In order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, governments worldwide need to define and implement self-determined climate action targets. GIZ is advising around 50 countries in formulating, adapting and implementing ambitious goals. The aim: to safeguard the climate and get the economy in shape for the future.
With the 2015 Paris Agreement, around 190 countries adopted a joint roadmap for climate action. In the agreement, they commit to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the greatest extent possible. In return, all ratifying states commit to the common task: to define and implement their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to climate action.
Although everybody is pursing the same goal, different requirements result for each country. Depending on an economy’s individual emphasis, drivers of emissions vary in strength and NDCs need to be adapted accordingly. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is therefore supporting around 50 countries in formulating appropriate climate goals and putting them into practice.
South Africa: Climate neutrality instead of coal
South Africa, for example, is one of the world’s 20 biggest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2). This is partly because electricity is largely obtained from coal-fired power stations. However, the country has set itself ambitious climate goals: South Africa aims to become climate neutral by 2050 and to phase out the coal industry in the long run. GIZ is advising the South African Government on the formulation of goals and providing important basic inputs such as up-to-date data on emissions.
However, the new climate goals also mean fundamental changes for the economy and jobs. In the province of Mpumalanga in north-eastern South Africa, for example, coal mines and coal-fired power plants have been important economic factors for decades. The planned phasing-out of coal threatens to further exacerbate the region’s already strained economy.
Identifying new opportunities for regions
GIZ is therefore committed to developing Mpumalanga into a green economy hub. To achieve this, it is supporting cooperation between the government, private sector and academia to identify new economic prospects for the region. Jesse Burton from the University of Cape Town is part of the project team: ‘Over the next 10 to 15 years, Mpumalanga’s economic landscape will change dramatically. With its different perspectives, the project partnership is helping navigate the transition,’ she says. Some initial ideas have already been put forward: conditions for wind power in the province are promising and easily compatible with agriculture, another sector that plays an important role in the region. In addition, existing power lines could also be used to transport energy from wind turbines. The project team is now examining the long-term prospects promised by this and other approaches.
The pilot project in Mpumalanga is part of ‘Just Transition’, the ethos defined by the South African Government for structural change. The aim is to improve people’s career prospects through fundamental changes. GIZ supports Just Transition across sectors in various projects for climate action, the expansion of renewable energies and new job prospects.
Colombia: Achieving ambitious goals with better data
Colombia has also set itself ambitious goals. In 2020, the country updated its NDCs and now aims to cut its emissions by more than half by 2030. This makes Colombia a pioneer in Latin America in terms of climate goals. GIZ has supported the Colombian Government in identifying potential savings and developing methods of evaluating the efficiency of the measures. Nidya Chaparro co-managed the process for the Colombian Ministry of Environment: ‘GIZ’s work has helped us compile important data and identify feasible goals that we have framed in the NDCs,’ she says.
For instance, GIZ is working to establish a local climate monitoring system that harvests regional data and incorporates it into a national monitoring system. The aim to allow clear conclusions to be drawn about progress on goals. At the same time, transparent processes of this kind improve Colombia’s chances of obtaining finance from international climate action funds.
In addition, GIZ is supporting Colombia in reconciling climate change mitigation and adaptation. In agriculture, the government not only aims to cut emissions, but also to cope with the effects of climate change. GIZ is therefore supporting pilot projects in which, for example, more efficient fertilisers are used and different crops are planted together or in rotation. The aim is to make agriculture climate-friendly and sustainable.
Last update: November 2021