Effective governance involves driving progress, coordinating decision-making processes, ensuring accountability, engaging stakeholders inside and outside of government, and maintaining political will at all levels. In particular, the process of policy development and ensuring inclusive stakeholder engagement across diverse actors – national, subnational, municipal, public, private and civil society – is critical to obtaining buy-in and integrating NDC implementation into national policy. Each countries’ NDCs may set out how this will be delivered, 24  building on existing policies and processes, climate-related or otherwise.

Effective governance for NDC implementation can also support the delivery of the SDGs, especially those on strong, accountable and inclusive institutions (e.g. SDG 16) and strengthening means of implementation (e.g. SDG 17). 25  In addition, creating more equitable governance systems, with equal access to decision-making for women and men, can support the delivery of SDG 4 on gender.

All countries are at different stages of setting up governance arrangements and institutional processes, and approaches will need to be tailored to individual countries. Nonetheless, there are overall principles of good practice regarding NDC implementation plans; these are set out in Section 2.4 of the Quick-Start Guide. When reviewing this module, countries may find it useful to refer to the other four modules, to consider how good governance arrangements can help facilitate and drive action in those areas.

Figure 1. Key activities in the governance module
Reference Manual Figure 1. Key activities in the governance module

Note: Specific links to other modules are not shown on the diagram, but it should be noted that governance relates in general terms to all the other four modules.

Box 1. Governance and the Paris Agreement

Governance is a process that is unique to each country. Part of the rationale for strong and effective governance, along with driving climate action to meet national priorities, is to fulfil the key processes and meet the milestones set out by the Paris Agreement. In particular, countries will need to consider their domestic governance arrangements for communicating updated NDCs every five years, and the work that will be needed to inform this process. The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement has been established to continue negotiations regarding the details under the Agreement (Decision P.7); countries will want to engage with this Working Group while implementing their NDCs.

Key activity 1: Review current institutional arrangements

1a. Review the NDC

  • Review the NDC, with particular attention to the ‘Planning processes’ section, to identify any current or planned arrangements for NDC implementation. For example, will it be coordinated through existing structures, or will something new be established? Review how the Intended Nationally Defined Contribution (INDC) was developed, for example the process that was followed and what the key drivers and demand for the NDC have been (e.g. mitigation or adaptation, public interest or political compliance, etc.), in order to position and prioritise aspects of implementing the NDC appropriately.

1b. Review the existing governance landscape

  • Review key documents, such as national and sectoral low-emission development strategies, National Adaptation Plans, National Communications, Biennial Update Reports, sectoral master plans and national planning documents. 26
    • To what extent do any existing structures support both adaptation and mitigation?
    • To what extent is the NDC either collating what is already in place, or setting goals which now need additional planning?
  • Where powers and responsibilities are devolved to the subnational level (e.g. regional, municipal, city) then institutional arrangements at these levels should also be considered.

Key activity 2: Establish an NDC implementation coordination team

2a. Identify a central NDC coordination team

  • The team will typically be within government and could be a new unit, an existing unit with an expanded remit, or a unit that already exists and is already carrying out a similar function. Seek gender balance within the team.

2b. Define the team’s roles and responsibilities with regards to NDC implementation

  • Ensure appropriate expertise and official responsibilities across adaptation and mitigation.
  • Consider including the promotion of gender equity and equal access of women to decision-making, and whether the team should also be mandated with the development and delivery of SDG 13 on climate action or other relevant SDGs (see Appendix 1 of the Quick-Start Guide for more information).
  • Clearly document the team’s roles and responsibilities, if possible in legislation to provide the team with the maximum mandate and authority; see activity 6 within this module. If this is not possible or desirable, consider documenting the team’s roles and responsibilities within a publically available written statement or terms of reference, to aid transparency.

2c. Agree cooperation approaches with key government ministries, departments and agencies

  • These should set out roles and responsibilities, sharing information relevant to NDC implementation and coordination on cross-cutting issues. They should ideally be documented within legislation to provide the maximum mandate and authority, or within publicly available written statements.

