The INDCs combine the top-down system of a United Nations climate agreement with bottom-up system-in elements through which countries put forward their agreements in the context of their own national circumstances, capabilities and priorities, within the ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.
The INDCs contain steps taken towards emission reductions and also aim to address steps taken to adapt to climate change impacts, and what support the country needs, or will provide, to address climate change. After the initial submission of INDCs in March 2015, an assessment phase followed to review the impact of the submitted INDCs before the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Research released by NewClimate Institute for UNFCCC and UNDP concluded that as of March 2015, one third of the 81 surveyed countries had not yet begun their INDC. Approximately another third had started the national discussion, but not proceeded to the technical design. Submission ambitions vary somewhat geographically; for instance, African countries often reported the latest intended submission dates.
On 27 February 2015, Switzerland became the first nation to submit its INDC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Switzerland said that they had experienced a temperature rise of 1.75 °C since 1864, and aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.
India submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions to the UNFCCC in October 2015, committing to cut the emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels. On its submission, India wrote that it needs "at least USD 2.5 trillion" to achieve its 2015-2030 goals, and that its "international climate finance needs" will be the difference over "what can be made available from domestic sources."