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Pocket Guide to Transparency under the UNFCCC

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Are we doing enough to address climate change? Are countries living up to their promises? Are some doing better than they pledged? Transparency is key for answering these questions. This ecbi Pocket Guide traces the evolution of transparency arrangements under the UNFCCC right up to the transparency framework under the Paris Agreement. It addresses both transparency of action and of support, and suggests ways to strengthen both these important elements of the global climate regime.
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ecbi
POCKET
GUIDE TO
TRANSPARENCY
POCKET
GUIDE TO
TRANSPARENCY
POCKET
GUIDE TO
TRANSPARENCY
POCKET
GUIDE TO
TRANSPARENCY
UNDER THE UNFCCC
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
I
POCKET
GUIDE TO
TRANSPARENCY
POCKET
GUIDE TO
TRANSPARENCY
POCKET
GUIDE TO
TRANSPARENCY
POCKET
GUIDE TO
TRANSPARENCY
UNDER THE UNFCCC
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
II
The contents of this report do not necessarily represent the views of the
European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi), any of its members, or its
supporting partners.
Copyright © ecbi 2017
Published May 2017
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without
prior permission of the ecbi.
Series Editor: Anju Sharma
anju.sharma@iied.org
This guide is written by Harro van Asselt, Romain Weikmans, and
J.Timmons Roberts.
The authors are grateful to Rafael Da Soler, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
Brazil, for his comments and suggestions.
Designed by DamageControl
This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The
German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation,
Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis
of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. For more information on
IKI, see www.international-climate-initiative.com
It is also supported by SIDA.
Funding Partners
Member Organisations
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
III
FOREWORD
For over a decade, the European Capacity Building Initiative
(ecbi) has adopted a two-pronged strategy to create a more
level playing field for developing country in the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC): training for new
negotiators; and opportunities for senior negotiators from
developing countries and Europe to interact, understand each
other’s positions, and build mutual trust.
The first part of the strategy focuses on providing
training and support to new developing country negotiators,
particularly from least developed countries. The climate
change negotiations are often technical and complex, and
difficult for new negotiators to fully grasp even over a period
of two or three years. We hold regional training workshops
to bring them up to speed on the negotiations. We also
organise workshops before the Conference of Parties (COPs)
to the UNFCCC, covering topics specific to that COP. To
ensure continuity in our capacity building efforts, we offer a
few negotiators, particularly women, bursaries to attend the
negotiations and represent their country and region/grouping.
Finally, we help negotiators build their analytical capacity
through our publications, by teaming them up with global
experts to author policy briefs and background papers.
This strategy has proven effective over time. “New”
negotiators that trained in our early regional and pre-COP
workshops have risen not only to become senior negotiators
in the process, but also leaders of regional groups and of
UNFCCC bodies and committees, and ministers and envoys of
their countries. These individuals are still part of our growing
alumni, now capacity builders themselves, aiding our efforts
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
IV
to train and mentor the next generation of negotiators. Their
insights from being “new” negotiators themselves have helped
us improve our training programmes.
The second ecbi strategy relies on bringing senior
negotiators from developing countries and from Europe
together, at the annual Oxford Fellowship and Seminar and
the Bonn Seminar. These meetings provide an informal space
for negotiators to discuss their differences, and try to arrive at
compromises. They have played a vital role in resolving some
difficult issues in the negotiations.
Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015,
ecbi produced Guides to the Agreement in English and in
French. These provided popular with both new and senior
negotiators. We therefore decided to develop a series of
thematic guides, to provide negotiators with a brief history
of the negotiations on the topic; a ready reference to the key
decisions that have already been adopted; and a brief analysis of
the outstanding issues from a developing country perspective.
These Guides will be mainly web-based, and updated annually.
As the threat of climate change grows rather than
diminishes, developing countries will need an army of
negotiators to make the case for global action to protect their
threatened populations. These Guides are a small contribution
to the armory of information that they will need to be
successful. We hope they will prove as useful as the Paris Guide,
and that we will continue to receive your feedback on how to
continuously improve their usefulness – please write to the
Series Editor, whose email address is provided on the title page.
Benito Müller,
Director, ecbi
on behalf of the ecbi Advisory and Executive Committees
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
V
CONTENTS
Why does transparency matter? 1
What has been done under the UNFCCC and
Kyoto Protocol? 3
Reporting and review under UNFCCC 3
Reporting and review under Kyoto 6
Reporting and review under the Cancun Agreements
Lessons learned 9
What is the Enhanced Framework for Transparency? 14
How do the Paris and UNFCCC transparency
agreements compare and relate? 17
How does the transparency framework relate
to other parts of the Paris Agreement? 20
What are the information needs for
transparency of action? 24
What improvements are necessary in
developed countries on transparency of support? 25
What improvements are necessary in developing
countries on transparency of support? 26
How do the UNFCCC and Paris transparency
agreements on support compare? 27
What can developing countries do to improve
transparency of support? 30
What is the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency? 31
What are the key gaps in current efforts? 32
General 32
Transparency of support 34
Support for transparency 35
What next for transparency? 36
References 40
ANNEX 1 43
ANNEX 2 45
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
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POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
1
Are we doing enough to address climate change? Are countries
living up to their promises? Are some doing better than they
pledged? Transparency is key for answering these questions.
The 2015 Paris Agreement put forward a new “enhanced
transparency framework” to monitor, report and review
information relevant to the implementation of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) and the series of other agreements that followed
it. This includes information related to Parties’ greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions, actions taken to reduce those emissions
and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, as well as
the financial, technological and capacity-building support
provided and received by some Parties.
The regular provision of this information, and a
subsequent review by experts to ensure that information is
reliable, has become one of the backbones of international
climate agreements. By making clear what Parties are doing
to implement their commitments under international
agreements like these, transparency helps to build trust and
confidence. Transparency can indicate whether the level of
collective efforts undertaken by countries is adequate to
address climate change, by shining a light on what they do
individually.
WHY DOES TRANSPARENCY MATTER?
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
2
By generating information on Parties’ efforts,
transparency can also help mobilise domestic support for
stronger climate action, and uncover new opportunities
for countries to increase the ambition of their actions. For
example non-governmental organisations can utilise public
information to encourage their governments to follow through
on their Paris commitments. Since Paris’ success rests on each
country following through on their Nationally Determined
Contributions (NDCs) – the achievement of which is not
legally binding – transparency is one of the few mechanisms
relied upon to secure that success. And given how diverse all
the NDCs are, the enhanced transparency framework can help
clarify the information that underlies them.
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
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The Paris Agreement’s enhanced transparency framework
is the latest stage in the development of transparency
arrangements under the UNFCCC that goes all the way back
to its drafting in 1992. Some things are new with Paris, but
much has precedent and should not be very surprising to
some Parties. The major change is that reporting requirements
have increased for developing nations. Below, we outline the
transparency arrangements preceding Paris.
REPORTING AND REVIEW UNDER UNFCCC
The UNFCCC (Article 12) requires all Parties to submit regular
national reports, in the form of National Communications
(NCs). Table 1 lists the information required for Annex I and
non-Annex I Parties. Revised guidelines for Annex I Parties are
currently under consideration.
Parties agreed to make the National Communications
submitted by Annex I Parties every four years subject to
regular in-depth reviews. These reviews are organised by the
UNFCCC Secretariat and are carried out by Expert Review
Teams (ERTs), which comprise experts nominated by Parties
and, at times, from intergovernmental organisations. National
Communications submitted by non-Annex I Parties are not
subject to review.
ERTs play an important part by reviewing the information
provided and assessing progress made. While the experts are
more often than not government officials, the review process
is intended to be non-political, and experts are to serve in their
personal capacity. The reviews can be:
(i) desk-based, with experts reviewing the information at home;
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE UNDER THE
UNFCCC AND KYOTO PROTOCOL?
4
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
4
(ii) centralised, with experts meeting up to review the
information; and
(iii) in-country, with experts visiting the country under review.
The review reports are made public, though the process allows
table 1. information for national communications
national communications
(annex i)
national communications
(non-annex i)
National circumstances National circumstances
GHG inventory, including
information on national systems
and national registry for Kyoto
Parties
GHG inventory
Policies and measures and their
effects, including domestic and
regional programmes and/or
legislative arrangements and
enforcement and administrative
procedures for Kyoto Parties
General description of steps taken or
envisaged to implement the UNFCCC,
including adaptation/mitigation
measures
Projections of the total effect Other information relevant to
achieving the objective of the
UNFCCC, including technology
transfer, research and systematic
observation, education, training and
public awareness, capacity building,
and information and networking
Vulnerability assessment, climate
change impacts and adaptation
measures
Constraints and gaps, and related
financial, technical and capacity needs
Financial resources and transfer
of technology
Research and systematic
observation
Education, training and public
awareness
Sources: Decisions 4/CP.5, 22/CP.7, 17/CP.8, Annotated Outline for the Fifth National
Communication.
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
5
Parties to respond to the reports before their release.
In addition to National Communications, all Parties
need to submit regular GHG inventories, with Annex I Parties
required to do so on an annual basis. These reports consist of a
National Inventory Report and a Common Reporting Format,
which provides the main information in table form. The
reporting guidelines specify the main criteria – also known as
“TACCC” – to which the reports should adhere:
n T
ransparency: assumptions and methodologies need to
be clearly explained.
n
Accuracy: estimates of emissions or removals should be
as exact as possible, and uncertainties reduced as much as
possible.
n
Consistency: inventories should be internally consistent
with previous inventories (by applying the same
methodologies).
n
Comparability: inventories should be comparable across
Annex I Parties.
n
Completeness: inventories should cover all sources and
sinks; all gases; and the entire territory of a Party.
To meet these criteria, Annex I Parties are encouraged
to follow the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s
(IPCC) 2006 Guidelines in preparing their inventories.
Since 2003, each inventory has been subject to a
technical expert review. Like the in-depth reviews of National
Communications, these reviews include desk-based reviews,
centralised reviews and in-country visits (the latter at least
once in every five years), and review reports are made publicly
available.
Non-Annex I Parties are not required to submit separate
national inventory reports, but need to include the results of
their GHG inventories in their National Communications.
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
6
REPORTING AND REVIEW UNDER KYOTO
Expanding the reporting and review requirements of the
UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol introduced further transparency
arrangements for developed countries, requiring them to
report annually on (and demonstrate compliance with) their
Kyoto emission reduction targets (see Table 1). Given the
crucial role of emissions accounting for the environmental
integrity of the treaty, the information in these reports is more
detailed than that contained in the National Communications
under the UNFCCC. These reports are also reviewed by ERTs.
In this process, the reviews of National Communications and
GHG inventories of Annex I Parties that are also Kyoto Parties
are combined.
A key difference between the review under Kyoto and the
UNFCCC is that, under the former, ERTs can raise so-called
“questions of implementation”. If these questions cannot be
resolved by the Party in question, an ERT can refer the matter
to the Kyoto Protocol’s Compliance Committee, which can
adopt various measures to promote compliance. While ERTs
are to refrain from political judgements, they can still play an
important role in facilitating compliance.
