Subnational governments play a key role in working with national governments to fulfill National Adaptation Plans and Nationally Determined Contributions. This event brought together Governors and high level officials from countries across the globe to showcase efforts being made on local, regional, and state levels to support climate adaption efforts.
Subnational government leadership in driving National Adaptation Plans (NAP) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) implementation
This event, co-organized by Regions4, the European Committee of the Regions (COR), Under2 Coalition in partnership with the Scottish Government, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the NAP Global Network, brought together subnational groups and leaders to elevate the voices of local and regional governments and states and highlight their efforts to support climate adaptation. It highlighted the significance of and need for clear recognition of subnational governments’ contributions to climate action, while emphasizing the urgent need for dedicated financial mechanisms and support systems to scale implementation at the regional and local levels.
Moderator Jordan Harris, Executive Director, Regions4, opened the event by emphasizing the “essential” role subnational governments play in implementing NAPs and contributing to NDCs. He noted that the Global Stocktake is a stark reminder of the need to focus on driving adaptation and resilience at the local level, and mentioned the gap identified in the the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) 2023 Adaptation Gap Report of USD 194-366 billion a year that must be overcome.
Mairi McAllan, Government of Scotland, provided opening remarks, underscoring the “critical” need to collaborate through multilevel governance to implement NAPs and NDCs. She praised the side event as one that will “amplify” the collaborative efforts of subnational governments, and said that by “working together our impact will be greater, our voices will be louder.” She highlighted efforts the Scottish government is taking to support regional adaptation partnerships in urban areas and the Scottish Highlands, and to build an ecosystem of local authorities delivering adaptation tailored to the specific needs of regions.
Speaking on the first expert panel, Mauricio Luna-Rodríguez, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), provided a high-level overview of the new NAP Global Network synthesis report Progress on Vertical Integration in National Adaptation Plan Processes: Analysis of Strategic Linkages Between National and Sub-national Levels. He spoke about specific entry points and enabling factors that can help support vertical integration throughout the planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and learning phases of the NAP process. He emphasized the importance of technical support and financing to support vertical integration and the role of non-governmental stakeholders, such as civil society organizations and micro-, small-, and middle-sized enterprises, to support community-led adaptation.
Carmen Vogt, GIZ, highlighted technical assistance from the German government to support NAPs and NDCs at the regional and subnational levels. She acknowledged the progress that has been made at COP 28 through the Local Climate Action Summit, where the COP 28 Presidency launched the Coalition for High Level Multi-Level Partnerships (CHAMP), endorsed by 63 national governments, to foster collaboration at the subnational level. She reiterated that the integration of subnational contributions to NDCs is “essential” and stressed the need to link NDC and NAP discussions to achieve vertical integration and a multilevel governance approach. She noted the EUR 200 million the German government has provided, through different ministries, to different international initiatives that work to support climate action planning, project scoping, pre-feasibility studies, and infrastructure financing. She closed by reiterating the role of technical assistance and the importance of leveraging finances for local climate action.
A roundtable discussion, moderated by Nehmat Kaur, The Climate Group, showcased what different regional governments are doing to support NAPs and NDCs. Paul Otuoma, Governor of Busia County and Chair of the Council of Governors, Kenya, discussed some of the unique challenges facing flood-prone regions in his county while highlighting the 2010 Kenyan Constitution that specifically outlines support for multilevel governance. He pointed to actions taking place, such as the creation of the National Climate Change Council, to steer NDC implementation, and the County Climate Change Fund framework created to support the mainstreaming of climate adaptation and mitigation into local budgets.
Thiago Pampolha, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, discussed what his region is doing to advance the Paris Agreement, noting the unique challenges posed by the population density of his state, as well as its role as one of the major fossil fuel producers in the country. He highlighted efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from his state, as well as efforts to restore the Atlantic Forest and reduce methane emissions through innovative sewage solutions. He highlighted collaborative efforts between the local and national level to reach their net-zero targets by 2050 and decrease fossil fuel production.
Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Governor, Central Macedonia Region, Greece, began his intervention by reflecting on the unprecedented flooding and wildfires that have impacted his region and country. He called for concrete action, and not just discussions, at COP 28 by setting strict and high goals to address climate change. He emphasized the importance of empowering regions and cities to be involved in multilevel governance processes, the need to provide them with the tools to act, and for the involvement of subnational governments in the design phase of NAPs.
Mireia Boya, Government of Catalonia, discussed her region’s recent adoption of a climate change adaptation strategy. This plan, she said, provides specific measures to operationalize and implement adaptation goals that are tailored to address adaptation within specific national systems, socio-economic areas, and territories. She highlighted the efforts Catalonia is making in partnership with the Spanish government to meet NDCs through integrated energy and climate plans, alongside local efforts to reduce emissions from public transport and waste.
Harris closed the session by reiterating how cities, states, and regions are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and that there needs to be more recognition of the role subnational governments can play through a multilevel governance approach to support NAPs and NDCs in order for governments to meet their international commitments.