Peer Exchange in the Lead-Up to Paris – the Global Workshop on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions

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Following a series of Regional Technical Dialogues by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, the first Global Workshop on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) was held in Berlin from 14-17 April 2015. The objectives of the workshop were to provide a forum for exchanging country experiences with the design and preparation of INDCs; to discuss technical issues and political processes related to INDCs; to identify INDC-related challenges that are arising in countries; and to discuss lessons learned and possible solutions for timely submission of INDCs. A statement from a workshop participant from Moldova emphasizes the usefulness of the workshop: "We now feel capable of providing stronger recommendations to our government. We feel stronger and prepared to develop the INDC within the strategies on the national level.”

For the first time, about 80 government representatives from more than 50 countries from all regions of the world came together to exchange their experiences in preparing their INDCs. About 25 experts from international organisations such as UNDP, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UNFCCC Secretariat, and the World Bank, as well as from implementing organisations, renowned research institutes, and consultancies contributed with their knowledge. The workshop was organised by the UNDP Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) Programme and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and financed by the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the European Commission, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Australia. Participants acknowledged the timeliness of this workshop, given countries’ on-going preparations of their INDCs and recent submissions by some countries.

The workshop included three days of thematic presentations on issues such as design options for INDCs, prioritization of sectors, upfront information, INDCs in the context of national development, adaptation, and quantification of greenhouse gas (GHG) and non-GHG outcomes, among others. Participants also took part in plenary discussions, peer-to-peer exchanges, and interactive work in breakout groups. The last day of the workshop offered participants an opportunity to exchange with renowned researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Key takeaways of the workshop include:

  • Strong political leadership is an enormous advantage in accelerating the design and development of an INDC, as well as in linking technical work with the political coordination and approval process. Many countries are still facing challenges in linking these processes, including stakeholder participation. Since passing of the original deadline of the first quarter of 2015 (for Parties ready to do so), the timeframe is short for countries to complete their INDCs, especially for those countries that intend to submit their contributions by June 2015 prior to the Bonn sessions of the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC secretariat will be compiling a synthesis report of INDCs submitted by 01.10.2015.
  • INDCs should be embedded into existing domestic development strategies to ensure political buy-in and advance development goals. Further, quantification of non-GHG benefits such as employment, air quality, and economic growth can help increase political support.
  • The Lima COP decision and INDC submissions to date provide a starting point for countries on the types of upfront information that can facilitate transparency of INDCs. 
  • The variety of design options (contribution types) that exist for INDCs is reflective of the diversity of national circumstances and should allow for every country to submit a contribution.
  • While many countries plan to include an adaptation component in their INDCs, some do not consider INDCs to be the right vehicle for communicating adaptation efforts.
  • Countries can build on past efforts (Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS), Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), national communications, technology needs assessments, etc.) to design their INDCs. In some cases, existing information can be used, requiring little new data and analysis.
  • Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of INDCs can build on past efforts, such as GHG inventories, Biennial Update Reports (BUR), and MRV systems for NAMAs.
  • Linking GHG emissions reductions with cost assessments and finance options is seen as a challenge by many countries but is considered essential to ensure implementation of INDCs.
  • Synergies between adaptation and mitigation can offer countries win-win opportunities in the context of INDC design.

Looking forward to the months following the workshop, a country representative from Egypt explained, "The workshop offered plenty of opportunity for country experience exchange. As we are facing the same barriers, solutions can often be transferred. We hope to continue sharing experiences and hope to receive backstopping technical support (e.g. webinars)."


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3