TWG Sector

Thematic lead: Energy Council Netherlands (ECN) & New Climate Institute (NCI)


The Paris Agreement and the NDCs are a first step in a massive global transformation towards a ‘well below 2 degree” world. While the NDCs represent the national ambition, most of the actions will need to take place on a sector level; involving sector level actors, institutions, and policies. While the challenges of NDC implementation vary per sector and country, and the detail of NDCs varies considerably, there are common themes and questions on which exchange and learning can be beneficial. These include: to what extent has the NDC been translated into sectoral plans and targets? Are sector targets and activities aligned to the NDC? How are NDC-incompatible activities reflected and dealt with?? What does it take to make a fair comparison of the wider impacts (benefits and trade-offs) between an NDC-compatible and a business-as-usual pathway? And what does actual process of NDC implementation in sectors look like?


Objectives of the thematic working group

The objective of the sectors working group is guided by two questions: 1) whether and how the Paris Agreement and the NDCs are leading to increased (sector) action on the ground, and 2) which tools, competencies, and support are needed to help governments translate NDC ambition into sectoral implementation


Insights into the work

General description

This working group is led by ECN and NewClimate Institute and consists of representatives of each of the NDC Cluster organisations. Each year, the group will establish a work plan and a specific focus, and define the output(s) and opportunities for dissemination and learning. The current focus of the working group is on the topic of ‘sectoral fitness’ as described below.



The current focus of the group is on the concept of “sectoral fitness”: the relative ease with which sectoral transformation is expected to unfold.  This fitness is influenced by external factors such as resource endowment, existing infrastructure, markets, and economics, but also by factors that can be influenced such as political economy constraints, regulatory and institutional frameworks, and supporting policies.

To further examine the concept of sectoral NDC fitness, we aim to develop a framework or diagnostic tool that allows us to assess the state of the sector along a number of dimensions and categories. Looking beyond stated ambitions, policies, and plans, we ask what it would take to get a sense of the practical challenges and opportunities associated with implementation. Such a framework can be used to identify where national and international support/action is most effective, and to reflect on the room for additional ambition. Moreover, it can be a starting point for further analysis and discussion. The output of the working group will be a policy brief outlining the findings and possible lessons for governments and NDC support projects.

Alongside the thematic working group, the Ambition to Action project publishes a biannual “NDC Update Report” which presents the insights of the working groups. The first edition was published in May 2017. The report presents an initial, high level exploration of what is happening on the ground at country level and in the international community around NDCs. The report can be downloaded here.   


Contact: Xander van Tilburg: