Published by
International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV

Process guidance for Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

Parties agreed at the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw to "initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their intended nationally determined contributions" so that they can be submitted well in advance of the Meeting of Parties to the UNFCCC in Paris; by March 2015 for Parties ready to do so (UNFCCC 2013). It is the first time such an ex-ante process was formally adopted under the UNFCCC, leading to the need to clarify concepts, revisit historical precedents and outline the way forward. When countries undergo a domestic process to initiate, prepare or revisit their potential contributions, the use of technical or policy guidance and good practice examples can inform and promote higher ambition proposals.

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) put forward by countries will form a key input to the negotiations leading towards the 2015 Paris climate agreement. They will therefore need to take into account domestic and international processes as well as requirements for comprehensiveness, transparency and ambition as negotiated under the UNFCCC. It is possible that INDCs put forward by countries before Paris will be the starting point of a mechanism or process to increase ambition over time, further underlining the importance of their timely and well-informed preparation.

While the requirements of INDCs remain unclear, negotiations have started to define the information requirements for reporting INDCs. A decision is to be adopted in Lima in December 2014; a draft decision already lists various elements.

Against this background, the objective of this paper is to provide guidance on the preparation process of INDCs according to the responsibilities and respective capabilities of the countries to prepare individual components of their INDC. There will be various options on how to prepare different components of an INDC and countries are free to select the options that best match their capabilities. The overarching objective is to create a common understanding on the topic of INDCs without prejudice to future decisions under the UNFCCC. As such, it can serve as a starting point for countries to elaborate on their INDCs.

This guidance builds upon the earlier paper on this topic, which discusses the technical and policy-related aspects of preparing, consulting, and communicating INDCs. It was prepared in close collaboration with WRI, who develop complementary guidance on INDCs in parallel.