2d. Provide resources and support for NDC implementation

  • Allocate a budget and resources for NDC implementation, including promoting equal access for women to decision-making, and identify funding sources. For example, consider what resources are needed to support the central coordination team to carry out their role, or for other government ministries to carry out new and additional activities on coordinating NDC implementation.
  • Provide appropriate capacity-building for the team and key counterparts across government in relation to their mandated roles and responsibilities; see activity 4 within this module for more details.

Key activity 3: Set up institutional arrangements

3a. Integrate with existing processes

  • Identify the primary vehicle for determining national development policy, as determined in activity 1 within this module. Consider whether NDC implementation can be integrated into this. For example, if a country has a regular cycle of five-year development plans, it might be possible to integrate NDC implementation into this.
  • To avoid duplication, consider aligning NDC implementation with any processes that are in place for SDG implementation.

3b. Ensure integration includes wider ministries, agencies and subnational authorities

  • In addition to formally including key line ministries in institutional arrangements for implementation (see activity 2 within this module), steps should be taken to engage other government stakeholders, in particular at the national, subnational and municipal levels. Ensuring appropriate expertise and official responsibilities across adaptation and mitigation will help with understanding of their interests and potential roles in relation to NDC implementation, including those with specific mandates linked to the relevant SDGs (see Appendix 1 in the Quick-Start Guide).
  • Identify which sectors, geographies, themes or groups were included in the NDC, and the extent to which climate action is already integrated into policies and plans, both vertically and horizontally. This may highlight key opportunities for synergies and also potential gaps.

3c. Ensure effective communication across government

  • Encourage relevant government ministries, departments and agencies to identify individuals and teams with a specific mandate to coordinate climate action for their policy areas. This may overlap with individuals tasked with SDG implementation and ensuring gender equality in policy-making.
  • Set up clear lines of communication between different levels of governance (local, regional, national, international) and different sectors (e.g. promoting equal access to decision-making for women at all levels). This could include bilateral communication with specific regional, municipal or city authorities, and/or a committee that brings together different stakeholders from the same level of governance – or from different levels of governance – to discuss the coordination of climate policy between the different levels.
  • Consider the development of work streams, either aligned to individual modules of NDC implementation, or to individual sectors. These can group together linked activities under a single owner to maximise synergies between activities. Options could include:
    • a forum for cross-sectoral coordination of mitigation and adaptation policy
    • a cross-sectoral forum for analysts to discuss cross-cutting technical and data issues (e.g. vulnerability assessments, adaptation appraisal methodologies, approaches for assessing mitigation potential, the quantification of co-benefits from adaptation and mitigation actions). This could be the same forum that discusses cross-cutting MRV methodological issues (see activity 6 within this module).
  • Consider what information and engagement on the co-benefits of climate action might be useful to get buy-in for NDC implementation from different ministries, departments and agencies, at both national and subnational levels. For example, there might be health and air quality benefits for the ministry leading on health, and job creation or other economic benefits for the ministry that leads on economic development.
  • Consider information-sharing and awareness-raising to increase understanding across the government in relation to the Paris Agreement and the NDC process, including links between NDC and SDG implementation and co-benefits of taking ambitious action on climate change.

Key activity 4: Build capacity within government

4a. Identify the capacity across government that is needed to enable NDC implementation, and develop a programme of ongoing support

  • Capacity requirements for the central NDC coordination team could include:
    • good project management structures and processes, for example well-managed committees and working groups
    • diverse partnerships in order to manage needs across governmental and non-governmental stakeholders
    • expertise in using appropriate tools for project management, for example Gantt charts, critical path tools and risk registers
    • understanding of the Paris Agreement and developments at international climate negotiations
    • understanding of wider government policy, for example economic and development plans, and sectoral master plans
  • Skills and capabilities may need to be developed across government, including core departments and committees coordinating NDC implementation within specific sectors, as well as national climate change funds.
  • More widely, capacity requirements across government could include:
    • experience and expertise in reporting policy implementation to senior officials and ministers
    • capacity-building on gender mainstreaming for implementing ministries, departments and agencies
    • basic knowledge of climate policy across key ministries, in particular an understanding of how their core work areas link with the climate agenda, and what this might mean in the light of the SDGs
    • more coordinated working across key ministries to drive a national climate agenda jointly and operate at scale

4b. Improve institutional memory

  • Establish processes to retain knowledge within institutions, including the robust archiving of data and the recording of decisions taken and the rationale for them; see activity 5 within the MRV module for more details on developing data management systems.

