AECID, AFD, The European Commission (through Euroclima+), Germany (through GIZ), the Global Water Partnership, IRENA, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, the Nature Conservancy, the U.K., the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC Regional Center), and the World Bank
The Dominican government is committed to achieving its development goals through climate-smart options, by strengthening and identifying strategic alliances that allow for the achievement of a strong and sustainable recovery
In early June 2021, the Dominican Republic’s President inaugurated the largest photovoltaic energy park in the Antilles. With a total installed capacity of 120 megawatts, the Sunflower Solar Park, located in the province of San Cristóbal, is an example of how the Caribbean island is taking firm steps towards the fulfillment of two closely linked agendas: climate and development.
The increased penetration of renewable energies is an expected result of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Action Plan, an instrument of coordination and mobilization of resources the country is using as a basis for the implementation of its climate action with sustainable development.
A framework for effective action
The key to the NDC Action Plan’s success lies in the clear definition of the steps, mechanisms, and resources needed to design enabling policy frameworks and channel sustainable investments. The Plan was designed in 2018 with contributions from more than 80 entities at the national level and supported by 18 cooperation partners. It is a multisectoral instrument that aligns resources with sectoral priorities and results. These priorities are linked to short-term goals, but directly aim at building a low-carbon and highly resilient economy. They reflect the Dominican Republic’s NDC.
With an economy hungry for innovation and new jobs, the Dominican Republic is no exception in the group of countries striving to counter COVID-19’s profound impacts. The government aims at implementing actions and measures with multiple benefits through investment projects in sustainable development and the fight against climate change, in light of its National Development Strategy 2030 and the NDC, locally known as NDC-RD-2020, which was updated and enhanced with NDC Partnership support.
In the NDC-RD 2020’s wake, the country is focused on updating the NDC Action Plan for the period 2022-2025. This process is receiving NDC Partnership support through the World Bank and The Nature Conservancy. It focuses on the strengthening of annual targets and the creation of more robust indicators for areas of work where the balance between social resilience, sustainable development and climate action is always positive, for example, water and food security.
From plans to implementation
The Action Plan’s implementation is already showing promising results. One outstanding example is the development of a portfolio of five investment projects for the integrated and sustainable management of prioritized basins based on a multi-criteria analysis. These include the Hoya del Lago Enriquillo and the Tocino River basin, an Artibonito River tributary, the largest basin of the island that it shares with its neighboring country, Haiti. The projects include components on nature-based solutions, an adaptation based on the ecosystem, and human rights, and have the potential to directly benefit more than half a million Dominicans. The strategic importance of this work, supported by the Global Water Partnership, is highlighted by data from the National Hydrological Plan of 2012 finding that the water balance in four of six Dominican territory hydrographic regions shows water stress conditions in a range that varies from 40 percent to 104 percent.
In the same vein, the AFD Adapt’Action facility supported developing a study to evaluate climate change’s impacts on the Dominican Republic’s coastal systems. The results show that the country’s marine-coastal systems were affected by the construction of inadequate infrastructure and by extractive activities, destroying mangroves, dunes, and wetlands, and also directly affecting the tourist activities. The analysis highlights that more than 60 percent of the country’s population is concentrated in continuously expanding urban areas and mostly located in coastal zones, or in areas of high risk of extreme hydrometeorological events that increase their vulnerability. The results yielded critical information for decision making in the restructuring of beaches for climate-resilient tourism, through maps and indicators on sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the systems when exposed to storms/hurricanes, erosion, drought, and tourist activities.
Fostering public and private green investment
The NDC Action Plan has identified investments to be led by the private sector, and increase the number of success stories such as the Sunflower Solar Park. With World Bank support, the government is working on a scheme to link corporate actors more closely in the ownership of the country’s climate and sustainable development commitments through public-private partnerships.
The need for instruments to monitor and raise national climate finance is another NDC Action Plan expected outcome. The country has been working with private banks on that front, and some results are emerging as investments into climate projects are now taking place on the national Stock Exchange. The government also has an important role to play in promoting innovative and green financial schemes. Part of this work is driven by the National Council for Climate Change and the Ministry of Economics, Planning and Development (MEPYD) with U.K. support, which is working on creating a methodological framework to identify and evaluate public investments with climate benefits in key economic sectors. A vulnerability index is being prepared to set priorities for reactivating local economic activity with support from the European Commission and GIZ through the EUROCLIMA+ program.
On July 1, 2021, MEPYD launched the project on ‘Capacity Building in the Public Administration for Building Climate Resilience in Key Sectors and Services for the Population’ with AECID support. In addition to working on climate project governance and management, this initiative will accelerate the country’s climate transparency system development, focusing on monitoring and evaluation for adaptation projects.
The Dominican government is committed to achieving its development goals through climate-smart options, by strengthening and identifying strategic alliances that allow the achievement of a strong and sustainable recovery.