As countries discuss options to finalize the guidelines necessary to operationalize the Paris Agreement, they are discussing how to apply common time frames to their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This paper explores a number of options currently under consideration.

Key Findings

  • Under the Paris Agreement, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Parties to the Agreement develop and present nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to describe their domestic efforts to advance climate action and support.

  • These NDCs lie at the heart of the Paris Agreement’s ambition mechanism—more ambitious individual efforts should be communicated every five years and informed by assessments of collective progress.

  • To date, Parties have determined the time frame, or duration, for their NDCs. However, as part of efforts to finalize the guidelines necessary to operationalize the Paris Agreement, Parties are discussing options for aligning all NDCs according to a common time frame.

  • This working paper suggests how a decision on common time frames links with other components of the Paris Agreement and could best serve the need for greater climate ambition, by providing the predictability and pace needed, while exploring how domestic systems of various Parties could adjust accordingly.

  • After comparing the pros and cons of various options, the paper argues that a five-year time frame with the opportunity to additionally indicate a 10-year time frame would best support the Paris Agreement’s ambition cycle and implementation of other elements of the Agreement.

Executive Summary

Full executive summary available in the paper.