Republic of the Marshall Islands

Member Since

OCT 2016

Partners Involved

ADB, EU, FAO, Germany, GIZ, GCF, GEF, GGGI, IRENA, IOM, JICA, Jo-Jikum, NAP-GN, New Zealand, Regional Pacific NDC Hub, SPC, SPREP, UNDP, UN Environment, USAID, USP, the World Bank, WRI, WUTMI, and 2050 Pathways Platform

RMI walks the talk”

Angeline C. Heine-Reimers

Director National Energy Office, Ministry of Environment

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) submitted its second NDC in 2018 at COP 24 in Katowice, making it the first country in the world to do so. The revised NDC set binding targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent below 2010 levels in or before 2025 and by 45 percent before 2030. An additional document was submitted to complete the NDC in December 2020, as part of the Climate Vulnerable Forum’s Midnight Climate Survival initiative championed by the Marshall Islands’ President. This document further prioritizes climate financing, gender, and human rights as critical issues on the NDC agenda for RMI, all of which are reflected in the implementation of its NDC Partnership Plan 2019-2021.

RMI is undertaking strong efforts to internally strengthen key areas and sectors around climate action to ensure a holistic approach and response to climate change impacts. Following the Partnership Plan structure, working groups on mitigation, adaptation and cross-cutting areas are implementing a collaborative and coordinated approach led by the Ministry of Environment and reporting to the Tile Til Eo Committee, chaired by the Chief Secretary and Minister of Environment. The third working group, chaired by the NDC Partnership in-country facilitator and with funding mobilized through the Partnership processes, strategically integrates cross-cutting issues across the priority mitigation and adaptation actions, including capacity building, climate finance, gender equality, and human rights.

An Ambition Nearly Realized

The Marshall Islands NDC Partnership Plan 2019-2021, launched during COP 24, outlines six priority outcomes and 33 concrete actions to be taken in an effort to accelerate NDC implementation and translate long-term goals into concrete immediate actions.
The Plan’s six key priority outcomes are:

An accelerated cost-effective transition to a net-zero carbon future, with sustainable development benefits for all

The first is focused on emissions reductions and includes an electricity roadmap that will bring the country to 100 percent renewable energy usage no later than 2050. Thus far, New Zealand has invested in supporting the recruitment of a Project Manager for the electricity roadmap. In addition, energy efficient lighting for government buildings have been procured, the country’s electric vehicle fleet is increasing, and energy legislation is being crafted, among other things. The first outcome also includes strengthened data systems for GHG emissions covering all sectors, including an overarching comprehensive monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) system. RMI is also part of the recently launched Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership. This is a transportation initiative among six Pacific Island countries, including the Marshall Islands, designed to achieve a 100 percent carbon-free maritime transport sector by 2050 among participants.

A resilient national development pathway envisaged in the context of climate change

The second priority outcome is concerned with adaptation and includes the National Adaptation Plan (NAP), prioritized by the country as its “National Survival Plan”. The NAP development is a multi-year, multi-stakeholder process that includes sectoral task forces, training events, science-based scenario development, costing of progressive and extreme adaptation options, and appraisal of potential solutions.The NAP will also enhance governance systems and capacity for addressing climate and disaster risk, raise awareness on adaptation issues (including regional and global dialogues on the plight of atoll nations), and develop a funding strategy, safeguards frameworks, data management, MRV and local reporting systems. Specific attention is given to changing human settlement patterns, customary and legal frameworks for land use, and the value of the Marshallese culture that could be lost under a forced migration due to climate change, and the situation for outer atolls as well as urban centers.

Gender and human rights considerations and measures integrated throughout the climate change response

The third outcome is to integrate gender equality and human rights into the Marshall Islands’ climate policies, strategies, laws, and programs so as to align with the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan and to sustainably strengthen capacity to enable the NDC’s implementation to advance gender equality and human rights. Thus far, a gender assessment developed by WRI on mitigation has been incorporated into the strategic planning and implementation of climate change activities by the government, and several capacity-building initiatives are planned. For example, WRI developed a capacity training seminar series to strengthen the capacity of lawmakers and policymakers in mainstreaming gender and human rights in key legislation and programs. UNDP is supporting the initiation of programs to eliminate violence against women and girls. This work includes targeted programming and outreach support to the most vulnerable communities, including in the outer islands.

Strengthened capacity of citizens, public and private sectors to contribute to NDC implementation

The fourth priority centers on enhancing the capacity of citizens and public and private sectors actors to contribute to NDC implementation. This involves formal and non-formal education for climate change and sustainable development, such as several programs and activities at the school level and for youth supported by UNDP, which includes translating climate-related educational materials into Marshallese to increase its reach. Across the climate work, the government prioritizes whole-of-society consultation processes on climate change impacts and options to feed into its climate policies and actions. The country is also assessing whether its governance systems are fit for purpose and accelerating inter-ministerial coordination for NDC and Partnership Plan implementation.

Whole-of-government policy coordination and effective climate finance management

Fifth, which is discussed more below, is financial management. A strong effort is being made to ensure that all national strategic development plans, economic policies, and budgeting frameworks are consistent with climate change objectives and policies and that policy coordination and policy coherence are strengthened. Through the ADB’s NDC Advance support, existing financial landscape assessments, including exploring opportunities for private sector engagement and investment planning have been conducted. Coordination on climate financing is also a key priority identified through the Climate Finance Taskforce’s work, including strengthened capacity.

A strengthened position as a global leader on ambition for climate action

Lastly, the Marshall Islands aims to maintain and enhance its leadership role in the climate arena. Much of this will be done by focusing on youth engagement and on the country’s leading role in international climate forums such as the Climate Vulnerable Forum and High Ambition Coalition. The Marshall Islands and Ireland launched the Kwon Gesh Pledge at the Climate Action Summit in 2019, supported by the Partnership. It asks governments to actively engage youth in climate action, which closely aligns with the NDC Partnership Youth Engagement Plan launched at the end of 2020, to which RMI contributed as part of the Youth Task Force. Projects within the scope of NDC Partnership Plan continue to explore ways to empower youth and support traditional navigation activities that also support green initiatives and contribute to the NDC objectives.

Financing a Success Story

To address financing needs, a Climate Finance Action Plan was developed in 2019 through Partnership engagement and it focuses on priority alignment, aid coordination, internal governmental coordination, donor coordination, developing an effective grants mechanism, private sector engagement, and a resource mobilization strategy. One action plan key is aligning government plans and pursuing an integrated approach. In the short term, this means aligning all sectoral plans, ministerial plans, key climate documents, and international agreements related to climate. This also entails utilizing one system of baselines and indicators to ensure SDG and NDC alignment.

In addition, GGGI is working with the Department of International Development Assistance (DIDA) to strengthen its capacity and revised the fiscal policy on external aid.

ADB’s NDC Advance support to the Marshall Islands will support an assessment of the country’s current climate finance policy framework, identifying climate finance gaps and institutional development needs. It will follow up on the potential pooled climate finance framework as well as assess the potential for innovative financial instruments and private sector investment. This is through the established coordination mechanism that centralizes all climate-related activities and is coordinated by the Ministry of Environment, engaging with key stakeholders in a whole-of-society approach to raise NDC awareness and strengthen capacity on climate change issues, especially with regard to the most marginalized and vulnerable communities in the country.