Innovative ideas to drive NDC implementation

Workshop participants; Photo: © GIZ

Workshop participants; Photo: © GIZ

Many countries have started taking steps towards achieving the objectives set in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). However, barriers remain that are slowing down the implementation process. To address these barriers, in the second quarter of 2018 the NDC Support Cluster (hereinafter: Cluster) of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) held a series of workshops on NDC implementation within its four thematic work streams – governance, sector approaches, financing, and transparency. In all the workshops, the Cluster’s IKI implementing organisations, together with renowned experts from climate and development implementing organisations, country governments, think tanks and academia, discussed answers to the question: What works and what is needed for a fast and effective NDC implementation? During a final synthesis workshop, held on 20 September 2018, representatives of the Cluster’s implementing organisations discussed the overarching results and the way forward.

Design thinking for climate policy

The interactive workshops used an innovative design-thinking method called ‘prototyping’. This provided participants with numerous opportunities to discuss key challenges and barriers faced by partner countries when implementing their NDCs and to share experiences and ideas on how to overcome them. Identifying solutions in this way resulted in the development of a comprehensive collection of ‘NDC implementation approaches’. These approaches gather together the intelligence captured from the different participants and summarise innovative ways of enhancing NDC implementation in different areas. These approaches will be published on the Cluster’s website in the final quarter of 2018.

Application of the Design thinking method at the workshop on sector approaches held in Berlin in April 2018; Photo: © GIZ

Four workshops – four topics: sector approaches, financing, governance, and transparency

The thematic workshop on sector approaches, held in April 2018 in Berlin, centred on the question: How can NDCs drive transformation in the energy sector? The resulting discussions focused on three key challenges: the role of different stakeholders for NDC implementation, building an enabling environment for this process, and identifying meaningful entry points for mainstreaming the NDCs in the energy sector.

Workshop on sector approaches held in Berlin in April 2018; Photo: © GIZ

The workshop of the thematic working group on financing, held in June 2018 in Cape Town, looked at the best ways to mobilise private sector finance to achieve NDC goals. The discussions focused on mobilising finance for NDC implementation in the energy sector, fostering the financing of adaptation measures, and climate-proofing private investments.

In June 2018 the two thematic working groups for governance and transparency held their respective workshops in parallel at the same venue in Washington D.C., which enabled them to run a number of joint sessions throughout the events. The overarching question for both groups was: How can we enhance transparency and governance frameworks for integrated NDC implementation? The governance workshop participants discussed two main topics: vertical integration as well as horizontal coordination for NDC implementation, and cross-cutting coordination issues. The transparency workshop discussions centred on three topics: effective target setting, assessing greenhouse gas (GHG) and non-GHG impacts of subnational climate policies and actions, and integrated approaches for tracking progress.

Workshop on climate financing in Capetown, South Africa in June 2018; Photo: © GIZ

The way forward

Identifying the challenges and barriers faced by partner countries is an important step towards implementing the NDCs. However, the purpose of the NDC Cluster workshop series was also to find ways to overcome these obstacles. To develop concrete solutions, the workshops discussed and formulated NDC implementation approaches for all four topics. It is envisaged that these approaches will serve as valuable input for further discussions on international networks and initiatives such as the NDC Partnership. In addition, country representatives and partners might consider using these approaches as a starting point in their work to identify concrete ways to further support national NDC processes.

The Cluster’s implementing organisations, together with other workshop participants who participated in developing the approaches, are in the process of further refining the concepts for these approaches and are looking for opportunities to pilot certain elements. In upcoming cluster events, including the second Global NDC Conference to be held in June 2019 in Berlin, the partners will disseminate the approaches and provide information on the next steps in the process. Furthermore, the NDC Cluster is set to publish a policy paper that will summarise some of the key lessons learned and messages arising from the workshop series as a whole.

The design thinking methodology employed in this workshop series has proven so successful that the NDC Cluster continued working with it after the event series – for example at the Cluster workshop on Experience and Approaches for Advancing National Adaptation Planning and Implementation to Achieve the Adaptation Goals of the Paris Agreement on 2-5 October in Bangkok.

In 2015 the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) established the NDC Support Cluster under its International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Cluster comprises a range of different organisations and works to pool projects from partner countries around the world to provide countries with comprehensive and timely support on implementing their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).