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The role of elected politicians

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1/ Members of Parliament have a privileged access to their governments, heads of state and ministers, and can influence them to generate political will and raise their country’s climate ambition. They can encourage their country to adopt a culture of support for renewable energy, and to define long-term strategies to provide the investors with stability and trust.

2/ Members of Parliament have the power to pass laws and regulations, including policies that create incentives for the development of the infrastructure we urgently need to achieve the transition to a low-carbon economy. By creating favourable legal and regulatory frameworks, members of parliament can help drive investment in clean energy generation projects such as solar and wind farms, as well as in transmission lines and green grids that are necessary to distribute and trade this energy.

3/ Members of Parliament also vote the budgets. They decide how much money is allocated to which programmes, and can therefore increase the budget share going into climate action and adaptation. Budget is such a powerful instrument that the Climate Change bill passed in Uganda in 2021 states that no ministry budget can pass parliament without a certificate that it includes substantial investment on climate change, as determined by an independent committee of experts.

4/ Members of Parliament exercise oversight, they can hold their executive accountable for not complying with their NDCs and other international engagements, they can monitor the implementation of policies to ensure that governments are following through on their climate commitments, and that industry is also doing its part to transition towards renewable energy.

5/ When they work in cross-party groups, Members of Parliament are able to build broader consensus around climate issues and thus have more chance of overcoming political blockages to achieve concrete action. Peer-to-peer learning and capacity building is also an efficient way of raising the sense of urgency within their own parliament, to get more colleagues motivated for climate action and build a large parliamentary momentum. This is also essential to exert effective pressure on governments and ensure continuity of action even in the event of elections or a change in majority.

6/ Members of Parliament are in a privileged position to engage with many different stakeholders, such as the private sector, the academia, civil society. This can help them identify the interests and concerns of every group to make sure the laws they develop address and reflect the needs of everyone, and therefore reduce the risks of encountering public opposition.

7/ Members of Parliament can help build international cooperation and collaboration on climate action. Climate Parliament helps them engage with their counterparts to facilitate the dialogue and accelerate the work on regional initiatives, such as the ZiZaBoNa line in Southern Africa, which will link up Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia to share renewable electricity.

8/ Members of Parliament can raise awareness, public acceptance and support on climate action. They have knowledge of, and presence on the ground, and are well-placed to find the right narrative which will be easily understood by their people. They can organise local meetings and climate-related events, engage with the local media, and build momentum for climate action at the grassroots level.

9/ As elected representatives of the people, Members of Parliament are the voice of those who are directly affected by climate change. They can act as a bridge between the government and their constituents to defend the interests of the communities who suffer from droughts, floods, diseases, forced migration, famine, civil unrest and the many other manifestations of climate change. MPs can also help promote a just transition for these communities, to make sure no one is left behind and everyone has their needs and concerns addressed.



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