Non-state and subnational actions that contribute to climate change mitigation are becoming increasingly important, but are often not considered by countries when they determine their national contributions.

The Non-State and Subnational Action Guidance facilitates the integration of the impacts of non-state and subnational action (i.e., states and regions, cities, businesses, sectors) into national GHG projections and mitigation assessments. While monitoring historic emission developments automatically reflects all emission reductions efforts undertaken within nation-states, including those driven by non-state actors, developing accurate projections requires that non-state actions be explicitly taken into account.

The Non-State and Subnational Action Guidance provides tools for the integration of non-state actors’ activities including how to:

  • Account for the variety of non-state and subnational actions undertaken by regions, cities, companies and/or sectors;
  • Assess the extent to which those actions are a means towards achieving or surpassing national climate targets; and
  • Reflect the impact of those actions in national GHG projections, policy development, and target setting.

The Non-State and Subnational Action Guidance is applicable across sectors.

The July 2018 version of guidance is now available. Click here for the full guidance document or use the sections below to navigate to a specific topic.


1 & 2

Why integrate the impact of non-state and subnational actions into national projections, targets and planning?

Non-state and subnational actors are playing an ever-increasingly important role in enhancing climate action and ambition. These actors can have a direct impact on national emissions trajectories, national policy implementation and achievement of targets. Yet, the extent to which they help achieve national targets, or go beyond them Is often unknown and difficult to determine which means they may be overlooked in projections, policy-making and target-setting at the national level. This guidance strives to improve the understanding of the extent to which non-state and subnational actors are having an impact on climate mitigation efforts, thus enhancing decision-making at the national level. A variety of tailored objectives can be accommodated, and the assessment approach will vary depending on the aim of the user and availability of data and resources.



What are the various steps and underlying principles?

This section provides an overview of the specific steps involved in data collection and the assessment methodology. Key concepts are described, and principles and common challenges are explained to better prepare users for undertaking the assessment.



How to define the assessment boundary

The section helps users define the assessment boundary in terms of sectors, actor groups, action types, GHGs, and indirect emissions.


5 - 7

How to select relevant actions and policies

This section explains how users can develop a list of non-state and subnational actions that are relevant for the assessment. It also provides criteria based on suitability and likelihood to determine which one of these should eventually be included in the assessment. Finally, the section also explains how to develop a list of relevant national mitigation policies depending on the assessment objectives.


8 & 9

How to assess impact and aggregate non-state and subnational actions

This section explains the methodology to assess the impact of non-state and subnational actions, quantify overlaps, and aggregate that impact while avoiding double counting. It has a broad scope and specific calculations and assumptions will depend on users’ assessment objectives.


10 & 11

How to use the results for decision-making and planning

The section describes how to transparently report the assessment results and methodology. It also includes a list of recommended information to be included in an assessment report. The section also provides suggestions on how to apply the insights from the assessment to enhance national or sectoral policy planning and implementation.



Overview of databases and studies

This section lists global databases on non-state and subnational action. It also provides an overview of existing methodologies on quantifying non-state and subnational action.



Additional guidance on stakeholder participation during the assessment process

Stakeholder participation can enhance the assessment process and the contribution of non-state and subnational actions. This section notes the steps in the assessment process where stakeholder participation is recommended, why it is important, and where to find additional guidance on it.



Developing climate action datasets

Informed by the experience of creating two country-specific datasets, this section discusses benefits and challenges of developing country-specific datasets of non-state and subnational actions. It also proposes solutions for future development of datasets and outlines the process to develop such datasets.

Glossary, references and contributors

This section contains the glossary, abbreviations and acronyms, references and contributors.

List of key recommendations

This is a summary of the key recommendations provided throughout the guidance.