Supporting LDCs to develop long-term strategies

IIED is providing research and dedicated support to help least developed countries design long-term strategies for low-carbon, climate-resilient development, in line with international commitments. 

Began December 2018
Stepping up global ambition for climate action and justice
A programme of work showing how IIED is supporting the most vulnerable countries to increase global ambition to stay below 1.5°C
A beach with cows

The Gambia aims to preserve its natural beauty while developing its budding tourism industry (Photo: Elaine Harty, IIED)

The least developed countries (LDCs) have contributed the least to global climate change yet suffer the most from its impacts. As their growing economies and infrastructures increase demand on natural resources and domestic production, strategic long-term planning for low greenhouse gas, climate-resilient development will be crucial to ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

The Paris Agreement invites all countries to develop such long-term strategies, and LDCs are responding to the call. Many are now in the process of developing national plans for low-carbon, climate-resilient development out to 2050.

At the international level, the LDC Group of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has already developed its own long-term vision (PDF): "to be on climate-resilient development pathways by 2030 and deliver net-zero emissions by 2050 to ensure our societies and ecosystems thrive."

What IIED is doing

In addition to researching the challenges and opportunities for long-term planning and developing long-term strategies (LTS) in LDCs, IIED is supporting The Gambia to develop a long-term vision for achieving a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy and society. The vision will serve the unique purpose of aligning and bringing together various policies and processes and will set out the country’s long-term direction and goals.

This is the necessary first step towards developing the long-term strategy itself, which would define the 'how' of reaching the vision. The Gambia is one of the first LDCs to embark on this process. 

The Gambia’s Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MECCNAR) is leading this process, in close partnership and collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MOFEA).

The ministries have already started to convene stakeholders across sectors with government, civil society, academic and community representatives to draw out the main issues and priorities for the drafting of the vision. Stakeholders from local, regional and national levels are invited to input into the process, to ensure that participation, and ultimately the vision, is inclusive and representative of the society it will serve.

This work builds on IIED’s work supporting LDCs to strengthen national legislative and policy responses in line with international commitments.

Legacy partner

Long-term capacity-building is an integral objective of the programme of work. To this end, IIED is exploring the opportunities and challenges of including a ‘legacy partner’ to complement the LTS development process.

The legacy partner would follow the process and capture lessons learned, with a focus on building the capacity of individuals and relevant institutions through 'learning-by-doing'. This would be used in future South-South knowledge exchange platforms and events to promote uptake by other countries and facilitate their attempts to develop an LTS vision.

Universities are ideal national institutions to be the focal point for building and strengthening long-term capacity-building in a country. Their recognised convening power, leading role in knowledge creation and dissemination, inherent capacity-building ethos/objectives and enduring nature make universities uniquely appropriate legacy partners.


Long-term strategies have the potential to be an important vehicle for delivering transformative change towards achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. The least developed countries pushed for the Paris Agreement to embrace this long-term outlook, ardent in their belief that ambitious, concrete long-term planning is essential if the world is to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 

By developing their own LTS, LDCs have the opportunity – and, most importantly, are eager – to help lift collective ambition once again and act as a surging force for transformation, leading by example and using their strong moral voice to catalyse action by others.