Peru's Climate Plan: amplifying the co-benefits of mitigation and adaptation actions

In anticipation of international climate talks in Paris in December, Peru has officially submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) climate plan to the United Nations. Unveiled at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development in New York, the INDC details Peru’s contributions in the global effort to fight climate change. The plan presents a set of national actions to 2030 that increase resilience and adaptation capacity for climate threats, and makes Peru one of the first countries in South America, second only to Colombia, to submit its climate plan.

Peru’s INDC includes both conditional and non-conditional targets for emissions reductions, and presents details on the formulation process of the INDC, assumptions of the targets and methodological approaches used, and an account of national vulnerabilities to climate change with sector-specific adaptation objectives. With a balanced focus on both mitigation and adaptation strategies, Peru is looking to amplify the synergies between coordinated actions in these two respects, with targets that are based on already ongoing sector plans.

A 20% non-conditional target of GHG reductions by 2030

The Peruvian INDC aims to have a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 compared to a business-as-usual projection scenario (2010 base year). Out of the total target, 20% is a non-conditional target that will be implemented through domestic investment and expenses from both public and private resources. The remaining 10% of the target is conditional and subject to the access and availability of international finance.

These reductions are economy wide and cover carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide in the sectors of land use, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF), agriculture, energy, industrial processes, and solid waste. Given that approximately half of Peruvian emissions come from the forestry sector, cutting LULUCF emissions is a major focus in Peru’s INDC. More than 50% of the reduction target is expected to be met through reductions in the LULUCF sector.

Building resilience for the most vulnerable populations

Peru’s INDC shows significant concern with adaptation issues and a commitment to address the high degree of climate change vulnerability. The plan is built on top of national and regional studies started in 2003 and subsequent projects such as the National Climate Change Strategy and Regional Strategies. Adaptation goals, while not detailed quantitatively in the INDC, follow pre-existing targets from a variety of national planning documents that contain more specific figures (find the link to the full document below). Furthermore, Peru is looking to build a deeper, cohesive, and coordinated adaptation effort through a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process that will begin in the last quarter of 2015. The NAP will be the main instrument used to reach the adaptation targets established in the INDC.

The INDC identifies five priority sectors with five cross-cutting areas of work that must be addressed in order to face adaptation challenges more effectively:


Through these priority sectors there is a predominant focus on increasing the resilience of the most vulnerable populations – namely those rural populations that rely on these sectors for subsistence (i.e., native communities, subsistence farmers, and artisanal fishermen). Women, children, and seniors have also been included as part of the health sector. While the plan does mention the need for “resilient cities” (with 72% of Peruvians living in urban areas), urban sustainability no longer figures as a priority sector – in contrast with the INDC draft from July.

Building bridges across sectors and institutions

The targets established in Peru’s plan are heavily anchored in pre-existing national, regional, and sector strategies. Nation-wide plans such as Peru’s Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) and its National Climate Change Strategy are serving as the directive framework for the INDC. Sector strategies are also setting the pace through, e.g., a diverse range of forestry programs and laws, plans for Peru’s energy matrix, and other actions in transportation, agriculture, waste, and industrial processes.

The formulation process of the INDC also opens windows of opportunity to build bridges across sectors and institutions for better implementation. More than 100 meetings were carried out at the political and technical level, with input from over 300 experts as well as public national consultation in July. Peru is aiming to maintain these established coordination mechanisms and channels for the INDC implementation phase.

Finally, action at a higher political level will be required to cement the INDC through its ratification by the National Congress after a formal global climate agreement under the UNFCCC.

Is it fair?

The Peruvian government considers its INDC to be fair and ambitious given its slim contribution to climate change and its high vulnerability to climate impacts. The plan points out that, in 2010, Peru accounted for only 0.3% of global emissions and its per capita emissions remained lower than both the Latin American and global averages. Furthermore, the plan stresses that Peru has seven of the nine characteristics of a “particularly vulnerable” country as recognized by the UN.

First reaction

Peru’s INDC is an important step forward in building a cohesive development strategy that makes climate change a cross-cutting issue in different economic sectors. Engaging different ministries and stakeholders in this discussion brings climate change to the front of the political agenda, and gives significant attention to Peru’s extensive adaptation needs. This is a signal that climate-related environmental, economic, and human losses are becoming pressing realities at the political level.

Another positive point of the INDC is the fact that gender approaches to mitigation and adaptation have been included, recognizing the vulnerability of women against climate change. A future Peruvian Action Plan on Gender and Climate Change is under development as part of the National Climate Change Strategy.

While these efforts have been positive, there are three key areas where Peru’s INDC needs improvement:

  1. Strengthening institutional memory – Mechanisms are needed to ensure adequate implementation of the INDC targets across sectors and ministries over time. While the final INDC was decided by a multi-ministerial commission (including the Prime Minister and 14 ministries), high Peruvian ministerial turnover is worrying: 57 ministers have led 19 ministries over the past four years, including seven different Prime Ministers. Frequent ministerial changes may stall INDC progress, and a more thorough framework is necessary to ensure institutional focus and to strengthen coordination at different levels of governance. This must include a clear plan for long-term implementation and progress review.
  2. Broadening the scope of mitigation – Peru’s INDC focuses predominantly on LULUCF emissions, given that this is the country’s biggest GHG source. Yet, moving forward, attention will be needed in energy and transportation sectors for a more coherent and resilient climate economy. Making a transition towards clean development will require scaling up renewables in the energy matrix and better efficiency and integration for national transportation networks.
  3. Resilient cities need to become a priority sector in the adaptation agenda – A missing link in Peru’s INDC is a focus on resilient cities, which can lead the transformation of energy and transportation sectors in a way that is compatible with clean development pathways. 72% of Peruvians currently live in cities. This number is expected to grow, putting further pressure on water, energy and transportation systems. Cities thus hold not only great mitigation potential, but also require significant attention to ensure systems can cope with increased populations and climate stressors.

Peru’s INDC needs to be owned by the government as a strategy of national interest, and not just as compliance to international agreements and pressure. Peru has maintained a high profile and progressive stance in climate negotiations, and this needs to be reflected in actions at home. Beyond raising emissions reduction targets, showing a strong will for an adequate institutional framework to implement the INDC will be the real reflection of Peru’s climate ambition. This will show that the INDC is not only a symbol of international diplomacy, but that Peru’s commitment to clean development extends beyond the outcome of climate talks in Paris.

To see Peru's official INDC document, click here.

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