Leveraging multi-level governance for implementing NDCs

July 12, 2018

Implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) on the ground requires effective governance and transparency frameworks that integrate the efforts of national and subnational governments. At a recent workshop organized by the NDC Support Cluster, Cluster members and selected experts from government, academia, international organisations and think tanks discussed options for building and strengthening climate transparency and governance frameworks at all levels to support NDC implementation.

On 25-27 June 2018, the thematic working groups (TWGs) on Transparency and Governance of the NDC Support Cluster jointly hosted a workshop in Washington, D.C., USA, to discuss how effective vertical and horizontal integration of subnational and national governments can support and accelerate NDC implementation. Using innovative formats, the workshop focused on identifying challenges and exchanging experiences on how to enhance transparency and governance frameworks for integrated NDC implementation and provided space to co-create innovative approaches for overcoming persistent barriers. It combined selected joint sessions of both working groups with separate, in-depth discussions on transparency and governance issues. The workshop is part of a series of workshops conducted by the NDC Support Cluster.

The agenda of the workshop can be found here:

The workshop started with reflection on the relevance of multi-level governance and integrated domestic transparency systems. Speakers highlighted that many countries need to reform their governance frameworks in order to implement NDCs and achieve sustainable development goals. Up to now, the NDC process has been primarily top-down and centralised while sub-national governments have been developing their own targets and policies. These processes are often not very well aligned. However, many governments have started to discuss how to make NDC implementation and review more inclusive.

The presentation by Scott Muller can be found below.

Integrated target-setting, impact assessment and tracking progress on mitigation by national and subnational actors (transparency)

A key challenge for many countries is to create incentives for other stakeholders such as sectoral ministries and sub-national actors to participate in a domestic transparency system. This could be addressed by designing the system in a way that provides clear benefits to these stakeholders, for example, visibility, useful information for designing and implementing their policies and strategies, and improved access to finance. Many countries are currently developing integrated digital data management systems or platforms that can serve different purposes (e.g. collecting relevant data from all levels and sectors, providing information on targets, policies and actions and scenarios, and building a project pipeline) and can allow different stakeholder groups to access information. Sharing information on the design of those platforms and engaging in the joint development of open data solutions could be mutually beneficial. In order to meet international reporting requirements, track progress towards national targets, and support political decision-making, increased efforts are needed to build and retain technical capacity and expertise at the national and local level, for example, through better integrating the support provided by external consultants and institutionalizing knowledge transfer between national and sub-national governments.

Mainstreaming climate action for national and subnational actors and cross-cutting issues between vertical and horizontal integration (governance)

Vertical integration for NDC implementation could greatly benefit from the establishment of strong coordination mechanisms between the national and sub-national levels (which are not in place yet in most countries), efforts to address insufficient technical knowledge, capacities and funding for the implementation of existing climate plans at the subnational level, and the introduction of appropriate incentive mechanisms for local governments to engage in climate change activities in line with national policies and NDCs. Weak or outdated institutional and legal frameworks, gaps in policies and mandates, and unclear divisions of responsibilities represent major challenges for horizontal coordination. Involving sector ministries in NDC implementation (e.g., through detailed action plans for each relevant sector ministry) and endowing existing coordination mechanisms with greater competencies may address this issue. Additionally, it is important to improve communication that underlines the sector-relevance of climate change. From a cross-cutting perspective, the integration of NDC targets in existing and future sector plans and policies is crucial. This can only be achieved by a close exchange and collaboration between different stakeholder groups, ideally already during the development and revision of the NDCs.

NDC implementation approaches and next steps

Based on the identification of key challenges and solutions, participants drafted NDC implementation approaches for improving multi-level governance arrangements and transparency systems to support NDC implementation. Some examples included:

  • A framework for developing integrated transparency platforms that support collecting data and information to support national-level tracking, inform target setting, and incentivize participation from different government actors;
  • An NDC messenger that translates the high-level abstract NDC language into actionable messages that address individuals;
  • An institutionalized data and information process to help build and sustain relevant capacities at the local level for NDC Implementation.

More information on the workshop results including further details about the developed NDC implementation approaches will soon be published on this website.

The workshop was jointly organized by the following NDC Support Cluster projects: GIZ’s Support Project for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPA) , WRI’s Tracking and Strengthening Climate Action (TASCA) project, and the UNDP NDC Support Programme.

The workshop was the third and last in a series of events conducted within four thematic work streams of the NDC Support Cluster – governance, sector approaches, financing, and transparency – between April and June 2018. Integrated results from the workshops will be published in a joint policy paper containing a set of recommendations on NDC implementation by September 2018. More information on the workshop series can be found here.

For more information please refer to the concept notes and insights down below.