REPORTING AND REVIEW UNDER THE CANCUN
AGREEMENTS
The Copenhagen Accord, which was taken note of at the
15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) in 2009, offered a
blueprint for future international climate policy, not only
by introducing new, voluntary climate pledges for both
developed and developing countries for the period leading up
to 2020, but also by signalling a new direction for transparency
arrangements under the UNFCCC. These arrangements were
fleshed out and formally decided in the Cancún Agreements
4
4
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
7
adopted one year later.
The Agreements specify that Annex I Parties need
to submit new Biennial Reports (BRs) every two years,
either independently or together with their National
Communications. Table 2 lists the information to be included
in the Biennial Reports. Following Decision 19/CP.18, such
reports also need to include a new Common Tabular Format
(CTF), offering a detailed and organised overview of part of
the information reported.
The Biennial Reports are subject to International
Assessment and Review (IAR), a process that combines a
technical expert review with a new peer-to-peer process called
Multilateral Assessment (MA). The technical review of Biennial
Reviews resembles the review of National Communications
and GHG inventories. Experts can ask questions and request
information from the Party, and can also offer suggestions and
advice. The Multilateral Assessment draws on the technical
review, the Party’s reports, and supplementary information.
Other Parties can submit written questions, or raise questions
in a session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).
The Secretariat maintains a record of the questions and
answers, and the SBI can forward conclusions to the COP.
The first round of multilateral assessments took place at
UNFCCC SBI sessions in 2014 and 2015, resulting in a review
of 43 developed country Parties. The second round started in
Marrakesh in November 2016 with a review of 24 Parties.
Cancún also introduced new obligations and processes
for developing country Parties, who agreed to submit Biennial
Update Reports (BURs) every two years from 2014 onwards
– with the exception of Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), who can so at
their discretion. The BURs should include information on,
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
8
among other things, national circumstances and institutional
arrangements, mitigation actions, and financial, technical and
capacity needs (Table 2).
These reports are subject to International Consultation
and Analysis (ICA) under the SBI. The aim of the International
Consultation and Analysis is to enhance transparency through
a process that is to be non-confrontational and non-intrusive,
and that respects national sovereignty. The process mirrors
the two steps of the IAR that developed countries go through,
biennial reports
(developed countries)
biennial update reports
(developing countries)
GHG emissions and trends,
including summary of inventory
National circumstances and
institutional arrangements
Quantified economy-wide emission
reduction target, including
assumptions and conditions
National inventory report
Progress in achieving quantified
economy-wide targets, including
mitigation actions and effects,
including estimates from use of
market mechanisms and land
use, land-use change and forestry
activities
Mitigation actions and effects,
including methodologies and
assumptions
Emissions projections Constraints and gaps, and related
financial, technical and capacity
needs, including support needed and
received
Provision of financial, technological
and capacity-building support to
developing countries
Support received to prepare and
submit Biennial Update Report
Any other relevant information Domestic measurement, reporting
and verification
Any other relevant information
table 2. information for biennial (update) reports
Sources: Decisions 2/CP.17
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
9
by starting with an analysis of BURs by a team of technical
experts, in consultation with a Party. Based on the experts’
report, a Facilitative Sharing of Views (FSV) will take place,
which can include questions and answers between Parties.
The first such sessions took place during two SBI workshops
in 2016, covering a total of 20 developing country parties
(including Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and South Korea). For
the purposes of the ICA, LDCs and SIDS can be analysed in
groups, rather than individually.
LESSONS LEARNED
The experience with the existing review processes shows a
gradual convergence of review arrangements for developed
and developing countries, with flexibilities for developing
countries, particularly for LDCs and SIDS. Differentiation
of the transparency arrangements was most pronounced
under the UNFCCC’s initial reporting and review process
and the Kyoto Protocol, with the latter’s reporting and review
requirements only applying to developed countries. Before
Copenhagen, developing countries such as China and India
resisted a move towards enhanced transparency for developing
countries’ climate actions, insisting that domestic verification
would be sufficient (Dubash, 2010). However, as part of a
tradeoff to strengthen the transparency of support provided,
developing countries agreed to the system embedded in the
Cancún Agreements (Morgan et al., 2010).
In terms of reporting, the record of mitigation-related
reporting by developed country parties is generally seen as
adequate, albeit with some variation (Ellis and Moarif, 2015).
For developing countries, the challenge of ever more regular
and comprehensive reporting can be discerned from the fact
that, by early 2017, only 36 developing countries had submitted
4
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
10
their first Biennial Update Reports (which were due by the end
of 2014). Although reporting requirements for developing
countries are less stringent than those for developed countries,
this suggests that developing countries are experiencing
difficulties with aspects of reporting. This may be related,
among others reasons, to a lack of financial resources, data,
or established domestic reporting infrastructures (Ellis and
Moarif, 2015). In other words, reporting challenges are
associated with capacity constraints.
The existing arrangements have also shown that technical
reviews can place a significant burden on Parties, expert
reviewers and the UNFCCC Secretariat, and that it requires
significant financial and human resources. According to one
estimate, the average amount of working days for carrying
out one Party’s review is 153 days if it involves an in-country
review, or 83 days if it involves a centralised review (Pulles,
2016). This has been problematic, as the number of technical
experts available for carrying out reviews is still limited.
Specifically, there is a greater need for experts from developing
countries.
