For the past two years, at the invitation of the Argentine and Japanese G20 presidencies, UNDP and WRI have together advised the G20 Climate and Sustainability Working Group on the key role that long-term strategies and NDCs are playing to advance the G20 agenda and address climate change. This paper serves as an input document to the working group. It makes the case for why climate action is connected to G20 economic growth and shows how Long-Term Strategies (LTSs) and Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement work together to help countries meet their climate goals.

Time is short to deliver both LTSs and enhanced NDCs by 2020. Fortunately, the process of developing each of these plans is highly synergistic. Both can leverage common governance arrangements and stakeholder consultation processes. Both can draw from the same scenario-development and modeling exercises, by translating them into transformative sectoral pathways.

Ultimately, ensuring a coherent package of long-term strategies and near- and medium-term climate action plans will help the G20 deliver on their sustainable growth agenda.

Key Findings

G20 action over the next two years will determine whether the world sets off on a path toward strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth in time to achieve the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has noted, immediate transformation is necessary to halve global emissions by 2030 in line with the 1.50C goal. Ambitious climate action also offers the promise of significant economic growth, job creation, and health benefits.

Long-term strategies (LTSs) and nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are key components of G20 action because they articulate to the international community how each country will address climate change—and by extension, the extent to which the G20 is poised to deliver on the Paris Agreement temperature goals and reap the associated socioeconomic benefits. Due to the high relevance of NDCs and LTSs to each other and to national development priorities and plans, they can play a key role in driving national development agendas.

This paper highlights the critical role of LTSs and NDCs in advancing the G20 goal of strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth. In addition, it argues that while LTSs and NDCs make distinct contributions to enhancing global climate action, they are also closely interlinked. Because of the interdependencies between near-, medium-, and long-term planning and policies, G20 countries can benefit from undertaking these processes in tandem. They are related in the following ways:

  • LTSs offer countries a long-term perspective to inform the design of development trajectories—and crucially, near-term decisions—that align with the Paris Agreement goals.

  • Robust NDC implementation, in turn, can align near-term decisions with LTSs as well as sustainable development, inequality reduction, and growth objectives.

  • Communicating new and updated, more ambitious NDCs by 2020 signals the ratcheting up of national ambition to align with global goals and deliver on the sustainable growth and development potential associated with climate action.

  • G20 countries can play a major role in supporting non-G20 countries as they advance their LTSs and strengthen NDC implementation and enhancement.

Executive Summary

Full executive summary available in the paper.