FAQ Frequently asked questions

These are questions anticipated as common among practitioners working in this area.
The answers to these questions are based on the available UNFCCC documentation and on the experience of UNEP DTU Partnership specialists.

The acronyms used in this section are the following:
BUR: Biennial Update Report
BTR: Biennial Transparency Report
ETF: Enhanced Transparency Framework
INDC: Intended Nationally Determined Contribution
ITMO: Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcome
NAMA: Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action
NDC: Nationally Determined Contribution
MPG: Modalitities, Procedures, and Guidelines for the Enhanced Transparency Framework

Do NDCs have to refer to climate change-induced loss and damage?

At present, thirty-four countries include references to loss and damage in their NDCs. However, under the enhanced transparency framework it is not mandatory to report on loss and damage. Conversely, it will be mandatory for the global stocktake to cover loss and damage.

What is the linkage between NDCs and long term strategies?

The rationale of long-term strategies is that they shall provide a framework for the regular updates of the NDC. They should do so by describing the pathways that will be articulated in NDCs, notably with regard to targets.

Should domestic planning documents, such as a low carbon development strategy, be aligned with NDCs?

With regard to the level of ambition, NDCs and domestic planning documents should be fully consistent. With regard to the timing, consistency is not required. Nonetheless, gradually aligning domestic policy documents with NDCs may reduce reporting efforts.

What types of targets can be used to report on NDC implementation?

Most NDCs include objectives such as reductions of net GHG emissions (absolute targets), percentage reductions of GHG intensity (intensity targets), or emissions reductions below a projected baseline (relative targets).

How can NDC-related BTR requirements be of use already today, before BTRs are due?

The first BTR is scheduled for submission by the end of 2024. Nevertheless, countries currently working on updating their NDC or producing a new one for 2020 may want to take into consideration already at this stage all the NDC-related BTR requirements. Doing so may prove helpful with regard to their work on the NDC.

When should countries submit their revised NDCs and their first BTR?

According to the Modalities, Procedures and Guidelines (MPGs) for the ETF, countries should submit their revised NDCs by 2020, and every 5 years thereafter. For countries that are Parties to the Paris Agreement, the first Biennial Update Report (BTR) should be submitted at the latest by 31st December 2024. Parties to the Convention that have not ratified the Paris Agreement are not required to follow the MPGs, but may do so in order to prepare their National Communications.

What is the relation between Biennial Update Report (BUR) and Biennial Transparency Report (BTR) after 2024?

Even though developing countries were requested to prepare BURs (Biennial Update Reports) biennially, only a few countries had the capacity to meet the 2014 deadline and continue submitting BURs every two years. With the adoption of the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to provide their NDCs every five years, thus communicating their expected mitigation and adaptation efforts together with their means of implementation. For countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement, the BUR will be discontinued and replaced by the Biennial Transparency report (BTR), which will be submitted every two years, starting in 2024.

What role does the Biennial Transparency Report play with regard to monitoring progress with NDC implementation?

NDC targets and indicators are core NDC elements. For this reason, in their Biennial Update Reports (BTRs), countries shall describe their NDC targets and reference points, and they shall report on the performance against these targets, to keep track of progress with NDC implementation.

Under the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF), how detailed the information in the NDC should be?

The information in the NDC should include a description of the target, target type, reference point(s) and period of implementation, the target’s scope and coverage (e.g. sectors, categories, activities, sources and sinks, pools and gases), the intention to use ITMOs, and updates or clarifications on previously reported information, if relevant. Because increasing the ambition of NDCs in a transparent way is key to achieving the long-term temperature goal set out in Article 2, the Paris Agreement includes a provision that requires each Party’s NDC to represent a progression from the previous NDC, reflecting the country’s highest possible ambition.

Shall countries include information on the institutional arrangement associated with the implementation of their NDCs? If so, how detailed it should be?

Under Article 4 of the Paris Agreement, countries are requested to provide information on the institutional arrangements that they have put in place to track progress made in implementing their NDCs. Specifically, countries shall provide information on the legal, institutional, administrative and procedural arrangements associated with implementation, monitoring, reporting and archiving of NDC-related information. In addition, they have to provide information related to stakeholder engagement, and describe the institutional arrangements of relevance to tracking internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs), if applicable.

