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14 October 2021

The NDC Handover Checklist – A knowledge-enhancing epilogue


The revision of countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) are critical if we are to achieve the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal to keep average global warming “well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and pursing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels.” Parties to the Paris Agreement communicate progressively more ambitious pledges through their NDCs every five years, and 2020/2021 marked the first revision cycle.  

Despite challenges and delays induced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020/2021 revision cycle is well underway with most countries expected to submit enhanced NDCs prior to COP26 in November 2021. Countries will build off these efforts and further strengthen their NDC targets in 2025. 

Significant knowledge is created or amassed during the NDC revision process. It is important that this learning is carried forward from one revision cycle into the next, to maximize efficiency and ambition raising opportunities. 

To support these efforts, the  GIZ Support Project for Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPA) and Climate Analytics have created a NDC Handover Checklist that  documents the process and serves as a resource detailing the methodology and quality of data used and the stakeholders involved. The Checklist provides an overall evaluation and technical lessons learned, including what went well and what could be improved upon in future revision processes.  

This Checklist also lays the groundwork for identifying synergies in reporting. In addition to the NDCs, parties to the Paris Agreement have reporting requirements under the UNFCCC – national communications, biennial transparency reports, and adaptation communications – that can benefit from synergies with the NDC revision process to streamline the work, avoid duplicative practices and reduce strains on institutional capacities.  

In the developing country context in particular, data availability and quality pose a challenge to the political discussions around specific sectors included in the NDC and adjustments to targets indicated in the country’s previous NDC. Many developing countries are also supported by external consultants for their NDC update, often by several different partners providing technical analysis to inform targets, actions, or financial needs in the NDC.  

These multiple streams of work grow complex and can lead to miscommunication, use of incompatible methodologies, or duplication of tasks. This piecemeal aggregation of support combined with the high turnover of staff within consultancies or governments may impact the coordination and decision-making process, weaken the country’s institutional memory, or erode the progress achieved.  

The NDC Handover Checklist is designed for government officials and UNFCCC Focal Points as well as organizations or individuals supporting governments in revising their NDCs. The specific sections of the Checklist are focused on different parts of the NDC update process, such as mitigation modeling or coordination.  

The Checklist is especially valuable in capturing the major assumptions that went into calculating and setting targets, as well as keeping a record of the key stakeholders involved.  The main word file that can be downloaded and modified together with an accompanying Excel sheet has been developed to capture more technical information on mitigation modeling. Both documents are intended to be tailored by governments for their country’s context and needs, and stored for reference.  

The Checklist was formed iteratively with feedback from organizations including the NDC Partnership Support Unit, UNFCCC Secretariat, UNDP, UNIQUE, Ricardo EE, UNEP, IRENA, and GIZ interface projects in different countries. While the Checklist may provide ideas for streamlining the NDC revision processes in the future, it does not intend to guide countries into any specific direction or to establish any universal best practices. It is a handover document with the primary objective of collecting and archiving the most relevant information to support future NDC revision cycles. 


The Checklist can be downloaded directly here. To learn more about the Checklist please reach out to roziya.kirgizbekova@giz.de


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