Côte d’Ivoire, a CCAC partner since 2013, has long been an international leader on tackling climate change and clean air simultaneously, specifically by focusing on reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) in national climate plans. Their recent Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submission aims to slash black carbon by 58 percent and methane by 30 percent by 2030 — reductions that will increase after 2030 as HFCs are phased out with the Kigali Amendment.
Pairing action on the twin crises of air pollution and climate change by mitigating SLCPs is a critical strategy to heighten national climate change mitigation ambition while also delivering immediate gains for public health, food security, and development.
Given that few countries included SLCP mitigation in their 2015 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submissions, including them in updated NDCs was a major opportunity to enhance the ambition of their goals — and one that Côte d’Ivoire seized.
Côte d’Ivoire is also one of the first countries in the world to quantify the health benefits of its NDCs, finding that implementation will avoid 7,000 premature deaths every year. Currently, air pollution in Côte d’Ivoire is responsible for an estimated 34,000 premature deaths annually, including 8,000 children, with 24 million people regularly subjected to toxic levels of air pollution. This crisis largely stems from indoor wood-burning fires for cooking, burning of waste and crops, and vehicle emissions. By implementing available and relatively affordable measures, such as making cleaner cooking fuels available and decreasing vehicle emissions through improved fuel or diesel particle filters, air pollution will drop — not only saving lives immediately but decreasing global warming impacts.
“By integrating action on climate and clean air, Côte d’Ivoire has a better understanding of the impacts of its policy measures on its climate and sustainable development objectives,” said Ange-Benjamin Brida of the Ministry of Environment of Côte d’Ivoire.
By integrating action on climate and clean air, Côte d’Ivoire has a better understanding of the impacts of its policy measures on its climate and sustainable development objectives.”
The country’s ability to calculate these benefits — and leverage them for national support and administrative consensus — was aided by the technical support of the CCAC and the Stockholm Environment Institute, and through funding from the NDC Partnership’s Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP).
“CCAC provided critical support to Côte d’Ivoire,” said Brida. “This involved financial support from the CCAC trust fund, methodological and technical support through various capacity building activities, and technical support from lead partners.”
In 2015, the CCAC and the Ivorian Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development started working together to develop a National SLCP Action Plan through the CCAC’s national planning process — a plan that would become the building blocks of the country’s ambitious NDC commitments.
“The National Action Plan to Reduce SLCPs is of strategic importance for development in Côte d’Ivoire,” said then Minister of Environment Séka Séka at the time. “This is why taking it into account in preparing the next National Development Plan and in strengthening our ambition to achieve global climate goals in our NDC is a priority for us.”
The National SLCP Plan, developed in concert with the CCAC, identified 16 mitigation measures, including actions like increasing access to cleaner cooking fuels, more efficient and zero-emissions vehicles, reducing methane emissions from oil and gas, agriculture, and waste. If fully implemented, these measures would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent in 2030 — achieving over half of the country’s climate change mitigation commitment.
This technical analysis was then used as the basis for Côte d’Ivoire’s NDC revision process.
“The implementation of Côte d’Ivoire’s national plan to reduce short-lived climate pollutants could therefore contribute substantially to achieving the updated targets described in these NDCs,” reads the country’s NDC. “The GHG mitigation assessment for this NDC update incorporated some of the mitigation measures included in the National Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Reduction Plan. Consequently, the implementation of the revised NDCs of Côte d’Ivoire is expected to achieve substantial benefits in terms of reducing short-lived climate pollutants and air pollutants in general and improving air quality and public health.”
“Most important for us is the integration of this plan into our Nationally Determined Contribution. This is a very important document whose implementation will allow us to achieve very positive results. I think this is a very important achievement we have made as a member of this coalition,” said Nassere Kaba, former Director of Cabinet in the Ministry of the Environment.
The wide range of stakeholders the CCAC helped engage, the capacity built, and the connections built between them was a major factor contributing to the project’s success. Stakeholders include the National Centre on Air Pollution Control (CIAPOL) and the Laboratory for Atmospheric Physics of University Felix Houphoët-Boigny.
“The supporting, strengthening, and enhancing of capacity within Côte d’Ivoire has had a lasting effect on their ability to plan and increase actions on climate change and air pollution more broadly. It’s had a bigger effect than just the development of the SLCP plan in isolation,” said Chris Malley of SEI. “This is really important because it creates consistency between these different planning processes that countries undertake — you’re no longer in a position where you’re having one set of consultants develop an analysis for climate change and another set of consultants for SLCP planning and air quality. You can instead use this analysis to feed into multiple planning processes.”
The supporting, strengthening, and enhancing of capacity within Côte d’Ivoire has had a lasting effect on their ability to plan and increase actions on climate change and air pollution more broadly.”
Malley notes that this widespread buy-in helps increase ownership and the likelihood of implementation. And just as integrating climate and clean air work has multiplying effects, so does collaboration across sectoral Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
The integration process convened different government ministries, as well as academic institutions and nonprofits, helping ensure that they weren’t working in isolation or duplicating each other’s efforts. Tackling climate change and air pollution in tandem further means they can maximize limited resources. This is particularly critical in a developing country like Côte d’Ivoire, where the budget for environmental preservation is less than 1% of the national budget, says Brida. Pursuing integrated actions isn’t just effective, it makes financial sense.
“Stakeholder ownership is key to securing efforts to reduce SLCPs. As it was a relatively new topic, the key to ensuring stakeholder engagement and support was to create a community of stakeholders at all levels,” said Brida. “This involved bridging the gap between climate, clean air, research, and practitioners while creating time and space for regular discussions on SLCPs within and outside the community.”
Thanks to the support the CCAC and SEI provided, the country now has more capacity locally for SLCP mitigation, including at the Ministry of Environment, CIAPOL, and the University of Houpheout-Boingy.
There is still substantial work ahead in addressing these problems, as Côte d’Ivoire moves from planning to implementation.
“One of the biggest challenges in implementing this plan is mobilizing adequate financial and technical support to improve analysis and support implementation of identified measures. To overcome this challenge, it is important to identify all appropriate windows of opportunities for financial and technical resource mobilization, including climate finance and other multilateral sources of finance,” said Brida.
The CCAC aims to provide Côte d’Ivoire exactly this kind of support so that the country can successfully achieve its goals. In 2022, the CCAC approved funding to support the implementation of its NDC through improved emissions data and inventory. The CCAC will also provide ongoing support with developing a methane roadmap as part of the Global Methane Pledge, a commitment to take voluntary action to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030, of which Côte d’Ivoire is a signatory.