Where Are We? Where Do We Want To Go? How Do We Get There?

17 November 2017

You probably recognise questions from the Fijian COP Presidency’s note on the Talanoa Dialogue. But when plotting the world’s long-term pathway to 1.5°C, these questions also become particularly relevant for the discussions.


“Where do we want to go?” and, “how do we get there?”, are especially key when thinking about long-term strategies. Article 4.1 of the Paris Agreement tells us that we need to achieve a balance of sources and sinks by the second half of the century. So by working backwards from this 2050 horizon, countries can design a sustainable pathway for national development.


ECO has been encouraged to hear countries talking about long-term strategies in the negotiations these past two weeks.  They were mentioned within both the common timeframes and the APA global stocktake agenda. The latter of which’s outcomes also reflect the three above questions and lists long-term strategies as an “other source” of input. But it’s not enough that parties are making positive statements on long-term strategies. The worth of such strategies depends on their ability to answer the three questions in the title in detail. These strategies need to be more than just “visions” for the future. They must be meaningful, transparent and developed inclusively.


Pre-2020 action has roared back into life at COP23, and it’s no surprise given 2017’s ever-increasing extreme weather events. There is an urgent need to scale-up efforts to reduce emissions. ECO, believes that countries are missing an important opportunity to ramp up ambition ahead of 2020 by not utilising the structured nature of long-term strategies.


Such strategies give parties a baseline, and if the strategy and accompanying long-term goal are robust enough, Parties can develop shorter and medium-term goals that trigger a step up in short-term ambition.


Fittingly, the 2050 Pathways Platform was established to provide a space for countries and other actors to share best practices, guidance and support to develop long-term strategies; recognising that one-size doesn’t fit all.


The ability of long-term strategies to increase ambition depends on parties actually implementing measures and policies within their strategies. This will provide business and investor confidence and by-extension, feed into ensuring that investments are made in a 100% renewable energy future.

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