The Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini has ratified the Paris Agreement that seeks to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels. In addition, Eswatini has submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The NDC is considered as a policy document which has an overall objective of putting the country on a Low carbon climate resilient pathway and aimed at assisting the country to contribute towards the achievement of the global temperature goal.
As a developing country with about 69% of the population living on less than $1, the Nationally Determined Contribution for Eswatini to Paris Agreement on Climate change emphasizes adaptation measures while at the same time reducing greenhouse emissions by 20% by 2030 from the business as usual baseline of 2010. In Eswatini, the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector is responsible for 44% of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the country. Due to the role of terrestrial ecosystems as a source and sink of emissions land is positioned as a key point of intervention for climate change mitigation and adaptation as also reflected in Eswatini’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). Land-based mitigation options rank among the most cost-effective opportunities to sequester carbon emissions. Economic evaluations of various climate change mitigation alternatives show that capturing carbon through restoring degraded lands (including degraded forest) is a cost-effective option that offers multiple co-benefits. Terrestrial ecosystems also play an important role as carbon sinks, offsetting emissions released by various sectors of the economy. The potential carbon storage per hectare (ha) and year varies considerably depending on the type of biome, the practice on the ground, and the prevalent climate. In general, terrestrial ecosystems have a significant potential for carbon sequestration linked to the cumulative historic loss of carbon from land-use change. The capacity of land to further store carbon is crucial for bridging the time until new technologies to tackle climate change are adopted on a larger scale.
Land use changes have an impact on GHGs emissions. For instance, conversion of forests into other land uses such as cropland, grazing land, settlement etc. and vice versa can lead to either Greenhouse Gas emissions or removals that exacerbate or mitigate climate change. The status of the land use and time series on observed changes on land cover and use can support generation of GHGs emissions and/or removals scenarios that can inform the inclusion of NDC targets from Agriculture, Forests and Other land Uses. The status of ecosystems and biodiversity represented in various land uses also has potential to contribute to nature-based climate change adaptation that should inform policies and measures to be considered for inclusion in the adaptation NDCs. The mapping of the land use categories and status in Eswatini will provide critical input to assess the merits of including Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry in the revised and updated NDCs.
Following COP-21, attention has turned from developing and submitting NDCs to revising and updating the NDCs for a more ambitious and inclusive effective implementation of the contributions. UNDP plays a central role in building countries’ capacity to strengthen and implement NDCs, given its previous INDC support experience, its technical expertise in related areas, and its on-the-ground presence in over 170 countries. As part of enhancing climate action in Eswatini in line with her commitment to Paris Agreement, Government has embarked on the NDC revision process under the Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP) with support from development partners that include, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Commonwealth Secretariat, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Resources Institute (WRI); and NDC Partnership Support Unit.
UNDP through its Climate Promise Initiative is supporting Eswatini to revise her NDC commitment including; i) Building Political Will, whole of government and whole of society ownership; ii) Review, align and update existing targets, policies and measures; iii) Incorporate new sectors and/or GHGs; iv) Assess costs and Investment opportunities for attaining targets; v) establish mechanisms to monitor progress & strengthen transparency; and vi) Preparing the revised NDC document. It is against this background that UNDP is seeking to engage a competent consultant to support The Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to undertake Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry /AFOLU Mapping to inform integration of nature-based solutions in the revision and updating of the NDCs. The input of the mapping is to ensure that the revised NDCs consider the potential contribution of LULUCF / AFOLU and nature-based solutions to meeting the NDC mitigating and adaptation goals and targets.