Strengthening Climate Knowledge and Sector Strategies in Argentina

April 10, 2017

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Glacier Perito Moreno in Argentina. Photo: www.ambiente.gob.ar/

The Argentine Republic established and announced domestic actions to cut carbon emissions in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Using science-based guidance for the selection of climate change scenarios for planning purposes, Argentina identified priority mitigation actions and adaptation measures in vital socioeconomic sectors.

Challenge

The conclusions of the Argentine Second National Communication (2008) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) identified core climate vulnerabilities through 2040, including increased water stress; intense precipitation and floods; ongoing glacier retreat; and increased exposure of coastal areas to sea level rise. By 2009, Argentina’s institutional framework for dealing with climate change issues had improved: The Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development (Secretaría de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable,

SAyDS) was named technical point agency for the UNFCCC in 2008, and the Climate Change Directorate was created within the secretariat. The SAyDS became the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers, increasing its role in coordinating intersectoral policies. By December 2009, the SAyDS led the process of creating the Governmental Commission on Climate Change (GCCC), an intersecretarial body charged with discussing and advising on sector issues to ensure climate change considerations are mainstreamed across public institutions.

Approach

The scope of the Third National Communication (TNC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Project went beyond implementing the standard national inventories of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and identifying steps completed or envisaged to fulfill Argentina’s commitment to the UNFCCC. To facilitate integration of climate change priorities into public development strategies and sector programs, including, for example, those on agriculture, industry, energy, and tourism, the project emphasized institutional arrangements. The GCCC served as the project’s Steering Committee (SC), and technical specialists from 26 public institutions participated. Argentina’s first Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was created and charged with channeling contributions by scientific and technical institutions, NGOs, trade unions, and the private sector. The 23 provinces and the city of Buenos Aires were invited to nominate technical focal points for the project, and 22 provinces took active part, collaborating with the Federal Council of the Environment. The SC, TAC, provincial focal points, and the World Bank reviewed the studies’ terms of reference and reports to provide political and technical guidance.


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World Bank

Results

·         In late 2014, the project delivered Argentina’s first regional climate change scenarios along with a database containing the underlying information, the results of computer simulations, details on past climate conditions, and possible future scenarios. The online database, tools, and user guidance cover 11 indicators for assessing climate extremes, expected near-term changes (2011–2039), and end-of-century climate estimates (2075–2099). This information provides Argentina with science-based guidance for selecting climate change scenarios for planning purposes.

·         By June 2015, the project had provided an analysis of GHG emissions in all contributing sectors (energy; industrial processes and product use; agriculture, forestry, and other land use; and waste), and had identified mitigation actions in ten priority economic activities.

·         Further, the project contributed to climate vulnerability assessments for all regions in the country (Cordillera, Patagonia, Central, and the Argentine Sea and Coastal Areas), including the identification and preliminary prioritization of adaptation measures in the main socioeconomic sectors.

The studies and analysis produced under the project, available on its website, represent a significant contribution to Argentina’s relevant information base. They help to frame policy options by providing abundant specifics for facilitating the discussions about intersectoral strategies, tradeoffs, and practical implementation issues necessary for effective government efforts to design and implement successful strategies and programs. The project’s impact on institutional capacity, as assessed by central members of the SC using in-depth interviews and an online survey, was satisfactory; SC members valued the learning they gained through the project, particularly the availability and quality of the official information and tools generated to help integrate climate change considerations into the institutions they represent. Though most SC members rated their own participation in the project as moderate, the majority still rated the knowledge and understanding of climate issues gained as satisfactory or higher.


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Aconquija National Park, Argentina. Photo: www.ambiente.gob.ar/

Bank Group Contribution

The project was financed with US$ 2.44 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a unique partnership of 18 agencies — including United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, national entities and international NGOs — working with 183 countries to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues. SAyDS invested in-kind contributions of staff time, office space, and related facilities and services worth an estimated US$ 360,000.

 

Partners

To fulfill the UNFCCC requirement for periodic reporting on the status of national mitigation actions, established after project approval, GEF support was requested to fund the first Argentine Biennial Update Report (BUR). The BUR proposal was prepared as additional project financing, and the GEF approved it in January 2014. Later, however, it was decided that the project covered the essence of the BUR, and the Bank transferred the GEF grant to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), under which it was assigned to the preparation of the second Argentine BUR.

 

Moving Forward

The project facilitated the preparation, continuity, and sustainability of Argentina’s TNC and BUR, and the Argentine government was able to fully administer its TNC without externalization, the process followed for the Second National Communication. The government that came to power in December 2015 has built on project results: In July 2016, intersectoral coordination and collaboration was strengthened by replacing the Governmental Commission on Climate Change with a National Cabinet for Climate Change charged with preparing the country to face climate change through effective policies and heightened awareness. In November 2016, Argentina submitted enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions.

Beneficiaries

The project directly benefited the SC’s 26 public institution members responsible for overseeing the political and technical tasks of developing the TNC and then incorporating climate change considerations into national strategies and programs. TAC members also benefited from the project, which helped advance their related agendas. Members indicated high valuations of project results, with individuals offering comments such as “progress has been made in systematization of information and active participation of different sectors” and “the challenge of participating in this type of project served to internalize the problem of climate change in our institution.” The public at large gained crucial sources of climate change information.

 


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Deforestation in Argentina. Photo: www.ambiente.gob.ar/
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Climate Change
By June 2015, the project had provided an analysis of GHG emissions in all contributing sectors (energy; industrial processes and product use; agriculture, forestry, and other land use; and waste)