Shall countries report on the sustainable development and poverty eradication aspects of their NDCs?

As per Decision 4/CMA.1, countries shall report on the sustainable development and poverty eradication aspects of their NDCs, if applicable. To the extent that a country has included this information in its NDC, the country might include it in its BTR (Biennial Transparency Report) as well, although the latter is not mandatory.

Do the countries need to submit a revised NDC along with their instrument of ratification?

Paragraph 13 decision 1/CP.21 is clear that countries do not need to submit NDC with the instrument of ratification if they have already submitted the INDC. In this case, the INDC will be considered as the NDC. However, countries that have submitted INDC can submit a revised version with the instrument of ratification, if they wish to revise the INDC.

It is not mandatory for countries to revise the INDC and submit as NDC. It the country considers that its INDC is final, then there is no need for submitting a revised NDC together with the instrument of ratification.

Can countries submit a revised NDC even after the submission of their instrument of ratification?

Paragraph 11 of article 4. of Paris Agreement clearly states that countries have the right to replace their NDC at any time. Nevertheless, it recommends that countries should do so with a view (that is, they are encouraged to) to make the NDC more ambitious.

Thus, if countries think that they would like to revise their INDC, they can do so upon submission of the instrument of ratification. However, if countries prefer to submit their instrument of ratification at the earliest, they can also submit a revised NDC at a later date.

What is the time frame for NDC submission?

The Paris Agreement urges parties whose INDC contains a time frame up to 2025 to communicate by 2020 a new NDC, and to do so every five years thereafter, pursuant to article 4. paragraph 9. of the cited agreement.

Should NDC implementation be structured around a number of NAMAs amounting to the envisaged reduction of emissions?

This is a possibility. Nonetheless, NDC implementation can also be conceived outside the NAMA framework.

Do planning and policy efforts qualify as NDC implementation with respect to adaptation-related goals?

Both infrastructure and policy focused efforts should in principle qualify as NDC implementation. To the extent possible, all adaptation efforts and especially policy focused efforts should include monitoring and evaluation provisions in order to assess the extent to which they are efficient and effective.

Should a country update its NDC if unexpected developments affect the level of ambition of one or more components of NDC?

It is strongly recommended that the country formally communicates the updates, especially if they amount to net changes in the overall ambition level. If the updates take place close to the second reporting period (2020), they can be included in the updated NDC, which countries are required to submit by then.

Are there plans to establish an NDC implementation facility in order to increase financial and technical capacities of developing countries?

A number of bilateral aid-funded initiatives are under preparation, with the goal of providing this kind of support. For example, UN Environment, through the UNEP-DTU Partnership, will be supporting NDC implementation in about ten countries. The German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN), among others, are likely to run similar efforts.

What are the main steps in financing the implementation of actions that support the achievement of NDC objectives for countries?

The following generic steps can be considered:

  1. By topic, quantify existing finance volumes that could support the implementation of various provisions in the NDC;
  2. Take stock of existing national (public) investments and recurrent spending that are relevant to the provisions in the NDC;
  3. For different scenarios, each describing a realistic range of financing instruments and models, analyse the implications of the provisions in the NDC – that is, impacts, costs, feasibility, needs, and so on;
  4. Assess the investment capacity of private investors, and determine whether incentives can be introduced to mobilize private sector financing;
  5. Explore options concerning international funding, especially with regard to any conditional components in the NDC;
  6. Identify current and potential financial sources, including domestic public budgets, private sector financing, and bilateral and multilateral aid;
  7. Articulate financing plans in the national budget (for direct costs and revenues);
  8. Incorporate future costs in the budget development process.

Are there any good practice experiences available concerning mobilization of private or international financing for adaptation?

The ADMIRE project provides a few examples of successful private sector engagement in adaptation activities. The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance showcases a number of successful financial arrangements involving the financial sector. With respect to international financing, bilateral and multilateral donors have well-defined priorities regarding the aid funds they allocate to adaptation. Arguably, government-to-government consultations are the best channel to assess possibilities.

How and when INDC turns into NDC?

If a goal or target is submitted prior to the submission of an instrument of ratification, it will be termed as INDC. If such goal or target is submitted together with the instrument of ratification, then it will be termed as NDC and thus becomes the first NDC of the country.