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Ireland

Promote Transparent Climate Policy Development (IE0031)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Ireland National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Support Institution(s): A Whole of Government approach is required. All Government Departments, State Agencies as well as Local Authorities and sectoral representatives will be central in holding a constructive Dialogue. Sectoral representatives will be drawn from a broad range of bodies such as:· Community Groups; · Environmental and other Non -Governmental Organizations; · Members of the Farming Community;· Business and Trade Union representatives; Youth organizations; · Churches and religious groups; as well as · Organizations promoting Women’s Rights and Human Rights.

Policy Areas

Environment and Climate, Land Rights & Spatial Planning, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ireland End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Ireland Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

To improve public policy in the area of Climate Action by strengthening transparency and participation in formulating Climate Action targets. Objective: To integrate the transparency requirements of United Nations Climate Change agreements into the Open Government Partnership National Action Plan so that open government reforms can help advance climate action. Status quo: At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015 countries adopted a legally binding global climate Agreement that seeks to avoid the impacts of climate change by limiting global warming to below 2°C. Among the core principles of the Paris Agreement are the concepts of enhanced transparency, accountability and participation. Consultation is at the heart of work being undertaken to create both the first National Mitigation Plan (NMP) and the National Adaptation Framework (NAF). Some nonstatutory consultations have already taken place and statutory consultations will be undertaken during the development of the NMP and NAF during 2017. The co-chairs of the Open Government Partnership, the World Resources Institute and the Government of France have produced guidance for integrating climate commitments in OGP National Action Plans. As part of the 2016 Program for Partnership Government it has been agreed that the Government will establish a National Dialogue on Climate Change that will involve extensive public consultation. This will incorporate the key infrastructural, land use and economic issues to be considered in our long-term transition to a new low carbon future. Ambition: To inform decision making on climate action through consulting interested members of the public. Lead implementing organisation: Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Timeline: Commencement in January 2017; End date TBC
Commitment 1: Promote Transparent Climate Policy Development OGP values Civic participation, Public accountability New or ongoing commitment New Lead implementation organisations Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Other actors involved - government A Whole of Government approach is required. All Government Departments, State Agencies as well as Local Authorities and sectoral representatives will be central in holding a constructive Dialogue. Sectoral representatives will be drawn from a broad range of bodies such as: • Community Groups; • Environmental and other Non -Governmental Organizations; • Members of the Farming Community; • Business and Trade Union representatives; Youth organizations; • Churches and religious groups; as well as • Organizations promoting Women’s Rights and Human Rights. Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date Initiate the implementation of the National Dialogue on Climate Change New January 2017 June 2018

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. Promote Transparent Climate Policy Development

Commitment Text:

Objective: To integrate the transparency requirements of United Nations Climate Change agreements into the Open Government Partnership National Action Plan so that open government reforms can help advance climate action.

Status quo: At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015 countries adopted a legally binding global climate Agreement that seeks to avoid the impacts of climate change by limiting global warming to below 2°C. Among the core principles of the Paris Agreement are the concepts of enhanced transparency, accountability and participation.

Consultation is at the heart of work being undertaken to create both the first National Mitigation Plan (NMP) and the National Adaptation Framework (NAF). Some non-statutory consultations have already taken place and statutory consultations will be undertaken during the development of the NMP and NAF during 2017.

The co-chairs of the Open Government Partnership, the World Resources Institute and the Government of France have produced guidance for integrating climate commitments in OGP National Action Plans.

As part of the 2016 Program for Partnership Government it has been agreed that the Government will establish a National Dialogue on Climate Change that will involve extensive public consultation. This will incorporate the key infrastructural, land use and economic issues to be considered in our long-term transition to a new low carbon future.

Ambition: To inform decision making on climate action through consulting interested members of the public.

Milestone:

1.1. Initiate the implementation of the National Dialogue on Climate Change

Responsible institution: Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCEA)

Supporting institutions: All Government Departments, State Agencies as well as Local Authorities and sectoral representatives will be central in holding a constructive Dialogue.

Start Date: January 2017

End Date: June 2018

Editorial Note: This is the only milestone originally mentioned in this commitment in the 2016–18 action plan. Even though in its progress report on the commitment, the government noted other milestones under this commitment, these did not form part of the original action plan and are thus not evaluated as there is no benchmark text in the original action plan against which to evaluate them.

