What is INDC and NDC?

Countries across the globe adopted an historic international climate agreement at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015. In anticipation of this moment, countries publicly outlined what post-2020 climate actions they intended to take under the new international agreement, known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The INDCs will largely determine whether the world achieves an ambitious 2015 agreement and is put on a path toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

The word “intended” was used because countries were communicating proposed climate actions ahead of the Paris Agreement being finalized. However, as countries formally join the Paris Agreement and look forward to implementation of these climate actions – the “intended” is dropped and an INDC is converted into a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). This conversion happens when a country submits its respective instrument of ratification, accession, or approval to join the Paris Agreement. A detailed update on the (I)NDC can be found in the NDC registry site of UNFCCC[1]. In addition, the NDC platform of the World Bank[2] is also resourceful to get analysis on the (I)NDCs.


Why is it important for SNV?


(I)NDCs are important for SNV as it fits strategically into the corporate strategy of SNV with respect to poverty alleviation, energy for all, sustainable health and sanitation, reduced deforestation and sustainable landscape development. Besides, (I)NDCs are important for SNV as because they reflect national climate actions of governments. SNV wants to align with these to have more impact and increase opportunities to access climate finance.

INDCs contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As such, INDCs will have implications for framing country’s low carbon and climate resilient development strategy, By participating in their implementation  SNV  can   contribute to the  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 (to end poverty), 7, to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all”, SDG 9 to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable energy and foster innovation”, SDG 6, to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,  Increasing water productivity and adopting sustainable production and consumption patterns to meet the world’s projected future demands” and SDG 12 to “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”.

At the level of country strategy; (I)NDCs are instrumental for identifying long-term and immediate low-carbon and climate resilient development priorities of countries. (I)NDCs implementation needs to be tailored to each country’s circumstances, building on existing strategies, plans and capacities, and clearly setting out how action on the ground will be delivered and turned into achievements. SNV can use this scope by contributing to the development of frameworks for NDC implementation, setting out the coordinated action required across five distinct (but intrinsically linked) pillars: governance, climate change mitigation, – adaptation, finance and measurement, reporting and verification (MRV).

There is increasing interest of donors to fund (I)NDCs activities, which could entice SNV to engage in these initiatives. In 2014-15, the NAMA Facility funded by BMU, UKAID, EU and Denmark committed 60 Million EUR for financing mitigation actions in line with the (I)NDCs. The Green Climate Fund received pledges of 11 Billion USD, which will fund 1:1 climate change adaptation and mitigation activities in accordance to (I)NDCs.  Bilateral donors like Norway, Denmark, UK and Germany are providing small funding to countries for preparing INDCs frameworks. T Currently available funding for developing INDCs are less than 10 Million USD. The climate finance update -2015 depicts[3] that developed countries pledged to deliver finance approaching $30 billion between 2010 and 2014, and committed to mobilize $100 billion per year from public and private sources by 2020 for investing in climate change mitigation activities (adaptation is still less than 15% of total funding available).


Objective and the targeted audience


Currently, countries have been developing detailed implementation plans for INDCs, which includes prioritization of activities to be taken up from 2021 and securing funding from international and domestic sources for implementation. Countries are expected to complete this preparation of implementation plans by mid of 2017 as UNFCCC has set this target. These plans will provide the blueprint for future climate financing.

SNV country teams have the opportunity to closer align with these plans and identify priority areas from INDCs in the agriculture, forestry and energy sectors, to develop low carbon and climate resilience programs with national actors, achieve poverty reduction- and environmental impact and access climate finance.   SNV country offices need to establish effective partnerships with the national governments to implement these NDCs projects and programmes.

To prepare these activities, SNV has undertaken an analysis of INDCs with the following objectives:

  1. To provide an overview of how agriculture, energy, forest and climate sectors have been included in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in SNV countries; and
  2. To provide recommendation on SNV interventions in 5 countries.


