Book summary: Climate Action with Tomorrow in Mind – Expert Perspectives on Long-term Climate and Development Strategies

IIED’s Achala Abeysinghe authors a chapter in the book ‘Climate Action with Tomorrow in Mind: Expert Perspectives on Long-term Climate and Development Strategies’ which compiles more than 30 expert perspectives on key topics related to the development of long-term strategies.  

Article, 01 August 2018

Split into four themes, each covering several topics, the book contains essays written by experts to help policymakers develop and integrate long-term climate strategies into national policymaking.

The first section looks at ‘The Big Picture’: aligning short- and medium-term goals with the Paris Agreement, adaptation and more. Part two explores qualitative and quantitative approaches for developing long-term strategies (LTS); section three – which includes Abeysinghe’s chapter – discusses integrating sustainable development, governance and capacity-building objectives in LTS; and the final section discusses sectoral approaches to LTS.

The book is part of a suite of resources  that the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), working with UN Climate Change, are developing to help policymakers think through how to comprehensively plan long-term climate strategies and integrate them into national policy making. 

In a chapter titled, ‘Seven Key Elements for a Successful Long-term Climate Strategy (LTCS)’ Abeysinghe says there is no one-size-fits-all solution to developing a strategy. The most appropriate approach for each country is shaped by its particular context.  

Abeysinghe says a well-designed strategy should be "durable yet nimble", standing the test of time while being able to accommodate changing circumstances.

She sets out how good governance, clear strategic vision and actionable policy options, having a high level of political and technical leadership, and taking a ‘whole government’ and ‘whole society’ approach are essential principles for achieving long-term climate strategies.

Abeysinghe calls for high-level involvement in designing long term climate strategies, saying that senior political figures should participate in strategy development. 

In a recent blog on good governance, Abeysinge highlighted the involvement of leaders like President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands and Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in developing the long-term climate vision for their countries. 

She says such engagement helps to create greater downward accountability to the citizens of a country. 

Abeysinghe's chapter also stresses the importance of governments being inclusive and transparent in their efforts to tackle climate change. This will take the strategy process beyond a “whole government” to a “whole society” approach.

Climate Action with Tomorrow in Mind: Expert Perspectives on Long-term Climate and Development Strategies,  the World Resources Institute, 2018 – Book, 162 pages (ISBN:1-56973-935-8)