CAN Briefing on Civil Society Engagement in Developing Long-Term Strategies, October 2017

The Paris Agreement calls for countries to formulate long-term low-GHG emission development strategies, in line with pursuing efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5ºC. Developing such long-term strategies gives countries a framework within which to consider both their climate change and sustainable development objectives together. The 2030 Agenda and national development goals enable countries to know what their development should look like. Developing a long-term strategy allows countries to set the benchmarks for safe emissions curbs to ascertain how this development should take place, within safe climate limits. Long-term planning also provides an opportunity to maximize socio-economic benefits, such as cleaner air and water, improved security for jobs and energy access, and better health.

If devised effectively, long-term strategies can identify opportunities and challenges for sustainable development, open a space for democratic consultation on these implications, and secure a just transition for workers and communities that currently depend on a fossil-based economy. Civil society engagement will be essential in every step of the process to maximize effectiveness and ensure full implementation.

Decision 17/CP.22 paragraph 2 ‘encourages Parties to continue to promote the systematic integration of gender-sensitive and participatory education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information [...] into the formulation of long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies.’ Not only is greater participation good for reasons of transparency and inclusiveness, but civil society participation has been proven to result in better policy-making, effective and sustainable implementation as well as robust accountability.

This CAN Briefing identifies several benefits of civil society engagement in the process of developing long-term strategies and provides key recommendations on how governments can carry out effective engagement for long-term gains.