Key activity 5: Engage external stakeholders

5a. Undertake stakeholder mapping

  • Map the key national stakeholders and their potential roles in NDC implementation, including the private sector, academia and civil society including women’s organisations.
  • Consider which organisations have already been engaged in the NDC process.

5b. Agree responsibilities for engagement

  • Assign responsibility for coordinating stakeholder engagement to an individual or unit. This could be part of the role of the central coordinating team.
  • Assign responsibility for stakeholder relationships to relevant individuals or units throughout government, aiming for gender balance.

5c. Develop a clear stakeholder engagement plan

  • This could show what engagement will be carried out and with whom, but also how this will feed into policy decisions and practical actions. The Gambia case study showcases this.
  • Ensure the participation of academic experts and civil society, including youth and women’s organisations, so that the most marginalised groups are included in national and local governance planning.
  • In particular, consider creating a policy dialogue between policy-makers faced with climate change issues and women’s organisations charged with mainstreaming gender.

Key activity 6: Develop legal frameworks

  • Consider putting in place legislation to strengthen political will and formalise governance processes. This could include:
    • a mandate for the central NDC coordination team
    • the roles and responsibilities of relevant government ministries and agencies
    • decision-making and coordination processes
    • long-term mitigation and adaptation targets to guide discussions about ambition
    • a process for the five-yearly NDC updates
    • powers to obtain information or data relevant to climate policy
    • powers (specific or generic) to make secondary legislation to achieve climate actions, for mitigation or adaptation.
  • At the end of 2015, more than 50 countries had framework laws or policies to address both mitigation and adaptation, providing precedents and options for other countries to consider. 27

 Learning from others

Case study 1. Kenya: developing a National Climate Change Action Plan and supporting climate action through legislation

Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan 28 provided the basis for the country’s INDC in the run-up to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The implementation of this plan is now enshrined in legislation through the Climate Change Act (2016) 29 , which will serve as the main instrument for converting Kenya’s NDC pledges into action.

The National Climate Change Action Plan, published in 2013, sets out a detailed framework of priorities and actions. It covers the following chapters, among others: 30

  • Adaptation and mitigation: this includes an assessment of the priority actions, indicative finance needs and implementation period.
  • Finance: this sets out the priority actions to finance the implementation of the plan.
  • Enabling policy, legislative and institutional frameworks: this sets out the structure for climate change coordination and oversight, as well as the case for a climate change law and institutional reforms.
  • Knowledge management and capacity-building: this outlines the need to address the capacity-building needs of the main institutions involved in implementing climate change actions, as well as a public awareness and communications plan.
  • Monitoring, reporting and verification: this includes a detailed framework to implement a national performance benefit measurement framework, or ‘MRV+’ system, which covers monitoring and reporting on both mitigation and adaptation actions.

The development of the National Climate Change Action Plan was a year-long process and each component included a participatory stakeholder-engagement process involving the public sector, the private sector, academia and civil society. The process was led by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and overseen by a multi-stakeholder, multidisciplinary task force.

The subsequent Climate Change Act aims to provide a regulatory framework for an enhanced response to climate change, and to promote the development, management and implementation of a climate-resilient, low-carbon development pathway in Kenya. 31

Roles and responsibilities

The Climate Change Act sets out the roles and responsibilities for climate action. A high-level National Climate Change Council, chaired by the President, will be established. The council will provide overarching national coordination on climate change, by:

  • ensuring the mainstreaming of climate change functions by relevant stakeholders, including county governments
  • overseeing the implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan
  • providing policy direction on research and training on climate change
  • administering the Climate Change Fund established under the act.

