Low Carbon Economic Development Strategy

The term low-emission development strategies (LEDS) first emerged under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2008 and its possible role in a future climate framework continues to be debated. Though no formally agreed definition exists, LEDS are generally used to describe forward-looking national economic development plans or strategies that encompass low-emission and/or climate-resilient economic growth. LEDS can serve multiple purposes but are primarily intended to help advance national climate change and development policy in a more coordinated, coherent and strategic manner. LEDS have been specifically mentioned in negotiating texts from COP 15 and beyond, as well as in the Copenhagen Accord, which recognized that a LEDS is indispensible to sustainable development. 

LEDS form a strategic plan to assist the country in shifting its development path to a low - carbon economy and achieve sustainable development, based on the socio -economic and development priorities of the country. It has a long -term component that includes a strategic vision, and a short and medium-term component that lists specific actions to be undertaken to get on a low carbon pathway. In addition to setting overall strategic goals, LEDS should contain a concrete set of measures leading to GHG emission reduction, quantification of the corresponding emission reduction for each measure and the financial requirements to implement them. 

Comprehensive sets of actions and policies are required to create a framework for a shift to low emission development trajectories of individual sectors and ultimately the entire economy. Low-carbon/emission development strategy outlines the intended overall economic, energy and emissions trajectory for a country. It helps to identify trigger points for policy intervention, i.e. to identify and prioritize Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). Under a top-down approach, LEDS development starts with determining the overall policy objective and emission reduction goal for the country before moving on to identifying concrete measures in various sectors (NAMAs). This approach often relies on the results of macro-economic modeling. Under the bottom-up approach, emission reduction options in various sectors are identified and analyzed first, resulting in the determination, quantification and prioritization of mitigation measures or NAMAs. The overall emission reduction to be achieved under the LEDS is then determined through the integration and further prioritization of individual measures identified in various sectors. 

In 2011, the Climate Change Policy was promulgated. The climate change policy 2011 has main goal of improving livelihoods by mitigating and adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change, adopting a low-carbon emissions socio-economic development path and supporting and collaborating in the spirits of country's commitments to national and international agreements related to climate change. One of the targets of the policy is to formulate and implement a low carbon economic development strategy that supports climate-resilient socio-economic development by 2014.

With the financial support of DFID and EU, the Government of Nepal has initiated the Nepal Climate Change Support Program (NCCSP). The ultimate objective of the NCCSP is to enable the Government to implement the Climate Change Policy 2011 and develop and implement necessary strategies. The MoSTE is the executing ministry of the program and one of the activities of the NCCSP is to support GoN to formulate and implement important climate change strategies including Low Carbon Development and Climate Resilience Strategy (LCDS). Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) has been designated by MoSTE as implementing agency to formulate the strategy.

Major principles of Low Carbon Economic Development Strategy (LCEDS) development are as follows: 

The LED process needs to be backed-up by sustained high-level political commitment to ensure the process defines national policy. 


  • A flexible approach to study design and implementation, which responds to national priorities, is required. 
  • A nationally owned, transparent and collaborative study process. 
  • Inclusiveness: broad stakeholder engagement (i.e. including national, regional and local governments, civil society, private sector, international development agencies) to enable data collection and cross-sector analysis and support. 
  • Building on existing national planning processes, strategies and integration into government structures, drawing on local expertise, institutions, and resources. 
  • Regular review and iteration taking into account the lessons learnt during the implementation, new scientific information and evolving socio-economic situation. 


The general objective of a Low Carbon Economic Development Strategy is to catalyze concrete actions that support development, but with less emissions than without intervention. The overall objective of the strategy is to identify the key approaches and interventions to drive Nepal towards low carbon development path which will foster the optimum economic development of the country. The strategy is useful for all stakeholders. For Government it is useful to present a long term vision on climate and development and a strategic low-carbon development pathway. It also can be used to increase awareness on climate change with stakeholders and present to them what low-carbon development could mean for each of the stakeholders. For private sector, LCEDS can identify what is needed to establish a favorable investment climate for low-carbon development actions, and signal to potential investors what the long-term ambitions and priority sectors are, and what interventions, such as regulatory frameworks or policies, the government will undertake to help achieve these ambitions. Signaling national emissions and expected impacts of climate change can provide insight in global trends on results of existing mitigation actions and prospect of future policies. 

Promoting increased resilience to the impacts of climate change (adaptation) and a lower GHG emission economy (mitigation) are both closely intertwined with development choices and actions that cover a variety of sectors, such as energy, agriculture, health, water resources, infrastructure etc. It is essential that both synergies and trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation activities be considered, including the possible positive and negative side effects. Focusing too much on individual mitigation or adaptation goals, without considering synergy and linkages with other goals, could also lead to missed opportunities. Therefore, it is important to build synergy between mitigation and adaptation policy to support fostering the economic development of the country by following low emission path. So, priority has also been given to integrate adaptation aspects in LCEDS.   

In general, following aspects have to be considered while formulating the Low Carbon Economic Development Strategy (LCEDS).


  • A participatory process under strong senior leadership within the government 
  • The process should work towards consensus on priority sectors and integrated policy interventions, and the decision making should build on sound data, and scientific and economic analysis as well as a high quality factual basis. 
  • Readiness of the country for LCEDS has to be assessed. It relates to strengths and weaknesses in three categories: the fact base, analytical and institutional capacity, and the awareness and engagement of all relevant stakeholders 
  • It is important to align the technical and political process of LCEDS development in order to ensure that the strategy has strong buy-in, is properly integrated into the policy process and informed by sound analysis.

Progress of LCEDS

Final reports on both phases; viz., Data Collection and Analysis, and Modelling and Strategy Formulation is completed. A draft "Strategy Paper" has been prepared and currently the strategy is under refinement after receiving inputs from the respective ministries.