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NDC conditionality and Article 6 – An analysis of African countries’ updated NDCs

Publication Overview

Publication Date: 05-2021

The demarcation between conditional and unconditional targets continues to play an important role in the most recent NDC submissions. In developing countries, the conditional component has often been linked to international support, including through Article 6 carbon markets. However, the UNFCCC does not provide clear guidance on what NDC conditionality means and how to apply it. A lack of conceptual clarity opens space for different applications in NDCs, with potential consequences for access to Article 6 cooperative approaches.

Based on reviewing relevant UNFCCC documents, literature assessing the first set of NDCs, Article 6 buyer documents, and an analysis of the latest African NDC submissions, this short study aims to provide a clearer understanding of how the conditionality of NDC targets may influence Article 6 cooperation. In the absence of international guidance, countries have developed their own interpretation of how to use the carbon market to achieve their updated NDCs. This study proposes a first typology for the link between NDC conditionality and Article 6 carbon markets. However, the study also argues that NDC conditionality alone is an insufficient indicator for Article 6 eligibility. Hence, it recommends undertaking further checks and balances at activity level to ensure environmental integrity. Nevertheless, the study suggests that working towards a shared understanding of NDC conditionality can increase the certainty of expectations in Article 6 cooperation and enhance transparency.

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