Country Dialogues. A long-term strategic commitment between EUROCLIMA+ and its partners: Pilot experience

For ten years now, the European Union (EU) and Latin America have considered climate change as one of the cornerstones of their bi-regional relations.

Due to this, the EUROCLIMA+ programme has been consolidated as a flagship instrument of European cooperation to support the region in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the countries' Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), through the establishment of a deep relationship with its partners to respond more strategically to their demands.

Against this backdrop, and after a joint reflection, the EUROCLIMA+ Programme conceived the establishment of the country dialogue process as a flexible and agile mechanism to respond directly and in a coordinated manner to the prioritised demands of Latin American partner countries. This is also with the aim of contributing even more consistently to the development and implementation of climate policies that allow for progress towards more ambitious NDCs in the region.

The identification of the strategic needs of each country is posed through processes of dialogue with the relevant institutions and actors in the field of climate change. In order to implement these types of dialogue process, the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)  have coordinated the development of a methodology that gathers inputs from other processes and instruments, especially from the country round table of the EUROsociAL+ Programme -also financed by the European Commission-, and from the “Country Engagement Strategy” of the NDC Partnership. 

The country dialogue process seeks to: a) identify a country's "demand" for the services of EUROCLIMA+; b) take stock of progress and support the updating of plans and priorities for the implementation and/or updating of NDCs; c) coordinate the implementation of EUROCLIMA+ actions; and d) align EUROCLIMA+ actions with the EU's political dialogue with the country.

The methodology developed consists of six stages that lay the foundation for a long-term relationship between the Programme and each partner country. A country dialogue can be "comprehensive" or "simplified": A comprehensive country dialogue follows the six stages, which are described in the figure and a simplified country dialogue can omit stage 3, if there are processes in place that support the implementation and/or updating of the NDC.

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In 2019, the General Directorate for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), the entity in charge of the EUROCLIMA+ Programme within the European Commission, entrusted FIIAPP and GIZ with carrying out a pilot of this methodology in four countries of the region, which requested it: Paraguay, Honduras, Ecuador and Cuba. The methodology, built in parallel to the pilot, had the active collaboration of these countries, as well as the Delegations of the European Union and other implementing agencies of the Programme, in the dialogue processes initiated. The idea was to create and design, together with the partner countries, spaces for dialogue that would allow an initial identification of priority needs to be addressed by the EUROCLIMA+ implementing agencies, and even by other international cooperation initiatives and programmes, particularly European cooperation.

The piloting of the dialogues in four countries in Latin America has been an enriching process for the implementing agencies involved and for the programme in general. It has been noted that the countries of the region are committed to the implementation and updating of their NDCs and consider EUROCLIMA+ a valuable program that can support them.

The experience of the pilot dialogues has shown that the EUROCLIMA+ Programme must be flexible and adapted to national needs as an inescapable condition for the dialogue process. However, the margin of flexibility must be framed within a common understanding of the country dialogue methodology among all relevant actors of the Programme in order to have a high-quality standard in the implementation of the dialogues.

In 2020, as the pilot phase is coming to an end, the EUROCLIMA+ Programme is being reorganised to identify and respond to the needs of participating countries through the country dialogue processes. This new working approach is also an opportunity to scale up the learning from the nearly 60 sectoral projects and 50 actions currently under implementation.

The new approach of EUROCLIMA+ is not exempt from challenges, derived mainly from the need to coordinate and reach agreements with a high number of institutions and actors and, in turn, be able to provide agile and relevant responses. This evolution in response to the demands of the countries seeks to position the European Union as a strategic partner for Latin America, establishing relations of trust between countries and regions that are facing common challenges.

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

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