The NDC Partnership, launched at the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech, is a global initiative to help developing countries achieve their national climate commitments. It operates a database of climate finance and support programmes and offers partner countries technical assistance and donor coordination. To ensure that NDCs are implemented quickly and effectively, the NDC Partnership promotes international dialogue and cooperation. It also supports the integration of climate change mitigation and adaptation into national development processes aimed at delivery of the SDGs.
The NDC Partnership stems from an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the World Resources Institute (WRI). The WRI hosts the NDC Partnership Support unit, which has two offices: one in Washington, the other based at the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn. The Partnership is initially co-chaired by the governments of Morocco and Germany. The NDC Partnership Forum, as the governance body, will meet twice a year on the margins of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and at the annual sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. This sends a clear signal that the initiative’s strategic objective is to align the climate and development agendas in order to achieve maximum effectiveness and ambition as swiftly as possible.
Nine guiding principles
Membership is inclusive and open to all countries and international institutions that are committed to ambitious implementation of the NDCs and SDGs. Civil society organisations may join as associate members. Nine guiding principles serve as the framework for the Partnership but have yet to be operationalised:
- support country-driven processes
- promote long-term climate action
- enhance efficiency and responsiveness
- build in-country capacity
- improve coordination
- enhance integration into national planning
- advance adaptation and mitigation
- align development and climate change
- support multi-stakeholder engagement
Recommendations for shaping the partnership
The study "Ambition, Participation and Effectiveness" published by Bread for the World in collaboration with ACT Alliance and Friedrich Ebert Foundation sets out practical proposals for the shaping of the NDC Partnership with a view to unlocking its transformative potential and enabling it to become a catalyst for ambition, effectiveness and participation in NDC implementation in developing countries. With regard to the NDC Partnership, the following five factors appear to be crucial:
Firstly, it is essential to add detail to the NDCs. At present, many NDCs are little more than political statements of intent, couched in vague terms, making it impossible to use them as a direct starting point for practical action. Some reworking is necessary. It is also important to establish an enabling environment – political, legal, technical, programmatic and financial. Many developing countries need assistance here.
Secondly, it is essential to build national expert capacities, knowledge and technological resources to enable national stakeholders to take far greater ownership of the development and implementation of the NDCs than it has been the case hitherto. This will do much to improve sustainability and participation, increasing effectiveness and the level of ambition. At present, many countries are dependent on support from international advisors and specialised organisations.
Thirdly, coherence must be established between the NDCs, the Long-Term Strategies and Agenda 2030, all of which must then be put at the heart of national development planning and implemented with a high level of ambition.
Fourthly, to that end, low-income countries require substantial financial support and investment. A coordinated approach by the development banks is important in this context. Climate-damaging and unsustainable investment and subsidies must be phased out at the same time.
Fifthly, it is essential to raise awareness of the NDCs, which are still unfamiliar to many people. The NDCs can only fulfil their purpose if climate goals are integrated into national development planning and economic and financial policy, if the private sector recognises and harnesses the opportunities afforded by a transition to a low-carbon economy, if the media report on the process, and if all those who urgently need improved
resilience to climate risks are involved in implementing the national climate action plans.
Engaging civil society is key
The NDC Partnership is committed to promoting broad multi-stakeholder engagement. This is the right approach, because non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector are indispensable in embedding climate goals and the NDCs at the heart of society. Civil society is a knowledge bearer and trust broker. It can improve transparency and demand accountability. However, this cannot be taken for granted, so measures should be taken within the framework of the initiative to safeguard genuine participation by civil society, thus creating valuable opportunities for NDC implementation.