Two ACP States among the first four Nations to Submit Stronger Climate Plans (NDCs). Who’s Next?

Two ACP Countries, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Suriname are leading the way on climate change. Along with Norway and the Republic of Moldova, these ACP countries have according to the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) NDC Tracker, already submitted their enhanced National Climate action plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).


Out of the 197 parties to the 2015 Paris Agreement, 107 countries have pledged to update their national climate plans (NDCs) every five years. 2020 is therefore, a pivotal year for these countries, in testing their intent to strengthen their commitments and reduce emissions enough to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.


ACP Countries who collectively contribute to a tiny share of global emissions are among the ones that will be most impacted by climate change. Republic of the Marshall Islands and Suriname are setting the examples of how two vulnerable countries already endangered by the impacts of climate change, are fully committed to doing their share in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


According to the WRI:


Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands was the first country to submit an enhanced NDC, in November 2018, almost two years ahead of the UN climate summit in Glasgow (COP26) in December 2020. The NDC makes its previous target of reducing emissions 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 binding while setting a new indicative target to reduce emissions at least 58% below 2010 levels by 2035. In its upgraded NDC, Marshall Islands’ also reaffirms its aspiration to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.


While the country represents a tiny share of global emissions, it plays a leadership role in promoting international climate action, including through its prominent roles in the High Ambition Coalition and in the Climate Vulnerable Forum. Its efforts to curb emissions are particularly ambitious for a small island nation already experiencing irreversible changes that threaten its existence, when it could have simply focused on adaptation. In its electricity roadmap, the Marshall Islands emphasizes the importance of energy security and a reduction in its imports of fossil fuels. By 2025, the country aims to have its major grids able to run on “diesel-off” mode, using 100% renewable energy, during part at least part of the day.


In December 2019, Suriname became the second nation to submit a new NDC. The country accounts for 0.01% of global GHGs and is a carbon-negative country — its forests absorb more GHG emissions than the country emits.


Suriname did not set a top-line emissions-reduction target but instead focused on targets and measures in forests, power, agriculture, and transport, sectors that represent 70% of the country’s emissions. Suriname plans to power 35% of its electricity grid with renewable energy in 2030, improve public transport, and tighten vehicle emissions by 2027 (the transportation sector was not included in the country’s last national climate plan.) The NDC also commits Suriname to expand protected areas for forests and wetlands to cover 17% of the country by 2030, up from the 14% specified in its previous NDC. Suriname also introduced a national land-use planning system to limit emissions from agricultural land clearing and promote agricultural research.


Suriname’s greatest asset is its forests, which cover about 95% of the country. To take advantage of these forests and the ecosystem services they supply, Suriname is developing the world’s first-ever financial market for natural assets, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and a U.S. company called the Intrinsic Value Exchange.