The jury on the outcomes and usefulness of state-to-state
multilateral review processes established under the Cancún
Agreements is still out. The multilateral assessments thus far
involved many Party-to-Party questions, for instance related
to individual Parties’ use of market-based mechanisms and the
progress made in achieving climate pledges (Kong, 2015). The
process has been said to create greater clout at the domestic
level for ministries involved in implementation; contribute
to policy exchange and learning; clarify technical issues in
reporting; and offer space for asking political questions
(Deprez et al., 2015; Briner and Moarif, 2016). The Facilitative
Sharing of Views offers a similar forum for information
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
11
exchange. However, both processes are hampered by limited
participation by states. This reflects resource limitations: for
smaller countries, it is not always possible to engage in detail
with the lengthy reports and their reviews (Briner and Moarif,
2016).
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TIMELINE
1992 19971995 2000 2002 2006
UNFCCC adopted.
Article 12 requires
all Parties to
communicate
information,
including annual
GHG inventories
and information on
implementation.
Kyoto Protocol adopted.
Article 7 requires Annex
I Parties to provide more
detailed information to
demonstrate compliance.
Article 8 establishes an
expert review process.
COP5 adopts
reporting
guidelines for
Annex I GHG
inventories
and National
Communications.
COP8
launches a
technical
review
process for
annual GHG
inventories.
COP1 adopts
procedures for
in-depth review
of National
Communications.
Establishes an expert
review process.
IPCC establishes
guidelines for GHG
inventories.
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
13
20112010 20152014 2016 2018
Parties adopt
Cancún
Agreements,
introducing new
biennial reporting
requirements
for developed
and developing
countries and
International
Assessment and
Review (IAR)
and International
Consultation and
Analysis (ICA)
processes.
COP17 adopts
guidelines for
reporting by
Annex I and non-
Annex I Parties,
and modalities
for IAR and ICA.
Guidelines for
technical review
of Annex I
reports adopted
by COP20. First
Multilateral
Assessment
takes place.
Paris Agreement
adopted. Article
13 establishes
an “enhanced
transparency
framework” for
both action and
support.
First Facilitative
Sharing of Views
takes place.
Modalities, procedures
and guidelines for the
enhanced transparency
framework to be
adopted at COP24.
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
14
WHAT IS THE ENHANCED
FRAMEWORK FOR TRANSPARENCY?
The Paris Agreement puts in place a new “enhanced
transparency framework”, which will be the main system for
reporting and review for Parties to the Agreement, superseding
over time the existing transparency arrangements.
The framework for transparency of action (Article 13.5)
aims to provide clarity on the climate actions taken by Parties,
including progress made towards achieving NDCs, their
adaptation actions, and priorities, needs and gaps, to inform
the global stocktake under Article 14. The framework can thus
offer much-needed insights into how Parties are implementing
their mitigation and adaptation commitments under the Paris
Agreement.
The framework for transparency of support (Article
13.6) aims to provide clarity on support provided and/or
received by individual countries in the context of climate
actions (mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer
and capacity building), and to provide a full overview of
aggregate financial support to inform the global stocktake. The
framework, if developed well, might therefore provide a much
improved view of what is happening on whether promises on
climate finance are being met.
The enhanced framework for transparency consists
of two main elements: reporting and review. In terms of
reporting, Article 13.7 requires each Party to submit annual
inventory reports as well as biennial reports with information
necessary to track progress made in implementing and
achieving its NDC (except for LDCs and SIDS, who can submit
reports at their discretion). Like the arrangements established
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
15
figure 1. overview of the enhanced transparency framework
All Parties shall
n
undergo a multilateral, facilitative consideration of
progress
REPORTING
All Parties shall
n
submit GHG inventory report
n
submit information on progress towards NDCs
All Parties should, as appropriate
n
Provide information on climate impacts and adaptation
Developed countries shall and other Parties providing
support should, as appropriate
n
Provide information on support provided
Developing countries should
n
Provide information on support needed and received
All Parties shall
n
undergo technical expert review of GHG inventory and
information on progress towards NDCs
Developed countries shall
n
undergo technical expert review of information on
support provided
TECHNICAL EXPERT REVIEW
MULTILATERAL, FACILITATIVE CONSIDERATION
OF PROGRESS
Sources: adapted from UNFCCC, 2017c
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
16
by the Cancún Agreements, the review process will include
two main elements: a technical expert review (TER) and a
process of “facilitative, multilateral consideration of progress”.
The expert reviewers can identify “areas of improvement”
for the Party under review, and examine the consistency of
the reported information with multilateral guidelines. The
facilitative, multilateral consideration of progress focuses on
the implementation and achievement of NDCs as well as the
obligations related to providing climate finance.
Importantly, the transparency framework provides for
“built-in flexibility” that takes into account Parties’ different
capacities (Article 13.1), meaning that not all requirements for
reporting and review will be the same for all Parties.
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
17
HOW DO THE PARIS AND UNFCCC
TRANSPARENCY ARRANGEMENTS
COMPARE AND RELATE?
The enhanced transparency framework needs to build on
the existing transparency arrangements under the UNFCCC
(Article 13.4). Indeed, for reasons of both political feasibility
and practicality, the design of the new transparency
framework is likely to draw on experiences with existing
transparency arrangements. Table 3 provides a comparison of
the transparency arrangements established by the UNFCCC
and the enhanced transparency framework of the Paris
Agreement (adapted from Briner and Moarif, 2016).
The table shows that most elements from existing
transparency arrangements will be transposed in some form.
This includes biennial reporting; technical expert reviews;
multilateral party-to-party review; and flexibilities for LDCs
and SIDS. For other elements it is less clear whether – and,
if so, to what extent – they will be maintained. For instance,
it is unclear whether existing reporting and review guidelines
will be used or updated, or whether new guidelines will be
developed from scratch.
