Implementing Low Carbon Development

Providing sustainable development for all and fighting climate change – these are two major challenges the world faces today.

National action on climate change and the international negotiations are interlinked  and mutually reinforcing. The international negotiations in the past five years have stimulated national action especially on ‘Low Carbon Development’ meaning development with minimal output of greenhouse gas emissions.

If the full social costs and benefits are taken into account, in most cases low carbon development trumps carbon-intensive development. For example, a shift from coal to renewables can cut air pollution dramatically; better farming practices will enable farmers to be more resilient as well as reduce agricultural emissions; while better insulated houses are not only cheaper to keep warm, they are also healthier places to live in.

To achieve major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at the national level, governments need to agree and fund low-carbon development plans. Some countries are already setting an example.

Exploring Sustainable Low Carbon Development Pathways

The project “Exploring Sustainable Low Carbon Development Pathways” aims to point out ways how to combine both: climate protection and sustainable development. As a joint initiative by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Bread for the World (BftW), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Climate Action Network International (CAN-I) and ACT Alliance of Churches, the project is led by the common understanding that any future development model has to be:

  • Low Carbon.That means with a minimal output of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Ecologically Sustainable. That means fully respecting planetary boundaries.
  • Human Rights-based. That means with a strong focus on poverty reduction and participation.
  • Socially Inclusive. That means creating wealth and employment while absorbing negative social impacts.
  • Just. That means equally sharing burdens and opportunities between different stakeholders.
  • Nationally appropriate. That means respecting countries different backgrounds and challenges towards sustainable development.

The project was started in 2013 in four pilot countries: Kazakhstan, Peru, Tanzania and Vietnam.

In close co-operation and ownership with different national partners from civil society, politics and science we aim to:

  • Explore Sustainable Low Carbon Development Pathways in these countries which could serve as regional and international examples.
  • Show that Low Carbon Development is not only possible but economically and socially beneficial.
  • Create platforms for dialogue at the national level for a range of different stakeholders.
  • Support and intensify networks between civil society actors in the respective countries and regions.

Promoting pro-poor low carbon strategies

This project supports campaigns that promote low carbon sustainable development strategies in a range of countries in Asia, East and West Africa and Latin America. The campaigns adopt tactics to promote low carbon development such as awareness raising, capacity building and advocacy at local, national regional and international levels.

Poorer countries can unlock local, national and global benefits if they develop in a low carbon way. For example, energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions can minimize growing carbon emissions and at the same time contribute to poverty reduction. 


Get involved

To get involved in low carbon development work in your own country, get in touch with your country or region’s CAN network coordinator or search our database of over 900 members to find one in your country that suits you. CAN’s role is to bring together its members working on low-carbon development at the national and regional level to harmonize and coordinate their work around key opportunities to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

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June 8, 2014 - 3:15am