Technology Needs Assessment

Pathways for climate tech implementation


Understanding our climate technology needs is the starting point for effective action on climate change. By understanding these needs we can determine how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. To determine their climate technology priorities, countries undertake technology needs assessments (TNAs). A TNA supports national sustainable development, builds national capacity and facilitates the implementation of prioritized climate technologies.

Watch this video with different stakeholders on the TNA process and how its results serve their countries: 

  • 39

    Number of developing countries currently undertaking a TNA

  • 26

    Number of developing countries that referred to TNAs in their nationally determined contribution

  • 90

    Number of developing countries that have completed a TNA

  • 1000

    Number of TAPs and project ideas seeking support

  • 2001

    The year the TNA process started

Since 2001, more than 90 developing countries have conducted TNAs to address climate change. More recently, many countries have identified climate technology needs in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The following charts highlight the sectors that 53 developing countries prioritized in TNAs undertaken between 2009-2018: 

Since 2010, the UNEP Danish Technical University Partnership (DTU) has provided technical and methodological support to developing countries to undertake TNAs. The Global Environment Facility, through its Poznan strategic programme on technology transfer, has provided support for these TNA projects. Between 2010 and 2013, DTU supported 36 developing countries to conduct TNAs. Since late 2014, UNEP DTU has been providing similar support to a second phase of 26 new countries. In 2018, 22 additional countries, mainly least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS) initiated their TNA as part of Phase III of the global TNA project. In 2019, the GEF approved Phase IV of the global TNA project, which will provide support to 17 LDCs and SIDS. In addition to the GEF support, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) strategic plan identifies developing countries’ intended nationally determined contributions and TNAs as important reference points for GCF programming.

Since technology and technological change offer the main possibilities for reducing future emissions and achieving the eventual stabilization of atmospheric concentrations of GHGs, supporting developing countries to conduct effective TNAs and implement TAPs is instrumental for the UNFCCC process. The TNA methodology is a mature process which has evolved over more than 15 years that developing countries have used it. This methodology may also be useful for developing countries as they work to further develop and implement their NDCs. In addition, the UNFCCC is exploring how to further provide technical and capacity building support to developing countries to implement their TNA identified climate technologies. 

In 2015 and 2016, the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) collaborated with key stakeholders and practitioners to develop guidance for preparing TAPs. The TAP guidance identifies concrete actions needed for successful technology implementation and helps countries to develop an indicative investment proposal for each technology, which can be considered for funding by potential public and private funders. The TEC continues to work with the TNA community on enhancing and monitoring TAP implementation in developing countries. Read more about guidance on TNAs and TAPS.

Projects seeking support

A key outcome of the TNA process is the technology action plan (TAP). A TAP is a concise plan for the uptake and diffusion of prioritised technologies that will contribute to the country’s social, environmental and economic development and climate change mitigation and adaptation.  Developing countries are currently seeking support for more than 550 TAPs and more than 450 Project Ideas that they prepared between 2009 and 2018. More TAPs are currently being prepared by 23 countries and will be available by the end of 2020.

How can my country undertake a technology needs assessment?

All developing countries may receive support to conduct a TNA. To find out more about conducting a TNA, contact UNEP DTU or the UNFCCC secretariat. Read about the experiences of developing countries that have undertaken TNAs and implemented their TNA results.

TNA community

Key members of the TNA community include the following organizations: