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The Paris Agreement and NDCs

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of these long-term goals. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Paris Agreement (Article 4, paragraph 2) requires each Party to prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that it intends to achieve. Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.

What does this mean?

The Paris Agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their NDCs. 

Together, these climate actions determine whether the world achieves the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs in the second half of this century. It is understood that the peaking of emissions will take longer for developing country Parties, and that emission reductions are undertaken on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, which are critical development priorities for many developing countries.

Submissions of NDCs

The Paris Agreement recognizes that the long-term goals specified in its Articles 2 and 4.1 will be achieved through time and, therefore, builds on a ratcheting up of aggregate and individual ambition over time.
NDCs are submitted every five years to the UNFCCC secretariat. In order to enhance the ambition over time the Paris Agreement provide that successive NDCs will represent a progression compared to the previous NDC and reflect its highest possible ambition.
Parties are requested to submit the next round of NDCs (new NDCs or updated NDCs) by 2020 and every five years thereafter (e.g. by 2020, 2025, 2030), regardless of their respective implementation time frames.