Recommendations on South Africa's draft updated nationally determined contribution (ndc)

​The NDC is a statement of South Africa’s plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change, as well as how to finance those plans. The NDC focuses in particular on the next decade, and contains targets for emission reductions and climate actions to be undertaken by 2025 and 2030. The NDC will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the build-up to COP 26 as part of the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.


The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) published its updated draft NDC for public comment, with the view to solicit inputs from all stakeholders before the NDC is approved by Cabinet and submitted to the UNFCCC. The DFFE also conducted stakeholder consultation workshops in each province and with different sectors. As part of this process the PCC was requested by the Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to conduct public hearings and to make recommendations to government on the draft NDC.


The PCC held hearings on 7th May 2021, at which stakeholders and social partners expressed their views and areas of consensus and disagreement were identified. Further modelling work was undertaken to understand the feasibility and socio-economic implications of different mitigation targets, as well as research on means of support. The Commission considered the stakeholder inputs and the results of the additional research on 4th June 2021 and discussed and agreed on recommendations for the government to consider in the updated NDC.  

This Recommendation Report was handed to the President of the Republic on the 1st of July 2021 and is available to download below



The Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) welcomes South Africa’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC, reflecting a substantial increase in ambition in line with the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

With its updated NDC, South Africa intends to limit GHG emissions to 398-510 MtCO2e by 2025, and to 350-420 MtCO2e by 2030, significantly lower than the mitigation targets communicated in 2016, and in line with the recommendations proposed by the PCC. These new targets will also see South Africa’s emissions decline in absolute terms from 2025, a decade earlier than planned.


South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) released an updated draft Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for public consultation in March 2021, as an update to South Africa’s first NDC communicated under the Paris Agreement in 2016. The mitigation targets contained in the 2016 NDC consisted of a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target range in 2025 of 398 to 614 Mt CO2-eq, and in 2030 a GHG emissions target range of 398to 614 Mt CO2-eq, for all national GHG emissions, including those from land use. The draft update proposes revised target ranges of 398 to 510 Mt CO2-eq for 2025, and 398 to 440 Mt CO2-eq for 2030.

These targets were identified by the DFFE on the basis of:

  • An assessment of South Africa’s “fair share” of global emissions for 2025 and 2030, in light of the latest science and the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal of keeping global warming to “well below 2 degrees Celsius” and making efforts to keep warming within 1.5 degrees, and

  • An assessment of the likely GHG emissions outcome of the implementation of current South African policies with a potentially significant mitigation impact, including the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 (IRP 2019), the draft post-2015 National Energy Efficiency Strategy, the Green Transport Strategy (GTS) and the carbon tax

    Targets were set fairly conservatively to take into account uncertainties in the estimation of national GHG emissions, and uncertainties in policy implementation.

    The Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) held public hearings on the proposed updated NDC on 7 May 2021, which led to the commissioning of additional technical work by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Systems Research Group (ESRG) on the NDC targets, to:

  • Assess South Africa’s “fair share” contribution to global mitigation efforts in terms of the Paris Agreement, especially with respect to the 2030 target

  • Model, using the SATIMGE economy-wide modelling framework, potential GHG emission target levels corresponding to this “fair share”

  • Propose options for the NDC target range in response to the DFFE’s proposed target ranges, in the light of key national policy priorities

Download the Technical Report #2 Below