Identifying opportunities for coherence between the intended Nationally Determined Contributions and the Sustainable Development Goals: the case of ECOWAS member states

Produced as part of the Adaptation to climate change and human development CCCEP research programme theme

While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are two of the most important policy frameworks of the twenty-first century so far, the interactions and trade-offs between them have not yet been analysed, especially in sub-Saharan African countries. Such analyses are of paramount importance if member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are to avoid perverse outcomes, which could happen if they start assessing targets without a coherent strategy. In particular, there is a lack of understanding on how the INDCs submitted to the UNFCCC can advance progress towards achieving the SDGs.

This study used an iterative content analysis to explore the key themes for adaptation and mitigation and examined the key alignments between the SDGs and the INDCs of ECOWAS member states. The results show that the agriculture and energy sectors are top priority sectors for INDCs commitments. The analysis also reveals significant alignment between the various mitigation and adaptation actions proposed in the INDCs and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, particularly across Goals 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 6 (access to clean water), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 13 (climate action) and 15 (life on land). These alignments show the opportunities and benefits that could be derived from the implementation of these INDCs in promoting the SDGs.

The analysis also reveals that ECOWAS member states will need international assistance to implement the various mitigation and adaptation actions outlined in their INDCs.