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This website was archived in May 2018 and is no longer being updated – it remains in its original format for informational purposes only. For questions pertaining to this archived content, please contact the USAID Office for Global Climate Change - [email protected]

Find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the EC-LEDS program and a low emission development strategy—or strategies—(LEDS).

What is a LEDS?

A LEDS—low emission development strategy—is a development plan that promotes sustainable social and economic development while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the medium to long term. A LEDS is a country-led and country-owned road map for sustainable, long-term development that achieves national development goals while reducing the growth rate of GHG emissions. It also:

  • Reflects a country's unique circumstances and builds on existing frameworks and country progress in addressing climate change
  • Integrates with national development plans and budgets
  • Bases its foundation on sound analysis
  • Recommends specific priority programs and policy approaches
  • Leads to action through financing and implementation of priority interventions.

Learn more about the LEDS process.


What is the difference between a LEDS and EC-LEDS?

A LEDS is a national development framework that promotes sustainable social and economic development while reducing GHG emissions over the medium to long term. EC-LEDSEnhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies—is a flagship U.S. government-led effort that assists 22 countries in developing and implementing LEDS. The program enhances partner country efforts by:

  • Providing targeted technical assistance
  • Building a shared global knowledge base on LEDS.

Learn more about the EC-LEDS program's partner countries.

The EC-LEDS program directly contributes to the joint U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State Agency Priority Goal to "[e]nable economic growth concurrent with significant reductions in national emissions trajectories through 2020 and the longer term by supporting the development and implementation of low emission development strategies (LEDS)." By the end of 2015, U.S. bilateral assistance through EC-LEDS will reach at least 25 countries (from the previous baseline of 22 countries) and will result in the achievement of at least 45 major individual country milestones, each reflecting a significant, measureable improvement in that country’s development or implementation of LEDS.  For more information, see USAID-State Joint Fiscal Year 2014 Priority Goal for Climate Change

For progress to date, see the EC-LEDS program results.


Why is a LEDS important?

A LEDS is critical for sustainable development. At its most fundamental level, a LEDS is about transformative development that integrates climate change considerations across all development priorities.

When implemented, a LEDS will support a country's economic growth by identifying and facilitating smart investments. At the same time, it reduces the GHG emissions trajectory of its future economy by addressing barriers to sustainable economic growth and advancing low emission approaches to growth.


Where can I find examples of a LEDS?

The Low Emission Development Strategies Gateway features examples of LEDS from the following countries:


How does the EC-LEDS program consider climate change adaptation?

While the EC-LEDS program is meant to focus on the mitigation aspects of addressing global climate change, adaptation concerns are often integrated into a LEDS to meet the needs and priorities of a participating partner country. To learn more about U.S. support for adaptation and resilience, see USAID's Climate Change Adaptation Plan.