Mainstreaming Climate Policy and Action in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is expected to be severely impacted by climate change, despite being responsible for only 0.08% of historical greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The country’s geographic position makes it susceptible to multiple climatic changes such as sea level rise, temperature increase, rainfall variability and hydrometeorological hazards such as increased droughts and tropical storms.
These changes and threats are expected to significantly increase over the coming decades, directly and indirectly impacting the country’s natural environment and key socio-economic sectors such as agriculture, tourism and fishing.
With these risks in mind, combined with high climate vulnerability, significant economic inequality and increasing emissions due to ongoing industrial development, the Dominican Republic has recognized the need to better integrate both adaptation and mitigation-related climate action into its national development priorities. “Thanks to support from the NDC Partnership, prioritizing climate action and disaster risk management as essential aspects of planning has become key to the progress of the Dominican Republic”, notes Domingo Matías, Vice Minister of Land Planning and Territorial Development in the Ministry of Economic, Planning and Development (MEPyD).
The Dominican government has taken substantial steps to build up a policy and institutional framework to comply with the overall objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its own expanding development goals, notably launching the Plan for an Economic Development Compatible with Climate Change (Plan DECCC) in 2011, adopting the National Climate Change Policy in 2015, mainstreaming climate adaptation as a cross-cutting policy in the National Development Strategy 2030 and approving the National Plan for Climate Change Adaptation 2015–2030. The implementation of these important climate-related policies is jointly led by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the National Council for Climate Change (created with the purpose of coordinating efforts made across all relevant government institutions) and the MEPyD.
The Dominican Republic is also a signatory of the global Paris Agreement, submitting their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in 2015 and the revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2020. Demonstrating increased ambition, these NDCs include pledges to unconditionally reduce GHG emissions by 7% and conditionally reduce an additional 20.16% by 2030, relative to the 2030 business-as-usual reference scenario. The financial needs for implementing the mitigation actions envisioned in the updated NDCs were estimated at USD 8.917 billion, with adaptation measures requiring an additional USD 8.716 billion.
The NDC Partnership has assisted the Dominican Republic with its NDC processes since obtaining membership in 2017, with Partnership members having mobilized over USD 3 million to support the country's efforts at NDC enhancement and the development of actionable policies and programs. The NDC update process itself was fully supported by Partnership members through the Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP).
The Dominican Republic's NDC Action Plan for 2022-2025, updated through a government-led and stakeholder-driven process to align with the revised NDCs in 2021, is the guiding national framework for prioritizing support needs for NDC implementation and overall sustainable development. Green economic recovery is at the heart of the country’s climate strategy, with the Partnership supporting these efforts under the Economic Advisory Initiative.
This support involved embedding an economic advisor in the MEPyD in 2022 to facilitate the integration of climate change and disaster risk management (DRM) throughout the life cycle of public investment projects in the country. This consultancy process, supported by the United Kingdom, resulted in a practical methodology developed to identify and quantify public investment with climate impact and DRM.
The methodology adopts a series of basic definitions of climate actions and DRM based on international consensus, as well as specific examples of activities and measures to serve as practical reference material for design and implementation. To facilitate its application, a Guide for Project Formulators and a Climate & DRM Expenditure Reporting Form were developed for public planners and key government representatives.
Complementary to this process, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) supported work on climate tagging for the identification, quantification and monitoring of spending on climate change activities in the national budget, including expenditure within the Financial Administration System (SIGEF) at the National Directory of Budget in the Dominican Republic. This crucial work connects projected planning reflected in the public investment portfolio with budget-tracking in a transparent matter, supporting the enhancement of country data on climate finance.
The implementation of these resources will assist the Dominican Republic in evaluating and planning its broader climate goals and facilitate greater access to climate funding and finance through the increased visibility of national efforts. Mercedes Feliciano, Director of DRM and Climate Change at the MEPyD, notes that, “The budget marking mechanism in public investment projects makes it possible to assess financing needs and gaps in financial flows for DRM and climate change, helping strengthen climate transparency mechanisms in our country”.
An additional proposal was prepared addressing the required amendments to current regulations on formulating and evaluating public investment projects to better apply the methodology. The incorporation of these modifications will make it possible to consider each project's climate impact and DRM as elements for assessment and prioritization.
The economic advisor further assisted in delivering socialization workshops to representatives of institutions attached to the MEPyD and other stakeholders. These training events addressed key topics such as the conceptual framework of climate change and DRM, further unpacking working definitions and determining priority practical measures to be taken in these areas.
“Since the Dominican Republic joined the Partnership in 2017, the country has come a long way in expanding its climate agenda,” notes Pablo Vieira, Global Director of the NDC Partnership. “Through the NDC Partnership Economic Advisors initiative and the support from the UK, the country has advanced in mainstreaming climate change and disaster risk management as two interlinked, key elements into their national planning and systems. Through the Partnership, the Dominican Republic is effectively enhancing their sustainable policy framework and climate transparency system.”
This important, ongoing collaboration between the Dominican Republic and the NDC Partnership continues to strengthen the overall capacity of key national entities, specifically the identification of investment projects that align with the country's climate ambitions and sustainable development goals. By strengthening these important foundations, the Dominican Government continues to take significant strides towards achieving its NDC targets and realizing a more sustainable and resilient future.