• ow has your country begun to develop an NDC implementation plan to translate NDC goals into concrete actions? What advice or lessons learned would you share with other countries in this process (e.g., related to undertaking technical analyses; prioritizing mitigation and adaptation actions; defining roles, timeframes, work plans, etc.)?
  • What types of information does your country feel are necessary to include in an NDC implementation plan (e.g., specific prioritized actions, implications of actions, costs, support needs, timeframes, roles/responsibilities, etc.)?
  • How, concretely, can NDC implementation plans be embedded in development plans or be used to articulate a new development trajectory? How is the process of developing an NDC implementation plan linking to and building on existing efforts (e.g., national adaptation plans, low-emission development strategies, sectoral development plans, etc.)?
  • How does your country see the link between NDC implementation, development of a mid-century development strategy (as invited by the Paris Agreement), and achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? What advice would you offer policymakers in the process of developing NDC implementation plans given this context?
  • What are the roles of key stakeholder groups (e.g., relevant ministries, private sector, national assemblies, etc.) in developing an NDC implementation plan and ensuring buy-in or support?
  • What challenges and support needs are envisioned in your country in moving from planning into implementation of its NDC?
9 Jan 2017 - 29 Jan 2017

Comments (6)

Srikanth Subbarao

Hello Everyone,

I’m an energy & climate change consultant based in New Zealand and working in the South Pacific. I would like to participate in this discussion to share my experience from the region in particular from one of the most beautiful island nations in the region, Vanuatu.

Vanuatu with support from UNDP successfully submitted the INDC to UNFCCC during September 2015.  The mitigation contribution for the Vanuatu NDC is a sector specific target of transitioning to close to 100% renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2030.

Vanuatu parliament ratified the Paris agreement on 18th June 2016. However, implementation of this new climate change action plan is still a challenge.  In order to achieve the goals and objectives under NDC, a clear roadmap to guide its implementation is essential. UNDP is providing further support under the LECB Phase II programme to formulate the NDC roadmap including designing and implementation of MRV systems.

In my view, under the NDC implementation plan for a country its key to: do a stock take on sectoral and background data, available studies, data gaps; consult stakeholders to identify and get consensus on the action plan; assess the institutional capacities and organizational needs for implementing NDCs; identify and develop appropriate mitigation measures for sectors prioritized under NDC including indicators, main risks, assumptions, targets and timeline to be achieved; estimate the GHG emissions reductions in the BAU and project alternate scenarios including the cost effectiveness of the activities and highlight technical, financial and capacity building support needed.

Vanuatu’s  National Sustainable Development Plan 2016-2030 (also called as “Vanuatu 2030 - The People’s Plan”) charts the country's vision and overarching policy framework for achieving a Stable, Sustainable and Prosperous Vanuatu within the next fifteen years, and in doing so sets out the national priorities and context for the implementation of the new global Sustainable Development Goals over the same period. The key goals and policy objectives under the Vanuatu 2030 also include enhanced resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change and natural disasters (adaptation) and Prioritising renewable sources of energy and promote efficient energy use (mitigation). The Ministry of Climate Change through its departments and the National Advisory Board (NAB) on climate change ensures that climate change priorities are streamlined and linkages made under the broader national development priorities and policies.

The key factor that I see which could help linking NDCs with SDG’s is through aligning the policies and priorities for climate change mitigation & adaptation with the national development goals as it has been done with Vanuatu 2030 plan. This would also help in terms of avoiding duplication of efforts and getting the required support for implementation at the highest political level.