Structure of the report


The report includes 4 key sections, viz., (A). brief background on the definition of (I)NDC and its importance for SNV; (B). General overview on (I)NDCs according to sector focus, level of ambitions of countries; (C). Detailed analysis of (I)NDCs from countries, where SNV has presence and (D). Summary recommendation for SNV to realize its (I)NDC support ambitions through the establishment of partnerships with country governments.

Overview of (I)NDCs:


162 INDCs have been submitted to the UNFCCC as of July 29, 2016 by 190 countries (EU has submitted a regional INDC), accounting for over 90 percent of global emissions[4].


Most of the INDCs are national in scope; they address all major national GHG emissions or at least the most significant sources such as Co2, and CH4. The GHG reduction ambition of INDCs are different in scale (ranging from 1.5 to 89.0 per cent in comparison to BAU).  Approximately, 80 INDCs include relative targets for reducing emissions below the ‘business as usual’ (BAU) level, either for the whole economy or for specific sectors.

129 countries included in their INDCs sectoral or sub-sectoral quantified targets. These Parties included targets for energy and land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sectors together with their economy-wide targets.


78 countries identified targets for renewable energy. Renewable energy targets were expressed using different indicators, such as share in the energy matrix, installed capacity, generation and penetration, and ranged between 3.5 and 100.0 per cent for these indicators.


Renewable energy was highlighted in many INDCs. Related actions aim at increasing the share of and improving access to clean energy, such as feed-in tariffs, investment programmes for renewable energy generation, and improvement of the grid infrastructure. A few Parties communicated quantified renewable energy targets, with some aiming at achieving 100 per cent renewable energy supply for the electricity sector.


Actions on energy efficiency, also highlighted in many INDCs, include the modernization of energy generation and transmission infrastructure, the promotion of smart grids, efficiency improvements in industrial processes, and energy conservation standards. Sustainable transport is highlighted in several INDCs through measures such as improving public transport, limiting the import of inefficient vehicles and using fuel efficiency standards. A few Parties also communicated quantitative energy efficiency targets.


In several INDCs countries provided information on plans to implement policies and measures to reduce CH4 and other non-CO gases by improving crop and livestock production, promoting low-carbon agriculture and establishing waste management and recycling programmes as well as waste-to-energy facilities. Furthermore, several INDCs highlight measures to promote the conservation and sustainable management of forests. Some countries particularly highlighted the importance of REDD-plus activities in this context. A few countries communicated targets for increasing forest cover.


156 countries included emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). A few countries indicated that a common framework for LULUCF accounting may be desirable, which could be based on existing guidance and experience under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol. However, many of the INDCs do not provide comprehensive information on the assumptions and methods applied in relation to LULUCF, which presents a major challenge for the quantitative evaluation of the aggregated effect of the INDCs.


82 countries, most in sub-Saharan Africa, included sectoral mitigation targets for the agriculture sector, or quantified the potential reductions from their mitigation actions. These contributions ranged from 5 GgCO2e /year (Côte d’Ivoire) to 90 000 GgCO2e/year (Ethiopia), or 6.8% to nearly 50% of emissions, generally calculated against business-as-usual emissions in 2030.


As the reference point (baseline), some countries chose 1990, a few chose 2005 and others referred in their contributions to 2000, 2010, 2013, 2014 or 2015. Some countries specified their level of emissions for a base year or provided information on Business as usual BAU reference scenarios for the mitigation objectives expressed relative to BAU. Most Parties indicated either a 5- or 10-year implementation period for their INDCs. Many of the INDCs refer to an implementation timeline up to 2030, while a few refer to an implementation timeline up to 2025. A few of the INDCs communicated targets for both 2025 and 2030, one of which is indicative or interim. A few Parties indicated a timeline of up to 2035, 2040 or 2050, mostly in conjunction with another target year. Furthermore, a few countries communicated an implementation period starting before 2020.


