NDCs Increasingly Becoming a Force for Nature

A new report published by WWF has found that countries are increasingly recognizing the value of nature-based solutions in their efforts to address the climate crisis. Some ninety percent of the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) assessed in the study include nature-based solutions, which harness the power of nature to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts.

Under the Paris Agreement, countries are expected to submit updated, enhanced NDCs to the UN every five years. The third edition of ‘NDCs – a Force for Nature?’ compared the number of inclusions of nature-based solutions in the latest round of NDCs (published before May 1, 2021) to prior submissions by the same governments to mark the shift.

Parties to the Paris Agreement assessed in this report include major emitters and G20 nations, including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The report found that:

  • Overall, there is a positive trend with 50 of the 55 NDCs assessed clearly referencing nature-based solutions.
  • 34 parties improved the integration of nature-based solutions in their updated NDCs compared to previous versions. There was no change for 8 parties, while 13 declined.
  • The potential of nature to both reduce and capture emissions, and help people and nature adapt to climate impacts, has been recognised. Of the 50 NDCs which included nature-based solutions, 44 NDCs referenced NbS in the context of climate change mitigation, 42 in the context of adaptation plans, and 36 in both mitigation and adaptation.
  • Nature-based solutions featured more strongly in high and upper-middle income nations’ NDCs. This indicates the need for significant technical and financial capacities in revising and enhancing NDCs which many low-income countries lack, and the need for sharing of such capacities by the higher-income countries.
  • NDCs are an important platform to formulate governments’ ambitions for strong climate action.