Intended Nationally Determined Contributions: A primer

New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) As the 196 parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change get set for their 21st annual meet, called Conference of Parties, in Paris from November 30 to December 11, they had to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions to help draft a new pact on climate change.

India did so early on Friday to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, and pledged to cut emissions by 33-35 percent by 2030, based on the 2005 levels, calling its fair and balanced commitment to protect the environment, based also on its own agenda for economic development.

What are Intended Nationally Determined Contributions and what purpose will they serve? A primer:

These documents are part of the exercise agreed to by the convention members last year to publicly outline what the post-2020 climate actions they intend to take for a proposed, new international agreement. These pledges will largely determine how the world can achieve an ambitious pact on low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

The reason why the documents are important is because it allows members to suggest how they will pair their national policies, their priorities and their intended contributions, based on the present and future circumstances and capabilities, within a larger global framework for collective action.

These documents — submitted thus far by 120 countries, accounting for 85.3 percent of global emissions — will be thoroughly scrutinised by the convention’s secretariat and experts and compiled into a synthesis report to be released by November 1.

On February 27 this year, Switzerland was the first nation to make its submission, followed by the European Union and Latvia on March 6. The United States did on March 31 and India submitted it on October 1 (Paris Time), which was the the last date — but coinciding with Gandhi’s birth date on October 2 back home.

By calling for the documents, the convention has also adopted both the top-down and bottoms up approach which the United Nations advocates. It will reflect, ahead of the Paris meet, the total global commitment on the quantum by which emissions can be cut, facilitating further negotiations.

What the secretariat also desires is that these commitments be clearly communicated to the domestic, as well as international stakeholders, so that they know how these actions can cut global emissions — and all this while integrating priorities like sustainable development, equitable growth and poverty reduction.

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