Jakarta, 24-25 September 2020
The UK COP26 Presidency, in collaboration with ASEAN and IRENA, hosted ASEAN-COP26 Climate Dialogue on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Long-Term Strategies (LTS). The event aims to promote discussion on driving and building momentum for climate action towards COP26, through enhanced NDCs and developing LTS and exploring the vital role they play in economic recoveries post Covid-19 pandemic.
The Dialogue serves as a forum for senior government officials from all ASEAN Member States (AMS) to share their experiences in implementing and enhancing their NDCs, as well as to exchange lessons on developing LTS. The ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change (AWGCC) National Focal Points (NFPs) were invited to provide their national update on NDC and LTS preparation and progress. Regional institutions, such as the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) and ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) were invited as observers. From ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project (ACCEPT), Beni Suryadi and Zulfikar Yurnaidi participated in the Dialogue.
Providing welcoming remarks were Jon Lambe, UK Ambassador to ASEAN, Ken O’Flaherty, UK COP26 Regional Ambassador to Asia-Pacific and South Asia, the Chair of AWGCC, and Fransesco La Camera, Director General of IRENA. The first-day session was titled “Developing and enhancing NDCs in ASEAN countries to meet the Paris Agreement” while the second-day session was titled “Setting long-term low emissions development strategies in support of the Paris Agreement goals.”
Opening each session, COP26 Presidency shared the COP26 ambition and lessons from the UK NDC update and UK’s net-zero target and support programmes in ASEAN. Following that, various international institutions shared their perspectives. IRENA introduced their support for NDC enhancement and strategies for reaching zero with renewables. ADB discussed their commitment to low carbon and climate resilience development. NDC Partnership Support Unit talked about NDCs in the context of an economic recovery from COVID-19. 2050 Pathways Platform presented lessons learned on long-term low-emission development strategies. Singapore also shared their experience in developing the Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy.
More interestingly, the AWGCC NFPs reported their commitments to submit their updated NDCs by the end of this year. This is in addition to Singapore and Viet Nam, who have already submitted theirs on 31 March and 11 September 2020, respectively. Some countries also mentioned carbon pricing as one of the key policies to be pursued, such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Intersectoral nature of climate change was also raised by the countries, stressing the importance of coordination between different stakeholders. Some forms of institutional legal framework have been mentioned; not only through key regulation such as climate law in Thailand and environmental protection law of Viet Nam, but also high-level coordinating institution such as National Council of Climate Change in Brunei Darussalam.
Dynamic questions were raised during both sessions. ACCEPT asked about how AMS can balance the need for energy security and affordability with sustainability following climate change measures. Gurbuz Gonul from IRENA argued that the decreasing trend of renewable energy cost would answer both the affordability and sustainability issue. Ken O’Flaherty added that renewable energy can also help energy security, through reduction of import. Commenting to a question about unified or mutually supportive LTS for ASEAN to achieve shared goals, ACE Executive Director shared about ACE activities and shared goals in ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) on renewable energy and energy efficiency. ACB raised nature and ecosystem-based solutions as part of climate action.
As a project that aims to bridge the “silo” between energy and climate sector in ASEAN, ACCEPT could contribute to the intersectoral discussions on energy-climate nexus, including those of NDCs and LTS. For that, ACCEPT is organising a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) Series on Energy and Climate Change. The FGD Series would also serve as discussion forum for ACCEPT National Focal Persons, from both Energy and Climate sides. Three topics will be covered throughout October-December period, namely, Carbon Pricing, Net Zero, and Energy in NDC. Such activities would build upon the efforts and takeaways from the ASEAN-COP26 Climate Dialogue.