Ensuring Effective Coordination Across Government

About This Opportunity

NDCs can both reflect a country’s highest possible ambition and align with domestic needs by bringing together the plans and priorities from across the government through effective coordination and also embed climate commitments back into these plans and strategies. Defining responsibilities and coordination mechanisms for implementing actions and tracking progress, for example, can ensure both effective delivery and continuity of processes in given national circumstances, especially important in contexts where teams and governments might change. This is helpful for ensuring that the ambitions and actions set out in the NDC are realistic and implementable, with relevant institutions clear on their roles, accountable for actions, and empowered to act. Effective coordination mechanisms and strong institutional arrangements also play an important role in the Paris Agreement Enhanced Transparency Framework. NDC implementation processes, including investment planning, also benefits from effective coordination processes and institutional arrangements.

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Ensuring high-level political support:

This helps to mobilize all government actors and ensure the NDC and its priorities are reflected at the highest levels of government and across ministries. Having a clear signal at ministerial level on, for example, the importance of goals and actions, the key climate and development priorities, and the need for All-of-Government responses, can ensure key actions are flowed down, can be an effective way of ensuring a common message and approach.

Establishing strong coordination and inter-ministerial leadership:

Understanding the coordination needs of the NDC and how these intersect with decision-making structures, mandates and capacities, and existing reporting or coordination structures, could help to identify opportunities to strengthen coordination and leadership. This might include the location that will be most effective at managing the implementation of the NDC, including budgeting, tracking and reporting, as well as tasks that are specific to each individual sector or NDC priority. It can also be helpful to gain support of ‘Champions’ within or across sectors, to encourage inter-ministerial commitment and engagement. For example, some countries have found success locating their NDC within the President’s Office or ensuring it is championed from there, or through involving Finance Ministries. This helps to shift the perception that the NDC is an ‘environmental document’ to a ‘whole of government and society’ strategic plan and commitment.

Engaging all ministries on climate-related opportunities:

Climate action might require or be strengthened through enabling actions by ministries that might not typically be so strongly associated with climate action. For example, ministries with responsibilities for education, skills and jobs might be important to engage with to ensure opportunities for developing green skills and jobs are maximized and impacts minimized, to support a just and equitable transition. See also “Route: Delivers a Just and Equitable Transition”.

Establishing institutional arrangements, and roles and responsibilities across government:

To manage the NDC process, its mainstreaming, implementation, financing, and tracking, requires a clear institutional structure with allocated roles and responsibilities. This could include both a ‘core team’ and key focal points with different roles and responsibilities. Reporting on institutional arrangements is also required within the BTR, under the Enhanced Transparency Framework, so it is important that these arrangements are agreed and formalized. It can be helpful to create an organogram or institutional map, with a table listing the bodies in the institutional map detailing their specific roles.

Formalizing roles and mandates:

Institutional arrangements that are fit for purpose, permanent and maintained over the long term are important for ensuring that responsibilities are decoupled from specific individuals and are owned by departments or roles, and knowledge is retained. This could be achieved through a variety of mechanisms, including leveraging existing functions (reporting structures and roles), establishing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), regulation, or legislation.

Establishing cross-governmental steering groups or working groups:

Establishing these groups will help oversee the process, utilize knowledge and skills from across government, and ensure effective consultation, engagement and input. This is particularly useful given the many crosscutting issues relating to NDCs.

Using the NDC process as an opportunity to further catalyze inter-ministerial working and processes:

The NDC process could act as a springboard for greater inter-ministerial cooperation. Cooperation can also benefit other areas and using the climate agenda to build relationships, strengthen capacity and awareness of sectoral priorities, and foster closer working across government, could also bring wider benefits. For example, to identify more efficient and effective coordination for implementation, through increased knowledge and understanding of different processes and activities across government and identification of new entry points for collaborative working.

Establishing a strong communication and engagement process

Implementation challenges are often made worse where there are fragmented communication processes and responsibilities, or a lack of inter-ministerial communication. This may make it difficult to determine, for instance, the financial or other resources required for implementation. Establishment of a process for regular communication, with an inter-ministerial coordinating group, could help to avoid these bottlenecks and better ensure the NDC has buy-in from different sectors.

Leading NDC development from within government:

Consultants and external experts can provide valuable technical skills and can play an important role in supporting technical capacity gaps. However, leading the NDC process in-house can support better retention of knowledge, awareness of the process and outcomes, and building of government capacity. Where external experts are used, it can be useful to incorporate capacity building and training of government staff to explain the work done. These steps will help ensure the process could be managed in-house in future, will help develop institutional memory and build capacity.

Establishing a domestic ‘NDC cycle’ approach and aligning activities:

Where NDC processes are designed as ongoing and iterative, they can better build on and reflect national and international achievements and needs over time. Establishing a clear ‘process’ within government for key activities – including NDC updating, implementation planning, investment planning, tracking, and reporting, review and update, and feedback – and aligning these to one another, might help ensure institutional memory and momentum for the NDC process is maintained for each cycle, and encourage alignment between NDCs and other plans. NDC-related activities can be planned, aligned and communicated to feed into and support one another effectively. For example, considering the investment plan and implementation plan alongside the NDC 3.0 can ensure that the submission is stronger and more ‘implementation-ready’.

Documenting the NDC process:

Establishing a rigorous documentation process for NDC development can ensure that key decisions, knowledge and understanding are retained and can be built upon in future communications. This documentation could include all data used, reference material, the people involved, and the processes used. This not only supports Information for Clarity, Transparency and Understanding (ICTU) but also ensures knowledge is retained within government and can be built upon over time, for example by using the NDC Handover Checklist. (See also “Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents” for more opportunities to enhance documentation.)

