Implementing Nationally Determined Contributions

In 2015, the countries of the world signed the Paris Agreement, committing themselves to climate change-related, nationally determined contributions (NDCs, Art. 4). Since then, all countries in the world have submitted national climate targets for the first time, but, great challenges still exist. On the one hand, the climate change mitigation measures contained in the NDCs are difficult to compare, on the other hand, scientific analyses such as the 1.5C° Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also send a clear message: The total of the climate change mitigation measures and goals of the countries are not yet good enough to limit global warming to well below 2°C or possibly 1.5°C.

At the time the Paris Agreement was signed, it was already known that the NDCs in their entirety would not be sufficient to meet the temperature goals of the Agreement. For this reason, the countries agreed in Paris to review their NDCs for improvement and further development (increased ambition), to submit information at a later date and to either update or resubmit their contributions by 2020 at the latest.

The Paris Agreement not only provides for an increase in ambition for 2020, but the contracting states must also submit their NDCs every five years from then on, ensuring that the international community will continue to strengthen its climate change mitigation efforts in the years to come. Two years before each country submits its NDCs, a comprehensive global stocktake of the progress made towards the achievement of the Paris Agreement goals will be carried out.This global stocktake is intended to help the parties determine whether or not they are fully on the right track for climate mitigation, climate adaptation and climate finance. The results of this analysis thus provide the direction for updating the NDCs.

To achieve comparability of the countries’ reports, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice (COP24) in December 2018 adopted an enhanced transparency framework (ETF) as part of the Paris Agreement; the ETF applies to all signatory states. The necessary rules and specifications were adopted as part of a comprehensive set of rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The rulebook contains clear guidance on how member states should report on their greenhouse gas emissions and emission mitigation measures and which additional information about the NDCs they should provide. All of these measures should enable the countries to report on national activities by 2024 at the latest – in line with the same worldwide standards. These rules will then be mandatory for the increased ambition of NDCs in 2025. The new transparency system is also intended to enable the transparent monitoring of the agreed NDCs and self-imposed climate change mitigation goals, thus contributing to the effectiveness of the Paris Agreement and its implementation.

In order to enable developing and emerging countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change, industrialised countries and multilateral institutions help them to achieve their self-defined NDC goals by opening up financing channels, providing technical support and promoting the exchange of knowledge and experience.

Germany is playing a pioneering role here. The German funding instruments include International Climate Initiative (IKI). IKI projects meet the demands of the partner countries, ranging from policy advice and technical support in the calculation of emissions to monitoring throughout the entire production process and the concrete implementation of NDCs. This particularly includes the development of scenarios, country-specific needs analyses, cost estimates and the formulation of specific reduction and adaptation targets in various sectors. Handbooks are produced, webinars organised, and inter-ministerial working groups are advised to identify and involve important stakeholders.

International networking, informal dialogue and exchanges within and between departments and governments are promoted. The IKI was already providing support for regional dialogues between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) prior to the Paris Agreement. These dialogues helped to achieve a collective understanding of the NDCs and to promote an exchange of experiences in the areas of Low Carbon Development Strategies (LCDS), NAMAs and Measurement, Reporting & Verification (MRV).

One crucial aspect in the implementation of NDCs is individual stakeholders’ learning processes – they learn with and from each other and in groups, supported by a number of international cooperation partners.

NDC Support Cluster

Founded in 2016 at the World Climate Conference in Marrakech (COP 22), IKI NDC Support Cluster (NDC Cluster) is a “think tank” on the topic of NDCs. It enables close conceptual cooperation and the regular sharing of information on NDC implementation and revision (NDC updating) among IKI project partners and other selected organisations. The NDC Cluster offers orientation and advice in the areas of capacity building and knowledge management, based on the specific needs of the individual partner countries. Specifically, the aims are to introduce systems that follow up on the achievement of objectives, to seek possible ways of funding NDCs, to identify implementation options in various sectors and to generally strengthen the political and institutional framework conditions for NDC implementation.


NDC Partnership

The NDC Partnership (NDCP), also launched in 2016 by Germany and Morocco in Marrakech, aims to support emerging and developing countries in aligning their climate change mitigation goals with national development goals and to implement them rapidly, sustainably and effectively. The NDCP also seeks to create a foundation for bilateral and multilateral donor programmes, enabling them to focus even more specifically on national support needs and to coordinate efficiently. The Federal German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development are increasingly orienting their international climate finance on NDC implementation and the support needs communicated in the NDCP. The alliance now has 188members, comprised of 113 countries, 42 international organisations & development banks and 33 associate members.

Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement

The International Partnership for Mitigation and MRV (IPMM) launched by Germany, South Africa and South Korea in 2010 and co-financed by Germany, has been instrumental in bridging the gap between the UNFCCC negotiations and the practical issues involved in technical implementation. To meet the new challenges arising from the ETF, the alliance was renamed ‘Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement‘. It supports the international efforts of practical exchange and political dialogue on the transparency of climate change mitigation targets. The partnership is not a formal alliance but is open to all countries committed to ambitious climate goals. More than 100 countries are currently participating.