Aerial view of agricultural fields on a mountain.

Prioritizing nature in national climate action


Conserving nature is critical to achieving the Paris Agreement goals. Protecting, sustainably managing and restoring forests and natural ecosystems can provide at least 30 percent of the mitigation needed to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Currently, natural climate solutions — actions that conserve, restore or improve the use or management of these ecosystems while increasing carbon storage and/or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions — are underrepresented in existing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). As countries update their NDCs for the post-2020 implementation period, Conservation International and partners have published a “Guide for Including Nature in NDCs” to give a quick summary of the technical resources available to countries as they consider how they might incorporate natural climate solutions.


Cloud forest of the El Dorado Reserve in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia 
© Robin Moore/iLCP

What are NDCs?

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are the main vehicle created under the Paris Agreement for countries to define national goals, policies and finance strategies to contribute to global climate efforts, regularly updated over five-year intervals.

NDCs primarily cover national mitigation targets, but many countries chose to include adaptation, resilience and financial priorities, and to use their NDCs to define their climate change policy commitments more broadly.

The first intended NDCs (INDCs) were submitted in 2015; now, countries are preparing updates to their NDCs in 2020 as implementation begins.


What are natural climate solutions?

Natural climate solutions (NCS) include activities that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), conserve and restore marine ecosystems, and enhance “blue” carbon stocks along coastlines. These actions can additionally provide socio-economic benefits beyond mitigation and adaptation and are critical to accelerating our climate change response.


Guide to Including Nature in Nationally Determined Contributions

A checklist of information and accounting approaches for natural climate solutions

This guide is intended to be a resource for countries as they consider how to use natural climate solutions to achieve their climate goals. This guide provides options to build upon and enhance a country’s NDC by linking to existing guidance. The guide is available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

A complementary resource, “Guidelines on Enhanced Action: A guide on how countries may include blue carbon in their Nationally Determined Contributions,” is also available. This separate resource is intended to support countries to promote and preserve the benefits of coastal ecosystems by providing technical guidance on how to incorporate blue carbon in their NDCs.