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How do sectoral policies support climate compatible development? An empirical analysis focusing on southern Africa (open access)


  • Progress in moving towards Climate Compatible Development (CCD) in practice has not yet been explored in depth.
  • This paper assesses the policies of 10 sub-Saharan African countries in the water, agriculture, energy and forestry sectors.
  • Agriculture provides the most viable single sector approach to CCD.
  • This study’s approach could aid stakeholders in developing countries to implement their Paris Agreement commitments and SDGs.

Promoting inclusive and sustainable economic and social development whilst simultaneously adapting to climate change impacts and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions – Climate Compatible Development (CCD) – requires coherent policy approaches that span multiple sectors. This paper develops and applies a qualitative content analysis to assess national sector policies of ten southern African countries to determine their approaches for water, agriculture, forestry and energy and their compatibility with the aims of the three dimensions of CCD (development, climate adaptation and climate mitigation).

Results indicate that sector policies currently only partially support shifts towards CCD, with approaches that both complement and detract from CCD being prioritized by national governments. Agriculture offers the greatest number of potentially viable approaches capable of achieving the development, adaptation and mitigation aims inherent in CCD, while energy the least. National governments should focus on developing coherent, cross-sector approaches that deliver such potential triple wins in order to promote new forms of inclusive and sustainable economic and social development, whilst facilitating adaptation to climate change impacts and supporting mitigation activities. Doing so will also go a long way towards ensuring the progress needed for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Climate Agreement.

Environmental Science & Policy Volume 79, January 2018, Pages 9-15; Matthew I.EnglandLindsay C.StringerAndrew J.DougillStavrosAfionis