ALLIANCES FOR CLIMATE ACTION: BUILDING DOMESTIC MULTI-SECTOR COALITIONS TO ENHANCE CLIMATE ACTION IN LATIN AMERICA
Addressing climate change will require new coalitions to emerge – at the local level, among sub-national governments, and between civil society groups, within countries and internationally. Enormous resources, experiences and analysis are being generated around the world – and a key challenge we face is making the connections to allow these to be shared, rather than requiring everyone to start from first principles.
Alliances for Climate Action (ACA) is a global network of domestic multi-sector coalitions committed to supporting the delivery and enhancement of their countries’ climate goals. ACA connects cities, states, the private sector, investors, universities and civil society at the domestic level so that they can work with each other and with their national governments to drive climate action. The founding partners of the network are WWF, Avina Foundation, CDP, C40, CAN, The Climate Group and We Mean Business. As of mid-2019, ACAs have been launched in Argentina, Mexico, Japan and the United States.
Below we review the work of two ACAs in Latin America: Alianza para la Acción Climática de Guadalajara, in Mexico, and Alianza para la Acción Climática Argentina.
Mexico: Alianza para la Acción Climática de Guadalajara
Mexico’s NDC commits the country to reducing emissions to at least 25% below business as usual by 2030, with a pledge to increase that goal to 40%, conditional on international support. It also includes a target to “increase the adaptive capacity and reduce vulnerability in 160 municipalities”, creating an opportunity for sub-national, private sector and civil society groups to work with the national government to help fulfil its climate goals. One sub-national government which has seized that opportunity is the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area (GMA), comprising nine municipalities and making up the second largest local authority in Mexico, with a population of 5 million people.
GMA has been undertaking ambitious action on climate change for some years, with the participation of the state and municipal governments, academia, businesses and civil society. These actors have been working together to build a liveable, resilient and sustainable city in the context of a changing climate.
To increase their impact, the Alianza para la Acción Climática de Guadalajara (ACA-GDL) partnership was launched in 2018. The alliance, supported by WWF, includes 35 Mexican entities, including the IMEPLAN, the metropolitan planning institute, the University of Guadalajara, the State of Jalisco’s Ministry of the Environment and Territorial Development (SEMADET), and business and civil society stakeholders.
By strengthening local participation, ACA-GDL engages different actors to build local social power based on the unity trust, cooperation and commitment of its members with a focus on improving energy efficiency, expanding renewable energy, handling solid waste properly, promoting sustainable urban mobility, sustainable production and responsible and moderate consumption, as well as creating highly resilient societies in Guadalajara.
The alliance has identified collaborative projects addressing energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings, promoting urban forests and improving waste management. It is supported by experts on climate change, urban development and sustainability, who help identify untapped opportunities. In the near future, this will mean the creation of a portfolio of actions to be implemented by members of this alliance.
This strategy serves as an inspiration for other cities in the country to meet national climate commitments and, importantly, to encourage greater climate ambition in Mexico.
Argentina: Alianza para la Acción Climática Argentina
In Argentina, agriculture, cattle ranching, forestry and other land use are together responsible for 39% of the country’s GHG emissions, representing the second largest source after energy.
Climate change impacts are a global threat to food production and, given Argentina’s position as a major food exporter, this is an area of priority for its government. Over the last two decades, agricultural production in the country has decisively shifted towards genetically modified soybeans, maize and cotton, which in most of the country are produced without irrigation, making food production more resilient to climate impacts and representing an opportunity for its agricultural production in global markets.
This is the context for the creation in 2018 of the Alianza para la Acción Climática Argentina (ACA-ARG). It brings together Argentinian local governments and non-state actors, including a number involved in the agricultural sector. The coalition seeks to create a national platform through the design and implementation of joint and coordinated actions that contribute to accelerate climate action in Argentina.
The alliance is starting a conversation about what kind of development is needed for those parts of the country that face changes to rainfall and resulting impacts on agricultural production. It involves Argentina’s Environmental Protection Agency, a number of key municipalities and regional governments, foundations and NGOs, and no fewer than 2,000 private producers of agro-commodities across Argentina.
What lessons can be learned
The collaboration between subnational and non-state actors can help spread lessons learned in one jurisdiction to another. The participation of international NGOs, foundations, businesses and other organizations can facilitate the exchange of lessons, insights and analysis that local organisations can find difficult to access on their own.
However, the key members of these alliances are domestic actors, who have local knowledge, networks and contacts that are invaluable for enhancing climate ambition. Multi-sector alliances are also important, bringing different perspectives and helping to manage trade-offs that are inevitable with mitigating and adapting to climate change.
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