Over the last month, a number of reports have been published by the UNFCCC Secretariat in accordance with the current transparency system of the UNFCCC.
These include a status report on Japan's annual greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, two multilateral assessment (MA) summary reports, and eight summary reports on the technical analysis of the first Biennial Update Reports (BURs).
In addition, several events took place, including a review period focused on Annex I Parties' Kyoto Protocol compliance and a meeting and workshop focused on capacity building for non-Annex I Parties' reporting.
29 February 2016: A number of reports have been published by the UNFCCC Secretariat in accordance with the current transparency system of the UNFCCC. These include a status report on Japan’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, two multilateral assessment (MA) summary reports, and eight summary reports on the technical analysis of the first Biennial Update Reports (BURs). In addition, several events took place, including a review period focused on Annex I Parties’ Kyoto Protocol compliance and a meeting and workshop focused on capacity building for non-Annex I Parties’ reporting.
The UNFCCC Secretariat released the status report, or initial assessment, of the annual GHG inventory of Japan (FCCC/ASR/2015/JPN) on 11 February 2016. Under the UNFCCC, Parties submit national GHG inventories to the Secretariat as part of their reporting requirements. Annex I Parties provide the inventory data in annual GHG inventory submissions. The Secretariat prepared the status report pursuant to Decision 13/CP.20, which contains updated guidelines for the technical review of GHG inventories from Annex I Parties.
According to the guidelines, the UNFCCC Secretariat prepares a draft status report within three weeks of receiving a Party’s GHG inventory 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, in accordance with the updated guidelines on inventory submissions contained in Decision 24/CP.19. The Party is consulted for comments on both the draft status report and initial assessment. These comments and the Secretariat’s initial assessment are forwarded to the expert review team (ERT), which produces a final individual inventory review report. The initial assessment is published on the UNFCCC website as a “status report.” [Status Report of the Annual Inventory of Japan]
On 25 January 2016, the Secretariat published the summary reports on the MA of Belarus (FCCC/WEB/MA/BLR/2015) and Kazakhstan (FCCC/WEB/MA/KAZ/2015). Both Parties underwent their international assessments during the 43rd session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), held from 1-4 December 2015, in Paris, France. The MA process is part of the international assessment and review (IAR) of developed country Parties. IAR began in January 2014 when Annex I Parties submitted their sixth National Communications (NCs) and first Biennial Reports (BRs), which were technically reviewed by international ERTs. The MA process is made up of three parts: a three-month question and answer (Q&A) period among Parties; an international assessment during an SBI session; and completion of the Party record with the publication of the technical review report, an SBI summary report, compiled Q&A, and Party observation after the SBI session. At SBI 41, 17 Parties were assessed, and 24 were assessed at SBI 42.
The reports summarize the presentations by the two Parties at SBI 43 and the questions posed by other Parties. The report on the presentation from Belarus explains that the country decreased emissions between 1990 and 2012 by 35.8%, mainly due to economic recession, but experienced an average annual increase of 0.5% from 1995-2012, accompanied by 7.9% in average economic growth, demonstrating a decoupling of these two growth rates. The country is implementing a Renewable Energy Law, Presidential Decree on Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Saving Law to try to achieve its goal of 8% reduction in GHG emissions (over 1990 levels) by 2020. Kazakhstan’s report indicates that the country saw a 57.2% decline in emissions from 1990-1999 but that emissions have since been growing. The Party reported on a basket of measures, including laws on energy saving, on energy efficiency and on feed-in tariffs for renewable energy sources, to meet its 30% economy-wide reduction target (compared to 1990 levels) by 2020. [Summary Report on the Multilateral Assessment of Belarus] [Summary Report on the Multilateral Assessment of Kazakhstan]
During the period 27 January 2016 – 16 February 2016, the Secretariat published the summary reports on the technical analysis of the first BURs of eight Parties: Azerbaijan (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2015/TASR.1/AZE); Bosnia and Herzegovina (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2015/TASR.1/BIH); Brazil (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2015/TASR.1/BRA); Ghana (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2015/TASR.1/GHA); Namibia (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2015/TASR.1/NAM); Peru (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2015/TASR.1/PER); the Republic of Korea (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2015/TASR.1/KOR); and Tunisia (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2015/TASR.1/TUN). The BURs were submitted in December 2014 (Brazil, Namibia, Peru, Republic of Korea and Tunisia), which constituted the deadline for the first BUR, March 2015 (Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina) and July 2015 (Ghana). The reports indicate the March 2015 submissions were due to domestic delays in receiving the relevant approvals from authorities.
