Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) offer new opportunities to support developing countries in mitigating GHG emissions.
Paragraph 1 (b) (ii) of the Bali Action Plan called for “Nationally appropriate mitigation actions’ (NAMAs) by developing country Parties in the context of sustainable development, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity building, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner”.  In Copenhagen in 2009, 114 countries agreed to the Copenhagen Accord and committed to undertaking mitigation actions as part of a shared responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including an agreement that support should be provided to developing countries. In Cancun in 2010, developed countries agreed to provide $30 billion in fast-start financing and mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020 to finance mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.
NAMAs are policies, programmes and projects that developing countries undertake to contribute to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Developed countries have committed to supporting meaningful mitigation actions in developing countries through financing, technology transfer and capacity building. The policy framework around NAMAs is still being developed but NAMAs are set to become a building block for a future climate agreement.
In the 17th Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, two major pieces of the puzzle emerged that were needed to move forward on NAMAs. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was launched after Parties agreed on the governing instrument which lays out its design. The Fund will act as the operating entity for the financial mechanism of the Convention, helping channel funds to developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. While the structure is currently being set, major work will still have to be undertaken to raise the large amount of funds needed to undertake substantial mitigation actions.
Another important decision taken in Durban is the establishment of the NAMA registry as a dynamic web-based platform managed by the UNFCCC secretariat where countries can voluntarily submit information on nationally appropriate mitigation actions seeking international support, to facilitate the matching of financial, technological and capacity-building support for these actions and to track and recognize the NAMAs being undertaken. The UNFCCC launched the prototype of the registry in 2012, several countries have submitted NAMAs searching support for preparation or implementation or for recognition of unilateral NAMAs. These pieces of the puzzle, along with a renewed commitment by developed countries to deploy financial resources will support developing countries in implementing mitigation and adaptation actions.
Some countries have announced their intention to fund NAMAs. At COP 18 in Doha, Qatar, the UK and Germany announced the establishment of the “NAMA Facility” to facilitate financial flows for NAMAs, covering a total of €70 million. 
Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions in the transport sector (t-NAMAs) can comprise any action plan, policy package, policy or measure that reduces GHG emissions from transport below business-as-usual. In order to develop a policy as a NAMA the impact needs to be measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV-Approach). The range of potential interventions covers for example fuel-efficiency standards, improvement of public transport and non-motorised transport, parking management; replacement of a vehicle fleet or land-use-planning can also be eligible. Other supportive actions (e.g. capacity building activities) will commonly form parts of a NAMA implementation plan.
The co-benefits of pursuing such actions include better energy security, increased quality of life, better economic development and decreased local environmental damages. These benefits can be achieved by putting forward solutions towards sustainable low-carbon transport, many of which are well established and proven to be effective.
The question on “how” to reduce GHG emissions from transport is best described by the Avoid-Shift-Improve (ASI) strategy (Dalkmann and Brannigan, 2007). Both approaches are closely related. The ASI approach describes the three basic ways to achieve low-carbon transport:
- A: Avoid an excessive increase in transport demand or reduce existing demand: Passenger transport demand is closely correlated to land-use and urban design. Dense urban structures with mixed use of areas avoid unnecessary traffic and reduce travel distances without limiting the access to goods and services. Likewise, demand for freight transport can be managed through intelligent organisation of freight transport activities and the design of production and distribution procedures.
- S: Shift demand to energy-efficient / low-carbon modes. Private motorised road transport (both passenger and freight) typically has the highest GHG emissions (per passenger or tonne kilometre) in land transport. For passenger transport, a shift from private cars to public transport and non-motorised modes can yield considerable GHG emission reductions. In terms of freight transport a shift to more efficient modes, including shipping and rail transport, results in several times less emission than road freight transport.
- I: Improve the efficiency of vehicles and the quality of fuels:
Technological and design improvements, as well as an efficient driving style and energy-saving devices can increase the fuel-economy of vehicles. Furthermore, carbon emissions can be reduced by switching to alternative fuels with lower lifecycle GHG emissions, such as natural gas.
More Information on Transport NAMAs: Handbook Navigating Transport NAMAs