As the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC approaches, the UNFCCC Secretariat has released a number of documents related to the transparency and compliance items on the various bodies' agendas.
In the last month, reports and notes from the Secretariat have relayed the overall status of the submissions and review of the second Biennial Reports (BR2s) and updated on capacity-building progress for transparency.
Status reports on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and reports on the technical review of BR2 submissions were also published.
23 September 2016: As the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC approaches, the UNFCCC Secretariat has released a number of documents related to the transparency and compliance items on the various bodies’ agendas. In the last month, reports and notes from the Secretariat have relayed the overall status of the submissions and review of the second Biennial Reports (BR2s) and updated on capacity-building progress for transparency. Status reports on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and reports on the technical review of BR2 submissions were also published.
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.
It should be noted that 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.
Three Developed Country 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.’
Having undergone this initial assessment, the inventories of Belarus, Malta and Monaco had their status reports published (FCCC/ASR/2015/BLR, FCCC/ASR/2016/MLT and FCCC/ASR/2015/MCO) in the past month.
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 Belarus, Malta and Monaco]
Six BR2 Technical Review Reports Published
Following reviews by ERTs earlier in the year, the Secretariat has now made available the reports of the technical reviews of the BR2 of six Parties: Greece (FCCC/TRR.2/GRC); Iceland (FCCC/TRR.2/ISL); Kazakhstan (FCCC/TRR.2/KAZ); Liechtenstein (FCCC/TRR.2/LIE); Portugal (FCCC/TRR.2/PRT); and the Russian Federation (FCCC/TRR.2/RUS).
The reviews indicate that the BR2 submissions of Portugal and the Russian Federation were received by the 1 January 2016 deadline. The other four were received late: Greece (29 March); Iceland (2 March); Kazakhstan (16 February); and Liechtenstein (7 January). 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.
In their reports, the ERTs find that the information reported in the BR2s of Greece, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein and Portugal was mostly in adherence with the UNFCCC guidelines on BRs and that of the Russian Federation partially in adherence. Where applicable, the reports provide recommendations on improving the completeness, transparency and timeliness of a country’s reporting. [Report of the Technical Review of the BR2 of Greece, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Portugal and the Russian Federation]
Preparation for Marrakesh Climate Change Conference
Two Reports Summarizing BR2 Activity
The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) will consider the reporting from and review of Annex I Parties, including the status of the submission and review of BR2s, at its 45th session in November. In preparation for that SBI agenda item, the Secretariat has released a summary (FCCC/SBI/2016/INF.9) of the reports received and reviews conducted. In addition to a table clearly indicating the dates of submissions and review for each Annex I country, the Secretariat summarizes the current status as such: “A total of 28 Annex I Parties submitted their BR2s…before the due date determined…while 15 Annex I Parties submitted their BR2s…after that date, of which 7 submitted their BR2s…within six weeks of that date.”
The Secretariat notes that the late submissions hamper the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the reports’ reviews and their multilateral assessment (MA). [Note by the Secretariat: Status of Submission and Review of BR2s]
The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) will take up the technical aspects of Annex I Parties’ reporting. To assist the SBSTA in its deliberations, the Secretariat has released the annual report (FCCC/SBSTA/2016/INF.8) on activities relating to the review of BR2s, including the composition of the ERTs, conclusions of the third lead reviewers meeting and training activities undertaken for BR and NC reviewers. [Annual Report by the Secretariat: Technical Review of Information Reported under the Convention by Parties Included in Annex I to the Convention in Their BRs and NCs]
Two Reports on Support Activities for NC and BUR Preparation
For non-Annex I Parties, the Consultative Group of Experts on NCs from Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (CGE) provides technical support through training and other capacity-building programmes. The SBI will consider progress made by the CGE in implementing its workplan during 2016 under its agenda item on reporting from non-Annex I Parties.
The Secretariat has prepared a report (FCCC/SBI/2016/16) on CGE activities, including the proceedings and outcomes of its two most recent meetings, training activities and materials, cooperation with other expert groups and planned activities for 2017. Noting that, while progress has been made in assisting developing countries’ NC and BUR preparation, more work is needed, the report concludes with the CGE’s recommendations and observations that should inform their future work.
A separate report (FCCC/SBI/2016/15) summarizes the programmes and discussions of three regional training workshops hosted this year by the CGE on preparing BURs. The workshops were held from 22-24 February, in Lomé, Togo (Africa region), 4-6 April in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe region), and 4-6 July in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia (Latin America and the Caribbean region). [Report by the Secretariat: Progress of Work of the CGE] [Report by the Secretariat: Regional Training Workshops on the Preparation of BURs from Non-Annex I Parties]
APA Guiding Questions for Compliance Discussions
As requested by the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) at the first part of its first session, the APA Co-Chairs have released a set of questions intended to guide Parties in their deliberations under APA agenda item 7 (modalities and procedures for the effective operation of the committee to facilitate implementation and promote compliance referred to in Article 15, paragraph 2, of the Paris Agreement). [Guiding Questions by the APA Co-Chairs on APA Agenda Item 7]
Deadline for Party Submissions on Transparency
At its May session, the APA invited Parties to submit, by 30 September, their views on: agenda item 5 (modalities, procedures and guidelines for the transparency framework for action and support referred to in Article 13 of the Paris Agreement); and item 6 (matters relating to the global stocktake referred to in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement: (a) identification of the sources of input for the global stocktake; and (b) development of the modalities of the global stocktake). [Report of the APA on the First Part of its First Session, Held in Bonn from 16 to 26 May 2016]
Partnership Retreat on Transparency Preps for UNFCCC Negotiations
The International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) brought 32 participants together from 31 August – 7 September to consider the path ‘From MRV to an Enhanced Transparency Framework in the Context of Nationally-Determined Contribution (NDC) Implementation.’ Hailing from 22 countries, the attendees discussed the latest developments under the negotiations and the implications for national policy implementation, while also sharing good practices on transparency systems. The lessons learned and shared will serve as a source of insights for the upcoming negotiations in Marrakesh. [International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV]
This issue of the Transparency and Compliance Update is the eighth 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.