smart energy planning. Introducing individual tools and training to practitioners on how to use them is essential for building successful energy LEDS”, he said.
Ending strong, sending the right messages
To synthesize the past two days, the four working groups of LEDS Global Partnership namely energy, transport, finance, and sub-national integration shared their main takeaways.
In terms of energy, the role of renewable energy in achieving NDCs was explored including an analysis of barriers to and enablers of RE deployment. Discussions also looked at both generation and consumption side vis-à-vis energy planning. On the other hand, Ms. Angela Enriquez of the World Resource Institute (WRI) emphasized the need for a framework to coordinate national and subnational mobility efforts. “Urban transport is a priority in the region and there is strong interest in improved technologies for transport,” she noted.
There was strong interest to explore blended capital and green banking according to Ms. Alexis Kelly, of the LEDS GP Finance Working Group. She echoed the need to accelerate private sector investment as well as risk mitigation instruments that will allow suitable financing mechanisms to implement the NDCs.
Mr. Scott Muller, representing the sub-national working group, called for more coordination and collaboration among different actors in order to redirect trajectories of GHG emissions explaining: “Emissions per capita is shooting up… There is a lot happening at the local level but the growth of emissions show that significant coordination and collaboration challenges still exist.”
Following this, country representatives provided feedback on their LEDS priority areas in order to further shape the work planning and service delivery of LEDS GP.
Gino van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General, echoed how the recently concluded COP23 in Bonn served as impetus to show that there is no stopping the Paris Agreement. He also recognized the immense potential of local governments working hand in hand with the national government to create more ambitious targets. In closing, Ron Benioff, Director of LEDS Global Partnership expressed hope that the network can ‘interact in a sustained way that adds value to each one’s program.’