The technical analysis, conducted by a team of technical experts (TTE), is one of two steps to the international consultation and analysis (ICA) process. ICA is the verification part of the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) system for developing country parties under the Convention. The TTE prepares a summary report for each BUR in consultation with the Party. Following the publication of the summary report, a facilitative sharing of views (FSV) will take place in the form of written questions in advance and a workshop with a presentation and Q&A during the SBI sessions.
Each report indicates whether all elements in the ICA guidelines were included in the country’s BUR and if explanations/additional information was furnished on missing elements during consultations with the Party. The reports also analyze the information presented in the BUR, comparing it to, for example, previous GHG calculations, and how the Party is advancing its ability to transparently and accurately report the relevant information. The TTE and Party also identify the country’s priority capacity-building needs for reporting. [Summary Report on the Technical Analysis of Azerbaijan’s First BUR] [Summary Report on the Technical Analysis of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s First BUR] [Summary Report on the Technical Analysis of Brazil’s First BUR] [Summary Report on the Technical Analysis of Ghana’s First BUR] [Summary Report on the Technical Analysis of Namibia’s First BUR] [Summary Report on the Technical Analysis of Peru’s First BUR] [Summary Report on the Technical Analysis of Republic of Korea’s First BUR] [Summary Report on the Technical Analysis of Tunisia’s First BUR]
In related events, the true-up period review took place from 8-12 February 2016, during which ERTs assessed whether information submitted in true-up reports from Annex I Parties that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol is: reported as mandated by the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to Kyoto Protocol (CMP); consistent with information contained in the compilation and accounting database (CAD) and the Party’s registry; and free of problems or inconsistencies.
For each Party, the ERT also assessed whether the quantity of Kyoto Protocol units in the temporary certified emission reductions (tCER) and long-term certified emission reductions (lCER) replacement account equals the quantity of tCERs/lCERs in retirement and replacement accounts, and whether aggregate GHG emissions in the first commitment period (CP1) exceed the quantity of Kyoto Protocol units valid for CP1 in the retirement account.
The UNFCCC Secretariat is coordinating a comprehensive compliance assessment, of which the true-up period review was one part, on CP1 of the Kyoto Protocol and will publish a final report for each Party that had a CP1 target. During the true-up period, Annex I Parties had 100 days to make up any shortfall in meeting their emission reduction targets in CP1. The true-up period, lasting from 10 August – 18 November 2015, was established by Decision 27/CMP.1, which provides that, for the purpose of fulfilling their Kyoto Protocol emission reduction targets, Annex I Parties can continue to acquire emission reduction units, CERs, assigned amount units (AAUs) and removal units, up to the 100th day after the date set for the completion of the Article 8 expert review process for the last year of the commitment period. [True-Up Period Review for Kyoto Protocol First Commitment Period]
On transparency-related capacity building news, the Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties Not Included in Annex I to the Convention (CGE) held its 16th meeting in Bonn, Germany, from 2-4 February 2016. As it was the CGE’s first meeting since the Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015, the Group considered and analyzed the role for the CGE in assisting non-Annex I Parties in implementing the Paris Agreement. The CGE reviewed and revised its work programme for 2016–2018, as well as its detailed annual work plan for 2016, which includes regional workshops focused on facilitating the preparation of BURs. One such workshop, for the African region, was held from 22-24 February 2016, in Lomé, Togo.
The CGE will also partner with the Secretariat and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Task Force for National GHG Inventories, Technical Support Unit, in regional workshops on creating sustainable national GHG inventory management systems and using the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for national GHG inventories. In addition, the CGE will further develop its e-learning courses on the preparation of NCs from non-Annex I Parties and conduct a series of eight webinars in 2016, with a focus on vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation assessments.
The CGE was established in 1999 by the COP for the purpose of providing the technical support needed by developing countries to meet their reporting obligations. [IISD RS Sources] [CGE Webpage] [CGE Regional Training Workshop for Africa on BUR Preparation]
IISD RS has also published a policy update on national reporting under the UNFCCC. [Policy Update on National Reporting under the International Climate Regime and the Implementation of the SDGs]
This issue of the transparency update is the first 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.