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Climate Advisory Bodies: Experiences and Approaches for Effective Climate Change Policy (WRI)

1. Outline

The UK Climate Change Committee and Swedish Climate Policy Council, with funding from the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, jointly commissioned the World Resources Institute to undertake an assessment of the role of Climate Councils from around the world with a view to better understanding their impact and the factors behind it, in a range of international contexts.

WRI produced a working paper for discussion at the first meeting of International Climate Councils in May 2021. The Executive Summary of that paper is published below. Findings from WRI’s work, as well as wider research on this topic including Ecologic Institute’s / IDDRI’s review of European Climate Councils, informed an Open Letter from the International Climate Councils Network (ICCN) at COP26 to Heads of Government, officially launching the Network.

2. Key messages

The report provides principles to underpin effective climate councils. These are:

  1. Advisory bodies should be provided with an official, and if appropriate – legal mandate and necessary resources to provide effective advice and or scrutiny on climate action. The roles and responsibilities of the advisory body and Government, and procedures for their engagement should be transparently outlined.
  2. Advisory bodies should apply the latest climate science and robust analytical methods to inform evidence-based advice and assessments.
  3. Advisory bodies should select members with deep technical expertise, who are leaders in their respective fields spanning a range of subject areas most relevant to enabling climate action. Members should enjoy strong public and stakeholder trust and act in an objective capacity.
  4. Advisory bodies should build in a role for high-profile leaders suited to the national context and political system of the country.
  5. Advisory bodies should establish appropriate and transparent stakeholder processes to engage key actors responsible for climate policy implementation including subnational and regional governments and the private sector to better support development and implementation of recommendations.
  6. Advisory bodies have experience in a range of challenges and topics. Where one entity is struggling, another may be making progress so advisory bodies should consider targeted exchange and outreach to their peers.