A Research Agenda for Low Carbon Transition and Gender Equity in the Global South - Enabling Policy Environment

1 April 2023


All countries now face enormous challenges posed by climate change. The consequences of continued greenhouse gas emissions are dire, particularly for countries in the Global South that are both more affected and more vulnerable to climate change at the same time as they have less capacity to adapt (AfDB, 2022). The realization that a low-carbon transition needs to be implemented in countries in the Global South is well established and is also reflected in most countries’ ratification of the Paris Agreement and in their Nationally Determined Contributions. In effect, most countries in the Global South are now confronted with the fastest and most dramatic transformation of their economies that they have ever experienced – or at least they would need to be. 

The low-carbon transition in the Global South needs to be guided by research since such a transition is inherently a very knowledge-intensive process. This is why the Sustainable Inclusive Economies (SIE) Division of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has identified this area as particularly interesting to support. This report was commissioned by SIE as part of a bigger initiative to develop an actionable research agenda that IDRC can support to achieve a low-carbon transition with gender equity in the Global South. 

Enabling Policy Environment is part of the Research Agenda for Low Carbon Transition and Gender Equity in the Global South series of papers. The consortium that is working on this series of papers is global and consists of 60 researchers from a multitude of universities and institutions. This particular paper has been written by Anjali Ramakrishnan from EfD Global Hub, Gothenburg, and Jan Steckel and Farah Mohammadzadeh Valencia from Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change. 

Enabling Policy Environment aims at identifying the actors, processes and methods that enable the creation of a policy environment to put climate and low-carbon energy transition policies in motion. The paper highlights the need for a comprehensive understanding of the socio-economic processes and the political dynamics between the various actors involved in decarbonization. We hope to receive constructive comments on this draft paper from IDRC, our networks and external scholars and practitioners. We will then revise the paper for validation by policy makers and senior civil servants in the Global South. Based on the reviews and validations we plan to prepare final versions of both the paper and the accompanying High-Level Research Agenda by March 2023. The ambition is that these papers will be useful both for donors and research institutions in supporting an even greater research contribution to a much-needed low-carbon transition with gender equity in the Global South in this crucial Decade of Action. 

Gunnar Köhlin 

Director, Environment for Development 

Publication | 26 April 2023