This section discusses whether regional and national instances of orchestration (1) bring on board underrepresented actors; (2) contribute to implementation; (3) emphasize social justice; and, (4) strengthen actions by providing ideational and material support.
International Climate Governance Coalition
The International Climate Governance Coalition (ICGC) describes itself as a ‘transversal coalition’ aiming to produce policy tools and recommendations to support bottom-up actions. ‘Transversality’ refers to the multi-level and multi-stakeholder character of climate governance. The ICGC’s origins can be traced to orchestration efforts in the context of the UNFCCC, as it is a spin-off of efforts by the French government to mobilize stakeholders ahead of the Paris Climate Conference. The ICGC has the ambition to become itself an orchestrator by setting up a platform, and by targeting regions, businesses and workers organizations through its partner organizations. After an initial meeting at the World Summit Climate and Territories in July 2015 in Lyon, organized by the French COP Presidency, the European Economic and Social Council (EESC), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the French Committee for Sustainable Development (C21F), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) continued to explore ways to support non-state action, and together formed the ICGC in 2016.
The ICGC’s catalytic impacts beyond the GCAA still largely need to be determined. Although the ICGC considers itself as ‘centered on a northern approach,’Footnote 2 mostly targeting Europe, and to a lesser extent Quebec, it aims to include developing country partners over time. In terms of bringing on board new actors, ICGC has considerable potential as most of its partners do not represent traditional environmental actors. For instance, EESC traditionally represents the interests of employers and workers rather than the environment. By bringing unions and employer organizations into dialogues, e.g., with the European Commission, and by stimulating actions among these organizations, the ICGC potentially can promote climate action as a norm across various economic sectors.
The ICGC’s focus is on smaller-scale initiatives that could make concrete contributions to NDC implementation. According to its 2016-2018 Draft Roadmap,Footnote 3 the coalition ‘seeks to make a concrete contribution to […] a rapid implementation of the Paris Agreement.’ However, the link between the ICGC’s planned activities and NDC implementation remains obscure. According to the EESC, the coalition could insert ‘field level value’ into the conversation along with ‘traditional structures,’ particularly the European Commission, which often takes a macro-political view, rather than focusing on smaller initiatives.
The ICGC’s Draft Roadmap does not explicitly refer to the 1.5 or 2 °C climate targets. According to Noelani Dubeta, coordinator of the coalition at the EESC, the coalition takes these goals on board as it operates in the spirit of the Paris Agreement. As its primary aim is to support initiatives, ICGC sees no need to do the ‘number crunching’ toward long-term targets. However, the ICGC sees an opportunity to address social justice concerns that gave rise to the 1.5 °C target. According to Dubeta, climate justice in climate negotiations is often construed as a North–South issue; by preparing an opinion on climate justice for the European Commission, the EESC seeks to reframe climate justice as a regional concern, for instance by pointing out the need to consider uneven impacts of climate change within the European Union.
According to the ICGC, its most important contribution is to provide ideational support for non-state actors to take action. It wants to produce a toolkit for organizations that wish to engage in climate action. The toolkit remains to be produced and its effects remain to be proven. However, in a case which could perhaps be called ‘reverse orchestration,’Footnote 4 the ICGC’s most immediate effect seems to be the mobilization of its own partner organizations which are not traditionally concerned with environment and climate change. The OECD is taking steps to inquire about research needs among its member states, which should lead to studies that would underpin the ICGC’s learning functions. C21F is reviewing its existing sustainable development toolkit, to inform the development of a similar toolkit for climate action. Within the EESC, the traditionally weaker ‘various interests group’ has seized on climate action as an opportunity to strengthen its position vis-à-vis the two main groups: workers and employers. Despite growing commitment from the partnering organizations, the ICGC faces a lack of capacity and funding. The ICGC’s coordination relies heavily on voluntary efforts, for instance by interns. Questions could also be raised about the sufficiency of the ICGC’s main product, a toolkit for accelerating climate actions. However, the ICGC is illustrative of the indirect catalytic impacts of the GCAA. The GCAA has had a structuring effect on the work of the ICGC, providing opportunities for extending networks, and to launch activities. For instance, the ICGC used side events at COP22 to convene prospective partners; and, it used the 2016 Climate Chance World Summit for Non-State Actors in Nantes to launch the initiative.