The Climate Change Directorate, located in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, will be the implementing agency on national climate change plans and actions. For example, the Climate Change Act mandates the Directorate to undertake a biennial review of the implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan and report to the National Climate Change Council. It also proposes innovative mechanisms, such as incentives for private sector investment in low-carbon, climate-resilient development, which may encourage greater private sector involvement in climate action.

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Case study 2. The Gambia: using subnational stakeholder consultations to inform INDC development

As part of the Gambia’s INDC formulation process, 32 the government held workshops in each of the country’s eight major regions. Supported by the Government of Germany and CDKN, these workshops were designed to deepen knowledge about climate change and include inputs from a diverse range of stakeholders in the INDC preparation process.

The workshops presented information on climate variability and climate change impacts in the Gambia, with a focus on vital sectors of the Gambian economy, namely agriculture, forestry, energy and waste. The workshops also informed local stakeholders on the role of the government in the UNFCCC process.

Ensuring citizen buy-in

During the workshops, citizens became aware of, and interested in, climate change, both mitigation and adaptation opportunities. Rural communities, which are highly dependent on agriculture and forestry, proposed numerous mitigation options tailored to local circumstances. Most of these proposals were included in the INDC and in national policy initiatives.

These regional workshops were hugely important in the Gambia’s INDC preparation process: citizens benefitted from being included in an important decision-making process that will impact their livelihoods, and the consultations helped to create sustained links between climate actions and local development. The result was not only an improved INDC, with ambitious and informed emissions-reduction pathways, but also support for necessary local developments.

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Case study 3. Pakistan: developing renewable energy solutions with the private sector

Sialkot, a small city in Pakistan’s prosperous Punjab province, has emerged as a national growth engine, but its industrial productivity is severely restricted by the country’s power shortages. An assessment funded by CDKN looked into the feasibility of using the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) approach to support renewable energy for Sialkot’s industry.

Private-sector engagement: Buy-in and active support from the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry led to a good response from private sector stakeholders. During 2015, more than 100 Sialkot industrialists participated in workshops to analyse their energy demands, the distribution among differently sized companies and the renewable energy options available, along with the associated costs, savings potential and emissions reductions. They also identified potential barriers, based on their experience of introducing new technology to the city.

Bridging the private and public sector: The high level of participation from private sector entities was attributed to the involvement of a local champion, who was connected into conversations with industry and helped to raise awareness of the opportunity. Following this assessment, the final NAMA development is now under way, with project partners testing solutions that can help to bridge the entrepreneurial spirit of Sialkot’s private sector with the public sector to address a national priority. 33

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Case study 4. Cambodia: gender-responsive mitigation in the forestry sector

In rural Cambodia approximately 40% of households obtain up to half of their livelihood from forests, and 80% of rural women collect non-timber forest products for household consumption and sale. The formation of the Gender Group in 2014 has helped to ensure a more gender-equitable approach to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) 34 in the country, while also supporting adaptation and development benefits for the most vulnerable people.

Participatory and inclusive planning: Women are often under-represented in the forestry sector, in community forest management committees, and in decision-making generally. Cambodia’s REDD+ roadmap (2010) 35 did not originally include women as key stakeholders in the consultation process, but the Gender Group is a good example of why women’s participation in the development of national REDD+ policies and plans is important.

Awareness raising and stakeholder engagement: The Gender Group has raised awareness of gender equality and women’s empowerment among government and non-government stakeholders.

Integrated approaches to implementation: The Gender Group has also been instrumental in advising on how the national REDD+ strategy could deliver gender equity, enabling the development of implementation guidelines for achieving development–adaptation–mitigation co-benefits in an integrated way. 36

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Case study 5. Colombia: establishing a national climate change system

The Government of Colombia is pursuing two complementary climate-related goals: i) the implementation of the NDC, driven by the Ministry of Environment; and ii) the development of the Green Growth Policy, led by the National Planning Department and required as part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s membership process. A national climate change system has been created to bring together national and international actors; previously there were few links to coordinate action on climate change, including the implementation of sector-specific plans. 37

The development of sector-specific plans: The implementation of the NDC, which aims to reduce greenhouse emissions by 20% by 2030, received strong support from the president. The ministries of each priority economic sector were due to propose a roadmap and action plan by December 2016 to outline their contribution to the national target.

Establishment of a national climate change system: These commitments will be shared and channelled through the National Climate Change System of Colombia (known as SISCLIMA), which brings together national, private and non-profit institutions to tackle climate change. Its objectives are to:

  • coordinate efforts and commitments of international, national, regional and local entities in relation to climate change
  • articulate plans and strategies on climate change in an integrated manner with economic, social and environmental development, bearing in mind the priorities to achieve sustainable economic growth, eradicate poverty and use natural resources sustainably
  • articulate private and public climate change initiatives in different sectors (economic and civil society)
  • identify sustainable development opportunities with concrete adaptation and mitigation actions to lower greenhouse gas emissions
  • reduce the impacts of climate change for the most vulnerable people
  • promote the participation of civil society in climate action
  • develop criteria and mechanisms to evaluate and monitor agreements on climate change.

It was legally established in February 2016 as a coordination and shared-action system to support emissions-reduction efforts and adaptation plans. More specifically, the system is expected to facilitate the alignment of decision-making processes and articulation between subnational and national levels. It will also have oversight of the implementation of the government’s four climate change priority strategies: the Climate Change National Adaptation Plan; the Colombian Low Carbon Development Strategy; the National REDD+ Strategy; and the Strategy for Fiscal Protection Against Natural Disasters. 38  In addition, it promoted the creation of nine Climate Change Regional Nodes, which are responsible for promoting and supporting the implementation of national policies, strategies, programmes and projects across Colombia.

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Case study 6. Rwanda: coordinated approach to capacity-building

Capacity-building in Rwanda is coordinated by the National Capacity Building Secretariat. 39 This comprises representatives from several government ministries and is responsible for capacity-building in the areas of infrastructure (including energy), agriculture, private sector development, information and communications technology, education and health. The Secretariat provides a range of capacity-building support tools and templates.

A capacity-building toolkit 40 is one of these. It provides guidance on how to identify climate-related capacity needs, create a capacity-building plan and carry out monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the impacts. The M&E guidance covers whether male and female staff members are being provided with equal access to capacity-building and career-development opportunities, and shows how gender aspects can be incorporated into capacity-building plans. The toolkit also describes how capacity-building plans should be developed alongside the development of short-term annual action plans and longer-term strategic plans, so that they are all fully aligned.

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Case study 7. Philippines: striking synergies between climate change adaptation and development

The Philippines has developed a Climate Resilient Green Growth Plan to pursue its climate adaptation goals, as set out in its NDC, alongside economic growth and development. This provides a set of working premises to ensure that environmental, social and economic goals can be simultaneously addressed. These include: strong, equitable and sustainable economic growth; improved quality of life; gender equality; rational resource use; and provincial coordination.

The plan was informed by consultations and workshops with local stakeholders in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors in the Philippines. It was developed by the Global Green Growth Institute, with support from the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Inclusive and pro-poor approach to vulnerability assessments: Poverty alleviation and social and gender equity are integrated into the planning framework through assessments based on poverty indices and gender indicators, such as the Gender Development Index and gender empowerment measures for the Philippines. Vulnerability and climate-risk assessments address actual or potential climate change challenges facing poor people, specific ethnic groups and internally displaced groups, all in view of the wider aims of alleviating poverty and realising social and gender equity.

Climate mainstreaming in local and national development planning: The framework focuses on priority climate change impacts, and tries to closely link economic development and climate adaptation options, with the view that doing so is a win–win scenario in the long term. It climate-proofs 41 local development plans and priorities by considering the impacts of climate change, the underlying trends in local economic growth, and the potential effects of plans on community welfare. It is informed by current and planned sectoral strategies, provincial development plans, various national plans and international experience in developing green-growth strategies.

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