This uncertainty is inherently related to the question of
how to implement flexibility in the transparency framework,
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
18
reporting
GHG
inventories
Who: all Parties
Frequency: every
year for developed
countries; every 2
years for developing
countries; flexibility
for LDCs and
SIDS
Who: all Parties
Frequency: every year
for developed countries;
every 2 years for
developing countries;
flexibility for LDCs and
SIDS
National
Communications
Who: all Parties
Frequency: every 4
years for developed
countries; developing
countries encouraged
to do the same,
depending on support
Scope: information
on support only
mandatory for
developed countries
Guidelines:
different guidelines
for developed
and developing
countries
No new provisions;
UNFCCC continues
to apply
Biennial reports Who: all Parties
Frequency: every 2
years
Scope: information
on support only
mandatory for
developed countries
Guidelines: different
guidelines for
developed and
developing countries
Who: all Parties
Frequency: at least
every 2 years; flexibility
for LDCs and SIDS and
countries that need it in
light of their capacities
Scope/level of detail:
flexibility for countries
that need it in light of
their capacities
table 3. comparision of transparency arrangements in unfccc
and paris agreement
unfccc paris agreement
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
19
unfccc paris agreement
given that the existing system differentiates between developed
and developing countries. However, increased flexibility
cannot lead to less frequent or detailed reporting.
Regarding the timing of a transition, the new system
of the enhanced transparency framework would supersede
existing transparency arrangements immediately following
the submission of the final Biennial Reports and Biennial
Update Reports.
review
Review of GHG
inventories
Who: developed
countries; review of
developing country
inventories part of
technical review of
BUR
No new provisions;
UNFCCC continues to
apply
In-depth review
of National
Communications
Who: developed
countries
No new provisions;
UNFCCC continues to
apply
Technical expert
analysis/review of
biennial reports
Who: all Parties
Guidelines: different
guidelines for review
of developed and
developing country
reports
Who: all Parties
Scope: flexibility for
countries that need it in
light of their capacities
Multilateral review/
consideration
Who: all Parties
Guidelines: different
guidelines for review
processes of developed
and developing
countries; review
voluntary for LDCs
and SIDS, who can also
be reviewed as group
Who: all Parties
Scope: flexibility for
countries that need it in
light of their capacities
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
20
HOW DOES THE TRANSPARENCY
FRAMEWORK RELATE TO OTHER
PARTS OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT?
The enhanced transparency framework is closely interlinked
with various other parts of the Paris Agreement (see Figure 2).
Given that national reports need to provide information
necessary to track progress towards NDCs, information
requirements related to NDCs under Article 4 are important.
One of these requirements is to provide information to
facilitate the clarity, transparency and understanding (CTU)
of the NDCs (Article 4.8). This may include, for example,
information on reference points, time frames, scope and
coverage, assumptions and methodological approaches, and
information on how a Party considers its NDC to be fair and
ambitious. Other requirements are to list NDCs in a public
registry (Article 4.12) and to account for NDCs (Article
4.13). Each of these items is still under negotiation. In these
negotiations, the information requirements need to be aligned
with the information to be reported under the enhanced
transparency framework.
The transparency framework is also connected to Article
7 on adaptation. Adaptation-related information has been
communicated by Parties to the COP in the past as part of their
National Communications, National Adaptation Plans (NAPs)
and National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NA PA s ), and
some developing countries have included adaptation-related
information in their NDCs. The Paris Agreement introduces
a new, voluntary “Adaptation Communication, which can
be submitted together with an NDC, a National Adaptation
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
21
Adaptation communications
(Article 7)
Global stocktake
(Article 14)
GHG inventories
Multilateral
consideration
of progress
Adaptation-
related
information
Technical expert
review
REPORTING
REVIEW
Source: adapted from Dagnet et al., 2017
figure 2. linkages between the transparency framework and
other elements of the paris agreement
Clarity, transparency and
understanding information,
accounting and public
registry for NDCs
(Article 4)
Cooperative approaches
& sustainable development
mechanism (Article 6)
Implementation and
compliance mechanism
(Article 15)
Information on
NDC progress
Financial, technology
transfer & capacity building
support (Articles 9-11)
Information on
support
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
22
Plan, a National Communication and/or the new biennial
transparency report. Coordination between negotiations
on adaptation and transparency is needed to ensure that the
adaptation-related transparency guidance is aligned across
Articles 13 and 7.
Reporting adaptation-related information may have
certain advantages. For instance, reporting adaptation needs
can help attract adaptation finance, understand whether
international adaptation finance is effective, and clarify
whether the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement are
appropriate, especially for LDCs and SIDS. Furthermore,
reporting on adaptation needs and efforts could help Parties
learn from each other and from themselves (Dagnet et al.,
2016). However, reporting on adaptation may entail a risk of
further shifting the burden to adapt to developing countries, if
efforts to reduce vulnerabilities are seen as their responsibility.
Moreover, to the extent the Adaptation Communication
establishes a new reporting and planning process, it may be
burdensome for developing countries with limited capacities.
It may be useful for developing countries, particularly LDCs
and SIDS, to begin with reporting on the impacts, costs and
needs related to adaptation, rather than on adaptation policies
and measures. Nevertheless, developing countries that wish
to have their adaptation efforts recognised may still want to
highlight their adaptation actions.
The transparency provisions are also inter-related to the
provisions on financial (Article 9), technology transfer (Article
10) and capacity building (Article 11) support provided by
developed countries (Article 13.9), and needed and received by
developing countries (Article 13.10). Information generated
under these specific provisions on support may offer useful
input into the reporting under the transparency framework.
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
23
The links with financial support are discussed in more detail
below, but how these sections interact is still being worked out.
