10 propositions for success: Integrating international climate change commitments into national development planning

A new report by Neil Bird of ODI and Claire Monkhouse and Katharine Booth of CDKN examines how to support the successful integration of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) into national development planning.

The adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 signalled a major transition in the international climate change governance regime. The Agreement outlines the agreed global process for when the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2020. One of the building blocks of the Agreement is the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), to which individual countries commit, in order to achieve the objective of keeping global warming as far as possible below 2°C, with the aim of 1.5°C. NDCs reflect each country’s ambition for reducing emissions, considering their domestic circumstances and capabilities. In addition, developing countries have given emphasis in their first NDCs to how they will adapt to the impacts of climate change, and the finance and other forms of support they will need to deliver their commitments and action. In future, countries will be required to submit updated and more ambitious NDCs every five years, starting in 2020. Consequently, NDCs are now central to the long-term international and domestic climate change policy landscape.

The paper develops a set of ten propositions that, if followed, would likely secure this objective. Each proposition is examined using evidence primarily from seven countries where the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) has supported the development and early implementation of NDCs. It provides illustrations of these propositions in practice, drawing on experience from CDKN’s technical assistance and elsewhere.

The evidence suggests that the policy and planning framework in the seven countries examined is generally supportive of mainstreaming climate change actions into national development planning; that there are challenges in securing institutional effectiveness for the delivery of NDC commitments, often reflecting differing capacities across sectors and different levels of government; and that the financing of NDCs remains unclear, being dependent to-date on national budget allocations for which there has been limited monitoring of the relevant spending.

Download the report here: 10 propositions for success: Integrating international climate change commitments into national development planning

Resilient Monroe Resource Atlas


United States
41° 54' 59.1624" N, 83° 23' 51.756" W

Resilient Monroe is a land-use planning and community design project in southeast Michigan sponsored by the City of Monroe, Frenchtown Charter Township and Monroe Charter Township. Together, these three local governments are planning for successful, resilient community adaptation to the social, environmental and economic challenges presented by climate change.

Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment

The National Climate Assessment assesses the science of climate change and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It documents climate change related impacts and responses for various sectors and regions, with the goal of better informing public and private decision-making at all levels.

A team of more than 300 experts, guided by a 60-member National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee produced the full report – the largest and most diverse team to produce a U.S. climate assessment. Stakeholders involved in the development of the assessment included decision-makers from the public and private sectors, resource and environmental managers, researchers, representatives from businesses and non-governmental organizations, and the general public. More than 70 workshops and listening sessions were held, and thousands of public and expert comments on the draft report provided additional input to the process.

The assessment draws from a large body of scientific peer-reviewed research, technical input reports, and other publicly available sources; all sources meet the standards of the Information Quality Act. The report was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the 13 Federal agencies of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the Federal Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability.

Climate Ready Communities: A Strategy for Adapting to Impacts of Climate Change on the Oregon Coast

This strategy was created to help coastal decision-makers, legislators, and the public look ahead to possible effects of global climate change on the Oregon coast and to help frame a process for coastal communities and agencies of the State of Oregon to work together to plan for those effects. The goal is resilient, Climate-Ready Coastal Communities.

This strategy for adaptation sets the stage for coordinated planning and action by coastal cities and counties, state agencies, and businesses, individuals, and non-governmental organizations. It frames basic steps needed to prepare adaptation plans and to implement them over time.

Advancing Climate Research and Expertise Through the Ontario Climate Consortium


United States
43° 56' 24.3564" N, 80° 19' 55.3116" W

The Ontario Climate Consortium (OCC or Consortium) represents a distributed collective of scientists, researchers and practitioners from across Ontario with a focus on addressing climate change issues pertinent to Ontario and beyond. The OCC has its origins in an original partnership formed by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and York University in 2010 with the development of the Climate Consortium for Research Action Integration (CC-RAI).

Recommendations to Improve the Strength and Resilience of the Empire State’s Infrastructure

On November 15, 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo convened the NYS 2100 Commission in response to the recent, and unprecedented, severe weather events experienced by New York State and the surrounding region: most recently, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. The Governor asked the Commission to examine and evaluate key vulnerabilities in the State’s critical infrastructure systems, and to recommend actions that should be taken to strengthen and improve the resilience of those systems. If done right, we have a tremendous opportunity not only to mitigate future damage and subsequent economic losses, but to invigorate New York’s economy with a robust green technology sector and to enhance quality-of-life for all New Yorkers.

The Commission reviewed the vulnerabilities faced by the State’s infrastructure systems, and developed specific recommendations that can be implemented to increase New York’s resilience in five main areas: transportation, energy, land use, insurance, and infrastructure finance. These recommendations are aimed to:

  • Identify immediate actions that should be taken to mitigate or strengthen existing infrastructure systems – some of which suffered damage in the recent storms – to improve normal functioning and to withstand extreme weather more effectively in the future;
  • Identify infrastructure projects that would, if realized over a longer term, help to bring not only greater climate resilience but also other significant economic and quality of life benefits to New York State’s communities;
  • Assess long-term options for the use of “hard” barriers and natural systems to protect coastal communities;
  • Create opportunities to integrate resilience planning, protection and development approaches into New York’s economic development decisions and strategies; and
  • Shape reforms in the area of investment, insurance and risk management related to natural disasters and other emergencies.

Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Climate Change Adaptation in San Francisco Bay: Results from Case Studies

The research goals of this project were threefold: (1) to systematically identify the adaptation barriers encountered by local government entities in San Francisco Bay; (2) to test empirically the robustness and usefulness of a diagnostic framework (previously developed by the authors) so as to modify or refine its components; and (3) to draw larger lessons about the adaptation process and the importance of adaptation barriers—even in highly developed nations—for the scientific community in terms of future research priorities and for policy-makers.

To fulfill these goals, an in-depth study of five California case studies in the San Francisco Bay region (Hayward, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Marin Counties, and the regional adaptation process) was undertaken. Relevant data were collected through key informant interviews, public documents, observation of and/or participation in public meetings, and a statewide survey.

The study found growing, but still very limited activities in the case studies. Institutional and attitudinal barriers dominate, but economic barriers are also important, even in wealthy locales. Leadership emerged as a critical factor in moving them forward on adaptation. Science mattered some, but policy and planning opportunities were more significant in motivating or launching the adaptation process. The study also found that communities have assets, aids, and advantages that can help them avoid barriers and that there is significant opportunity to affect and overcome the barriers that are being encountered in the “here and now.” However, local communities need outside intervention to address “legacy” and “remote” barriers. With still very little visible adaptation activity “on the ground,” the study concluded that a big portion of what communities are doing to date is working on overcoming the barriers to adaptation instead.

Coastal States’ Climate Adaptation Initiatives: Sea Level Rise and Municipal Engagement

Sea level rise (SLR) is expected to become an increasingly prominent challenge for all levels of government as the climate changes. Complicating matters is the multi-jurisdictional nature of coastal zone management in the United States. Many of the potential measures to reduce the impacts of SLR are in the hands of municipalities, including changing building codes and land-use regulations; maintaining critical infrastructure; and protecting communities from flooding and other risks. Despite their autonomy and responsibility, municipalities will typically rely on resources and guidance from higher levels of government, and will also be subject to the restrictions these higher levels impose. Given the increasing importance of addressing SLR across the US, this relationship between states and municipalities is worthy of consideration.

This paper explores how states and municipalities interact to address SLR, providing an overview of the state of practice, some reasons for different levels of action, and some of the needs of municipalities. We conclude with a set of recommendations for states as they attempt to support municipalities:

  • Provide funding and material resources;
  • Provide downscaled climate data and easy-to-use information;
  • Provide process support;
  • Coordinate and provide consistency at the state level;
  • Raise the profile of SLR adaptation;
  • Instigate and support coordination at the most appropriate level; and
  • Tailor responses to the context.


Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts: A Bottom-Up Approach to Developing Climate Change Adaptation Strategies


United States
44° 42' 18.3816" N, 89° 49' 27.1884" W

The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) was created to support the efforts of multiple stakeholders charged with identifying vulnerabilities to climate change and developing adaptation strategies. WICCI released an impacts and adaptation strategies assessment in 2011 as a first step toward developing a statewide climate change adaptation strategy.

The Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources’ Climate Adaptation Initiatives


United States
46° 22' 9.0084" N, 80° 51' 33.75" W

The Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR) is mandated to communicate climate science, facilitate the development and implementation of adaptation strategies, cultivate local and regional partnerships, and support the measures recommended by Ontario’s Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation.