Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs)

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Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) are policies, programmes and projects that developing countries undertake to contribute to the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction efforts. They are central instruments in addressing the GHG emission reductions of the developing countries.


“NAMAs refer to any action that reduces emissions in developing countries and is prepared under the umbrella of a national governmental initiative. They can be policies directed at transformational change within an economic sector, or actions across sectors for a broader national focus. NAMAs are supported and enabled by technology, financing, and capacity-building and are aimed at achieving a reduction in emissions relative to 'business as usual' emissions in 2020.”[1]

There are two different contexts for NAMAs:[1]

  • At the National Level as a formal submission by Parties declaring intent to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in a manner commensurate with their capacity and in line with their national development goals;
  • At the Individual Action Level as detailed actions or groups of actions designed to help a country meet their mitigation objectives within the context of national development goals.

NAMAs are diverse, ranging from project based mitigation actions to sectoral programmes or policies. They are either in preparation phase or in implementation phase, depending on the individual country.[1]

History of NAMAs

In 2007, one of the agreed outcomes of the Bali Action Plan was that the developing country Parties will take Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in the context of sustainable development.[1]

At COP 15 in 2009, 114 countries agreed to the Copenhagen Accord and committed to undertaking mitigation actions as part of a shared responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including an agreement to financially support the developing countries.[2]

At COP 16 in 2010, developed countries agreed in Cancún to establish a Green Climate Fund to provide financing for the developing countries. Their intention was to mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020.[2] By the end of 2010, around 25 developing countries have announced their NAMAs.[3]

At COP17 in Durban in 2011, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) was launched. The Fund channels funds for developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the negative impacts of climate change.[2]

At COP 18 in Doha in 2012, several countries announced financial assistance through the “NAMA Facility”, among them the UK and Germany.[4] E.g. in 2017, Germany and UK committed to fund up to EUR 60 million for seven NAMA projects, among them included a Revolving Loan Fund project for the uptake of Institutional ICS for schools in Uganda.[5]

At COP 19 in Warsaw in 2013, a non-binding deadline for emissions reductions targets called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) was established. Furthermore, the coordination of NAMA support was also organised.[6]

At COP 20 in Lima in 2014, developing countries shared their experiences in moving towards low carbon development during the “NAMA day”.[7]

At COP 21 in Paris in 2015, NAMAs that are contributing towards moving developing countries along a low-emissions development trajectory and helping to inspire further transformational action on the ground were showcased during the “NAMA fair”.[8] The NAMA facility also announced to fund projects in Kenya, China and Colombia.[9]

At COP 22 in Marrakesh in 2016, the “Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action” was established.

The number of NAMA proposals and concepts continues to grow steadily and surely.[10]

All these efforts have defined the mitigation framework for developing countries, but none of the decisions taken have clearly defined neither the scope nor the content of the NAMAs. Nonetheless, developing countries are in the process of formulating NAMAs to satisfy their obligations under the UNFCCC. This process is both bottom-up and country-driven and will help to identify, formulate and implement institutional arrangements and interactions necessary for NAMAs.[11] Therefore, it builds capacity development for developing countries to implement the international mitigation framework post-2020.[11]

NAMAs and Other Intentions


“Efforts to reduce emissions in developing countries are not a new phenomenon. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has been used in many developing countries for over a decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through project- based approaches aimed at introducing clean technologies, including renewable energies, and improving efficiency in a variety of greenhouse-gas emitting processes. In contrast to the CDM, NAMAs need not be project-based. NAMAs do not necessarily address point-sources of emissions or result in the issuance of carbon credits to be bought and sold in the carbon market. A NAMA is simply any action that ultimately contributes to greenhouse gas emission reductions while addressing the development needs of a country. While a NAMA may encompass a specific project or measure to reduce emissions in the short-term, it may also encompass policies, strategies and research programs that lead to emissions reductions in the long-term.”[12]

NAMAs and (I)NDC

The experiences made, information processed, and capacities and institutions built during NAMA development and implementation provide a strong basis for (I)NDC to be developed. NAMAs are important tools and building blocks for the implementation of NDCs.[13]

  • NAMAs are voluntarily and the concept of NAMAs is rather defined by experience and practice than by rules set up by the UNFCCC. INDC is feed into a legally binding mitigation commitment under the 2015 Paris agreement. After the Paris agreement, the word “intended” was dropped and INDC officially become Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). NCDs must be transparent, quantifiable, comparable, verifiable and ambitious.Furthermore, NAMAs are developed and implemented pre-2020, while NDCs are developed pre-2020 and implemented starting 2020 with undefined end year.[11]
  • In their INDCs, some countries explicitly referred to NAMAs as tools for NDC implementation, for example Documents/Mongolia/1/150924_INDCs of Mongolia.pdf Mongolia.[13]
  • INDCs are ambitions and NAMAs are actions. Therefore, NAMAs and INDCs are different but complementary concepts.[10]

More information on the relationship between NAMAs and INDCs can be found here:

Status of NAMAs

As of 1 September 2016, a total of 136 NAMAs seek support for preparation (47%), implementation (46%) or recognition (7%). The regional distribution of NAMAs is as follows: mostly coming from Latin America and the Caribbean (32%), closely followed by Asia-Pacific (30%) and Africa (24%).[14]

UNFCCC Registry

The UNFCCC NAMA Registry is a public online platform and lists all submissions to the UNFCCC by developing countries and the submissions on finance by developed countries. Since 2013, official planners and supporters of NAMAs can rely on this trusted and transparent tool. Also, other investors can look for interesting opportunities for specific country projects’ offers.[14]

Information on measurement, reporting and verification of mitigation actions is found under National Communications and Biennial Update Reports from Non-Annex I Parties.

