From Lima to Paris, and beyond: options for ex ante assessment of intended nationally determined contributions under the UNFCCC

van Asselt, Harro / Håkon Sælen / Pieter Pauw
External Publications (2014)

Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers (Nordic Working Papers)


A crucial question in the development of a new climate change agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) centres on the “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs) that Parties have agreed to communicate before the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015.
The word “intended” suggests that contributions put forward by Parties will be subject to some kind of ex ante consideration or assessment prior to the Paris summit. Such a process should help to ensure that internationally agreed objectives and principles are not lost out of sight in a system of nationally determined offers. Furthermore, an ex ante assessment could help to build trust among Parties by enhancing transparency and creating a better and shared understanding of Parties’ intended contributions. While the purposes and usefulness of assessment may thus be clear, questions remain about its design, organization and timing.
Drawing on Party submissions as well as existing literature on review processes inside and outside the UNFCCC, this briefing paper explores options for the design, organization and timing of the ex ante assessment process. On that basis, it identifies key choices to be made in a Lima decision on ex ante assessment of INDCs, and the implications of these choices for the road to Paris. Finally, it discusses the implications of the design, organization and timing of the assessment for future review processes under a Paris agreement.

Further experts

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Science 

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science 

Breuer, Anita

Political Scientist 

Dick, Eva

Sociologist and Spatial Planner 

Dippel, Beatrice


Donnelly, Aiveen

Politcal Science 

Ekoh, Susan S.

Environmental Research 

El-Haddad, Amirah


Fasold, Maximilian

Political Economy 

Goedeking, Nicholas

Comparative Political Economy 

Haldenwang, Christian von

Political Science 

Houdret, Annabelle

Political Scientist 

Lehmann, Ina

Political Science 

Leininger, Julia

Political Scientist 

Malerba, Daniele


Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Morare, Ditebogo Modiegi

Political Science 

Never, Babette

Political Scientist 

Nowack, Daniel

Political Science 

Pegels, Anna


Roll, Michael


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist