Nordic opportunities to provide leadership in the Global Climate Action Agenda

International cooperative climate initiatives with major upscaling and impact potentials

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The Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA) covers a wealth of cooperative action between governments, cities, businesses, non-governmental organisations and citizens. Non-state climate initiatives under the GCAA represent a key means to rapidly bridge the gaps in current climate action. This report identifies some 300 international cooperative initiatives worldwide, noting Nordic stakeholders among the most active participants within these initiatives. The analysis recommends continued Nordic support for initiatives with strong commitments to effective and transparent action. It also filters out 7 mitigation, adaptation and/or finance related initiatives of particular interest for Nordics. They are well aligned with the 2019 Declaration on Nordic Carbon Neutrality by the Nordic prime ministers and represent major opportunities for accelerated climate action – also within Nordic countries.


Executive summary

The Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA) covers a wealth of cooperative action between governments, cities, business, investors, non-governmental organisations and citizens to achieve rapid and effective climate change mitigation and adaptation. Non-state climate initiatives under the GCAA are a key means to bridge the considerable emissions gap. Under current fully implemented unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) the gap is estimated at approximately 32 Gigatons by 2030, assuming the Paris Agreement’s aim to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

This report identifies in total some 300 international cooperative initiatives (ICIs) worldwide. Nordic public and private organisations are among the most active participants in these initiatives, especially compared to their size and population –62% (186 initiatives) have participation from at least one Nordic country. This confirms a strong and steadily increasing commitment to ICIs by Nordics, in light of a previous study from 2017. While the diversity among the cooperative initiatives remains wide – related to type, sector, scale and relevance – and challenges concerning transparency and overall MRV persist for many of the initiatives, jointly they represent major potential for accelerated climate action. The future potential impacts and results so far of the ICIs is assessed in this report in a quantitative and qualitative manner, in terms of mitigation, adaptation and Means of Implementation (MoI) impacts.

Impacts of the ICIs range from reducing up to gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) to enhancing resiliency to climate change, and providing technical, financial and capacity building support to developing countries. Naturally, these initiatives often link with and/or contribute to many other of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in addition to the SDG 13 on climate action.

Nordic opportunities to provide leadership in the Global Climate Action Agenda 5 The analysis of Nordic value added done in the study helped filter out seven initiatives with particular interest from a Nordic perspective, covering both adaptation, mitigation as well as MoI initiatives, with major upscaling potentials. These initiatives are recommended for further Nordic support and include:

  • Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP)
  • InsuResilience Global Partnership
  • Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN)
  • Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
  • Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI)
  • The New York Declaration on Forests
  • Under2 Coalition

Overall Nordic partners are well respected and appreciated members in the ICI initiatives. While stronger and well targeted Nordic involvement could help improve the effectiveness and impacts of selected ICIs, it can also provide insights and boost more ambitious climate action within Nordic countries and through major Nordic businesses. In light of the global connectedness, also enshrined in the SDGs, accelerated climate action must harness any and all synergies between climate and SDG action, as well as optimally tackle all value chains and markets.


Contact for further information: Niklas Höhne, Katharina Lütkehermöller, Maria Jose de Villafranca