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Designing and Preparing Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

This report guides countries on the preparation and design of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), including detailed technical guidance and process-related considerations.

It walks practitioners through the choices they will face in preparing and designing their INDCs, laid out in five general steps: identifying the benefits of an INDC, organizing the INDC process, identifying data and analysis to inform the INDC, designing the INDC, and communicating the INDC.

Executive Summary

Atmospheric concentrations of key greenhouse gases are higher now than over the past 800,000 years (Global Carbon Project 2014). As a result of human activity, such as fossil fuel burning and land-use change, greenhouse gas emissions have increased significantly since the pre-industrial era. The human influence on the climate system is clear, and it is very likely the dominant cause of recent observed warming. In recent decades, anthropogenic GHG emissions have contributed to warming of the atmosphere and ocean, changes in the global water cycle, reductions in snowfall and icepacks, sea level rise, and changes in some climate extremes, among other impacts (IPCC 2013b). To avoid catastrophic impacts in the future, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has adopted a goal of limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. As the world marches toward the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21) in December 2015, governments are determining what effort they will make to reduce emissions and address climate change. Countries are already in the midst of implementing commitments through 2020. Now they are turning their attention to preparing their commitments for the post-2020 period through pledges known as intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). As the key vehicle for governments to communicate internationally how they will cut emissions for the post-2020 period, INDCs allow countries to demonstrate leadership on addressing climate change. While climate change is a global challenge, each country faces unique circumstances, including different emissions profiles and emissions-reduction opportunities, different risks from a changing climate, and different resource needs. Through their INDCs, countries can tailor their contributions to their own national priorities, capabilities, and responsibilities. These individual measures can be the basis for collective action, and, if they are ambitious enough, set a path toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. In 2014-2015, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UNFCCC convened a series of Regional Technical Dialogues on INDCs to support countries in the process of preparing and putting forward their contributions. The countries that participated in those dialogues requested additional detailed guidance on INDC preparation; this guidance document responds to that request. It captures ideas shared during the dialogues, reflects the current state of negotiations, and puts forward options for the preparation of INDCs based on research from recent literature and relevant UNFCCC documentation. This report guides Parties on the preparation and design of INDCs, including detailed technical guidance and process-related considerations. It walks Parties through the choices they will face in preparing and designing their INDCs, laid out in five general steps: identifying the benefits of an INDC, organizing the INDC process, identifying data and analysis to inform the INDC, designing the INDC, and communicating the INDC.

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