134 countries provided information relating to planning processes, including specific aspects such as: the national process of the development and approval of the INDC; institutional arrangements; stakeholder engagement; policy and legislative issues; and priority areas for implementation. These Parties have already taken a number of steps to develop a strong domestic basis for planning and implementing their INDCs and expect to build on those efforts in the future. Many INDCs are directly backed by already existing national legislation or policies. And several INDCs provide information on processes towards new legislation and policies, triggered by the preparation of the INDCs. While the level of ambition and the degree of advancement in national climate policies vary, all Parties mentioned that their INDCs are based on, among others, existing policies or ongoing national processes, as well as on experiences with implementing the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.


A few countries referred to the need to respect human rights and gender equality. The consideration of gender issues is seen by 87 countries as imperative in establishing an enabling environment for adaptation. For example, one country (Ghana) has established a climate change gender action plan. Other countries mentioned the need to address human rights.


Many countries provided information emphasizing that their INDCs have undergone national stakeholder consultation processes with a view to raising awareness and securing buy-in with respect to their INDCs and related long-term development plans. Parties highlighted that support from actors such as the private sector, academia and civil society, as well as from relevant sectoral ministries and regional and local governments, is critical for the identification of realistic targets. Examples of processes to engage stakeholders included the establishment of expert task forces and working groups, parliamentary hearings, large-scale public consultations, including workshops, targeted meetings and an invitation for written submissions, as well as awareness-raising campaigns. A few Parties noted that they still plan to hold consultations on the overall national climate policy underlying their INDCs.


Over half of the communicated INDCs include the plan or intention to use market-based instruments from international, regional or domestic market instruments, including the clean development mechanism (CDM). Most of those countries indicated that they would use market instruments to meet only part of their targets. Several countries stressed that the use of market-based mechanisms is important for the cost efficiency of the mitigation effort and for enhancing the level of ambition. The assessment of the aggregate effect of the INDCs presented in this report assumes that no double counting of outcomes from actions to reduce emissions will occur.


Support needs for the implementation of INDCs were highlighted by several countries Those countries identified in their INDCs needs for targeted foreign/international investment and finance, capacity-building and technology, with some providing quantitative estimates of the support required for the implementation of their INDCs and for achieving the upper level of their mitigation contributions. Some countries identified domestic/national measures to support the implementation of their INDCs, including the use of market-based mechanisms, increased budgetary support, public–private partnerships, green procurement programmes, reforms of pricing and taxation regimes, the improvement of green credit mechanisms and the establishment of specialized national funds. A few Parties noted the importance of engaging the private sector. .


158 countries noted the importance of enhanced international support in the context of the new global agreement, including its scaling-up, and the strengthening of the role of and linkages between the existing operating entities of the Financial Mechanism, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the Technology Mechanism (CTCN) under the Convention.


Information contained in the INDCs shows a clear and increasing trend towards introducing national policies and related instruments for low-emission and climate-resilient development. Many INDCs are already backed by existing national legislation or policies and several have triggered national processes to establish relevant policy frameworks. Furthermore, many INDCs involved public consultation and the engagement of a wide range of stakeholders to demonstrate the developmental benefits of action to combat climate change and to secure the buy-in for such action.


Information provided by countries highlights the trend towards an increasing prominence of climate change on national political agendas, driven in many cases by inter-ministerial coordination arrangements as well as by an increasing trend towards the mainstreaming of climate change in national and sectoral development priorities. At the same time, many countries have made efforts to ensure that the private sector, civil society and other nongovernmental actors recognize the importance of, and provide support for, national action to combat climate change.


The INDCs show an increasing interest of countries in enhanced cooperation to achieve climate change goals collectively through a multilateral response and to raise ambition in the future. In particular, countries stressed the need for strengthening finance, technology transfer and capacity-building support for climate action in general as a means of creating an enabling environment and scaling up action.


Narratives provided by countries in their INDCs convey the vision that each country implements its own strategy and reveal the need for a process to reconcile efforts made in the context of different national circumstances with the efforts needed to keep the global temperature rise below 2 °C. This target of global temperature rise, should be addressed as Parties consider current and future efforts in relation to any agreed goal under the Convention.


Inclusion of adaptation in INDC: One hundred countries included an adaptation component in their INDCs. The secretariat received adaptation components from 46 African States, 26 Asia-Pacific States, 19 Latin American and Caribbean States, 7 Eastern European States and 2 Western European and other States.


