High Integrity ‘Conditional NDC’

A successful NDC process should produce three results:

  • An NDC that embraces immediate, drastic climate action, in mitigation and adaptation, backed by high-level political support.
  • For developing countries, a clear ‘conditional’ NDC with details on how climate finance would be used to advance climate action. For developed countries, an NDC that includes a commitment to providing climate finance, based on the stated needs of developing countries.
  • For all countries, a clear process to make the implementation of climate action a ‘whole of society’ effort. This should include the development of a consultation mechanism between government and civil society, monitoring and evaluation plans, and an agreement on the periodic review of the NDC in order to improve implementation and increase ambition.

No question about it – the ‘conditional’ part of the NDC is the most difficult.  When a country outlines what would be its ‘own effort’ (meaning in this context, ‘self-financed’) to combat climate change, it is indicating it has the resources and the political will to accomplish those tasks.  The ‘conditional’ NDC is dependent on outside resources, making planning and coordination more challenging.

From CLARA’s perspective, what’s most important here is that the priorities and needs of developed countries aren’t allowed to dictate what part of conditional NDCs are fulfilled.  In other words, we call for a shift in how provider countries allocate climate finance.  Grants are the preferred approach; concessional finance (money borrowed at below market rates) is also possible.  Most of all, support for the ‘conditional’ component of an NDC should NOT be seen as an invitation simply to purchase offsets, in order to reduce the compliance costs of outside parties.

It’s very important for civil society groups to review and comment on the ‘conditional’ part of the NDC.  Proposals that seek to improve land rights and conservation outcomes; proposals to provide adaptation assistance to farmers; programs to reduce subsidies for fossil fuels – all these are very welcome.  In turn, civil society groups can play a useful role in helping governments to develop more detailed and credible cost estimates of support.   Civil society networks are encouraged to develop a plan for monitoring and evaluating the provision and use of ‘conditional’ support.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Action phases of this website include ‘Checklists for Climate Action’.  Action pages list ‘things to look for’  in an existing NDC or national climate action plan.  In the Ambition phase, you’re invited to develop ideas for potential new actions and requirements.  Every country’s political and economic situation is different enough that general recommendations for engagement are less useful; but one common action all civil society and indigenous groups can take is to develop a monitoring and evaluation plan, based on your major priorities in the NDC.  Here are a few suggestions for participating in the development of, and improving, national monitoring and evaluation plan.

  • Key Objectives: In some cases you and your team will want to focus on identifying and remedying problems in existing project- and program-implementation approaches – that is, focusing on improving implementation of agreed measures.  Another approach would be to monitor current outcomes in order to feed this information back into new and ambitious program approaches. 
  • Baselines and data: Do you have good access to the information you need for monitoring and evaluation? What are you monitoring for – ecosystem integrity, community well-being, how climate finance is being spent?
  • Stakeholder engagement: Who else should be involved in this effort? Will there be consultations at the regional or local level about monitoring priorities? What’s the role of universities and scientific bodies in this process? 
  • Create an M&E framework: Once you’ve defined your objectives, gathered the necessary baseline data, and engaged key stakeholders, an M&E framework can be built.  That framework doesn’t have to be ‘static’; in fact, the best frameworks will allow for continued learning and improvement, based on observations in the field and how new data informs policy formation and implementation. 
  • Integrate the framework into national development planning: most governments recognize that climate change is a central challenge of our time; but that doesn’t necessarily means that climate change mitigation and adaptation thinking has made its way into the mainstream of development planning. Civil society has a particularly important role to play here.
Help from CLARA members

CLARA members are active in all regions of the world, and many are already involved in developing climate action plans and responses.  If you are interested in guidance or assistance, please contact us at

Further Resources


A summary of the links to pages and PDFs listed on this page.

Stay Tuned...

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