One of the key issues generally encountered by many countries is ensuring proper coordination between the line ministries to manage the NDC implementation process. Vanuatu has a strong existing institutional and governance mechanism. However, the key challenge for is to build on the institutional arrangements that is already in place for climate action and improving coordination at the level of national implementing institutions. The lack of awareness and knowledge about the Paris Agreement, climate change, and NDCs also provides a significant obstacle in increasing the ownership among line ministries for successful NDC implementation. In addition, the lack of clarity among stakeholders and policy makers with respect to international support for finance and knowledge of NDC implementation is one of the key issues. Technical support for education and awareness raising among political leaders, decision-makers, and the general public is very essential. It’s also essential to strengthen the capacity of lead institutions involved in climate change activities in Vanuatu to develop and implement NDC-related policies and programs, coordinate with sectorial line ministries, and engage stakeholders in the NDC implementation process. 

Planning and management in many sectors is constrained by poor information about current conditions and likely future changes proving to be one of the key challenges. Lack of financial resources is also a key constraint in moving from NDC goals to actions, constraining the implementation of adaptation & mitigation actions, important for building the resilience of Vanuatu to climate change and disaster.  Accessing dedicated climate funds can be challenging for a small country like Vanuatu, given the high transaction costs involved, lack of capacity and expertise in this area. Limited human and technical capacity are also major challenges for delivering on sustainable development aspirations in Vanuatu. Finally, issue of  lack of institutional capacity & coordination between stakeholders needs attention. 

Implementation of NDC will be heavily dependent on resources (technical & financial)  being made available by external development partners, to supplement limited domestic funds. Vanuatu intends to place considerable emphasis on working with its bilateral partners, regional agencies, for the financial and technical resources needed to implement its NDC, including the improvement of access and facilitation to international climate finance. Institutional capacity building and training needed for efficient and effective tracking progress on the implementation of climate change actions, priorities and goals are crucial.

Vanuatu is a small developing nation with absolute levels of CO2 eq emissions very small at under 0.0016% of world emissions. For Vanuatu and other Pacific island nations, climate change is an existential issue. These islands will cease to exist as viable human settlements if climate change is allowed to continue in the way it is occurring now. Small islands like Vanuatu reducing their emissions will do absolutely nothing in the global fight against climate change. You could add up all the emissions of small islands and they would probably still be less than half a percent of what the global emissions are.

Nonetheless, Vanuatu is also keen to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels for the energy needs. The updated National Energy Road Map, which sets out a clear strategy and action plan for the development and use of alternative and sustainable energy sources, has an ambitious goal of reducing the country’s high reliance on imported fossil fuel. Vanuatu’s adaptation plans and programmes intends to support progress towards the country’s national development priorities and the goal of environmental sustainability, by ensuring that a focus on reducing vulnerabilities and risks is incorporated into planning and activities across all sectors of the economy and society.


James Vener Moderator

Dear Srikanth,

Thank you for the summary of your experiences in Vanuatu toward implementing the NDC and Paris Agreement.  These perspectives do a great job to set the stage on issues many countries are encountering in terms of what are national priorities, challenges, gaps, and expectations during deliberations on possible NDC strategies.  Based on your reply and to build on my colleague Alex’s discussion points, I’ll highlight a few points you make on securing proper coordination and political awareness amongst policymakers.

You hit upon several useful priorities for securing political buy-in that reflect the need for making such efforts systemic and ongoing to change the status quo and ensure long-term climate change visibility and raised awareness.  Linking NDC implementation aspects to priority focus areas for individual policymakers such as the SDGs (e.g., jobs creation, poverty reduction, energy access, resilient infrastructure) is a good approach.  Encouraging partnerships with bilateral and regional organizations and donors to develop sustainable NDC systems can attract the attention of policymakers who see this as an opportunity for future climate financial resource mobilization.  Securing a local ‘champion’ to usher NDC-related proposals between line ministries, being persistent, encouraging cross-sector participation, and potentially coordinating efforts should not be overlooked as a critical behind-the-scenes component.

