27 October 2016
Transparency and Compliance Update: Annual Reports Give Overview of Party Compliance
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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The UNFCCC Secretariat has released a number of documents in preparation for the Marrakech Climate Change Conference in November, including compilations, syntheses and analyses of Party reporting over the past year.

A number of updates and reviews of Parties' national reporting on their climate change action were also published.

25 October 2016: The UNFCCC Secretariat released a number of documents in preparation for the Marrakech Climate Change Conference in November, including compilations, syntheses and analyses of Party reporting over the past year. In addition, a number of updates on national reporting from Parties on their climate change action, including technical analyses of the first Biennial Update Reports (BURs) of seven Parties and the reports of the technical reviews of second Biennial Report (BR2) submissions, were published.

The transparency framework developed under the UNFCCC is intended to increase international understanding of mitigation, adaptation and other actions toward fulfilling commitments outlined in the Convention and related decisions or agreements. It takes the form of national reporting through National Communications (NCs) from all Parties, as well as BURs from non-Annex I (developing country) Parties, and BRs and annual greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory submissions from Annex I (developed country) Parties. The transparency and compliance regime builds international trust and confidence that action to address climate change is underway, in addition to facilitating further assessment and action. Progress achieved under the UNFCCC and the subsequent decisions and agreements adopted by Parties also contribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The transparency framework developed under the UNFCCC is intended to increase international understanding of mitigation, adaptation and other actions toward fulfilling commitments outlined in the Convention and related decisions or agreements.

Reporting Updates under the Convention

After an Annex I Party submits its NC, an expert review team (ERT) conducts a technical review of the NC in accordance with UNFCCC reporting guidelines. An ERT examined Turkey’s sixth NC (NC6) in June 2016, and the report of the review (FCCC/IDR.6/TUR) is now available on the Secretariat’s website. In the report, the ERT notes “with great concern” the delay in Turkey’s NC6 submission, which was due on 1 January 2014, but not submitted until 5 April 2016. The ERT found that the information reported in the NC6 was partially in adherence with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on NCs. [Report of the Technical Review of Turkey’s NC6]

The NC reporting guidelines for non-Annex I Parties will be under consideration at the 45th session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 45) in Marrakech, Morocco. The Consultative Group of Experts on NCs from Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (CGE) has made available its recommendations (FCCC/SBI/2016/17) in relation to a future revision of the guidelines, based on recent developments in reporting requirements and constraints, challenges and lessons learned, and a survey of non-Annex I Parties conducted between September 2015 and January 2016. [Recommendations on Elements To Be Considered in a Future Revision of the Guidelines for the Preparation of NCs from Non-Annex I Parties]

Also for consideration by the SBI, the Secretariat has compiled (FCCC/SBI/2016/19) the GHG inventory data from all Annex I inventory submissions received as of 16 September 2016. While some of the data have yet to be verified, the initial aggregation shows an 11.3% decline in Annex I emissions, not including land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), in the period 1990-2014. The compilation also allows the reader to view changes in emissions by sector and by individual Annex I Party. [National GHG Inventory Data for the Period 1990-2014]

The Secretariat has released its annual report (FCCC/SBSTA/2016/INF.11) on the 2015 and 2016 GHG inventory review cycles, relaying information on the selection and composition of ERTs to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) for consideration at its 45th session at the Marrakech Climate Change Conference. The report also recaps training activities for reviewers, progress in updating the UNFCCC roster of experts and the proceedings of the 13th meeting of inventory lead reviewers. [Technical Review of GHG inventories of Annex I Parties]

For non-Annex I Parties working toward sustainable management of national GHG inventories, the Secretariat organized three regional training workshops in 2016. A report (FCCC/SBI/2016/INF.17) on these trainings was released and will be reviewed by SBI 45. The report includes an overview of each workshop, along with feedback from participants. [Regional Training Workshops on Sustainable National GHG Inventory Management Systems and the Use of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories]

Following reviews by ERTs earlier in the year, the Secretariat has made available the reports of the technical reviews of the BR2s of 10 Annex I Parties: Canada (FCCC/TRR.2/CAN); Cyprus (FCCC/TRR.2/CYP); France (FCCC/TRR.2/FRA); Japan (FCCC/TRR.2/JPN); Luxembourg (FCCC/TRR.2/LUX); Romania (FCCC/TRR.2/ROU); Slovenia (FCCC/TRR.2/SVN); Spain (FCCC/TRR.2/ESP); Turkey (FCCC/TRR.2/TUR); and the US (FCCC/TRR.2/USA).

