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Certified Expert in Financing NDCs

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) were key to adopting the 2015 Paris Agreement, which outlines national goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and identifies financial needs for mitigation and adaptation efforts. Most mitigation and adaptation contributions outlined in the NDCs of developing countries are based upon receiving international support. While support from the international community has addressed some capacity gaps, many conditional NDCs of low-income countries have finance, capacity-building, and technological needs. Recipient countries are hindered by the lack of accurate monitoring of climate finance flows, which prevents them from making more informed decisions about planning, prioritization, allocation of climate change resources, and measuring and evaluating progress.

The Certified Expert in Financing NDCs (CEFNDC) is an online course that addresses this knowledge gap and provides a comprehensive overview of the different facets of NDC contributions and the resulting financing implications. This course is based on Frankfurt School’s extensive experience in international practical project and advisory work as well as education programs in the area of climate change and finance.

What Do We Offer?

  • An interactive e-learning course including video lectures, PDF scripts, practical exercises, online tests and case studies.
  • A discussion forum for course related issues as well as for exchange of opinions and experiences with your classmates and tutors.
  • Personalized support from your e-Campus Team.
  • The option to a Frankfurt School certificate after passing the final exam or a confirmation of course completion after completing the course.

Tuition Fees*

Regular Tuition Fee: EUR 1,050

Early Bird Fee: EUR 850  (by July 15)

  • 10% group discount (for 2 or more participants working for the same institution)
  • 10% for FS Alumni
  • For package discounts, please contact us
Payment Options
  • Bank Transfer (bank fees to be covered by participants)
  • Credit Card
  • PayPal

Payment in installments is not possible.

*Subject to change

Target Audience

Experts and professionals from the climate and development finance community (incl. Development Banks, Funds, IGOs, NGOs, Int. cooperation), and policymakers and all other interested individuals.


The course takes approx. 6 months assuming 3-4 hours of self-study per week. It consists of 6 mandatory units, which build upon each other. The units need to be completed in a sequence.

You are not sure if you manage to complete the course within 6 months? No worries! You can apply for a course extension (6 more months) against an administrative fee.


Registrations for the September intake will open on 1st June. Get notified by registering for our newsletter.

Course Details*

The objective of this e-learning course is to become familiar with the different facets of NDC contributions and the resulting financing implications. The course aims to empower the participants to learn about different ways to finance commitments mentioned in the submitted NDCs.

*Subject to change

Unit 1

Introduction – Linking science, policy and finance

Unit 1 aims to answer the question “can Paris pledges avert severe climate change”? To do this, it briefly introduces the basic concepts of climate change science, introducing climate change from different perspectives and providing the dynamic interplay of climate politics, business and finance. This leads to how these different perspectives were captured in the NDC submitted in the run-up to the 2015 COP, and how they aim to limit global warming to 2°C through mitigation strategies and climate resilience goals.

Unit 2

Different perspectives on financing NDCs

This unit delves deeper into NDCs as national climate plans. You will understand the challenge for the countries of mobilising and managing finance for NDCs and get to know the different characteristics of existing NDCs. Unit 2 discusses also the spectrum of design elements of NDCs. This will help to understand the potential financing needed to implement the NDC and barriers hindering investment.

Unit 3

Mitigation contributions of NDCs

Mobilising and managing finance for NDCs is a multifaceted challenge and differ for mitigation and adaptation. The objective of this module is to map the different types of contributions laid out in NDCs for mitigation by sector. You will understand how mitigation contributions of NDCs are supporting transformational change to a low carbon economy.

Unit 4

Adaptation contributions of NDCs

The objective of this module is to map the different types of contributions laid out in NDCs for climate adaptation by sector and to understand how finance flows for adaptation. You will learn how countries develop political frameworks to strategically plan and implement (necessary) adaptation measures and how these are linked to existing development plans.

Unit 5

Financing implications of commitments

An enabling environment to attract investment is one that has appropriate policy conditions, set out in the NDCs (Unit 3 & 4). The unit will familiarise you with national and international, public and private support frameworks available across different countries that can be used to finance NDCs discussed in the previous units.

Unit 6

Bringing it all together (Case Studies)

This unit will provide real-life case studies that guide participants to dive into how selective NDCs are financed.

Unit 6 consists of group work, in which a case study will be analysed. Participation in group work is a mandatory part of obtaining the certificate at the end of the course.

Training Approach

The flexibility of our courses offers you the opportunity to follow your own schedule and to combine daily work with professional development.

The high quality offered will immediately improve your daily job performance as well as the performance of your institution.

Training Material

Video Lectures
  • Introvideos: After viewing the lectures, participants will have a basic understanding of each topic and will be able to classify importance and relevance of different techniques and aspects in a broader context.
  • Web-based Presentations: Web based presentation complement the scripts and give additional input on important topics.
Online Tests

Each unit ends with an online test comprising a set of 10 - 15 multiple choice questions. Only after having successfully completed an online test you will gain access to the next unit.

Reading Material

A PDF script is for most of our courses the main studying material. This reading material provides basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject of each unit.


The key to successful learning is the immediate use of newly acquired knowledge and the transfer of theory into practice. Our online courses are therefore supplemented by mandatory assignments.

Discussion Forum

A course discussion forum enables the interaction between participants and trainers and facilitates the exchange of experiences as well as possibilities to ask questions or get clarifications.

Final Exam

Passing a final examination is a requirement for obtaining your certificate.

  • Location: The final exam takes place online
  • Duration: The final exam takes 2 hours.
  • Costs: 
  • An additional final exam fee will be charged for the second and third final exam attempt.

If you do not wish to take the final exam, you will receive a confirmation of course participation after completing the course.

Course Lecturer: Dr. Christine Grüning

Christine Gruening

Dr. Christine Grüning delivers a strong interdisciplinary background in environmental economics, finance and policy. Since 2011 she is managing and implementing applied research, education and capacity building projects for the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance.


In her role as director of FS' UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance she combines applied research on policy-relevant topics in climate finance and policy with an orientation towards practical application and final implementation. Her current fields of research are the economics of climate change, barriers on investment in mitigation and adaptation finance, market imperfections, and results-based climate finance. She has been crucial for the success of the annual report “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Finance” in cooperation with Bloomberg New Energy Finance and UN Environment over the last 12 years and the development and implementation of the Certified Expert of Climate Adaptation Finance, Certified Expert of Climate & Renewable Energy Finance and the Adaptation Finance Fellowship Programme (AFFP). Between 1999 and 2004 she studied International Business Administration at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). She holds a Bachelor Degree in Financial Studies from Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) and a Maestria de Dirección de Empresas (MBA) from the Universidad Católica de Códoba (Argentina). Subsequently she joined the Chair of Public Finance and Environmental Economics at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and received a doctoral degree in 2010.

Futher Course Authors

Dr. Pieter Pauw, Researcher, Eindhoven University of Technology

Dr. Joanes Atela, Convenor, Africa Research and Impact Network

Kennedy Mbeva, Co-Convenor, Africa Research and Impact Network

The FS-UNEP Centre

The content of this course was developed by the Frankfurt School - UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance (http://fs-unep-centre.org/). The Centre is a strategic cooperation between Frankfurt School and the UN Environment programme. Its vision is to advance transformation to resilient low-carbon and resource-efficient economies by attracting new types of investors, in particular catalysing the financing of clean energy by the private sector. The Centre is UNEP’s major knowledge hub for climate finance related aspects.

Course contributes to UN SDGs

All our courses contribute to the following SDGs


This course will enhance your knowledge in the following SDGs. The SWA offers professional and executive courses dedicated to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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