In summary, I’d note that to build a sustained effort that is reflective of the required 5-year cyclical ‘ratchet mechanism’ of NDC review and re-submission of targets, countries benefit from diverse and integrated participation of line ministries in NDC design and review, and this should active involvement and contributions to such platforms as NDC project-related technical working groups, steering committees, and board meetings.  Building on existing structures already in place such as UNFCCC Focal Point offices, CDM or NAMA project evaluation systems, GHG inventory reporting methodologies, etc., and scaling up partnerships within government are both key steps in achieving consensus and attracting consistent support among policymakers that NDC design and implementation remains a priority.

Thank you + Best regards,


Srikanth Subbarao

Dear James,

Many thanks for your very useful comments.

I fully agree with your point of view on securing a local “Champion” for effective and efficient coordination and implementation of NDC related activities between the line ministries. As you also rightly mention, building on the existing structures and up-scaling the collaboration between the ministries could avoid re-inventing the wheel and immensely benefit in terms of saving crucial resources, time and effort.

Dear Alexandra,

Thank you for the follow up questions.

Yes, I think some kind of a tracking tool could certainly help in engaging the concerned line ministries under the country’s development agenda. In addition, the tool can also assist to keep track of the progress, identify potential issues and come up with appropriate mitigation measures.

The circular economy idea seems to have come from last year’s Davos meeting and is being adopted by the EU and many other countries including here in NZ  as a way of keeping growth and lowering emissions at the same time ( https://sustainable.org.nz/what-we-do/transformation-areas/accelerating-the-circular-economy-in-new-zealand/)

Recycling materials makes sense and is doable. However, recycling energy doesn’t really work as it has the second law of thermodynamics to deal with and must lead to increasing entropy and decreasing available energy. Overall- recycling materials can lead to decreased emissions as metals don’t have to be reduced from ores and mined. 

Decoupling emissions from growth is difficult. However, the coupling constant can be made smaller but it would be very difficult to decouple entirely. Growth as mentioned is the real problem (there is a wealth of information on line on this). Low hanging fruit is exactly the easiest way to reduce emissions cost effectively and should come first for short term reductions.  Focusing on important economic sectors would be good for mid and longer term emissions reductions but they would be very sector specific.

For eg. Its very difficult to implement circular economics or recycling in the tourism sector as most of the emissions are in the air transport although some opportunities for ecotourism exits in country.

Transport: feasible for larger countries to recycle vehicles but difficult for small Pacific countries

Service sector: some savings ie recycling paper and water but difficult to achieve larger savings

Heavy industry and mining: good opportunities here but not so applicable to Pacific.

Housing: some opportunities at the local level ie recycling timber and iron materials after cyclones, difficult for masonry.

Business  and commerce – energy auditing and some recycling

Agriculture: good opportunities in Pacific and elsewhere - move to organic farming and reduce fertilisers and pesticides. Less agribusiness and heavy machinery and more local farming.

Giving equal emphasis on growth and sustainable development could be difficult as often they are exclusive ie an emphasis on growth will hinder sustainable development and emphasis on sustainable development will hinder economic growth. There are of course other approaches/school of thought used to suggest that both can happen simultaneously.

There is a very limited private sector presence in the Pacific Island counties mainly due to small size, dispersed nature of islands and population.  This brings up the key issue of economies of scale which is crucial for active private sector participation. Small size and remoteness lead to high costs of production and trading and hence lower price competitiveness. Nonetheless, I think there has to be some kind of support mechanism for the private sector incentivization to keep up and build-on the current level of participation.

In my view, there is no silver bullet for this issue. A mix of both grant funding as well as incentives for private sector participation could work depending on the type and nature of the project/programme and the host country government’s policies and priorities.

I look forward for views and comments from other experts.

Thank you and Regards



Daniel Tutu Benefoh

In last the quarter of 2016, Ghana started a multi-sectoral process to develop its NDC implementation and investment strategy. In this process we're exploring the practical options to leap-frog early implementation of its 31 sectoral climate actions. We are looking into how to adopt time-tested concrete approaches on how to: (a) priortise sector NDC actions  and embed them into the medium-term development plan as well as further align to the preparation of a national 40-year development; (b) put up and put to work a durable sector-led institutonal arrangment; (c) mobilise early and long-term innovative finance to support NDC implementation; (d) mobilise and engage stakeholders at the national and sub-national level for action (local partnership including private sector); (e) explore possibility of promulgating a special law/legislation to back NDC implementation and (f) awareness, capacity and knowledge managment.  

