The Dominican Republic emits less than 0.1% of global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), but, as part of an island, the country is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change through increased temperatures, sea level rise and rainfall variability. Studies have shown that the country is already experiencing the effects of climate change through the increased intensity and frequency of tropical storms. The Dominican Republic has been classified as the eighth country in the world that was most affected by extreme weather events between 1993 and 2012. In view of the above, the country has come up with a set of policies aimed at preserving existing resources, achieving the objectives of sustainable development and increasing the resilience of ecosystems and human communities to the adverse effects of climate change. In all of these policies, consensus and the participation of all sectors of society has been critical.
The country has focused on developing national policies that respond to the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals, linking national priorities by promoting investment from the private and productive sectors to boost energy efficiency technologies to reduce GHG emissions. The priorities we have promoted include eradicating poverty, promoting food security through sustainable agriculture, guaranteeing a healthy life, and ensuring gender equality as well as equitable and inclusive quality education.
The 2030 National Development Strategy (Law No. 1-12) is an immediate response to the international commitments that the country has made, especially through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Strategy is also a mechanism to promote the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to spur urgent action to combat climate change and its effects, as well as to protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and forest management, so as to combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and the loss of biodiversity.
A key objective supporting the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals is achieving reliable, efficient and environmentally sustainable energy, which – according to the National Development Strategy – must be achieved by ensuring a reliable supply of electricity at competitive prices, with fair financial conditions and environmental sustainability. This entails achieving affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, while promoting sustained, inclusive and continuous economic growth, full and productive employment and universal decent work. It also involves promoting cities and human settlements that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable through the Strategy's key objectives. These include:
The fourth axis of the National Development Strategy addresses the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals, seeking to promote environmentally sustainable production and consumption and help the country adapt to climate change. Specifically, the Strategy states that "a culture of sustainable production and consumption, promoting equity and efficiency, risk management that promotes the protection of our environment and natural resources and also supports an adequate adaptation to climate change" should prevail in the Dominican Republic.
This vision enshrined in our national policy must be met by promoting decarbonization of the economy through using renewable energy sources, and developing markets, energy savings and efficiency and a clean and efficient transport system. The Government adopted an Electricity Sector Reform in 2012, establishing the need for the political, economic and social forces to reach an agreement to solve the structural crisis in the electricity sector while ensuring predictability in the regulatory and institutional framework, thus enabling the investments in energy generation required by our national development demands.
In this context, the Dominican Republic is pioneering global work to scale up the deployment of high-efficiency LEDs (light-emitting diodes) in cities, in the framework of a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) to enable the country to transform its market to high-efficiency lighting in most commonly used applications. This NAMA will also facilitate the implementation of lighting policy instruments to enable the transition, according to priorities set in the Efficient Lighting Strategy adopted by the Dominican Republic and Central America in 2013. It will also help to accomplish the National Development Strategy and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The Dominican Republic is working with the Climate Technology Centre and Network and the United Nations Environment Programme to design and implement this energy-efficiency NAMA. As a result, the country will establish mandatory minimum energy performance standards for residential, commercial and industrial applications, helping to achieve a permanent and durable transition to high-efficiency technologies.
The Dominican Republic will also create a monitoring, verification and enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance with national standards and prevent the use of low-quality and non-performing products, and set up a sustainable financial scheme to support the deployment of LEDs. Finally, our plans also include ensuring the environmentally sound disposal of lighting products.
As well as responding to national priorities, these efforts should achieve an expected efficiency transition for residential, commercial and industrial lighting that will save over 730 GWH in electricity consumption – 5% of the national total – every year.