ActionLAC is a partnership set up by the Latin American foundation Fundación Avina and acts as a regional mechanism to accelerate actions and strengthen ambition and NDC implementation in Latin America.Footnote 5 ActionLAC is an illustrative case of the GCAA’s indirect catalytic impacts, as it was set up in response to UNFCCC negotiations and the LPAA. Accordingly, ActionLAC’s mission is highly complementary with the GCAA.
First, while the GCAA features a disproportionate number of actors based in the global North (Chan 2016), ActionLAC targets actors that have little connection to global processes, such as community-based organizations, small enterprises, and local governments, and aims for inclusive climate policy-making in Latin America (Fundación Avina 2017).
Second, ActionLAC emphasizes implementation by ensuring compatibility between non-state contributions and NDCs. For instance, one of its partners, the ‘Argentinean Network of Municipalities in face of Climate Change’ (RAMCC), encourages its members to make climate inventories and local action plans. Through a pilot project with ActionLAC, membership has grown from 78 to 124 members between December 2015 and May 2017, and 74 members subscribed to the Compact of Majors (a GCAA recognized climate action), boosting Argentina-based participation in the GCAA. The project also engaged 20 municipalities in a NDC revision process, creating one of the first formal linkages between local governments and NDC reformulation processes in Latin America and globally.Footnote 6
Third, through the inclusion of underrepresented stakeholders, ActionLAC promotes inclusiveness, social justice, and sustainable development as major goals alongside climate governance. The inclusion of a wider set of stakeholders allows for a more integrated approach combining sustainable development with climate governance. For instance, one pilot project, the Latin American Access to Water Declaration (AWD), includes 172 climate action targets by 19 non-state actors from seven countries. The Declaration paved the way for the first-time participation of community water organizations in a UN Climate conference, when it was presented at the ‘Resilience Day’ during the Paris Climate Conference.
Finally, ActionLAC wants to provide support throughout a ‘life-cycle of climate actions,’ an iterative process that includes (1) the mobilization of climate action; (2) the elaboration of action plans; (3) the mobilization of climate finance; (4) the support for implementation; (5) monitoring and measuring through self-reporting; and (6) the communication of results to help improve policies. ActionLAC seems to be particularly well positioned to improve access to climate finance, as its lead partner, Fundación Avina, has long-standing experience in mobilizing funds, and was one of the first entities from Latin America to become accredited with the Green Climate Fund.Footnote 7 Moreover, ActionLAC aims to raise awareness and stimulate learning between local and regional actors by connecting local actors with global processes (in particular the GCAA) and national policy-making (e.g., in Argentina).
Having started in late 2015, ActionLAC has yet to assess its impacts. Initial activities, however, suggest that it has strengthened linkages between levels of governance by supporting engagement of sub-national actors in the revision of NDCs, and by bringing local resilience actions under the spotlight of the GCAA. It remains to be seen whether ActionLAC’s linking of global arenas and Latin American climate actions will translate into greater social justice and higher government ambitions. ActionLAC itself faces limited financial resources and lacks an approach to undertake a comprehensive valuation of its efforts (see: Van der Ven et al. 2017). Other challenges include language barriers and concerns by non-state actors about setting targets without assurance of means of implementation.
Teri Council for Business Sustainability
Contrary to the other cases presented in this study, the Teri Council for Business Sustainability (CBS) predated the Paris Conference. Set up in 2001 by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), CBS is a CEO-led industry body aiming at mainstreaming sustainability into corporate practices. Its concern with climate change also predates the GCAA; in 2008, the CBS together with business representatives developed a Corporate Action Plan on Climate Change as a white paper submission to India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change. The plan set out corporate priorities regarding, inter alia, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, and knowledge sharing. The plan attracted considerable attention; between September and December 2008, the CBS held a series of consultations, including an interactive session with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and reviews by nine ministries. The GCAA and the process toward a new agreement gave new impetus to the CBS. In 2015, the CBS mobilized about 200 corporate leaders in consultations over a period of 9 months to formulate a common vision to motivate corporate action. After the Paris Agreement, CBS has the opportunity to become an orchestrator by encouraging corporate networks to mobilize business actions toward implementation.
