Mapping trade-related measures in Nationally Determined Contributions

Technical note

Under the Paris Agreement, “each Party shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions that it intends to achieve” (UNFCCC, 2023a). 

These nationally determined contributions, or NDCs, reflect each country’s highest possible ambition to tackle climate change, taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities, respective capabilities, and national circumstances.  NDCs include emission reduction objectives (UNFCCC, 2023b) and most contain detailed lists of adaptation and mitigation measures to be implemented over a given period. Such measures can also pursue economic diversification outcomes.

Each Party to the Paris Agreement is required to establish an NDC and update it every five years. The updates should consider increased progression (UNFCCC, 2023a).  The Paris Agreement states that a global stocktaking to assess progress towards achieving its long-term goals is to take place every five years (UNFCCC, 2023a).

The Synthesis report on the technical dialogue of the first global stocktake finds that despite significant progress in global mitigation and adaptation action and support, the world is not on track to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, 2023f). The first global stocktake is set to conclude at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai in December 2023.

Trade policy actions can be effective tools on the ground to achieve the targets, for instance, facilitating local industries’ access to environmentally preferable goods and services.

UNCTAD is conducting an exercise to assess the interface between advancing climate commitments of member States, as stipulated in their NDCs, and trade policy. The exercise first identifies references to trade-related actions in selected developing countries' most recently updated NDCs, then “maps” them according to the immediate climate change mitigation objectives.

This paper provides interim findings from the ongoing exercise and is structured as follows.

Section 2 describes the methodology of the assessment.

Section 3 maps the trade-related measures identified in the exercise with key climate action objectives.

Section 4 presents conclusions.

Mapping Trade-related Measures in the Nationally Determined Contributions - Technical note  (UNCTAD/DITC/MISC/2023/15)
4 Dec 2023