How can CAT ensure Sustainable Development co-benefits?

Ambitious climate change mitigation can bring significant co-benefits, such as improved air quality, improved productivity, increased number of skilled jobs, reduced energy dependence or better mobility. Early mitigation can also avoid carbon lock-in and reduce the cost of mitigation in the future. However, a low carbon transition could slow down growth rates as compared to the historical model of development reliant on clearing vast forested areas for agricultural development and powering industry and transport with cheap and dirty fossil fuels. A low carbon transition can also affect some communities disproportionately. For example, those that rely heavily on the fossil fuel industry or intensive agriculture for their livelihoods will face higher challenges than urban workers in the services sector. New cleaner technologies could have a high capital cost, unaffordable for large segments of the population. Other significant impacts could come from changes in land uses for, for example reforestation or for the installation of power transmission lines.

Parties will need to report on how the cooperative approach under a CAT agreement is consistent with the host country’s sustainable development objectives. Social and environmental impacts are assessed at the level of bundle of policies implemented to mobilise mitigation beyond the host Parties’ NDC. Since the CAT concept puts an emphasis on transformational investments, such safeguards against negative effects could be integrated in the agreement. The agreement could, for example, refer to the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards (IFC 2021) . The agreement could incorporate more specific safeguards such as ex-ante and ex-post impact assessments of the host country’s plan for decarbonisation, stakeholders engagement processes, and a grievance mechanism where stakeholders can ask for redress to governments of all CAT partners.

The CAT Agreement can include a clause requiring tracking of sustainable development costs and benefits. Part of the package could be to support job transitions. Also you would involve a variety of stakeholders in the Governance.