Quick Facts

Before diving deeper into the adaptation content of the NDCs, this Quick Facts section aims to provide comprehensive background information on topics such as the different types of NDC submissions, which constitute the starting base of TAAN, therein included are adaptation goals, the issue of ambition raising and many more.

1. What are INDCs, NDCs and NDC Updates?

The Conference of the Parties (COP19) in Warsaw invited all Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to communicate their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). Six years later, with the ratification of the Paris Agreement at COP21 in 2015, these INDCs were transformed into nationally determined contributions (NDCs) unless countries submitted a new and revised NDC to support national climate mitigation and adaptation. As only little guidance was available when the INDCs were first submitted, as well as due to a multiplicity of national backgrounds, NDCs are showing a great variety regarding their content, scope and form.

Overall, NDCs shall contain post 2020 climate goals and actions to

  • limit global warming to well below 2 °C, preferably to 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels
  • have net zero emissions in the second half of the 21st century
  • and include components on mitigation, adaptation, financial support, technology transfer, transparency and capacity building.

To date, 193* out of 196 state Parties have submitted their first NDCs. (as of mid-January 2022)

Type of contribution


Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)

The COP19 in Warsaw called upon every member state, regardless of its development status, to prepare an INDC for the post-2020 period by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)

With the ratification of the Paris Agreement, INDCs were transformed into NDCs unless a country chose to submit an updated version of the NDC. NDCs are a central feature of the Paris Agreement and represent a bottom-up approach which presents the national mitigation and adaptation actions that a country is intending to take in order to address climate change.

* TAAN does not inlcude the data of Eritrea’s submission as the country is not a Party to the Paris Agreement.

2. How is ambition raised over time?

Every five years, the Paris Agreement foresees all parties to submit a revised and more ambitious version of its NDCs. The aim of these enhanced NDCs is to improve former NDC components on mitigation, adaptation or transparency by setting more ambitious goals, committing more financial resources, including stakeholders and marginalised communities or enhancing its monitoring and evaluation framework. While the NDCs have to be submitted in 2020 and thereafter within a five-year cycle, the INDCs did not set a clear timeframe yet. This has led to a variation in timeframes, with some countries adopting a five-year and others a ten-year timeframe. Therefore, countries with an NDC timeframe ending by 2025 have been requested to communicate a renewed NDC by 2020. Those countries whose NDCs include a timeframe ending by 2030, on the other hand, have been requested to communicate an updated NDC by 2020. Moreover, every five years, starting from 2023, a global stock take will assess the collective progress towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Many countries have already followed the lead and stated that their submitted documents show an increase in ambition. To obtain a more comprehensive overview to what extent the NDCs propose an extended scope, new measures or a more inclusive approach to adaptation planning, the TAAN also offers a specific overview which can be found under ‘NDC Enhancement’. This area enables you to compare the adaptation content of different submissions within one country.

3. How many NDCs include an adaptation component?

In case an NDC dedicates a specific section or chapter to adaptation, it is considered an adaptation component in TAAN. The graph below outlines the distribution of adaptation components in the NDCs by region. While almost all African countries chose to include an adaptation component in the first and second round of NDCs, the NDC of the EU, for instance, does not include an adaptation component, even though a European Adaptation Strategy as well as several national adaptation strategies of its member states have been developed.

Share of NDCs with adaptation component by region [in %]

Hover over the graph to see the exact percentage

Source: TAAN database

4. How is adaptation treated in the current NDCs?

Contrary to the mitigation section, countries are not obliged to include adaptation elements in their NDCs, though they are explicitly invited to do so. Furthermore, countries can choose to present their adaptation goals and action within the framework of the NDCs, or other submissions, such as their national adaptation plans (NAPs), their adaptation communications, their national communications or biennial transparency reports (BTRs). However, most countries chose to specifically incorporate an adaptation component in their NDCs.

Within the NDCs, adaptation has been included in different ways. While some NDCs entirely focus on adaptation, others only include a smaller section or only a few lines. Therefore, the provided scope and detail varies tremendously and while some countries highlight adaptation as a main priority, stressing the close link between adaptation and sustainable development, others do not present it as a national priority. 

The Pocket Guide to NDCs states that in case a country decides to dedicate a more detailed section of its NDC to adaptation, it commonly includes information on key impacts, vulnerabilities and priority adaptation needs. Moreover, most countries mention national adaptation plans and strategies, and may provide further details on planning, mainstreaming, implementation and, monitoring and evaluation of adaptation. In short, “the adaptation components of the NDCs constitute a representative overview of how countries, building on the progress made so far, intend to deal with adaptation, including the costs, in coming decades”.¹


¹ Taibi, Fatima-Zhara and Konrad, Susanne (2018). Pocket Guide to NDCs under the UNFCCC, p.35.

What is the level of detail of planned adaptation? [number of submissions with adaptation component]

Hover over the graph to see the exact number

Source: TAAN database

5. What is the current status of the NAP process within the countries?

With the aim to integrate adaptation considerations into all relevant domestic policies and strategies, the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) was established under the 2010 UNFCCC Cancun Adaptation Framework. NAPs aim to identify medium- and long-term adaptation needs as well as potential strategies for implementation.

The following graph shows the overall distribution of how many countries have already submitted to NAP Central or are currently preparing a NAP.

Current status of the NAP process [out of all 196 countries]

Source: TAAN database

6. Which other specific adaptation policies are mentioned within the NDCs? 

The Paris Agreement calls for countries to engage in national adaptation planning processes. Within the adaptation sections in their NDCs, many countries refer to other specific policies related to adaptation which are currently underway or already successfully completed. The graph below gives an overview of which of these policies have been mentioned within the first rounds of NDCs. These policies include the NAPs, which have already been discussed in the previous section, Adaptation Communications, National Communications (only non-Annex I) as well as the Biennial Transparency Report (BTR).

Which other specific adaptation policies are mentioned within the NDCs?​ 

Hover over the graph to see the exact number

1. NDC

Updated 1. NDC or 2. NDC

Source: TAAN database

7. What types of adaptation goals are included in the NDCs?

Countries have presented qualitative as well as quantitative adaptation goals for the implementation of their NDCs. Maybe not surprisingly, the majority of adaptation goals are only of qualitative nature. Some NDCs contain both qualitative and quantitative goals and very few NDCs contain only quantitative goals.

Adaptation Goals included in the NDCs [in %]

Hover over the graph to see the exact percentage

Source: TAAN database