Stories Behind the Adaptation Commitments in the Nationally Determined Contributions of Cambodia, Rwanda, Colombia, and Fiji

1. Introduction

Although nationally determined contributions (NDCs) were initially meant to communicate greenhouse gas emissions abatement in a bottom-up manner, countries are voluntarily including adaptation commitments in their NDCs as important elements of global climate action. To date, most analyses of adaptation components of the NDCs (adaptation NDCs) have focused on global assessments of trends (Dixit et al. 2022), the least developed countries (LDCs; Sejal et al. 2019), and assessing the NDCs using a gender scorecard (CARE and CANSA 2021). These publications, however, do not analyze the detailed process countries followed to develop adaptation NDCs nor how the NDCs fit within the adaptation governance architecture at the national level.

This working paper presents case studies from Cambodia, Rwanda, Colombia, and Fiji, describing the process these governments followed to develop their adaptation NDCs. It builds on the World Resources Institute (WRI) working paper “State of the Nationally Determined Contributions: Enhancing Adaptation Ambition,” which presents key findings from an assessment of the adaptation components of 86 updated NDCs submitted until June 30, 2021 (Dixit et al. 2022). Based on that assessment, the authors chose four countries with NDCs with extensive adaptation components (see Section 2 for details). This analysis focuses on identifying good practices and lessons learned as well as key enabling factors that led to the development of strong adaptation NDCs.

Section 2 discusses the methodology of country selection and criteria for assessing adaptation NDC development. Section 3 presents detailed analyses of the NDC development processes for the four countries. Section 4 presents key findings synthesized from across the four countries. Section 5 provides a set of recommendations for improving the development of adaptation NDCs and advancing implementation. Finally, Section 6 concludes the paper.

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