Countries highlighted their common determination to strengthen national adaptation efforts in the context of the 2015 agreement. Some stressed that adaptation is their main priority for addressing climate change, in particular as they see it to be strongly linked to national development, sustainability and security.


All adaptation components of INDCs included information on key impacts and vulnerabilities. Countries reported in particular on observed changes or projections of future changes, the most vulnerable sectors or geographical zones, high-risk impacts and incurred costs resulting from the impacts of extreme events. In terms of climate hazards, the main sources of concern identified by most countries are flooding, sea level rise and drought/desertification.


The information provided clearly demonstrates that countries are moving to full-scale planning and implementation of climate change adaptation and strengthening and scaling up existing efforts (mitigation?). Most Parties referred to developing nationwide adaptation plans and strategies; several countries indicated that they are conducting the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs) and most of them foresee having developed their NAP by 2020. Such national efforts are often accompanied by specific policies, measures and initiatives in practically all key economic sectors and areas, with water, agriculture, health, ecosystems, forestry and infrastructure being reported as the priority ones. A few countries intend to undertake actions with regional or global impacts as they will address transboundary issues.


The recognition of the need to involve relevant stakeholders in the planning and implementation of adaption, including vulnerable communities, was high on the agenda of several countries. In addition, many emphasized the need to consider gender issues when undertaking adaptation.


Loss and damage associated with past and projected impacts of climate variability and change were reported by several countries, some of which have quantified projected loss and damage, for example in the form of absolute costs, annual loss of GDP, or percentage of land or agricultural production lost by a certain year or a particular threshold, for example a specific rise in sea level. A few countries provided details on projected costs of climate change impacts and how intended adaptation measures are expected to reduce them while leaving some residual damage, clearly making an economic case for investing in adaptation and disaster risk reduction.


Most countries provided information on the means of implementation (e.g. finance, technology and capacity-building) needed to support the implementation of their planned adaptation actions, including related to support needs and envisaged domestic and international support. Financial needs for adaptation were quantified by some countries, with individual needs ranging from USD 100 million to over 200 billion for the whole INDC period to around USD 10 million to 3 billion per year. A few Parties provided projected adaptation costs for different mitigation scenarios, thus clearly indicating that the need for adaptation depends on mitigation ambition.


Regarding the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of adaptation action, countries highlighted that they have established or will establish quantitative and qualitative indicators for adaptation and vulnerability to measure progress. In terms of the M&E of domestic and international support provided and received, in particular finance, a few countries are putting in place climate finance systems for determining, disbursing and monitoring climate expenditure and for enhancing the visibility of adaptation measures within the allocation of national budgets.


159 Countries referred in their INDCs to the importance of extensive national consultation and interdisciplinary coordination to ensure strong alignment with development objectives and buy-in from all relevant stakeholders.  Parties specifically highlighted that all levels of government share responsibility for action and the existence of inter-agency coordinating mechanisms on climate change in the countries. A few of the INDCs have been approved at the highest political level, for example by the national Parliament, the Cabinet of Ministers or by the President. Furthermore, the importance of national, subnational and regional cooperative action both by government and non-State actors was noted by several Parties. A few of the INDCs specifically note that initiatives undertaken by cities and subnational governments will be an important driver for their implementation.




In sum, the (I)NDCs, submitted to the UNFCCC clearly depicts the level of commitments of countries for reducing GHGs emission. 74 developing countries have included information on the level of political support adopted in their INDCs. In 8 developing countries the Head of State have formally backed the INDC; in 33 developing countries INDCs were adopted through an inter-ministerial process; 29 developing countries have developed their INDC through a sole line ministry; 8 developing countries had their INDC validated in parliament before submission. 109 developing countries have developed their INDCs based upon existing national policies and plans. As discussed in the previous section, the (I)NDCs have included mainly 7 key areas under the mitigation sector and another 7 key areas under adaptation sector.






Keshav C Das

Ashden India, New Delhi



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