Nationally determined commitments (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement fell short of what is needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change. WRI’s research and outreach have helped mobilize and equip countries to commit to increased climate ambition. In addition, the NDC Partnership, through 40 members including WRI, is providing technical assistance and funding to support 65 developing countries in enhancing and implementing their NDCs.

The Challenge

Under the Paris Agreement, countries are expected to submit increasingly ambitious NDCs every five years. In 2015, countries were unprepared to consider all options for ambitious action. Updating NDCs in 2020 presents an opportunity for countries to align their national plans with the global goals adopted in Paris, in many cases helping drive a shift to more inclusive, low-carbon development.

WRI’s Role

Amid the general post-Paris focus on NDC implementation, in 2017 WRI put the spotlight on NDC enhancement, fleshing out the concept and what it could look like in practice with Enhancing NDCs by 2020. WRI has also engaged countries and regional groups, NGOs and the UN Secretary General’s office and mobilized influential champions to encourage greater ambition, including with a multi-year “Step Up” campaign. WRI published analyses for key countries including China and Mexico and released the 2020 NDC Tracker to monitor progress on enhancement and to encourage other countries to commit. With UNDP, WRI has been producing guidance to help inform technical assistance on NDC enhancement.

The NDC Partnership, a global coalition of countries and institutions, was launched in 2016 to support countries to implement their NDCs. In 2019, the Partnership launched the Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP) to deliver fast-track support to countries to enhance the quality and increase the ambition of their NDCs. Through CAEP, over 40 implementing partners, including WRI, are delivering technical and financial support to developing countries through partners’ own resources and a $30 million Technical Assistance Fund, funded by six donor countries. WRI hosts the Support Unit with UNFCCC and manages the Technical Assistance Fund.

The Outcome

By early 2020, more than 100 countries had committed to enhance their NDCs and present these ahead of COP26, the annual UN climate summit which has been postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 NDC Tracker will continue to monitor progress on NDC enhancement and WRI will increasingly focus on pursuing commitments from major emitters. In addition, 65 developing country members of the NDC Partnership – representing a quarter of the world’s population and 16% of global greenhouse gas emissions – are working to enhance the quality and ambition of their NDCs, and many of these have already committed to submit enhanced NDCs ahead of COP26. Through collaborative efforts between member countries and partners, the NDC Partnership is helping to make greater ambition a reality​. Together, the critical mass of countries committed to NDC enhancement can help increase pressure on all parties to step up.