The Paris Agreement and NDCs
2015 was a historic year in which 196 Parties came together under the Paris Agreement to transform their development trajectories so that they set the world on a course towards sustainable development, aiming at limiting warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Through the Paris Agreement, Parties also agreed to a long-term goal for adaptation – to increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production. Additionally, they agreed to work towards making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of these long-term goals. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Paris Agreement (Article 4, paragraph 2) requires each Party to prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that it intends to achieve. Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.
What does this mean?
The Paris Agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their NDCs.
Together, these climate actions determine whether the world achieves the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs in the second half of this century. It is understood that the peaking of emissions will take longer for developing country Parties, and that emission reductions are undertaken on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, which are critical development priorities for many developing countries.
Each climate plan reflects the country’s ambition for reducing emissions, taking into account its domestic circumstances and capabilities. Guidance on NDCs are currently being negotiated under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), agenda item 3.
For more information on APA item 3, please click here.
NDCs are submitted every five years to the UNFCCC secretariat, with the next round of NDCs (new or updated) being submitted by 2020.
NDCs are recorded in the NDC registry which is publicly available and maintained by the secretariat. Modalities and procedures for the operation and use of this public registry are currently being negotiated under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), agenda item 6.
Until the modalities and procedures of the public NDC registry are finalized, communicated NDCs are registered and available in the interim NDC registry.
Click here to access the NDC Interim Registry
The Paris Agreement recognizes that the long-term goals specified in its Articles 2 and 4.1 will be achieved through time and, therefore, builds on a ratcheting up of aggregate and individual ambition over time.
NDCs are submitted every five years to the UNFCCC secretariat. In order to enhance the ambition over time the Paris Agreement provide that successive NDCs will represent a progression compared to the previous NDC and reflect its highest possible ambition.
All Parties are requested to submit the next round of NDCs (new NDCs or updated NDCs) by 2020 and every five years thereafter (e.g. by 2020, 2025, 2030), regardless of their respective implementation time frames.
In 2018 the COP will convene a facilitative dialogue among Parties to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term and to inform the preparation of the next round of NDCs. To learn more about the Talanoa Dialogue in 2018 click here.
Starting in 2023 and then every five years, governments will take stock of the implementation of the Agreement to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Agreement and its long-term goals. The outcome of the global stocktake (GST) will inform the preparation of subsequent NDCs, in order to allow for increased ambition and climate action to achieve the purpose of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals.
Matters relating to the GST, including the identification of the sources of input for the GST and the development of the modalities of the GST are currently being negotiated under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), agenda item 6. For more information on APA item 6, please click here.
The Conference of the Parties (COP), by its decisions 1/CP.19 and 1/CP.20, invited all Parties to communicate to the secretariat their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) well in advance of COP 21 (by the first quarter of 2015 by those Parties ready to do so) in a manner that facilitates the clarity, transparency and understanding of the INDCs.
By 18 April 2016, a total of 190 Parties had communicated an INDC (97% of all Parties to the UNFCCC) with a total CO2 coverage of 94.6%.
INDCs are available on the INDC submission portal.
The secretariat prepared a synthesis report on the aggregate effect of the INDCs. The report was published on 1 November 2015 and became one of the key documents for governments to understand their collective effort on climate change and to shape the discussions and negotiations in Paris.
An update of the synthesis report was prepared and published by the secretariat on 2 May 2016 to include the additional INDCs submitted until 4 April 2016.