Country Examples

In Belize, the government created a new Climate Finance Unit under the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment with the aim of accessing enhanced levels of funding for climate action and NDC implementation. The CFU’s purpose is to coordinate and streamline the process of accessing climate finance while capitalizing on the synergies with other sustainable development priorities of Belize. Some of the objectives of the unit include to facilitate, coordinate, and support climate finance project development and proposal submission from the Government of Belize and other partners including the private sector and civil society organizations, therefore acting as the clearing hub for climate proposals and projects in Belize; and to create awareness and build capacities of ministries, departments, and other stakeholders on climate finance.

(Source: “Newly Created Climate Finance Unit”, Government of Belize Press Office)

The Philippines established the Climate Change Commission (CCC) as a national government agency under the Office of the President, which acts as the lead policy-making body of the government tasked to coordinate, monitor, and evaluate government programs and ensure the mainstreaming of climate change in the national, local and sectoral plans. The President of the Philippines chairs the CCC, the Secretariat to an inter-ministerial NDC Technical Working Group (NDC TWG). The NDC TWG is responsible for the overall direction and implementation progress of the NDC, including reporting to the executive and legislative branches. The participating ministry or agency is responsible for delivering results in their respective sectors.  The CCC also holds responsibility for monitoring, reporting and verification efforts, establishing timelines for updating NDCs, integrating climate finance streams into implementation efforts, cooperating with international bodies and reporting requirements, and assessing of high-level opportunities and challenges for NDC implementation.

(Source: “Climate Change Commission”, Government of the Philippines)

Further Resources

CGE Toolbox on Institutional Arrangements (UNFCCC)
The Consultative Group of Experts (CGE) has produced a toolbox to facilitate experts and practitioners on the ground to improve their national institutional arrangements, in particular, to support the implementation of the enhanced transparency framework under the Paris Agreement. It contains a handbook, technical resources, and country experiences.

Toolkit to Enhance Access to Climate Finance: A Commonwealth Practical Guide  (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2022)  
The toolkit provides resources and guidance on how to conduct an institutional capacity assessment as it relates to the implementation of national priorities, strategies, and plans for climate policies within the context of climate financing for the NDCs.

Whole-of-society approaches to inclusive stakeholder engagement (NDC Partnership, 2024)
This best practice brief provides guidance and examples on how to apply a Whole-of-Society approach to effectively engage stakeholders in the enhancement, planning, and implementation of NDCs.

Best Practice Brief: Coordination Mechanisms [FORTHCOMING]
This brief presents three areas of coordination that often play crucial roles in NDC processes, drawing on best practices from across the NDC Partnership: 1) inter-ministerial coordination, 2) implementing and development partner coordination, and 3) Whole-of-Society coordination.

NDC Handover Checklist (Transparency Partnership, 2021)
This NDC Handover Checklist helps countries to prepare for future NDC processes by recording all essential information about their recent NDC process. It can help to guide reflections on previous processes and ensure best practices are followed in terms of documentation to ownership and understanding across government.

Planning for NDC implementation: A Quick-Start Guide (CDKN, 2016)
The purpose of the Quick-Start Guide is to support developing countries in implementing their NDCs. Whilst it is implementation-focused, the reference manual includes a module on setting up governance arrangements and institutional processes, with approaches that can be tailored to individual countries.

Institutional Capacities for NDC Implementation: a Guidance Document (UNEP, 2018)
This guidance report, published in 2018 to support the implementation of the first NDCs, highlights practical recommendations across Coordination mechanisms, Sectoral integration, Human capacities, Stakeholder consultation, Regulatory Frameworks and Reporting Mechanisms.

Institutional Arrangements for National Adaptation Planning and Implementation: 2014 Thematic Report (UNFCCC, 2014)
This thematic report draws on eight case studies as well as information from other sources to raise awareness of existing institutional arrangements that have been set up to support adaptation at different governance levels, identify challenges and key lessons learned, to identify measures to enhance the effectiveness of institutional arrangements.

Mainstreaming Climate Change in National Development Planning and Budgeting (Global Climate Change Alliance Support Facility, 2011)
This training workshop handout provides an overview of the opportunities and approaches for Mainstreaming climate change in the budgetary process.

A Methodological Guidebook: Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (CPEIR, 2015)
This Guidebook seeks to equip relevant stakeholders with information on a step-by-step process, methodologies, and tools to conduct a CPEIR, reviewing the processes and methodologies used and proposing a common framework for future CPEIRs.

How This Links to Other Routes

Embedding the NDC development and implementation process across government has fundamental links to all other Routes, but some important linkages include the following. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Unlocks Finance

Embedding of the NDC and its cross-government implementation is an important step towards financing actions. Ensuring there is All-of-Government ownership and the actions are embedded into national processes provides for a stronger enabling environment for finance to flow.

Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents

Reporting on institutional arrangements is a requirement in Biennial Transparency Reports. Establishing structures also facilitates tracking and reporting, and the retention of knowledge and capacity to enhance the quality of the analytical work underpinning the NDC.

Opportunity: Mainstreaming the NDC in National Planning Processes

Strong institutional arrangements and cooperation are an essential prerequisite for more effective alignment and integration into planning processes.

Route: Delivers a Just and Equitable Transition

Working across government can better ensure the inclusion of different groups and considerations of how a Just Transition can be supported by different ministries and departments.

Support Opportunities

Support is available to countries to apply the learning from the navigator and develop ambitious NDCs 3.0.

Share Additional Resources

Contribute new guidance, tools and strategies to be reflected in the NDC 3.0.