‘SOLIDARITY IS IN OUR OWN INTEREST.’ – an interview
‘SOLIDARITY IS IN OUR OWN INTEREST.’
Dr Karsten Sach, Director General International and European Policy, Climate Policy, BMU, on the challenges and opportunities in the global struggle to attain the climate targets
What challenges are countries facing in meeting their NDCs?
Dr Karsten Sach Virtually every country in the world has drafted and submitted national climate action plans. This is a huge initial success for the Paris Agreement. However, these are only abstract plans. Now they have to be translated into concrete programmes, measures and investment plans. Government departments and all actors involved in the fields of energy, business, agriculture, construction, transport and finance must make implementation one of their priorities and ensure that everything they do is Paris-compatible. This is why in Germany we intend to use the new climate change law to oblige the responsible ministries to make their contributions.
Why should Germany support other countries?
Industrialised countries not only have a historical responsibility, they also have the technological and financial capacity. Above all, though, climate change threatens us all and can only be tackled together. Effective action on climate change opens up future markets and is essential for our economic success. Solidarity is in our own interest. This is why we have set up mechanisms such as the International Climate Initiative and the NDC Partnership.
In your view, what skills does GIZ have that contribute to advances in the global struggle to attain the climate targets and climate resilience?
Its strong presence on the ground, many years of experience in all fields of sustainable development and professional teams of international and national personnel make GIZ an excellent partner. The involvement of local implementing organisations and good access to partner governments provide the foundation for linking project work and international climate policy efficiently.
How can a country’s agriculture or energy ministry succeed in taking ownership of its national climate targets – and what part can GIZ play in this?
The foundation for successfully implementing climate change mitigation measures is the government having a coherent overall strategy that makes climate action a priority. There is therefore a need for clear political will and cross-departmental processes involving key actors from business and society. It is essential to involve the relevant government departments and the finance ministries early on, when NDCs are being drawn up, and to build knowledge and capacity to back this up. Thanks to its structure on the ground, GIZ is in an excellent position to disseminate best practices, further improve training for the stakeholders and networking between them, and support climate champions in the partner country.
How can we make sure that NDCs really solve the global climate problem and don’t simply remain a theoretical solution?
Transparency, clear monitoring, continuous learning and refinement, raising awareness and strengthening social participation in the solutions – all of these are essential. Paris set us on the right path. More and more countries are translating NDCs into strategies for their energy, construction, agriculture, forestry and transport industries, developing support instruments, framework legislation and CO2 pricing systems, and starting to divert financial flows. Political, societal and economic alliances are being formed, and the public is pressing policy-makers to take more decisive action. There is still a lot to do, of course. We need even more technological and social innovation, climate finance has to be expanded and the relevant government departments need further strengthening, to name just a few aspects.