NAZCA Portal: Capturing and catalysing climate action at all levels

Sander Chan and Pieter Pauw, German Development Institute,
Harro van Asselt, Stockholm Environment Institute
Tom Hale, Blavatnik School of Government
Todd Edwards, The Stanley Foundation

In the eleventh hour to prevent dangerous climate change, we need an all hands on deck approach. In addition to governments agreeing on and implementing ambitious targets, social and environmental organisations, businesses, cities and regions, academia, youth and all other societal actors need to step up their efforts for a transformation towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient future.

The launch of the NAZCA portal at yesterday’s Lima Climate Action High-Level Meeting is an important step forward. By giving the most comprehensive overview yet of individual and cooperative climate initiatives, the portal contributes to a broader effort to catalyse sub-national and non-state climate actions and cooperative initiatives. These actions are themselves important drivers of national ambition and a strong Paris agreement. However, a portal by itself does not guarantee higher non-state and subnational ambition on the long-term.

Therefore, building on its successful launch, we present four recommendations for the further development of the NAZCA portal, and for a more comprehensive framework to bridge non-state and sub-national actions and the multilateral climate regime.

Providing a better overview of the wide and varied landscape of climate action

The landscape of climate action is vast and diverse. Yet there is little overview of the myriad climate actions, and the information that is available is scattered. The NAZCA portal deserves praise for integrating existing registries and databases of climate actions, improving their visibility and enhancing access to information on individual actions. Further development of the portal can provide a more complete overview by engaging with more existing registries and platforms, such as the climate-related elements of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ ‘SD in Action’ platform.

Highlighting, replicating and scaling up climate actions

A greater overview of climate actions offers opportunities to strategically highlight actions that should be scaled up or replicated. It would also help governments, non-state and sub-national stakeholders, Conference of the Parties (COP) presidents, and possibly the United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat to broker new initiatives and promote climate actions where they are most needed, for instance in areas that are not yet addressed by existing non-state and subnational climate actions.

Encouraging transparency and traceability to support implementation

Some climate actions are more ambitious and effective than others. The NAZCA portal improves transparency by featuring individual and cooperative initiatives that have committed to reporting and to demonstrating impacts. The emphasis on transparency in the NAZCA portal should encourage other registries and databases to step up and promote the transparency of featured initiatives by providing further information on their actions and impacts.

Embedding NAZCA in a more comprehensive framework

Ultimately, we believe that the NAZCA portal would gain relevance and be more effective when it is embedded in a larger and comprehensive framework that builds trust between governments, sub- and non-state stakeholders, and recognises particularly ambitious or effective initiatives. A comprehensive framework could build on NAZCA’s tracking function to highlight ambitious, scalable or replicable climate actions. This could help set in motion an upward cycle of non-state and subnational activities and ambition, which can themselves inspire greater national ambition and a strong outcome in Paris and beyond.

Ensuring contributions at all levels

The NAZCA portal is an excellent first step. A comprehensive framework would ensure real contributions at all levels and help motivate non-state and subnational stakeholders become front-runners in the transformation towards a climate-resilient and low-carbon future.


NAZCA –The Non-state Actor Zone for Climate Action:

Chan, Sander and Pieter Pauw (2014) Proposal for a Global Framework for Climate Action to Engage Non-State and Subnational Stakeholders in the Future Climate Regime. DIE Briefing Paper 15/2014:

Workshop summary. “Designing a global platform for climate action.” Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University. July 24-25, 2014. Available at: