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

While the SDGs and INDCs are two of the most important policy frameworks of the twenty-first century so far, the interactions and trade-offs between the SDGs and the INDCs have not yet been analysed, especially in sub-Saharan African countries. Such analyses are paramount as their absence risks perverse outcomes for ECOWAS member states if they start assessing targets one after another 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 analysis was guided by the following research questions: i) what overarching priority areas or sectors to adaptation and mitigation are present in the INDCs of the member states of ECOWAS? ii) what kinds of alignments or coherence are present in the INDCs submitted by member states of ECOWAS and SDGs? iii) what are the co-benefits from the INDCs in contributing towards meeting the SDGs? iv) how are ECOWAS member states going to finance actions outlined in their INDCs submitted to the UNFCCC? The 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 agriculture and the energy sectors are top priority sectors where many of the INDCs have pledged various commitments.