Reducing greenhouse gases in the MENA Region

Project description

Title: Policy dialogue and knowledge management on low emission development strategies, in particular on RE, in the MENA region
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Countries: Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia
Overall term: 2014 to 2018

Context

In the coming decades, countries across the MENA region (the Middle East and North Africa) are expected to continue experiencing rapid population gains accompanied by steady economic growth. This scenario is causing a significant rise in the demand for energy and natural resources. Concurrently, existing national policies that subsidise fossil fuels such as oil and gas encourage additional energy consumption, leading to even greater greenhouse gas emissions and increased strains on both ecosystems and natural resources.

In accordance with the global Paris Agreement on climate change from 2015, countries in the MENA Region have been called upon to fulfil their national contributions in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They must turn existing low emission strategies and measures into concrete plans and implement them.

To date, climate change mitigation in the MENA countries has focused on increasing the proportion of renewable energies within the total primary energy supply. Progress in this area is expected to offer the greatest benefits, such as promoting energy supply security and allowing for subsidies to be reduced. Some countries have begun to develop funding mechanisms and implement emission mitigation activities in the energy sector as well as in other areas. So far, however, few efforts have been made to assess the actual impacts of these actions on energy consumption or on the economy. Implementation is often impeded due to the regulatory framework in place and to the options available for integrating these renewable energies within existing energy systems. Countries in the region still hardly make use of the other climate-friendly technologies that are available. In addition, cooperation among them and regional knowledge sharing in the areas of climate and energy remain infrequent.

Objective

Strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in countries in the MENA region are transferred throughout the region and disseminated supraregionally.

Approach

The project supports partner countries in implementing low emission and energy strategies and in designing suitable instruments. It also assists the Arab League with formulating planning and reporting standards for renewable energies. Regional expert forums enable the responsible sector authorities to learn from one another and from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), which introduces expertise from Germany. The project appraises experiences related to low emission strategies from the region and makes them accessible worldwide to projects carried out by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), which is financed by the German Government.

The project team cooperates with national institutions in select partner countries and with regional organisations. Advisory services aimed at enhancing climate and energy policies take current requirements and developments in the partner countries into consideration. Experts from Germany and consulting firms provide additional support by offering technical expertise.

Through the formats of experience sharing and joint knowledge management, the project cooperates with other IKI projects and with the German Climate Technology Initiative (DKTI).

Results achieved so far

Morocco has begun compiling long-term energy scenarios that are guided by the key issue of how to develop a sustainable energy system based on steadily increasing the portion of renewable energies in the energy mix. The findings support partners in carrying out medium and long-term energy planning and enable them to develop expansion plans for renewable energies that are both cost-effective and technically sound.

With the project’s support, Morocco is also drafting legal requirements for feeding energy from decentralised renewable sources into the power grid. A framework law that addresses feeding renewable energy into the low-voltage grid was adopted in December 2015.
An update to the Tunisian Solar Plan has been passed, which serves as a basis for Tunisia’s national contributions in the area of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The update stipulates that 30 per cent of overall energy demand is to be covered by renewable energies by the year 2030.

In 2016, the Jordanian Ministry of Environment developed the strategic Vision 2025, which was made possible through an organisational development process.

Environmental, climate and energy sector cooperation between Iran and Germany was renewed in 2015. Iranian and German experts have since made use of numerous gatherings to exchange knowledge and expertise on climate and energy policies, water resource management, urban development and environmental protection.

In September 2014, the Arab League adopted the Arab Renewable Energy Framework as a regional guideline that addresses the utilisation of renewable energies. Member states within the League can now formulate national action plans and draft progress reports on the basis of this framework.

The transregional platform for large-scale solar power plants founded in 2015 serves as a forum for high-ranking policy makers to engage in dialogue and exchange with each other and with representatives from the private and research sectors.