Reducing greenhouse gases in the MENA Region

Project description

Title: Policy dialogue and knowledge management on low emission strategies in the MENA region (DIAPOL-CE)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Countries: Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia
Lead executing agency: Algeria: Ministère de l’Energie, Ministère de l’Environnement et des Energies Renouvelables; Egypt: Ministry of Environment; Iran: Ministry of Energy; Jordan: Ministry of Environment; Morocco: Ministère de l’Energie, des Mines et du Développement Durable; Tunisia: Ministère de l’Energie, des Mines et des Energies Renouvelables; League of Arab States: Energy Department, Cairo/Egypt
Overall term: 2014 to 2021

Context

In the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region), the population – and therefore demand for energy and resources – will continue to grow rapidly in the coming decades. Low energy prices, resulting from the subsidisation of fossil fuels such as oil and gas, also stimulate energy consumption. Consequently, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise, putting further pressure on ecosystems and natural resources. By signing the Paris Agreement on climate change and submitting Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the governments of the MENA countries have committed to developing and implementing strategies that will enable them to transform their national economies into sustainable, low-carbon economic systems.

In the area of climate change mitigation, the MENA countries’ efforts to date have focused on increasing the share of renewable energies (RE) in the energy supply, in order to, in particular, improve their security of supply. Individual countries have begun to develop support mechanisms and mitigation activities in the energy sector and beyond; however, there has been little assessment of the energy and economic effects thus far. Climate and energy strategies highlighting possible development paths towards a low-emission economy and a sustainable energy system continue to lack coherence, a long-term outlook and implementation structures.

Objective

Approaches to developing a low-carbon, resilient economy in the MENA region are disseminated supraregionally.

Approach

To improve cooperation between countries in the MENA region, the project supports the regional and supraregional dissemination of climate and energy policy approaches. Project measures support the efforts of policy-makers and responsible institutions to systematically develop and implement an integrated and ambitious climate policy in the form of emission reduction and adaptation strategies. The project assists partner countries in planning measures to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change and integrating them into their NDCs. In the long term, this will facilitate the transition to low-carbon, resilient economies.

Project advice on strengthening climate and energy strategies is based on current requirements and developments in partner countries and is provided in close coordination with political partners in the target countries. The project develops instruments to facilitate achievement of their reduction and adaptation targets for sub-sectors and supports their implementation.

To ensure that knowledge and experience are firmly embedded in local structures, the project team works with national institutions in the respective partner countries. Close cooperation with regional organisations such as the League of Arab States also promotes cross-border exchange between politics, business and civil society.

Results

In order to assess the impact of renewable energy expansion and improved energy efficiency on other areas, the project supports an economic impact assessment in the field of low emission strategies through scenario modelling in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

In Iran, the project supports adaptation strategies and sustainable land use in river and nature conservation areas in which the pressure on land use is increasing due to climate change. To conserve natural resources and ecosystem functions and reverse negative effects, the project supports local partners in developing sustainable land use strategies in a river basin.

To improve the financing of climate-friendly technologies in the MENA region, the project provides technical and economic advice on the use of innovative technologies. This includes, for example, a cost study on solar seawater desalination. The project also finances training for financial sector decision-makers on renewable energy and energy efficiency in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. This knowledge enables financial institutions to better assess project proposals, business plans, technologies and mechanisms.

The project supports the Energy Department of the League of Arab States (LAS) and its technical arm, the Regional Center for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), in implementing the Pan Arab Sustainable Energy Strategy and in developing national action plans and annual reports on the expansion of renewable energies and energy efficiency measures. Initial national action plans have already been finalised (Lebanon, Sudan), and others are currently being drafted (Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Djibouti). The National Renewable Energy Action Plans are the first strategic documents for the expansion planning of renewable energies for which implementation can be reviewed at the regional level based on a coordinated format.

The project organises regional training courses and knowledge exchanges on the economic and legal systems integration of measures in connection with renewable energies and energy efficiency. In Algeria, for example, the project is advising the national grid operator Sonelgaz on how to meet future challenges. Since 2015, the project has been organising the Global Exchange Platform on Solar Power Plants, which will be held for the fourth time in 2018. It offers decision-makers from energy ministries a forum for exchange among themselves and with representatives from the private sector and science and academia.