While the CBS has the potential to engage more actors, the focus has been on large corporations. Thus, additionality vis-à-vis the GCAA for building catalytic linkages is low because large corporations are already overrepresented. However, few of the recorded actions by large companies in NAZCA are in developing countries. Subsequently, the CBS plays an important role in redressing participatory imbalances between the global North and South. For instance, as a member of the international business alliance ‘We Mean Business’ (WMB) it brought many Indian corporate leaders on board in the showcasing of business leadership in the run-up to the Paris Climate Conference.
The CBS’ contribution to NDC implementation has hitherto been limited. Its main product, the Corporate Vision, was formulated in advance of the agreement. Nonetheless, there is potential in leveraging CBS’s membership of leading corporations and its trusted relationship with national and state-level policy makers in India. In the past, familiarity and trust with both the corporate and public sectors have allowed the CBS to engage in advocacy and in the preparation of policy recommendations. Strong national and state-level linkages could be helpful in NDC implementation, to encourage private sector contributions, and also to demonstrate the viability of more ambitious climate policies.
Contrary to the GCAA’s strong focus on mitigation, CBS has emphasized adaptation. On the one hand, the Corporate Vision showcases actions that promote adaptation and the reduction in business risks. On the other hand, CBS aims to help businesses identify opportunities to adapt and to reduce risks. The relation to the 1.5 °C target is not explicitly made, although the CBS draws attention to business opportunities in the pursuit of carbon neutrality. The CBS does not explicitly address equity and social justice concerns. According to TERI, the social outcomes of—mostly adaptation related—action is driven by corporate social responsibility policies of individual business members.Footnote 8
The CBS plays a limited role in strengthening climate action as it mainly engages ‘frontrunners’ of sustainability with limited need of support to realize actions. The CBS has hitherto done little to support smaller enterprises that make up the lion’s share of the Indian economy and that face considerable short-term costs when mainstreaming climate actions. Accordingly, an important challenge is to create scenarios for different types of businesses to overcome challenges to climate action.
National Climate Change Cabinet (NCCC)
The National Climate Change Cabinet (NCCC) is a response by the Argentinean government to climate commitments made internationally and nationally and is based on an understanding that governmental interventions need to engage multiple policy areas and specialists from the private sector, civil society, and academia. It was launched on the occasion of Argentina’s signing of the Paris Agreement.Footnote 9 The Cabinet, presided over by the Head of Government and coordinated by the Sub-secretariat of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, involves 12 ministries to articulate climate policies and raise awareness (Republic of Argentina 2016a). NCCC’s work is organized around technical roundtables. The NCCC involves coordination as an important mode of governance, as key points are raised in a national roundtable of ministerial focal points, at inter-ministerial meetings, and in roundtables with civil society organizations. NCCC, however, also involves orchestration, as it engages provinces in climate action through the Federal Council for the Environment (COFEMA).
One of NCCC’s aims is to articulate participatory processes and synergies between different areas and levels of the government.Footnote 10 In a relatively short time, the NCCC has engaged more than 40 non-state and sub-national actors in an NDC revision process. However, it also encountered challenges. Despite broad participation, many actors still lack capacities to effectively engage. Moreover, participants are sometimes disappointed by the fact that national and international processes move slowly, and expected results, such as access to finance, are yet to be realized. The NCCC also had to overcome initial distrust among roundtable partners; regularity of interactions, however, proved helpful in this process.
In terms of implementation, the NCCC made an important contribution in helping Argentina to revise its NDC in 2016. The revision process included several intergovernmental meetings, two extended roundtables with civil society partners, five meetings with COFEMA, and consultations with municipalities from RAMCC (see above) and with non-state actors through correspondence using detailed templates. The extended roundtable meetings and the consultation also helped to collect opinions on the original NDC and to elicit inputs toward new mitigation and adaptation measures. Contributions were organized around six topics and included over 200 suggested measures. This process is ongoing, with calculations of mitigation to be made alongside discussions on implementation.
