The adaptation component is a voluntary element of nationally determined contributions (NDCs), but are becoming an increasingly important part of countries’ commitments to the Paris Agreement. As they are voluntary components, countries are not using a standard template to develop their adaptation NDCs. With gaps in existing guidance and agreed indicators, assessing the quality and collective ambition of adaptation NDCs remains challenging. Nevertheless, understanding the process by which countries develop their adaptation NDCs is helpful for informing how they are strengthened at each update cycle.

This working paper presents an analysis of the process that four countries—Cambodia, Rwanda, Colombia, and Fiji—used to develop the adaptation components of their updated NDCs. The authors selected four countries with extensive adaptation components using the analytical framework for assessing adaptation ambition developed by the World Resources Institute. Through stakeholder interviews, document review, and analysis of adaptation priorities using critical systems for adaptation, the authors examined the process behind adaptation NDC development in the four case study countries. By identifying whether and how seven qualitative factors were evident in each country’s NDC development process, this paper highlights good practices for developing future adaptation NDCs.

Map of case study countries with vulnerability, date of updated NDC submitted, and date of NAP submitted.
Figure 1 | Map of case study countries


All the data used in this working paper are available on WRI’s Climate Watch platform.