Reflecting Activities, Policies, and Measures

About This Opportunity

Delivery of NDC targets will require the effective implementation of greenhouse gas mitigation policies and actions. Including information on the planned activities, policies, and measures in the NDC can improve clarity and transparency regarding how the NDC target will be achieved. This supports the “Information necessary to facilitate Clarity, Transparency, and Understanding” (ICTU) that needs to be included in the NDC. For more information on ICTU, see “Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents.” This information also supports the development of implementation plans.

Exactly how activities, policies, and measures are reflected in the NDC is at the country’s discretion. Some may choose to include details of key large projects or programs only, like the ones expected to contribute significantly to emissions reductions, while others may choose to set out intended activities extensively. Others may link to policy implementation plans. Some countries may also detail the distributional impacts of response measures, outlining how they will affect certain populations or regions. This can support explicit consideration of vulnerable populations and marginalized groups in the NDC – see “Route: Delivers a Just and Equitable Transition.” More information on incorporating considerations of such groups is provided under “Opportunity: Understanding Impacts and Benefits to Society” and “Opportunity: Incorporating all Voices and Ensuring Inclusive Engagement.”

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Estimating the impacts of specific mitigation policies and measures:

The “Policy and Action Standard” (GHG Protocol) provides a standardized approach for estimating the GHG impacts of individual policies/actions. Countries may also wish to model the effects of a suite of actions and sectoral goals. Emission modeling is detailed further under “Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents.” This information can be provided in the NDC (see below).

Including information on co-benefits and potential trade-offs:

Highlighting the co-benefits and potential trade-offs of climate action shows that the impacts of the NDC have been robustly assessed. Emphasizing co-benefits can support identifying investment opportunities beyond those targeting only emissions reductions. The UNFCCC explores the co-benefits between adaptation and mitigation through their “Information Paper on Linkages between Adaptation and Mitigation.” ICAT explores co-benefits for sustainable development in “Sustainable Development Methodology: Assessing the environmental, social, and economic impacts of policies and actions.” Also see “Opportunity: Amplifying the Mitigation-Adaptation Nexus” and “Opportunity: Enhancing Nature-Based Solutions.”

Including activities, policies and measures in the NDC that indicate how the target will be met:

There are numerous ways a country might decide to present activities, policies, and measures in their NDC, and the case studies section provides several examples of how other countries have done this for inspiration. A key consideration will be balancing how much detail to include in the NDC, such as cost estimates and/or emission reduction impact estimates for potential investors, versus keeping the document succinct – see also “Route: Unlocking Finance.” Assessing technology needs for the policies and measures included in the NDC can also support understanding potential challenges to (and needs for) implementing these measures. The technology needs and the Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) process are detailed under “Route: Technology and Capacity-Building as Needs and Enablers.”

Considering sequencing of climate action:

Policy and action sequencing refers to the idea that adopting some policies or actions enables or facilitates the subsequent adoption of other policies and actions. Incorporating activities and responses in the NDC allows one to consider whether the planned sequencing of climate action is optimal or most efficient. National experts and sector stakeholders often have a thorough understanding of the enabling factors needed for certain actions. Engaging them in this stage of the NDC development process is a key strategy to ensuring successful sequencing of climate action. Considering these factors early on can also ensure budgets are prioritized towards actions that need to happen to facilitate others, providing a logical climate action program.

Country Examples

Zimbabwe’s updated NDC estimates the impacts of specific measures. It provides a detailed list of intended mitigation measures for each sector, including the expected GHG reduction by 2030, compared to a baseline, in terms of percentage and absolute emissions. It also includes the estimated cost. Furthermore, the NDC details the expected socioeconomic co-benefits of actions. (Source: “Zimbabwe Revised National Contribution 2021,” UNFCCC)

Costa Rica’s updated NDC includes information on co-benefits and potential trade-offs. It lists intended mitigation actions in detail by sector and explicitly links all actions to the SDGs to which they will simultaneously benefit. (Source: “Costa Rica Revised Nationally Determined Contribution 2020”, UNFCCC).

Further Resources

The following guidance and tools can support reflecting activities, policies, and measures in NDCs.

GHG Protocol Policy and Action Standard (WRI, 2014)
The GHG Protocol Policy and Action Standard provides a standardized approach for estimating the greenhouse gas effect of policies and actions.

Sustainable Development Methodology: Assessing the environmental, social, and economic impacts of policies and actions (ICAT, 2020)
This document provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating the impacts of policies and actions on sustainable development. The methodology emphasizes the integration of environmental, social, and economic considerations, allowing policymakers to assess the broader implications of their decisions.

Integrating Co-benefits into Nationally Determined Contributions, Climate Policies and Air Pollution Policies in Asia (IGES, 2024)
This report details how countries assess and express co-benefits in their NDCs and related processes. A set of case studies identifies the progress and gaps in leveraging co-benefits to integrate climate and other development priorities in NDCs.

ICG Capacity-Building Resources for Mitigation (UNFCCC, 2023)
This document synthesizes a range of guidance and tools related to climate change responses and activities. It includes technical papers, synthesis reports, and tools focusing on various climate policy and technology aspects. Topics covered include impact assessments, gender-responsive climate policies, just transition, emerging climate technologies, industrial energy efficiency, and innovation in climate action.

On the road to 2025: Lessons for effective NDC update support (IKI, 2022)
This study identifies and highlights key lessons from developing country experiences on the NDC updating process and the support received.

Reflecting the Global Stocktake Mitigation Efforts in NDCs (Umweltbundesamt, 2024)
This discussion paper aims to provide an overview of how Parties could explicitly reflect their contribution to the global efforts on mitigation agreed at COP28 in their NDCs.

Climate Policy Action Tool (CPAT) (IMF, 2023)
The Climate Policy Action Tool (CPAT) helps policymakers design, assess, and implement policies for accelerating decarbonization, achieving a just transition, and supporting other government objectives such as poverty eradication and increasing energy access. CPAT also provides consistent cross-country estimates of projections of emissions, fuel use by major energy sector, mitigation effort, and efficient fuel prices.

Guidance for Implementing National Voluntary Carbon Footprint Programmes in Latin America (UNDP, 2022)
This document presents for the first time an analysis of how National Voluntary Carbon Footprint Programmes (NVCFPs) should be implemented to contribute to the achievement of the mitigation objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The Development, Climate, and Nature Crisis: Solutions to End Poverty on a Livable Planet (World Bank Group, 2023)
This report provides aggregated results that can help governments, private sector investors, citizens, and development partners prioritize the most impactful climate actions. It confirms―with more granularity and stronger evidence, based on more countries―key findings from the first summary report; but it also discusses new issues, such as deforestation and land degradation. It aims to inform global priorities, including the World Bank’s Evolution Roadmap and Global Challenge Programs (GCP), as well as other global initiatives.

How This Links to Other Routes

Some important linkages related to reflecting activities, policies, and measures in the NDC include the following. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Technology and Capacity-Building as Needs and Enablers

Estimating costs when reflecting on activities and measures supports identifying implementation needs.

Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents

Reflecting on activities, policies, and measures in the NDC can help show a country’s intention to achieve its NDC target.

Route: Unlocks Finance

Including key projects can help attract investment.

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.