Transport in Nationally Determined Contributions

In this time of global emergency, we are reminded that it is more important than ever for countries to set ambitious goals and roadmaps to tackle global warming, working together to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5°C, reducing and avoiding some of the most devastating impacts to our planet and people.

The transport sector’s global emissions are heading in the wrong direction, accounting for the fastest-growing source of emissions around the world. We must change this trend now. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underlines that a pathway for transport which contributes to maintaining global temperature rise below 1.5ºC is possible. However, the transformation of our mobility and transport systems for an equitable 1.5ºC Planet must be prioritised in policy, regulatory and fiscal frameworks.

Ten Recommendations to Raise Ambition for Transport in NDCs

As we collectively work to update and raise ambition in the next generation of Nationally Determined Contributions (or NDCs – efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), we would like to share a set of key recommendations for ways countries can scale up transport ambition in their NDCs. 

Let’s use this moment to alter business as usual for good, and create new pathways to an equitable, climate-friendly and resilient present and future!


It was in 2015 when countries first submitted their NDCs. Of the 166 NDC submissions representing 193 countries, 76% highlighted the transport sector as a mitigation source, but only 8% included transport-specific greenhouse gas mitigation targets.

In terms of Avoid-Shift-Improve strategies, the majority (65%) of mitigation measures mentioned in NDCs represented ‘Improve’ strategies, while only 28% represented ‘Shift’ and 7% represented ‘Avoid’. Only 16% of NDCs included transport adaptation. NDCs also tended to focus more on passenger transport, and less than a quarter referenced freight transport. Read more about transport in the first generation of NDCs here.

The level of ambition for transport needs to drastically increase in this second generation of NDCs. 

Include specific transport sector carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation targets supported by sustainable transport measures

Engage different actors – work with cities and regions, companies, civil society and academia to develop robust and implementable transport targets

Maximise combined transport, climate and sustainability impacts – Use your NDC to align and integrate sustainable low carbon transport strategies with your Paris Agreement Long-Term Strategy and wider sustainable development priorities

Incorporate Avoid, Shift, and Improve strategies to reduce the negative environmental impact of transport and increase equitable access

Shift financing and investment towards low carbon and resilient transport priorities, while making plans to eliminate transport sector fossil fuel subsidies and working to phase out internal combustion engines by the earliest date possible

Integrate urban, transport and land use planning policies and tools to support the achievement of your transport targets

Set goals and plans for the adaptation and resilience of transport systems

Accelerate electrification – Include goals on increasing electrification of buses, cars, vans, and two and three-wheelers; and accompany this with low carbon electricity supply and advanced grid integration

Address freight transport emissions, which account for 40% of energy use in the transport sector

Include goals on aviation and maritime transport – two of the fastest growing sectors

Supporting Organisations

The recommendations have been compiled by the SLOCAT Partnership in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)‘s Changing Transport, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), and the World Resources Institute (WRI), following an open consultation with additional contributions from: Alstom, the Climate Group, IDDRI, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), the International Union of Railways (UIC), and Walk 21.

In collaboration with:

With contributions from:

Endorsed by:

SLOCAT’s work on this campaign is supported by:

Climate Strategies for Transport: An Analysis of Nationally Determined Contributions and Long-Term Strategies

This report analyses trends in the transport decarbonisation ambition, targets and actions in the climate strategies submitted by countries in the framework of the Paris Agreement. Specifically, the analysis focuses on Long-Term Strategies (LTS) starting from 2016 and on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) starting from 2019. On the basis of the analysis, the report seeks to establish to what extent climate action in transport by countries is on track to deliver on the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming below 1.5 °C. The report also identifies gaps and shortcomings in the transport dimension of these national climate strategies; while it provides recommendations on how to enhance it. 

The information featured in this analysis is based on data in the Tracker of Climate Strategies for Transport, a database on ambition, targets and policies in NDCs and LTS of the Paris Agreement, jointly developed by the Advancing Transport Climate Strategies in Rapidly Motorising Countries (TraCS) project by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and SLOCAT Secretariat. Along with this tracker, GIZ has summarised the key insights from the LTS and second-generation NDCs here.

Climate Strategies for Transport: An Analysis of Nationally Determined Contributions and Long-Term Strategies – Full report

Climate Strategies for Transport: An Analysis of Nationally Determined Contributions and Long-Term Strategies – Executive Summary

The current analysis covers long-term strategies and newly submitted NDCs until 12 October 2021. A significant number of new documents has been submitted to the UNFCCC since then. In addition, a major outcome of COP26 is that Parties to the UNFCCC are requested to update their pledges by the end of 2022. This analysis of the climate strategies will be consequently updated in due course and any NDCs eventually submitted in 2022 will be included as they become available.

Tracker of Climate Strategies for Transport

SLOCAT, together with GIZ’s Advancing Transport Climate Strategies (TraCS) project assesses the ambition, targets and policies in NDCs and Long-Term Strategies. The Tracker of Climate Strategies for Transport pays special attention to the level of ambition of the transport sector in the NDCs with the focus on target-setting, adaptation and resilience in transport and the scope of transport sub-sectors included.

You can find the interactive Tracker of Climate Strategies for Transport here. An infographic about the first summary analysis of May 2021 has been prepared here.

The database will be expanded with the newest NDCs as they are submitted. In order to be as transparent as possible as well as to enable other organisations to come to their own conclusions of the role of transport in the NDCs, we will make the database that is underlying our analysis publicly available.

Movin’ On Community of Interest on NDCs

SLOCAT, together with the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), is leading the Movin’On Community of Interest on NDCs. The objective of the community of interest is to explore how the business community can support the decarbonisation of transport through the revision of NDCs and their implementation on the ground. 

The first session of the community of interest was held virtually in early January 2021. It will be followed by an in-person session at the Movin’On Summit in June 2021.  The activities will be continued until the end of COP26 in Glasgow.


In partnership with EUROCLIMA+, SLOCAT supports transport ambition within Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Latin America and the Caribbean through the facilitation of peer learning workshops and seminars; moderation of the NDC channel in the regional Community of Practice on sustainable urban mobility, and deployment of the Transport in NDCs campaign in Spanish.  Read more

NDC Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA)

In partnership with NDC-TIA, SLOCAT organised and delivered a workshop led by ICF for national governments in Asia on incorporating transport into LTS in September.
SLOCAT is among the implementing organisations of NDC-TIA; a project by the International Climate Initiative of the German Ministry of Environment that aims to develop a holistic approach to decarbonise the transport sector in India, China and Vietnam. Read more

Additional Resources

Shared Database for Transport in NDCs

This file includes supporting case studies and resources by recommendation and is continuously being updated. Feel free to contribute!

Enhancing Climate Ambition in Transport

Six Action Recommendations for Policymakers to Align Transport with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Agenda

Enhancing NDCs: Opportunities in Transport

This aims to help countries incorporate ambitious, relevant, and tangible transportation solutions into enhanced NDCs