How climate policies can translate to tangible change: Evidence from eleven low- and lower-middle income countries

Aug 1, 2023

Formally adopting climate change mitigation policies does not necessarily translate to tangible change on the ground. Here, we analyse 31 semi-structured interviews with climate policy government officials and consultants from 11 low-income and lower-middle income countries (LMICs) as well as the respective climate policy context, and find high average degrees of perceived discrepancies between formally adopted climate change mitigation policies and their actual implementation. Our results suggest that for our LMIC sample, both the global political process to limit climate change and domestic environmental threats have been key to drive the formal adoption of climate change mitigation policies, but have had limited effect on implementation. By contrast, momentum for implementation of climate change mitigation initiatives and projects on the ground emerges where climate policies are firmly embedded within economic and social development policies, the economy and society are comparably well-positioned to embrace the associated change, and where they have been governed by cross-ministerial institutions capable of implementing wider climate-compatible development pathways. Thus, to help translate climate policy into action, national LMIC governments and the international community need to find context-specific ways to successfully integrate climate with economic and social development policies, identify and build on feasible opportunities and competitive advantages through which the local economy can benefit from green growth, build adequate social capital, and actively create institutional spaces and processes for well-equipped and meaningful cross-ministerial co-benefit governance. The importance of unlocking co-benefits for implementing climate policies underlines both the urgency with which the international community needs to increase finance for LMICs for climate change mitigation, as well as the associated development opportunities.

Publication details
Net zero & sustainable development
Research paper
Brophy, Aoife
Cleaner Production

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