Chile invests in capacity at the sub-national level to enhance its action on climate change

At the project inception workshop earlier this year, ICAT joined the Government of Chile and other partners to initiate a project aimed to enhance the systems, tools and capacity needed to improve climate action transparency at the sub-national level.

Chile has committed to carbon neutrality and enhanced climate resilience by 2050, at the latest, as required by science. This goal is established in the country’s Climate Change framework bill presented by the Government of President Piñera that is being processed with urgency and transversal support in the congress upper house. The bill establishes the obligation to develop action plans at subnational level considering mitigation and adaptation actions. To define these actions, it is essential that subnational governments have science-based information.

Considering this, “the ICAT project is a great support in this matter, allowing us to make methodologies and information available to subnational governments considering their own reality and opportunities” commented Carolina Urmeneta, Director of Climate Change Office at the Ministry of Environment.

In its revised NDC, Chile established that by 2025, climate change capacities and institutions at the sub-national level will be strengthened and the implementation of necessary adaptation and mitigation actions will have begun through the delivery of regional climate change action plans in 10 administrative regions. By 2030, 16 administrative regions will have their own climate change action plans.

While significant progress has already been made to improve capacities at the sub-national level and build regional committees on climate change, challenges still remain in designing and successfully implementing mitigation actions at local levels, and existing tracking tools are not adequate at the sub-national levels.

Building on existing initiatives and developments, and in full coordination with sub-national stakeholders, the ICAT project will address these challenges by providing the systems, tools and capacity building needed to enhance the transparency of climate action at the sub-national level, and improve the capacity to design and implement locally appropriate mitigation actions.

According to Jenny Mager Santos, Head of Mitigation and GHG Inventory Department, Climate Change Office at the Ministry of Environment, Chile: “This project will help sub-national administrations calculate their own carbon footprint, allowing them to monitor and report on their climate actions. By working from the bottom-up, we can help address local priorities and needs while simultaneously aligning local strategies and action with national goals and commitments.”

At the inception workshop, stakeholders, including government representatives, non-governmental organizations, private sector, and academia met virtually to initiate the compact 12 month project, build momentum and discuss GHG management. During an interactive session, important questions around the set-up of the proposed MRV system were discussed among stakeholders and interest groups.

María José (Pepa) López, Director of Gauss International and an ICAT Implementing Partner, commented: “The high level of participation (almost 200 participants) demonstrates the interest and engagement of local authorities and relevant stakeholders in the ICAT project.”

López also adds that the consultation approach implemented after the project presentation succeeded in getting the agreement of the certification structure proposed at four levels. These include:

  1. Quantification label (when the carbon footprint is measured)
  2. Reduction label (if local authorities adopt policies to reduce emissions)
  3. Neutralization label (when local authorities strengthen those policies with the objective to neutralize emissions)
  4. Excellence label (when all local actors are involved in the management of GHG emissions, for a sustainable development of the city).

Furthermore, as the needs and suggestions of participants were compiled before project implementation at the inception workshop, the project will use these as a foundation throughout the project, ensuring communication is integral part of the project from the beginning to the end. According to López, “this will help identify the existing gaps in stakeholder knowledge to make technical concepts more understandable and relatable and meet their expressed needs on climate action.”

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