Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) design

A research project for the German Environment Agency developed a method for the systematic analysis of the design of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of Parties to the Paris Agreement. As part of this project, the design of 20 NDCs were analysed with this method.

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The Paris Agreement on climate change includes a five-year cycle to increase ambition for reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. Part of this cycle is the submission of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of Parties to the Paris Agreement, which detail the climate action countries intend to take. The year 2020 is a milestone: Countries, whose NDC ends 2025, have to submit new NDCs. Countries, whose NDC ends 2030, have to update their NDC. Due to the global pandemic some countries are submitting their NDCs in 2021. The Katowice Rulebook (Decision at the UNFCCC COP 24) includes guidance on the information NDCs are to contain.


Project Goal

The project developed a method, which allows for a systematic analysis of the design of the NDC, including a comparison with the previously submitted NDC. Besides an overview of all aspects of the NDC, the focus of the analysis is on the greenhouse gas mitigation component of the NDC.

The design of 20 NDCs has been analysed with this method. The analysis aims to cover all design elements that are critical for enhancing ambition grouped into the overarching categories increased greenhouse gas mitigation ambition, comprehensiveness, implementation and transparency. The aim is to provide a nuanced perspective of the ambition, endeavours and orientation of countries’ climate action and thus to close a gap of existing NDC analysis instruments.

In order to develop a method that is robust yet can be applied to any NDC, NDCs that include a range of target type and emphasis as well as countries with different socio-economic contexts have been selected for the analysis. In addition, the selection of NDCs aimed to cover major greenhouse gas emitting countries and realise synergies with one of the most cited NDC analysis instruments, the CAT Climate Target Update Tracker.


Project Results

A final report includes the following project results

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Brazil
  4. Cambodia
  5. Colombia
  6. European Union
  7. Jamaica
  8. Kenia
  9. Mexico
  10. Nepal
  11. Panama
  12. Republic of Korea
  13. Republic of Moldova
  14. Russian Federation
  15. Rwanda
  16. Tonga
  17. United Kingdom
  18. United States of America
  19. Viet Nam
  20. Zambia

An infographic summarises the results.

Overview rating of the four key elements for each of the 20 analysed NDCs. The four elements are increased ambition, comprehensiveness, implementation plan and transparency.
Overview rating of four key elements for each of the analysed NDCs
Source: Villafranca Casas et al. 2021