COP26: Eswatini Pledges to Increase Renewable Energy

November 5, 2021

Eswatini has pledged to increase the share of renewable energy to 50% in the electricity mix by 2030 relative to 2010 levels.

Ahead of COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow, UK, Eswatini submitted its revised NDCs,  a national action plan to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.  Eswatini is one of the 120 countries – representing 85% of all developing countries – that UNDP supported through its Climate Promise Initiative to put forward more ambitious pledges under the Paris Agreement. Building on the latest findings from the ground and to set the scene for COP 26, on 28 October, UNDP launched a new report in its NDC Global Outlook Series, entitled, Showing Promise: The State of Climate Ambition.

The report demonstrates that the Paris Agreement’s “ratchet mechanism” is working. However, a major finding is that Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries continue leading the way on greater ambition, and it is time for the G20 countries to take over this responsibility.

The report then dives further in exploring which countries are stepping up on ambition, and how. On a positive note, most recent national climate pledges are of much higher quality than first-generation NDCs and were prepared more inclusively. However, the report finds that bolder action is still needed, and climate finance remains a key hurdle.

On 03 November, during COP 26, UNDP together with the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and partners including UNFCCC and UNEP launched the NEXT phase of the Climate Promise Initiative. This outlines how UNDP plans to support developing countries to turn their pledges into impact.

Speaking on behalf of His Majesty King Mswati III at COP26, the Prime Minister of Eswatini, His Excellency Cleopas Sipho Dlamini, pledged that the country will

increase the share of renewable energy to 50% in the electricity mix by 2030 relative to 2010 levels through the adoption of solar, wind, biomass, hydro, and solar water heater technologies.

“Eswatini continues to fully support the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and has submitted her enhanced and ambitious, updated National Determined Contributions (NDCs) which focus on all sectors,” said H.E Dlamini.

The Prime Minister said Eswatini has raised its climate ambition although the Kingdom contributes as little as 0.007% share to the global greenhouse gas emissions. He, therefore, called upon the negotiators at the conference to be as transparent and communicate their new or updated NDCs of the highest possible ambition, and long-term strategies that set out a pathway towards net-zero to keep the targeted 1.5 Degrees Celsius objective of the Paris Agreement.

According to a UNDP report, the world spends as much as four times on fossil fuel subsidies than the amount needed to help developing countries like Eswatini tackle the climate crisis. The report released ahead of COP26, states that an astounding US$423 billion is spent annually to subsidize fossil fuels for consumers – oil, electricity – generated by burning other fossil fuels -  gas, and coal.

When indirect costs, including costs to the environment, are factored into these subsidies, the figure rises to almost US$6 trillion, according to data published recently by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

UNDP’s analysis highlights that these funds, paid for by taxpayers, end up deepening inequality and impeding action on climate change. The amount spent directly on these subsidies could pay for COVID-19 vaccinations for every person in the world or pay for three times the annual amount needed to eradicate global extreme poverty.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed outdated aspects of the global economy,” said Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “It includes the fact that the world continues to spend billions of dollars on fossil fuel subsidies, while hundreds of millions of people live in poverty and the climate crisis accelerates. Against this backdrop, we must ask ourselves: is subsidizing fossil fuels a rational use of public money?"

The UNDP report was launched in the context of a growing recognition of the need for reform of fossil fuel subsidies by economists and policymakers as well as the IMF and World Bank.

Speaking in support of UNDP’s new campaign – Don’t Choose Extinction – Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa at UNDP, said affordable energy access for all is essential to development.

“The energy transition must be multidimensional, inclusive, equitable and just – it must consider the diverse realities of African countries and propose various pathways for the continent,” Ms. Eziakonwa said.

She added that effectively fighting back against the devastating impact of COVID-19 requires new approaches that support Africa to accelerate SDG action through a green recovery that ensures no one is left behind.