Low emission development strategies (LEDS) are country-led and country-specific strategic plans to promote economic growth while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (in absolute and/or relative terms) over the long term. LEDS carries the same meaning as low carbon development strategies, low emission climate-resilient development strategies, and provide a framework to support broader green growth strategies. While LEDS focus on reducing GHG emissions, due diligence should be taken to ensure that LEDS do not cause unintended environmental pressures.
At the country level, LEDS are a key element for short, medium, and long-term national economic development plans, contributing to green growth, green economy, and climate resiliency. At the regional and global level, LEDS support the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals, prioritizing the four “pros” of pro-growth, pro-job, pro-poor, and pro-environment.
The LEDS process is defined by five stages, including (1) organizing the process (e.g., identifying the institutional structure, selecting mechanisms for stakeholder involvement); (2) collecting data and assessing the current situation; (3) using analytical decision-making to identify and assess pathways; (4) prioritizing and planning a portfolio of actions; and (5) implementing and monitoring actions.
Watch this short video about LEDS and green growth
By design, LEDS may consider an extensive range of co-benefits. In practice, LEDS primarily focuses on GHGs—including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—but LEDS may also include consideration of short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and other emissions. Other co-benefits may include reductions in ambient air pollutants, energy savings, more sustainable use of natural resources, sustainable urban development and transport systems, and more. While the focus of LEDS is on climate change emissions mitigation and not on adaptation measures per se, LEDS frameworks should work to ensure that climate resilience and adaptation are fully considered in near- and long-term planning.
Learn more about LEDS and Green Growth
- Presentation: Introduction to LEDS for Policymakers in the Asia Region
- Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) Gateway
- LEDS Overview on the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform
- LEDS Summary by the International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV
- UNDP’s Green, Low-Emission and Climate-Resilient Development Strategies web page
- LEDS: Technical, Institutional and Policy Lessons (OCED report, 2010)