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Operationalizing non-market approaches of the Paris Agreement

Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash

Background and Objective

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (PA) allows for the voluntary cooperation of Parties in the implementation of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). While market-based forms of cooperation are enshrined in Articles 6.2–6.7, Article 6.8 recognizes the importance of non-market-based approaches (NMAs) to international cooperation on climate change mitigation and adaptation in a variety of fields. In this context, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been requested to undertake a work program on NMAs which is currently being negotiated by Parties together with the rest of the Article 6 rulebook.

Commissioned by the German Environment Agency (UBA), the objective of this research project is the development of guidance for NMAs based on recommendations for the operationalization of Article 6.8 and 6.9 of the PA. By analyzing and summarizing proposed NMAs and Parties’ positions on those, this project will produce scientific evidence to inform Article 6 negotiators and other delegates and observers to the UNFCCC. In this way, the project aims to explore how the NMA framework and its associated work program can be designed to complement existing approaches of (market-based) international cooperation under the PA. 


The research project on the design of NMAs as part of the Article 6 rulebook of the Paris Agreement is being implemented by Perspectives Climate Research.  Firstly, a comprehensive desk research, comprised of grey and academic literature as well as UNFCCC decisions, was undertaken to map ongoing initiatives under the UNFCCC and identify potential NMAs. This was then complemented by the conduction of semi-structured interviews with key experts and stakeholders proposing specific NMAs to be promoted by the Article 6.8 work programme. In addition, a participant observation of the negotiations on Article 6.8 during COP25 was applied, complemented by the assessment of the draft negotiation texts as well as white papers and submissions by Parties since COP21. Finally, in the course of the project implementation period, two workshops were organized. A first expert discussion took place at the beginning of the project in November 2019. In December 2020, a virtual workshop with approximately 70 participants was held, in which preliminary results of the project were discussed.

Milestones and Outlook

Within the realm of the research project, the evolution of negotiations on non-market-based approaches was assessed, its cross-linkages to the Paris Agreement rulebook identified and opportunities for the operationalization of the draft negotiation texts were discussed. In addition, a mapping exercise was carried out to identify focus areas and specific approaches which are not addressed yet by other mechanisms and instruments in the context of the UNFCC. Besides, the role of finance was assessed in the NMA work program. While the final workshop has already been completed, the final report and a short article on its key results is still to be published in 2021.

Development of guidance for non-market approaches in the Paris Agreement- Operationalizing Articles 6.8 and 6.9 of the Paris Agreement

Role of BMWK: research funding

Lifecycle: 2019 - 2021

Implementation: Perspectives Climate Research gGmbH

Contact: Axel Michaelowa, 


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