Vertically integrated climate protection

Project description

Title: Vertically integrated climate protection

Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)

Country: Global

Lead executing agency: Costa Rica: Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), National Secretariat for Climate Protection; Georgia: Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection (MoE); Indonesia: Ministry for National Development Planning (BAPPENAS); Mexico: Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT); South Africa: Department of Environmental Affairs

Overall term: 2016 bis 2020


Cities account for 70 per cent of global CO2 emissions, a figure that is set to increase in the coming years due to rising levels of urbanisation. Meeting the 2-degree target, which stipulates that long-term global warming should be limited to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius, will only be possible if cities are included in national mitigation actions. In certain areas, such as traffic and urban development planning, they have legislative and regulatory competences beyond the purview of the national level. To date, too little attention has been devoted to cities within processes of formulating national mitigation obligations, partly due to a lack of know-how and capacity among decision-makers at national and subnational level to systematically harness urban mitigation potential.


National climate targets are implemented more effectively by integrating subnational stakeholders.


The project operates in Costa Rica, Indonesia, Georgia, Mexico and South Africa, five countries that have considerable potential in terms of vertically integrated climate change mitigation strategies. This is due either to their previous relevant experience, such as with vertically integrated and nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs), or to the fact that their cities and municipalities already assume an important role in the context of national mitigation obligations.

Vertical climate policy integration entails efforts made by all state levels – spanning from the central government to the states, cities and municipalities – to jointly develop, implement and monitor policies, programmes and activities designed to mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases.

Efforts to maximise mitigation potential at subnational level have thus far been hampered in numerous ways, such as through a lack of coordination mechanisms between the national and subnational levels, ambiguous mandates, insufficient access to financing and the absence of climate-related criteria within existing financing programmes. Strategies to overcome these barriers vary from one partner country to another, depending on their federal structures, their degree of decentralisation and the distribution of responsibilities between the national and subnational levels.

The project seeks to make a significant contribution to achieving national mitigation targets by promoting the concept of vertical climate policy integration. This entails strengthening the capacity and performance of decision-makers for climate policies. The project also sets out to integrate all relevant stakeholders efficiently and effectively within this process, including cities, states and provinces, and ministries. The aim is to involve these stakeholders in developing and implementing internationally agreed mechanisms and instruments, such as nationally and internationally determined contributions (I/NDCs), greenhouse gas inventories and NAMAs, and in promoting broad-based support for municipal, locally limited climate change mitigation actions.

Activities carried out within the partner countries include:

  • improving the framework conditions for implementing subnational mitigation actions
  • promoting existing subnational strategies
  • developing measures based on Germany’s National Climate Initiative
  • initiating international learning processes.

The project use various dialogue and exchange formats and cooperates with established networks and platforms that address climate and urban issues. Lessons learned are evaluated and fed into the international negotiation processes.