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09 September 2021

Nigeria’s Updated NDC is Ambitious and Inclusive


As Africa’s largest economy and second highest emitter, Nigeria can play a significant role in achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals. Furthermore, as an oil producing state, Nigeria can also be an international model in transitioning from fossil fuels to the low-carbon, climate-resilient pathways embodied in global climate goals—particularly as it prepares to grow non-oil revenues and focus investment in infrastructure and power. Nigeria’s updated commitments to the Paris Agreement, submitted to the UNFCCC on 30 July 2021, raises the country’s ambition in an inclusive way, demonstrating that it understands its role as a global and continental model.


The NDC Revision


Nigeria’s updated NDC reflects inputs from nearly 30 workstreams delivered by six development partners after thorough consultations with national stakeholders, including civil society, parliamentarians, the private sector, local governments, and others. An impressive amount of coordination went into the revision process. For example:

  • The Department of Climate Change (DCC) led biweekly coordination calls throughout the entire process, from March 2020 to the end of July 2021. These calls allowed the government to inform all partners on the revision’s status, coordinate additional support where necessary, and align the government’s priorities with the coalition of partners supporting them.
  • More than 40 stakeholder consultations brought inputs from all corners of the country—including from the private sector, women and youth groups, civil society organizations, and parliamentarians—to ensure the NDC captured reflections on the ground and the priorities of those who will benefit most from national climate action.
  • More than six development partners, managing more than 30 workstreams, shared research, analysis, and inputs that were centrally collated and incorporated into the updated NDC. This was led by the DCC with technical support provided by Ricardo Energy and Environment, through UNDP Climate Promise.

As a result, the updated NDC reflects higher ambition, higher quality, and higher national buy-in. In terms of the numbers, the updated NDC:

  • Updates baseline business as usual (BAU) projections, using more accurate and recent economic growth projections. Estimated BAU 2030 emissions are now at 453 MTCO2e, increasing 31 percent from a 2018 baseline of 347 MTCO2e.
  • Raises economy-wide mitigation targets to 47 percent, with 20 percent of emissions unconditional. The updated ambition includes improved reduction projections for the waste sector and new gases, including short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

With this revised baseline, Nigeria’s updated NDC results in far fewer absolute emissions than were previously submitted in the 2015 NDC—more ambitious as a percentage, consistent with the 1.5°C pathway, and peaking emissions by the end of the decade.

For the revision process, Nigeria leveraged support from the NDC Partnership’s Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP), as well as from the UNDP NDC Support Programme and Climate Promise. Nigeria also received CAEP support from the African Development Bank for analysis on the waste sector and private sector engagement; the International Renewable Energy Agency to develop an energy balance across fuel uses and types; GIZ for projections of renewable mini-grids across the country; and analysis of clean cooking solutions through the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development. As a result, Nigeria’s NDC includes a thorough examination of specific measures that are government priorities. In addition, UNDP support covered nature-based solutions and forestry measures, obligations to reduce HFCs under the Kigali Amendment of the Montreal Protocol, and analysis of green jobs projected from NDC measures. Together, these partners coordinated closely to keep inputs on time, respecting others’ activities and all under the government’s close review and validation.


Accelerating Implementation


In parallel to the revision, Nigeria kept pace with implementation, ensuring that policy frameworks, national capacities, and investment planning also raise NDC ambitions. The updated NDC clearly affirms the government will continue to aggressively pursue ongoing policy measures that are part of its unconditional commitment, including reducing kerosene use, increasing bus rapid transit, reducing agriculture byproduct burning, and increasing forest cover.

The Department of Climate Change also sought CAEP support to make sure the country was ready to operationalize its updated NDC. With Islamic Development Bank support, sub-national officials across all 36 States were trained to plan for climate action at the local level and raise community awareness of the NDC and the national climate agenda. With the Environmental Resources Centre, the Federal Ministry of Environment organized a Legal Working Group of legislative experts and policy makers to strengthen the national climate agenda’s policy framework, including revisions to the Climate Change Bill (approved by the House of Representatives in July 2021). Additionally, the African Development Bank ensured the private sector is equipped with the tools and information necessary to invest in putting the NDC to work.

Ongoing support from the UNDP NDC Support Programme provided the DCC with implementation support to mainstream the NDC to national development priorities, build capacity amongst the sectors in implementing and tracking NDC actions (including developing a Climate Registry that records all relevant projects and programs), and engaging women-led businesses in NDC planning and implementation. Under this support, UNDP is also developing an NDC investment plan, stemming from the investment and financial flows assessment that records where finance is currently being channeled. Moving forward, UNDP and the DCC will continue to strengthen this partnership for keeping progress toward achieving the goals of the updated NDC.


Looking Forward


Nigeria’s climate agenda is ambitious but it does not stop at the year 2030. With support from 2050 Pathways, Nigeria is developing a vision for 2050 that will form the basis for a Long-Term Low-Emission Development Strategy that captures deeper emission reductions further into the future.

In the meantime, Nigeria is working with the NDC Partnership to set the implementation pathway to achieve the updated NDC. This is no small task considering the associated costs, estimated at USD177 billion for a 47 percent emissions reduction by 2030. The NDC’s investment needs are substantial; fortunately, NDC Partnership members are already pulling together the strategies, the project pipeline, and the investment flows for new infrastructure and energy projects. Already, UNDP and the UK are supporting the Central Bank of Nigeria and other commercial banks to green the financial sector, eager to invest in the country’s low-carbon, climate-resilient development trajectory.

Alongside these efforts, others are engaging with the private sector to prepare projects for investment that are keystones of Nigeria’s updated NDC. This includes a re-launch in August 2021 of the Climate Finance Accelerator under the UK’s Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transition (PACT) program, building on progress from its 2017 efforts in country.

With one of the fastest growing populations on the planet, there is no time to waste. Fortunately, with a clear government vision and leadership, coupled with Partnership members ready to offer support, there is confidence that Nigeria’s climate ambitions will result in real impact. 


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