We are sure that the development of these work strands together with the sector ministries at the fore front is crucial for couple of reasons. Firstly, we believe that implementation of the NDC action must be led by the sector Ministries. At this stage, it is important to allow the Ministries to lead the process on how to  select, elaborate, mobilse finance, implement and report priority NDC actions in thier repective sectors.  In this respect, we have formed a multisectoral thematic group dedicated to priortise and elaborate on sector NDC action plans using a set of agreed templates. 

Another important feature of our work is the idea to align and embed the NDC implementation/investement strategy into the medium term and the 40-year development plan. This is equally important if we really want to get serious attention of the ministries and the local government authorities to abide bt the NDC action they have already committed to. By this, we have fully roped the National Development Planning Commisison (NDPC) into the NDC processes at least, to help align the NDC priority areas with the 40-year plan and go extra mile to get the sector Ministries to lock in thier sector NDC actions into the respective sections of the 40-year plan. Further to this, we indicated our intentions to use the existing national M& E result framework which is implemented through the Annual Progress Report (APR) to help track, evaluate and communicate progress of implementation (MRV framework). We will be working with NDPC to prepare NDC-specific indicators so they can incorporate into the M&E result framework. To us, this approach is the most efficient way of getting the ministries to track and report progress of implementation of sector NDC actions.

I will continue to share additional features of how work my subsequent postings. 



Joseph Curtin

Dear All,

Apologies for coming late to this discussion. In addition to the very useful comments above on wide variety of topics, I would like to add two points relevant when moving from the planning to implementation phase. I focus in particular on the last question:

  • What challenges and support needs are envisioned in your country in moving from planning into implementation of its NDC?

In the first case I would point to the annual review/benchmarking of progress as an important aspect of NDC implementation planning, and the involvement of as many actors in this process as possible, but especially Parliament/Parliamentary committee. Climate policy being long-term in nature can be the first thing to be postponed in times of crisis, or just within the context of 4/5-yearly electoral cycles. It is therefore vital to have an annual point where climate policy progress can/must be considered by political leaders. It is important to ascribe responsibility for target implementation (and reporting therein) to a particular line-minister (for energy, climate or environment) to be responsible for reporting on progress to Parliament.

 Furthermore, in addition to the potential for co-benefits of mitigation actions, it is very important for countries to identify barriers to implementation (of NDC or individual NAMAs) at the planning stage. While overall benefits might accrue from certain actions, concentrated costs (on particular geographic or social cohorts) can result in highly mobilised opposition to measures that might be beneficial overall. Barriers analysis can help in identifying vulnerable cohorts, and can have a beneficial impact on policy design. It could lead, for example, to particular design characteristics of a carbon tax or a grant measure focused on alleviating the negative implications for a particular cohort, or it might help a Government develop a narrative around why a particular measure is being advanced in spite of particular negative consequences. 

 It is important, therefore, that NDCs and NAMAs are "socially and rurally proofed" and the distributional impacts of policy measures are considered. These are absolutely central aspects of planning and can have a hugely beneficial impact at the implementation stage, and can help address "implementation gaps", which are evident in most countries' climate policy implementation. 

On a general point, there is a danger of NDC implementaton to be seen as a techno-economic process, whereas it is in reality a political and sociatal project, and consideration of these dimensions is absolutely critical for success. 

I hope that these comments are useful to you in your delivberations. 

Joseph Curtin, IIEA & UCC

Member, Climate Chnage Advisory Council, Ireland

We unanimously could implement preferable project, we tend to be lever in collaboration