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Mainstreaming climate compatible development

Book/book chapter

Written by Simon Maxwell, Ari Huhtala, Mairi Dupar

Book/book chapter

Read CDKN's online book on ​Mainstreaming climate compatible development here.

The purpose of this book is to synthesise lessons from the first five years’ work of CDKN – the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. Established in 2010, CDKN has funded research, policy advice and knowledge programmes, globally and in more than 70 countries. It has also supported negotiators and negotiating groups in different regions.

The book is written for policy-makers at all levels. It has been prepared by CDKN’s experts and programme managers. However, it is backed up by the published work of dozens of independent analysts and researchers, drawn from CDKN’s global network. Their work is linked throughout the text.

The guiding idea of CDKN since its inception has been ‘climate compatible development’. This is the idea that tackling climate change cannot be at the expense of reducing poverty and achieving human development. Indeed, synergies must be found wherever possible.

The idea of climate compatible development is intuitively attractive, and has gained widespread traction since we first proposed it in 2010. It is now an idea that has become central to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The global goals are transformative in scope precisely because they require action on climate change to be mainstreamed in all aspects of development work.

CDKN’s work demonstrates that climate compatible development offers great potential for strategic innovation by governments, civil society and the private sector.  There are many win-win benefits as new technologies are disseminated and as new investments are made to boost resilience. Those opportunities and benefits are explored in the text.

No-one should pretend, however, that achieving climate compatible development will be friction free. We have seen that there are inevitably choices to make, trade-offs to consider and political battles to win. There are also leadership and management challenges aplenty as finance is raised and programmes scaled up. Much of the analysis in the book, and many of the cases, deal with these questions – offering not just a diagnosis of problems, but also stories of change which can inspire and inform action elsewhere.

As CDKN has worked with governments and others, seven issues have come to the fore and have demanded solutions.

  • First, eliminating ambiguity in the concept of climate compatible development, and exploring possible trade-offs in the implementation of climate-related policies that will deliver the SDG goals and targets.
  • Second, making the case and winning the argument, in countries where leaders face many competing demands on political capital and resources.
  • Third, managing climate compatible development planning in ways that mainstream climate concerns into development planning and ensure cross-government coherence.
  • Fourth, finding the resources to cover any additional costs of climate compatible development, drawing on international as well as domestic sources.
  • Fifth, creating the right culture and instruments for implementation, to ensure that plans are not blown off course.
  • Sixth, delivering at scale, so that impact is transformational in scale and irreversible.
  • Seventh, linking the national to the global, so that national interests are well-represented in global negotiations, and global agreements are reflected in national action.
As evidenced in this book, the CDKN programme has delivered significant research, impact and results in its first five years. We are inviting new partners to join us on this journey – drawing on all that CDKN has to offer. We are pleased to reach out to existing and new partners to forge further relationships, collaborations and funding opportunities for both the short and long term. I hope you will enjoy reading and commenting on the book and that you will also come and speak to us about ways that we can work together for a climate compatible development future.

Read CDKN's online book on ​Mainstreaming climate compatible development here.

Simon Maxwell, Ari Huhtala, Mairi Dupar