Context and Objectives

Ireland ratified COP21 on global climate change in November 2016, and the Department of Communications, Climate Action, and Environment introduced the country’s first National Mitigation Plan (NMP) in July 2017 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Article 13 of COP21 calls for participating countries to ‘establish an enhanced transparency framework for action and support, with built-in flexibility which takes into account Parties’ different capacities and builds upon collective experience.’[Note: ‘Transparency of support under the Paris Agreement,’ United Nations Climate Change, n.d., http://unfccc.int/cooperation_and_support/financial_mechanism/items/10121.php. ] This commitment seeks to address the Paris Agreement’s transparency framework requirement by creating the National Dialogue on Climate Action (NDCA) as part of the government’s Programme for a Partnership Government. The objective of the NDCA is to:

1) Create awareness, engagement, and motivation to act (locally, regionally, and nationally) in relation to the challenges presented by climate change;

2) Create structures and information flows to facilitate people gathering to discuss, deliberate, and maximise consensus on appropriate responses to these challenges, and to enable and empower appropriate action;

3) Establish, on a long-term basis, appropriate networks for people to meet periodically to consider evidence-based inputs on the economic, social, behavioural, environmental, and public aspects of climate and energy policy;

4) Provide regular input, through the NDCA, into the prioritisation and implementation of climate and energy policy which can be reported and monitored at local/regional/national levels.[Note: See: https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/climate-action/topics/national-dialogue-on-climate-action/Pages/default.aspx. ]

The NDCA calls for ‘extensive consultations’ as part of Ireland’s plan to reduce carbon emissions, and thus the commitment is relevant to the OGP value of civic participation. However, the commitment does not specify the extent of these consultations, how the consultations will be advertised to the public, or how the consultations will be carried out. Therefore, the commitment’s specificity is marked as low. Even if the public is consulted on the issue, it does not provide a mechanism to guarantee that the consultations will have an actual impact on the formation of Ireland’s climate policy. Thus, the commitment’s potential impact is marked as minor.

Completion

Implementation of this commitment has been limited in the first year of the action plan cycle, but it is on schedule. According to the government’s self-assessment report for the commitment provided to the IRM researcher in September 2017, an advisory board consisting of civil society has been established to assist the minister for communications, climate action, and environment in the commitment. The DCCAE published the Draft National Mitigation Plan (NMP) in March 2017 and updated it in July 2017 shortly after the first year of the action plan, including a plan to implement the public consultations in accordance with the NDCA.[Note: This is available at: https://www.dccae.gov.ie/documents/National%20Mitigation%20Plan%202017.pdf. ] Notwithstanding these achievements, planning for the first round of regional stakeholder events is still underway at the end of the first year of implementation.

Next Steps

Implementation of the Paris Agreement’s transparency requirements is a worthy yet formidable task, unlikely to have been fully achieved during the two-year cycle plan of the action plan. This commitment seeks to initiate that dialogue through the NDCA. If stakeholders become key policy-making participants in this commitment, that dialogue should be carried forward into future action plans. However, the IRM researcher recommends modifying the commitment to guarantee that this dialogue continues during the full formulation and implementation of the policy in the future. In their 2017 Climate Change Performance Index, three climate change NGOs ranked Ireland 49th out of 60 countries examined and the lowest-ranked country in Europe for climate action.[Note: This quote is taken from The Irish Times, November 16, 2017, 5 (print version). The three NGOs for whom the authors (Burck, Marten, Bals and Höhne) of this report titled Climate Change Performance Index: Results 2018 work, are as follows: Germanwatch, New Climate Research and Climate Action Network. The report in full can be found at: https://germanwatch.org/en/download/20503.pdf. ] According to Jerry MacEvilly, a policy coordinator for the Ireland-based Stop Climate Chaos coalition, Ireland’s poor performance in climate action reflects ‘the continuing and disturbing contradiction between government rhetoric on climate change and the sad reality of policy implementation in Ireland.’[Note: This quote is taken from The Irish Times, November 16, 2017, p. 5 (print version).] Given Ireland’s poor historic performance in climate policy, the IRM researcher also recommends that working on completing this commitment or modifying it for the future, along with working on challenges in this policy area more generally, should be deemed a priority for the government.

IRM End of Term Status Summary


Commitments

Open Government Partnership