News Article
July 29, 2012

Experts at Dialogue Session Discuss Financing of NAMAs for Building Efficiency Policy

The Institute for Building Efficiency recently participated in a Latin American regional dialogue in Bogota, Colombia, on the development of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The dialogue was organized by the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) as part of its Mitigation Action Implementation Network (MAIN)i. The dialogue brought together experts in climate mitigation and NAMAs finance, along with representatives from government ministries (environment, planning, energy, transportation and finance) involved in developing and implementing climate change mitigation actions in the eight participating Latin American countries.

NAMA is an umbrella term that can include any voluntary efforts by developing countries to deviate from business-as-usual emissions growth by 2020 “in the context of sustainable development supported and enabled by technology” from developed nations.ii Developed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, NAMAs are submitted by developing countries to the UN in exchange for financial and technical support from developed countries for implementation of those actions.

If implemented globally, energy efficiency measures could deliver two-thirds of the energy-related CO2 emissions reductions needed to achieve climate protection.iii Making new and existing buildings more efficient offers more potential carbon emission mitigation than any other major abatement strategy. In addition to aiding climate change mitigation, building efficiency is good for economic development and social development. Each $1 spent on energy efficiency avoids more than $2, on average, in energy supply investments.iv  And, given rapid urbanization trends, there is a tremendous opportunity to shape tomorrow’s cities and buildings and avoid locking in inefficiencies. However, the scale and pace of current actions around the world are insufficient to transform buildings into engines of the sustainable, energy efficient economy. NAMAs present one opportunity to accelerate that transformation.

A theme of the CCAP MAIN dialog was that NAMAs are among the most attractive mechanisms for financing actions to address climate change. Some lessons learned from the discussion:

  • NAMA financing can be used to leverage and build upon what countries are already doing to address climate change. NAMA financing should fill financing gaps – specifically gaps in resources for policy development, or gaps in the availability of financing for clean energy projects.  

  • NAMAs can leverage private-sector investment for increased impact. NAMAs should be designed to make such investment more financially attractive.

  • NAMAs should employ financial mechanisms that are tailored to specific local conditions and barriers.  

  • The private sector and banks should be involved from the early stages of NAMA design to help design financeable NAMAs and better understand financial opportunities.

The Institute for Building Efficiency, participating as a sectoral expert in energy efficient buildings, presented its new report Driving Transformation to Energy Efficient Buildings, which includes a Building Efficiency Policy Assessment Tool.  The presentation reviewed building efficiency policy options (such as building codes, certification, incentives) and best practices in developing countries as described in the report. In addition, the Institute presented its findings on private-sector perspectives on promising policy areas for NAMAS, including building codes, building rating systems, code enforcement, and disclosure of building performance.  

The Institute then co-led a sectoral breakout session on building efficiency policy, using the Building Efficiency Policy Assessment Tool in the design of a NAMAs. Two subgroups met to use the tool, and the CCAP NAMA template, to develop hypothetical building efficiency NAMAs for Costa Rica and Perú. The breakout session gave teams a chance to work through the tool and template, which  participants found useful both at the technical level in evaluating policy options, and at the political level in presenting potential NAMAs to policymakers.

The meeting was hosted by the Colombian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, with financial support from the German International Climate Initiative, the Government of Canada through the Federal Department of the Environment, and other donors.

July 2012


I  For more information about MAIN, please contact Michael Comstock at     

II  For example of policy work around NAMAs see  (Mitigation section).

III IEA (2009) World Energy Outlook.

IV International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook, 2006

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