The reviews indicate that the BR2 submissions from France, Japan, Romania, Spain and the US were received by the 1 January 2016 deadline, while Canada, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Turkey were delayed in submitting theirs. 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.

The ERTs found that the information reported in the BR2s of Canada, Cyprus, France, Japan, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and the US was mostly in adherence with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on BRs. The ERTs concluded that the information reported by Luxembourg and Turkey was partially in adherence with the guidelines. [Reports of the Technical Reviews of the BR2s of Canada, Cyprus, France, Japan, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and US]

A recently released report (FCCC/SBI/2016/INF.10 and FCCC/SBI/2016/INF.10/Add.1) by the Secretariat allows one to review all BR2s submitted thus far in a compilation and synthesis of the BR2s’ contents. In its executive summary of the key messages resulting from the synthesis of the BR2s, the Secretariat concludes that: reporting has improved; Parties are closer to their targets; GHG emissions have continued to decrease and are projected to further decline; the portfolio of policies and measures has expanded; financial support has grown; and technological support for adaptation in Africa has increased, as has capacity building support overall. [Compilation and Synthesis of BR2s: Executive Summary] [Compilation and Synthesis of BR2s: Addendum]

On the non-Annex I country reports, the Secretariat published the summary reports on the technical analysis of the first BURs of seven Parties: Argentina (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2016/TASR.1/ARG); Colombia (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2016/TASR.1/COL); Costa Rica (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2016/TASR.1/CRI); Lebanon (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2016/TASR.1/LBN); Mexico (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2016/TASR.1/MEX); Paraguay (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2016/TASR.1/PRY); and Uruguay (FCCC/SBI/ICA/2016/TASR.1/URY).

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 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. [Technical Analyses of the BURs of Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Mexico, Paraguay, and Uruguay]

Finally, a report (FCCC/CP/2016/INF.1) by the Secretariat on the operation of the registry for nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) was published. In addition to an analysis of the registry’s user base, NAMAs recorded and NAMA support registered as of 1 September 2016, the report presents the results of a survey of the registry’s users. [Operation of the NAMA Registry]

Reporting Updates under the Kyoto Protocol

In relation to GHG inventory reporting under the Kyoto Protocol, the Secretariat produced a separate report (FCCC/SBSTA/2016/INF.12) for the SBSTA on, inter alia: the status of submission of the information required of Kyoto Protocol Annex I Parties; the review of that information; the selection, composition and training of ERTs; and suggestions and conclusions from lead reviewers on improving the technical review process. [Technical Review of GHG Inventories and Other Information Reported by Annex I Parties, as Defined in Kyoto Protocol Article 1.7]

The Secretariat has also prepared an interim annual compilation and accounting report for Kyoto Protocol Annex B Parties (FCCC/KP/CMP/2016/6 and FCCC/KP/CMP/2016/6/Add.1). This report, which is interim pending review of the provisional information it contains, covers all 38 Annex B Parties and includes information on: total GHG emissions from the sources listed in Annex A to the Kyoto Protocol reported for 2013 and 2014; GHG emissions and removals from LULUCF activities under Article 3.3, forest management under Article 3.4 and any other elected activities under Article 3.4; and transactions and holdings of Kyoto Protocol units as of 31 December 2014 and 2015. [Annual Compilation and Accounting Report for Annex B Parties under the Kyoto Protocol] [Annual Compilation and Accounting Report for Annex B Parties under the Kyoto Protocol: Addendum – Compilation and Accounting Information by Party]

Lastly, the annual report (FCCC/KP/CMP/2016/3) of the Compliance Committee to the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) was posted, allowing those interested to review the activities of the facilitative and enforcement branches over the past year. The report includes information on actions taken with regard to questions of implementation by Ukraine. [Annual Report of the Compliance Committee to the CMP]

Transparency Framework Updates under the Paris Agreement

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 more flexibility to take into account Parties’ different capacities.

West African countries, for their part, are stepping up to ensure that climate action under the Paris Agreement can be properly measured, reported and verified (MRV). The countries formed the South-South Collaboration Network to promote learning and exchange on MRV practices. The Network also plans to match countries with the guidance, tools and finance they need to carry-out MRV. [UNFCCC Press Release]

This issue of the Transparency and Compliance Update is the ninth 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.

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