Exploring political and socio-economic drivers of transformational climate policy: Early insights from the design of Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy

Research reports and studies
October 2013
Lindsey Jones and Elizabeth Carabine
Calls to promote ‘transformational climate policy’ are gaining prominence within the international climate discourse. Given the scale of reform that transformational approaches imply, care needs to be taken to ensure that new policies are flexible and robust in dealing with a range of possible future outlooks. Moreover, longer-term commitments and investments needed to deliver many mitigation and adaptation objectives will inevitably have important economic and social impacts on a wide variety of stakeholders. With this in mind, alongside the technical challenges of designing transformational climate policies, a number of key considerations are largely missing from the discourse: what are the key political and economic opportunities and barriers in driving forward transformational climate policy? What roles do vested interests, incentives and power play in its development? And whose voices and needs are represented in the process?

As one of the first developing countries to prepare domestic transformational climate policies that are meaningfully embedded within the country’s vision for economic growth and development, the design and delivery of Ethiopia’s CRGE offer number of unique insights. In uncovering the opportunities and challenges behind the CRGE’s development, this paper explores the role of participation, incentives and interests in implementing transformational climate policy. In so doing, the paper first provides a brief review of relevant literature on transformation and an elaboration of analytical tools for assessing drivers of policy change. It then outlines the structure of he CRGE process before exploring key political and economic factors in the CRGE’s development. Lastly, a number of wider observations are made with implications for the delivery of transformational climate policy in other country contexts.