The NCCC is paying attention to mitigation as well as adaptation, as it seeks to integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation into planning of different sectors and systems. The revision process led to a reduction in the emission target from 570 Mt CO2eq by 2030 to 484 Mt CO2eq (most of it reflecting a more accurate methodology for estimating emissions); in addition the revised NDC sets a conditional target to reduce emissions by 223 Mt CO2eq by 2030 (Republic of Argentina 2016b). Including the conditional reduction, Argentina would peak emissions by 2020 and contribute 1.3% of the global effort necessary to closing the emission gap for a 2 °C pathway, and a significant share of the ambition needed for a 1.5 °C pathway. The targets, however, may become more ambitious, as mitigation contributions from non-state actors are still being calculated for possible inclusion in a revised NDC.
The NCCC strengthens non-state action mainly by engaging actors in a participatory process that coordinates different areas and levels of the government. Particularly, sub-national actors, provinces, and municipalities have been given greater voice and opportunities to contribute. The process will continue in the coming years, aiming at strengthening the link between non-state actors and NDC implementation. This process will include the formulation of sectoral and provincial roadmaps,Footnote 11 and, the strengthening of capacities, for instance by improving access to finance.
The Swedish government launched Fossilfritt Sverige (FS, translated: Fossil Free Sweden), as a platform for dialogue and cooperation between government and non-state actors such as companies, cities, and civil society. Although FS primarily responds to a national commitment, the idea behind FS was strongly influenced by the GCAA, in particular the LPAA, and could be thought of as a ‘Swedish replique.’Footnote 12 The impact of the GCAA on the FS is apparent in its institutional set up; instead of developing its own registry of actions, FS encourages members to report to NAZCA, which may explain the large share of NAZCA commitments by Swedish companies (Engström-Stensson and Widerberg 2016).
FS was initiated on the premise that climate policy cannot be dictated top down but needs buy-in and bottom-up support.Footnote 13 Bottom-up action, especially by large companies and cities, would not only be needed to implement national targets but also to influence national policy processes and international negotiation positions. Industry support is also considered pivotal for enabling an ambitious climate policy. FS is instrumental in leveraging broad economic support by linking a low-carbon agenda to broader industrial policy processes such as the national export strategy, the smart industry and reindustrialization strategy (Smart industri—en ny industrialiserings strategi), the agenda for a bio-based economy (Agendan för biobaserad näringslivsutveckling), the national innovation council, and several others. FS currently engages about 170 organizations. The broadening of stakeholder engagement is an ongoing process and can be expected to accelerate as the government appointed a high-profile figure in the Swedish environmental movement, Svante Axelsson, in 2016 as a liaison between the government, non-state and sub-national actors and the platform. The liaison is mandated to engage more organizations as well as to increase the visibility of their actions.
The FS responds to a 2015 national government commitment to become among the world’s first fossil-free welfare countries (Regeringen 2015). In 2017, the government operationalized its ambition to become net fossil free by 2045, including an 85% reduction in GHG emissions compared to 1990 levels (Regeringen 2017).
FS neither explicitly aims at adaptation; nor does it refer to social justice. Arguably, FS—by helping the implementation of the national government’s relatively ambitious mitigation goal—may be more reflective of a global 1.5 °C mitigation pathway. The goal definition, however, has strictly been framed in national terms, and no reference has been made to the 1.5 °C target.
Not unlike the CBS, FS is engaging frontrunners. It provides a voluntary framework without setting quantified goals or monitoring and reporting requirements. Within this framework there is little support beyond possibly facilitating learning in dialogues. Arguably, in more developed countries, the provision of support is less urgent. Rather, it is assumed that a high-level orchestration initiative such as FS could provide sufficient incentives to accelerate action. It remains to be seen whether this is true. While the Swedish government hopes that large emitters such as in the transport, steel, and construction industry will join, growing engagement alone is not enough, rather commitments need to be kept and result in actual emissions reductions.