Safeguarding sustainable development through bold climate action: UNDP’s Climate Promise

December 6, 2019


Our world is at a crossroads. As the latest World Meteorological Organization data confirms, 2019 concludes a decade of unprecedented global heat, melting ice and rising sea levels, driven by human activities. 

Yet, current national climate targets under the Paris Agreement - known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs - are inadequate to put us on a safe and sustainable path to climate neutrality by 2050. And greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change have been on the rise since the landmark decision was reached in 2015. 

It is clear that unprecedented climate action is needed more urgently than ever to reverse this momentum. If not, we risk losing decades of sustainable development gains and fail our youth and future generations who deserve to inherit a healthy and prosperous planet. That is why UNDP has launched its own ambitious undertaking, the Climate Promise. 

What is the Climate Promise?

The Climate Promise is our commitment to support at least 100 countries enhance their NDCs by 2020. We will work with countries to make their NDCs more technically robust and include new ways governments can step up their climate actions, as well as finance these bold new goals.

We will build on our ongoing work on climate change and tap our vast team of sustainable development experts around the world to make this a reality.

Our teams will support countries in undertaking an inclusive and transparent process to revise their NDCs that engages government at all levels, as well as citizens, private sector, and other key stakeholders and partners – bringing all voices to the table to agree ways to curb GHG emissions while also creating more resilient communities and protecting natural spaces.   

How will it work?

Countries seeking to be ambition champions, small island developing states (SIDS), and high emitters are UNDP’s top priorities under the Promise.  A menu of services for NDC enhancement will be tailored to each country’s unique context and needs. 

Technical support will be delivered by, or in close coordination with, key strategic partners -- most notably the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and UNICEF.

How is this financed?

We have committed USD 25 million of core resources for the Climate Promise, which is additional to our ongoing climate support. We are also mobilizing resources from key donors such as Germany, EU, Spain, Italy, and Sweden, and working in close collaboration with the NDC Partnership, which launched its own ambitious Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP) this year.

What is the current status of the Climate Promise?

In less than three months since the official launch in New York in September, the roll-out of the Climate Promise is at full speed. 

Capitalising on UNDP’s global footprint of country offices, talks are underway with governments to understand how we can help them to deliver more ambitious NDCs in 2020. Currently, these include 35 Least Developed Countries, 36 small island development states and 17 top-30 emitters. 

More than 60 governments have already signalled their interest in receiving assistance from UNDP and our partners. Concrete work plans are now being finalized.

What is happening at COP25 in Madrid?

To maintain momentum, UNDP and IRENA are co-organizing a high-level event on 11 December at COP25. The event - Enhancing NDCs and Raising Ambition: Partnerships for Delivering UNDP’s Climate Promise - will focus on the future of NDC implementation, including the critical role of renewables and energy transitions for addressing climate change. 

The event targets government representatives and includes other key partners supporting work to enhance NDCs by 2020.  It will provide information on what is already being done, what is planned, and what more is needed to successfully achieve the vision of the Climate Promise.