Government Policies & Plans

The ‘nationally determined contribution’ communicated to the UNFCCC should reflect the full range of national policy decisions taken to address climate change. The NDC is supposed to be ‘fair’, in how it contributes to the common global goal of limiting climate change. The NDC is supposed to be ‘ambitious’, in how it contributes to limiting warming to less than 2°C. But achieving a ‘high ambition’ outcome depends on domestic political will and mobilization. Social movements, indigenous groups, and civil society must all be part of this process.

Preparation and update of a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) should be informed by the climate, land-use, and food security plans your government has already made. Your country has also ratified international conventions dealing with rights and made pledges to meet conservation targets. These plans and pledges provide important context and structure for developing the Nationally Determined Contribution to combat climate change.

Many countries also have created a national lead body or agency that works on climate change responses. That body would advise on national policy frameworks. Separately, every country that is a Party to the UNFCCC will have a ‘national focal point’ with responsibility for communicating the NDC.

Each country will develop its own approach to coordinating between national land administration and agriculture ministries, possibly a national coordinating body on domestic climate change policy, and the group within the lead ministry responsible for international communications to the UNFCCC. It will vary from country to country – as will opportunities for civil society to participate directly.

Paris Agreement Article 4 is very clear about NDC submissions.

  • Each country (Party) must prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions that it intends to achieve.
  • Each successive NDC submission will show progress, reflecting the ‘highest possible ambition’.
  • Developing countries should move toward economy-wide emission reduction targets. If land use, agriculture and forestry weren’t part of previous NDC submissions, then they should be reflected in future (‘successive’) submissions.

This page first helps you search the interim NDC Registry maintained by the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change to find information about your country’s submissions. That submission communicates the existing level of national ‘ambition’ to address the climate crisis and tells you whether land-use, agriculture, forestry, and issues of rights and social inclusion are already included in the NDC. It then helps you find information related to your country’s other commitments.

Find NDC Submissions

184 countries have already made NDC submissions. Developed countries were required to submit ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ prior to 2020, and other countries were encouraged to do so. Over the next few years all countries are supposed to submit revised NDCs with higher levels of ‘ambition’.

To view initial NDC submissions, use this link and search by country name.

National Climate Action Plan

Many countries have already created national climate action plans. There is no standard terminology used at the national level regarding these plans, so they are difficult to search. Also important are any national reports or plans about forest management and increasing forest cover, or plans to help farmers deal with drought and other weather-related challenges. On the UNFCCC website, you can find older reports by searching ‘national communication climate change’ and a country name. (Hint: it’s easier to use a search engine than the UNFCCC website.) You can also search for information on national commitments related to biodiversity and to combat desertification — see sections below.

National Adaptation Plan

As part of a UNFCCC decision made prior to the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to an ‘Adaptation Framework’ in which developing countries were asked to develop National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). Twenty countries have already submitted NAPs that identify adaptation needs. View list of country plans

Previously, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) under the Convention could also submit ‘National Adaptation Plans of Action’ (NAPA). More information about the LDC Work Programme and NAPAs is here.  If your country submitted a NAPA (search here), it should inform the NDC on climate adaptation.

The website of weAdapt has excellent information on how National Adaptation Plan processes can feed into NDCs, and about adaptation finance.

REDD+ Plan

There is a huge body of literature about the controversial program ‘REDD+’. In some areas, REDD+ has led to improved land security and created payments to communities and indigenous groups for avoided deforestation. In other areas, REDD+ has caused human rights abuses and land encroachment while limiting community access to forest resources.

REDD+ is part of the climate convention (UNFCCC), originally proposed as a means to reward countries for ‘avoided deforestation’. But from the beginning REDD+ was designed and developed to link to global carbon markets. CLARA is critical of any use of ‘land based credits’ from avoided deforestation to excuse continued use of fossil fuels.

Nonetheless REDD+ is moving forward with countries partnering with the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and FAO.

Link to UNDP’s REDD+ country partners from here to get background documents on a country’s REDD+ program. The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility lists its 47 partner countries here and provides links to country pages. The UNFCCC also maintains a REDD+ web platform here.

Ministry Focal Point

You can find out the Ministry (or agency) and lead person responsible for communications with the UNFCCC. This link takes you to a table where you can find all ‘national focal points’, arranged alphabetically by country. NOTE: this only shows which Ministry or organization is responsible for externally communicating the NDC. Another Ministry or organization may be playing the lead role in preparing the NDC. Documents already submitted by countries to the interim NDC portal usually provide information about the national lead agency.

NDC Partnership

The NDC Partnership is a large technical support program for countries designing and upgrading their NDCs. The Partnership website also links to country pages for each of the 103 members of the Partnership. This is a very good resource to get an overview of the status/progress of your country’s NDC submission process. It also includes information on national lead agencies for NDC development.

Other Resources

UNDP is supporting about three dozen countries in developing NDCs.  UNDP’s NDC Support Programme  See also UNDP’s ‘Toolkit’ for nature-based solutions:    —

Germany also has a support program, the NDC Cluster, to help developing countries with NDC planning.

National agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. Click here to view the ‘land and climate’ page for this Convention. There are no country pages.

Convention on Biological Diversity

The climate and biodiversity crises are linked. But very few NDC submissions have yet made that link. And many NDCs continue to undervalue the mitigation and adaptation benefits coming from intact ecosystems. For this reason it is also useful to review commitments made under the Convention on Biological Diversity. The CBD Secretariat maintains good country pages on its website.

You can also search individual country targets in National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs) here. Some of the commitments made here are directly applicable to land-use sector ambition in the NDC.

For countries experiencing desertification due to the impacts of climate change, another international agreement is very relevant. The Convention to Combat Desertification is  the only intern.

Indigenous Rights

Two international agreements are relevant to the UNFCCC’s launch of a “Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform”. One is an ILO Convention, and the other is a UN Declaration.

Twenty-three countries have ratified the International Labor Organization Convention 169. ILO 160 advances the international understanding that all people should have the right to the full development of their own institutions and initiatives. The text of ILO 169 is here. A list of signatories is here.

By now, 148 countries have supported the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). UNDRIP makes even clearer the requirements of ‘free, prior, and informed consent’ – very relevant for proposed land-sector interventions on mitigation and adaptation of climate change. UNDRIP text is here.

The LCIPP is designed to strengthen the use of traditional knowledge and the practices of indigenous peoples and local communities in responding to climate change. View LCIPP platform information here.

Library Resources

Find Your Country’s Initial NDC Submission

  • NDC submissions searchable by country

National Adaptation Plan

  • National Adaptation Plans
  • weADAPT

National REDD+ Programs

  • UNDP
  • World Bank
  • FAO

Government ‘Focal Points’ for NDCs

  • National Focal Points for NDC
  • NDC Partnership countries

Other Resources

  • Convention on Biological Diversity Country Profiles
  • ILO 169 Signatory Countriest