Over the last month, the UNFCCC Secretariat has released updates regarding national reporting from Parties on their climate change action, including status reports on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and reports of the technical review of second Biennial Report (BR2) submissions.
Also in July, the International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) reported on its 20th jubilee event, where Parties to the UNFCCC and other stakeholders shared views on differentiation under the enhanced transparency framework of the Paris Agreement.
1 August 2016: Over the last month, the UNFCCC Secretariat has released updates on national reporting from Parties on their climate change action, including status reports on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and reports of the technical review of second Biennial Report (BR2) submissions. Also in July, the International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) reported on its 20th jubilee event, where Parties to the UNFCCC and other stakeholders shared views on differentiation under the enhanced transparency framework of the Paris Agreement.
A transparency and compliance regime is vital for building international trust and confidence that action to address climate change is taking place, as well as for assessing how to facilitate further action.
The transparency framework developed under the UNFCCC is intended to increase the international understanding of mitigation, adaptation and other actions toward fulfilling commitments outlined in the Convention and related decisions or agreements. The transparency framework takes the form of national reporting through National Communications (NCs) from all Parties, as well as Biennial Update Reports (BURs) from non-Annex I (developing country) Parties, and BRs and annual GHG inventory submissions from Annex I (developed country) Parties.
Fifteen GHG Inventory Status Reports Released
Within three weeks of receiving a Party’s GHG inventory, the UNFCCC Secretariat prepares a draft status report as part of an initial assessment that aims to ensure each Annex I Party submits a consistent, complete and timely annual inventory in the correct format. The initial assessment is published on the UNFCCC website as a ‘status report.’
The 2016 inventories of 15 developed country Parties underwent this initial assessment, and in July the status reports were published on the Secretariat’s website for: Australia (FCCC/ASR/2016/AUS); Cyprus (FCCC/ASR/2016/CYP); Finland (FCCC/ASR/2016/FIN); France (FCCC/ASR/2016/FRA); Greece (FCCC/ASR/2016/GRC); Iceland (FCCC/ASR/2016/ISL); Italy (FCCC/ASR/2016/ITA); the Netherlands (FCCC/ASR/2016/NLD); Norway (FCCC/ASR/2016/NOR); Poland (FCCC/ASR/2016/POL); Slovakia (FCCC/ASR/2016/SVK); Slovenia (FCCC/ASR/2016/SVN); Switzerland (FCCC/ASR/2016/CHE); Ukraine (FCCC/ASR/2016/UKR); and the US (FCCC/ASR/2016/USA).
The final status reports, along with the Parties’ comments on both the original draft and the status report, will be forwarded to the expert review teams (ERTs), which produce the final individual inventory review reports. [Status Report of the Annual Inventory of Australia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the US]
Twelve BR2 Technical Review Reports Published
Following reviews by ERTs in March, the Secretariat published in July the technical reviews of BR2s of 12 developed country Parties: Australia (FCCC/TRR.2/AUS); Bulgaria (FCCC/TRR.2/BGR); the Czech Republic (FCCC/TRR.2/CZE); Denmark (FCCC/TRR.2/DNK); the EU (FCCC/TRR.2/EU); Finland (FCCC/TRR.2/FIN); Hungary (FCCC/TRR.2/HUN); Italy (FCCC/TRR.2/ITA); New Zealand (FCCC/TRR.2/NZL); Slovakia (FCCC/TRR.2/SVK); Switzerland (FCCC/TRR.2/CHE); and the UK (FCCC/TRR.2/GBR).
The reviews indicate that the initial BR2 submissions were received by the deadline of 1 January 2016, with the exceptions of Denmark and Hungary, which submitted on 12 January and 5 February, respectively. Each review analyzes the BR’s provision of information on: all GHG emissions and removals related to the Party’s quantified economy-wide emission reduction target; assumptions, conditions and methodologies related to the attainment of the target; progress made towards the achievement of the target; and provision of financial, technological and capacity-building support to developing country Parties, where applicable.
For 11 of these BR2s, the ERT concluded that the reported information was mostly in adherence with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on BRs. The ERT found that the information reported in Hungary’s BR2 was partially in adherence with the guidelines. [Reports of the Technical Review of the BR2 of Australia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, EU, Finland, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Slovakia, Switzerland and the UK]
Practitioners, Negotiators Exchange Views on Flexibility in Enhanced Transparency Framework
The Paris Agreement, in contrast to differentiating the reporting and review requirements based on the Convention’s Annexes, establishes a common transparency framework for all countries, with a process to provide enhanced data and tracking against their commitments on mitigation, adaptation and support. Once the transparency framework under the Paris Agreement is in force, it will apply to all Parties to the Agreement, although it does allow for some flexibility to take into account Parties’ different capacities.
During an event held 22 May 2016, on the margins of the Bonn Climate Change Conference, the International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV celebrated its 20th meeting, which was the first following the adoption of the Paris Agreement. Along with features of nationally determined contributions (NDCs), “flexibility” in the enhanced transparency framework was one of the main topics discussed, with participants debating whether: “flexibility” applies to all aspects of Article 13 (transparency framework); the term refers to scope, depth, frequency or all three; and where its boundaries lie.
According to the Partnership, there was clearly “a strong need for shared understanding” of what the term means. However, participants agreed generally on the need to: build on existing processes; always strive for improvement regardless of the starting point; start right away; and learn by doing, [International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV Press Release]
This issue of the Transparency and Compliance Update is the sixth in a series produced by IISD RS. It aims to provide an overview of reporting activities by UNFCCC Parties, as well as the related monitoring and assessment work carried out by the UNFCCC Secretariat and other organizations.