Nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) are concrete projects, policies, and/or programmes that shift a technology or sector in a country onto a low-carbon development trajectory. The mitigation actions can be unilateral, supported, or creditable according to the Convention, and undertaken at different scales. Currently, there is not an agreed political definition for NAMAs, although much discussion has taken place.
A Low-Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) outlines the intended overall economic, energy, and emissions trajectory for a country and helps to identify trigger points for policy intervention (including identifying and prioritizing NAMAs and ensuring coherence between NAMAs and national development goals).
A LEDS is an ambitious and comprehensive undertaking, and is more suitable to countries with an advanced national climate change process and strategies, as well as good data, information, and analytical studies. Building from a low-emission development concept, a strategy is developed containing a set of NAMAs that ensure quantifiable reductions in emissions across a set of sectors or economy-wide.
The LEDS might be top-down – beginning from an overall policy objective and emission reduction goal of the country, before moving on to identifying NAMAs in various sectors. (This approach usually relies upon the results of macro-economic modeling.) Or it might be bottom-up, with emission reduction options in various sectors identified and analysed first to determine, quantify and prioritise NAMAs. To arrive at the LEDS, the overall emissions reductions are determined once the bottom-up results are integrated and further prioritized.
Finally, a scaled-down version of a LEDS might be considered in which low-emission development concerns are incorporated into existing strategies, such as including energy efficiency or renewable energy measures in energy plans or policies. The emission reductions associated with the various measures are quantified and priority measures are considered for implementation as NAMAs. This would be suited to countries that have developed a set of comprehensive policies for key sectors (e.g., agriculture, energy, forestry, transport) but have not quantified emission reductions associated with various policy options and would like to do so in order to transition to low-emission, climate-resilient development.
Alternatively, a country might choose to focus more narrowly on the identification of concrete NAMAs that can be implemented in certain sectors, based on the prioritization exercises undertaken during the context-assessment exercise. Depending on the level of ambition, a programmatic approach to NAMAs could be undertaken, in which a complex range of trade-offs and interactions between a range of NAMAs in many sectors must be considered. Even in the case of select individual NAMAs, the national team must give due consideration to issues such as leakage or double-counting.
A LEDS is not a fixed process and each country should customize the broad approaches described above according to national circumstances and development priorities, level of stakeholder engagement and political will, and national capacities.
It is clear that LEDS and NAMAs will need to be embedded in national development policies and within the existing institutional framework at the national level. The challenge will be to build and sustain high-level stakeholder support (both public and private) – particularly for development of a LEDS. How will cross-sectoral cooperation be encouraged? How will stakeholder engagement be incorporated? Are working arrangements needed at several levels (e.g., stakeholders, political leaders, technical, sub-national)?
It is important to note that interests may be vested against technically sound mitigation options, or proposed mitigation options might run counter to national policies (e.g., energy efficiency measures in a country offering highly subsidized oil or gas to citizens). This issue could be counteracted during project implementation through regular stakeholder engagement to address political roadblocks; paying attention to national institutional processes & potential to improve the enabling environment; and by highlighting approaches and policies being undertaken in other countries as constructive inputs for policy makers.
Many countries have already identified capacity gaps in their National Communications in the following areas: use of specific models for mitigation analysis at the sectoral level; development of baselines and mitigation scenarios to estimate emission reduction potentials; development of socio-economic scenarios; and feasibility analysis of the mitigation options identified, including cost assessments.
Furthermore, preliminary capacity constraints identified in the area of LEDS development include: use of appropriate tools to assess and prioritize LEDS in the context of development needs; design of institutional frameworks to ensure appropriation of strategies by the relevant stakeholders; and estimation of resources (financial and technical) required for the implementation of LEDS.