Supporting Structures for NAMAs

The NAMA Pipeline Analysis and Database

The NAMA Pipeline Analysis and Database contains all submissions to the UNFCCC from the developing countries and the countries in transition for Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions. Induced by the current developments in international climate negotiations, not all of those submissions have not yet been formalized.

NAMA Partnership

This is a group of multilateral organizations, bilateral cooperation agencies and think tanks that have come together to work on NAMAs. The international partnership on NAMAs has been created with the objective to enhance collaboration and complementarity of the activities of the different organizations to accelerate support to developing countries in preparation and implementation of their NAMAs.


The NAMAcademy, established by the UNEP Risø Centre for Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development (URC), on the 1st of November 2012 brings together facilities and personnel from the UNEP Risø Center and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The NAMAcademy facilitators are seasoned professionals in climate change covering all relevant subjects from sustainable development to finance and from prioritization tools to MRV. Most have done extensive facilitation in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The NAMAcademy offers an e-learning (course free of charge) programme on conceptualizing NAMAs followed by a one week classroom course. The classroom course is organized at changing locations in Denmark and may also be set up in NAMA host countries.

NAMAs and Energy

This guidebook is intended to help countries to develop Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) for energy efficient lighting programs. It should be able to help any country in any stage of the development or implementation of a national strategy for energy efficient lighting, by guiding the user through any number of appropriate steps and offering advice and services as part of the user experience.

The paper concludes that it is “hardly surprising that renewable energy is a focus area for countries of all levels of development”. Many countries even indicate targets for particular sources of renewable energy which is useful information for investors and development organisations. The poorer a group of countries, the stronger is the focus on adaptation, and as well finance needs are indicated more frequently.


NAMAs are “an important tool for developing countries in implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.”[14] NAMAs are very diverse actions as they include “quantified emission reductions below 'business as usual', intensity targets, sectoral policies and programmes, investment projects, and others”.[15] Some developing countries have also included conditional context on the need for finance, technology and capacity building.[15]

The structure and set up of NAMAs is clear. Furthermore, NAMAs contribute to the capacity development in developing countries in order to implement the post-2020 agenda.[11] However, especially the financing needs for substantial mitigation actions requires major efforts to be raised.[2] Financing and capacity are both very important in order to further develop and implement the NDCs.[4] NAMAs can function as an important building block to implement NDCs under the Paris Agreement.[5]

Many countries have made great efforts since 2010 despite the fact that “initiatives to assist developing countries to prepare and implement NAMAs are scattered, uncoordinated and in short supply”[16]. However, “multilateral, bilateral and other organizations are in the process of supporting developing countries”.[16]

Ongoing efforts and plans to mitigate on national level can be included in the NAMAs, which is “a major motivation for developing countries to engage and commit to them”[17]. Therefore, NAMAs are one of the most promising tool mitigate GHG and even receive international support.[17] For the Status Report on NAMAs is it clear that NAMAs will continue to play an important role in delivering transformational change and sustainable development.“[10]

Further Information


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 ‘FOCUS: Mitigation - NAMAs, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions’. Accessed 8 May 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ecofys. ‘NAMAs - NAMA Database’, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dr. Barbara Hendricks. ‘Rede von Dr. Barbara Hendricks Zur Eröffnung Des 7. Petersberger Klimadialogs - BMUB-Rede’., 7 June 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. ‘United Kingdom and Germany Ready to Support 7 NAMA Projects’. Nama News, 21 March 2017.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Harms, Natalie, and Xander van Tilburg, eds. ‘Status Report on Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) Mid-Year Update 2015’, 2015.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Sharma, Sudhir, and Denis Desgain. Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action: Understanding NAMA Cycle. United Nations Environment Programme, 2014.
  12. Bruer, Verena. ‘Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) - giz2013-En-Climate-Nama.pdf’. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, 2013.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Climate Change GIZ. ‘NAMA Tool: Steps for Moving a NAMA from Idea towards Implementation | International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV’. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, August 2016.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. ‘Update NAMA Development and Support under the Registry’. Nama News, 31 October 2016.
  15. 15.0 15.1 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. ‘Overview of Institutions, Mechanisms and Arrangements under the Convention’, 2014.
  16. 16.0 16.1 NAMA Partnership,
  17. 17.0 17.1 Allen, H., & Stonehill, M. (2012). NAMA submissions to the UNFCCC: An overview from a transport perspective. Retrieved from