The transparency framework is explicitly linked to the
global stocktake under Article 14. As the inputs of the stocktake
are not defined exhaustively in Decision 1/CP.21, Parties
can include several types of outputs from the transparency
framework (Holz and Ngwadla, 2016). These can include, for
instance, reports related to: adaptation; national inventories;
progress made in implementing and achieving NDCs;
support provided; support received; technical expert reviews;
summaries of the multilateral consideration of progress;
syntheses of some or all these reports by the UNFCCC
Secretariat; and reports by the Secretariat on the functioning of
the transparency framework. As the first stocktake takes place
in 2023, any of the above reports would need to be generated
well before then to serve as input to the stocktake, but need not
be all generated at the same time.
While the link with the global stocktake has been made
explicit, this has not been the case for any potential link with
the implementation and compliance mechanism under Article
15. However, the technical expert review is to lead to an
identification of “areas of improvement”, and the outcome of
the review process may be linked to the mechanism to facilitate
implementation and promote compliance under Article 15
(Dagnet et al., 2017).
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
24
Annual inventory reporting is already a common practice for
developed countries; for developing countries (taking into
account the discretion given to LDCs and SIDS), inventory
reporting will need to take place on a biennial basis. From
when this will need to take place remains to be determined. As
is common practice, inventory reporting would follow IPCC
good practice methodologies – although these methodologies
would first need to be accepted by the COP serving as the
Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA). The
IPCC methodologies offer flexibility to Parties, specifying
three tiers of reporting GHG emissions, with increasing levels
of information.
The diversity of NDCs may make it challenging to track
progress. Most NDCs specify GHG-emissions related goals.
Progress for such NDCs can be tracked by the information
commonly captured in GHG inventories, although some
additional information may be needed if the NDC is relative
to non-GHG data (e.g. goals formulated in terms of per capita
emissions or finance received). Some NDCs include goals
related to non-GHGs, such as black carbon, for which no
reporting guidance is available. Other NDCs include qualitative
goals such as the implementation of policies. Yet other NDCs
are either partly or wholly conditional on the provision of
support. Although the reporting of support received can be
accommodated in the enhanced transparency framework, it
is unclear whether and how progress towards NDCs can (or
should) be reviewed. Information needs will therefore vary
according to the NDC in question (Briner and Moarif, 2016).
WHAT ARE THE INFORMATION
NEEDS FOR TRANSPARENCY OF
ACTION?
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
25
In the past, it has not been possible to understand whether
developed countries have met their climate finance pledges
using the data they provided in their National Communications
and Biennial Reports. Nor has it been possible to assess
whether the support provided has been effective in assisting
developing countries green their economies or prepare for
climate impacts (Roberts and Weikmans, 2017).
The introduction and revision of a Common Tabular
Format as part of Biennial Reports has recently improved
reporting, but as project-level reporting is still not required,
it is mostly impossible to understand what is included in these
tables.
The lack of common accounting and reporting
methodologies for financial support has resulted in
many inconsistent practices: it is impossible to compare
data between countries, or even compare one country’s
contributions from year to year (Weikmans et al., 2016).
Moreover, very little information has been provided on private
financial flows mobilised in developing countries through
public interventions by developed countries. With developed
countries being required to report on private finance mobilised
under the Paris Agreement, this is an area in need of further
improvement.
WHAT IMPROVEMENTS ARE
NECESSARY IN DEVELOPED
COUNTRIES ON TRANSPARENCY
OF SUPPORT?
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
26
Developing countries are currently encouraged to report
information on financial support needed and received in their
National Communications and Biennial Update Reports.
While most developing countries have provided some
information on their needs within these and in their NDCs,
few of them have reported on support received.
In addition, there is no common format (similar to
the Common Tabular Format) for reporting information on
financial support needed and received (AdaptationWatch,
2015), nor is there a common methodology to assess the
financial support needed and received. Practices in these
regards vary widely between developing countries. As a result
of the inconsistency and incompleteness of this information,
no global picture can be assembled of whether and where
climate finance promises are or are not being met.
WHAT IMPROVEMENTS ARE
NECESSARY IN DEVELOPING
COUNTRIES ON TRANSPARENCY
OF SUPPORT?
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
27
Some of the key differences between the approach to
transparency of support before and after Paris are summarised
in Table 4 below. A key change brought about by the Paris
Agreement’s enhanced transparency framework is that
developing countries that provide financial, technology
transfer and capacity-building support to other developing
countries in the context of climate actions should report
information on such support on a biennial basis (Article
13.9). Another key difference with the pre-Paris approach is
that developing countries should now provide information on
financial, technology transfer and capacity-building support
received every two years – except for LDCs and SIDS, which
may submit this information at their discretion (Article
13.10). A crucial task was also delegated to the Subsidiary
Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) during
the Paris COP to develop modalities for accounting of
financial resources provided and mobilised through public
interventions. Developed countries were expected to report
earlier on how they were going to scale up finance to meet
the 2020 pledge of jointly mobilising US$100 billion per year
(see Decision 3/CP.19). The text of Article 9.5 of the Paris
Agreement is much broader, and turns this into an obligation
under the Paris Agreement. The voluntary nature of reporting
for developing country contributors is emphasised – it will
therefore be important to identify incentives and build
capacity for countries to provide this important information.
HOW DO UNFCCC AND PARIS
TRANSPARENCY ARRANGEMENTS
ON SUPPORT COMPARE?
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
28
before paris after paris
information on support provided to developing countries
Developed countries were
required to provide information
on financial, technology transfer
and capacity-building support
provided on a biennial basis (in
their National Communications
and Biennial Reports), but there
were no common accounting
methodologies.
n
Developed countries shall continue to
provide information on financial, technology
transfer and capacity building support
provided on a biennial basis (Article 13.9).
n
Other countries that provide financial,
technology transfer and capacity-building
support to developing countries in the
context of climate actions should now report
information on such support on a biennial
basis (Article 13.9).
n
SBSTA to develop modalities for the
accounting of financial resources provided.
information on financial support mobilised through public
interventions
Developed countries were
required to provide information
on financial support mobilised in
their Biennial Reports, but there
were no common accounting
methodologies.
SBSTA to develop modalities for the
accounting of financial resources mobilised
through public interventions.
information on projected levels of public financial resources to be
provided to developing countries
Developed countries were
expected to report on how they
were going to scale up finance to
meet the 2020 pledge of jointly
mobilising US$100 billion per
year (Decision 3/CP.19), but there
was no guidance on how to report
such information.
n
Developed countries shall biennially
communicate indicative quantitative and
qualitative information on financial support,
including as available on projected levels of
public financial resources to be provided to
developing countries (Article 9.5).
n
Other Parties providing financial resources
are encouraged to communicate biennially
such information on a voluntary basis (Article
9.5).
n
A process to identify the information to be
communicated was initiated at COP22.
table 4. transparency of support before and after paris
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
29
information on support needed and received
Developing countries were
encouraged to report this
information in their National
Communications and Biennial
Update Reports.
Developing countries should provide
information on financial, technology transfer
and capacity-building support received on a
biennial basis – except for LDCs and SIDS,
which may submit this information at their
discretion (Article 13.10).
technical expert review on the information submitted
on support provided
Information on support provided
that developed countries reported
in their National Communications
and Biennial Reports was subject
to technical expert review.
The information submitted by developed
countries and other countries that provide
financial, technology transfer and capacity-
building support shall undergo a technical
expert review (Article 13.11).
multilateral consideration of progress with respect to efforts on
financial support provided
No multilateral consideration of
progress.
Developed countries and other Parties that
provide financial, technology transfer and
capacity-building support shall participate
in a multilateral consideration of progress
with respect to efforts on financial support
provided (Article 13.11).
global stocktake
No global stocktake, although the
Standing Committee on Finance
produced Biennial Assessment and
Overview of Climate Finance in
2014 and 2016.
The transparency of support is to provide
clarity on support provided and received
in the context of climate change actions
(mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology
transfer and capacity building), and, to the
extent possible, to provide a full overview
of aggregate financial support provided, to
inform the global stocktake (Article 13.6).
before paris after paris
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
30
Access to information about the financial support received
for mitigation and adaptation is severely limited in many
developing countries, making it difficult to assess where it
is distributed and how effectively it is being used. A possible
way to overcome these limitations would be to put in place
standing arrangements at the government level through which
climate finance received could be tracked over time. One
example would be to create national dashboards of mitigation
and adaptation efforts (supported by financial support), such
as those that exist for development aid in several developing
countries (for instance, the Aid Management Platforms
that exist in 25 countries). The set-up of such national
dashboards involves collecting and displaying in one place
(for instance, on an online platform) data from bilateral
and multilateral donors, national and local governments in
developing countries, and possibly from private philanthropic
agencies, non-governmental organisations and private actors.
Combining all these types of information will allow major
advances in coordination between these actors, improving
effectiveness and collaboration, and will lead to improved
national strategic planning in the face of climate change. The
systematic presentation of climate finance received also could
highlight topical areas and geographic regions of nations
where vulnerability and green energy needs have not been
addressed with international funding.
WHAT CAN DEVELOPING
COUNTRIES DO TO IMPROVE
TRANSPARENCY OF SUPPORT?
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
31
The UNFCCC and subsequent climate agreements call
on developed countries to provide support to developing
countries to help the latter comply with their reporting
duties (e.g. UNFCCC Article 4.3). Several initiatives have
supported non-Annex I Parties in the preparation of their
National Communications and Biennial Update Reports to
the UNFCCC. These include the Global Support Programme
(jointly administered by the United Nations Development
Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme,
with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF)), a
five-year (2014-2019) initiative aiming at providing logistical
and technical support in order to facilitate the preparation of
these and their (intended) NDCs.
In Paris, developing countries called upon developed
countries to provide additional support to help them meet the
enhanced transparency requirements of the Paris Agreement.
To do so, Parties decided to establish the Capacity-building
Initiative for Transparency (CBIT). The CBIT is a new trust
fund (hosted by the GEF) that aims to build institutional and
technical capacity, both pre- and post-2020. Pledges to the
CBIT currently amount to approximately US$55 million. The
first projects have been approved for implementation in Costa
Rica, Kenya, South Africa and Uruguay but are just getting
underway at this writing. A global coordination platform has
also been put in place to share lessons learned and engage with
partners to help deliver more country projects.
WHAT IS THE CAPACITY-BUILDING
INITIATIVE FOR TRANSPARENCY?
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
32
GENERAL
Several gaps can be identified in the ongoing design of the
enhanced transparency framework under the Paris Agreement.
First, although the Paris Agreement specifies that the
new transparency framework will build on the old one, it does
not specify when or how. No indication is given of what parts
of the old arrangements will be kept – and in what form –
and which will be discarded. A closely related question is
how the enhanced transparency framework will differentiate
between developed and developing countries. Reporting and
review requirements may be very different, depending on
how country differentiation will be put in practice. Although
it is clear that LDCs and SIDS will be treated differently, and
developed countries will have the most stringent reporting
requirements, we still lack clarity on the edges of the middle
group.
Second, with regard to reporting, a major gap is that there
is still no agreement on several aspects that are of immediate
relevance for reporting the progress made towards achieving
NDCs. This includes guidance on the features of the NDCs,
guidance on information to facilitate the “clarity, transparency
and understanding” (or CTU) of NDCs, and guidance on
accounting rules for NDCs. Without such guidance, there
is a risk of inconsistent reporting by Parties. The lack of
standardised guidance was a serious defect in the development
of intended NDCs, and the Paris Agreement does not resolve
this for future NDCs.
WHAT ARE THE KEY GAPS IN
CURRENT EFFORTS?
4
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
33
A third gap is that there is no explicit linkage between
the transparency framework and several key parts of the Paris
Agreement. Article 13 does not include references to reducing
emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+;
Article 5), cooperative approaches (Article 6), loss and
damage (Article 8), and the implementation and compliance
mechanism (Article 15). These linkages and expectations
rather urgently need to be clarified.
With respect to REDD+, it is sensible to link the
transparency framework to the modalities for measurement,
reporting and verification agreed as part of the Warsaw
Framework for REDD+ (Decision 14/CP.19). For cooperative
mechanisms it will be important to align guidance for the
mechanisms developed under Article 6 with the emerging
transparency framework, to establish clear rules about what
counts and what is being claimed on emissions reductions
and funding exchanged. And for the implementation and
compliance mechanism, a key unanswered question is whether
there is or should be a direct relationship between the review
under Article 13 and the newly established committee under
Article 15.
Such a relationship existed in the case of the Kyoto
Protocol’s compliance mechanism, but without clarity
about the scope, functions and mandate of the Article 15
committee, this relationship remains ambiguous under the
Paris Agreement.
But even in the cases where there is an explicit link –
notably with the global stocktake – further guidance is needed
on how the link will work in practice. Such guidance could
identify the sources of inputs into the stocktake, and specify
that such sources can include national reports and outputs
from the review process under Article 13.
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
34
TRANSPARENCY OF SUPPORT
In addition, at least four gaps related to transparency of
support require urgent attention.
First, in the absence of any explicit provisions in the
Paris Agreement, information on support needed may not be
considered at all in the global stocktake or the 2018 Facilitative
Dialogue. Given the importance of support for developing
nations to meet their emissions reduction goals and reduce
vulnerability, this is a significant transparency gap that needs
to be addressed.
Second, the provision that LDCs and SIDS will be able
to report financial support needed and received “at their
discretion” is necessary to protect those countries from heavy
reporting duties. However, discretionary reporting might be
a double-edged sword if it impedes the emergence of a clear
picture of the international climate finance landscape for
many of the world’s most vulnerable nations. Robust and
frequent reporting by LDCs and SIDS could help corroborate
the information from Parties providing support. That is why
significant support should be given to LDCs and SIDS to
help them report information on financial support needed
and received on a biennial basis, as is expected from other
developing countries.
Third, the development of modalities for financial
resources provided and mobilised through public interventions
represents an important opportunity for developing countries
to offer input on this crucial question, as there is still no
common definition of climate finance. However, these
modalities will not apply to the financial support received.
Making definitions and ways of reporting consistent will be
necessary for a comprehensive transparency framework.
Lastly, information on how developing countries
4
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
35
can report on the use, impact and estimated results of the
support received could inform better climate funding efforts
in the future, and improve the likelihood of continuing and
increasing funding levels. However, there is no clear mandate
for work on measuring or evaluating what is working in
climate finance, so a group of Parties would need to champion
such an effort.
SUPPORT FOR TRANSPARENCY
Initial pledges for the CBIT are likely to be quickly exhausted.
Capacity-building for transparency is an ongoing need,
meaning that an ongoing, adequate and stable source of
funding needs to be identified to support it. In addition, the
support programme for transparency at present seems to be
strongly focused on mitigation action. Much capacity building
will also be needed in developing countries to track adaptation
needs and action, and for in-country information systems
tracking the support they receive and how it is used.
4
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
36
Negotiations on the enhanced transparency framework are
ongoing in the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement
(APA ). A key aspect of the negotiations is the development
of modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs) for the
transparency framework.
Several key questions have emerged in these negotiations,
as highlighted in a report by the UNFCCC Secretariat on a
workshop held in March 2016:
n
Should the MPGs be common to all Parties, or be
differentiated between developed and developing
countries, or somewhere in between? Some developed
countries have argued for the MPGs for reporting,
technical expert review and the facilitative, multilateral
consideration of progress to be the same for all Parties.
Meanwhile some developing countries have argued that
the MPGs should be differentiated, with more elaborate
requirements applying to only developed countries, in line
with existing transparency arrangements. A third group of
Parties suggests that some of the MPGs (e.g. on reporting
and technical review) could be common for all, with others
(e.g. the facilitative, multilateral consideration of progress)
being different for developing countries (Prasad et al.,
2017).
n
Which Parties are granted flexibility in light of their
capacities? Related to the previous question, the Paris
Agreement does not specify which countries – other than
WHAT IS NEXT FOR TRANSPARENCY?
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
37
LDCs and SIDS – are granted flexibility. This question
may be negotiated on the basis of capacity-related criteria
such as the criteria for the identification and graduation
of LDCs, World Bank criteria for classifying countries by
income level, or the United Nations’ Human Development
Index. The alternative to negotiating a criterion is self-
determination by developing countries of their capacity.
However, this may lead to an unpredictable system in
which some countries choose the most flexible or lenient
requirements (van Asselt et al., 2016).
n
How should flexibility be put in practice? Beyond the
question of which countries should be granted flexibility,
it remains to be determined what that flexibility would
look like. For reporting, flexibility could be applied to the
scope and level of detail of reporting (e.g. linked to IPCC
methodological tiers or the type of NDC adopted by a
Party), as well as to the frequency of reporting. For review,
flexibility could be applied, for instance, to the scope,
format and frequency of review, or by exempting some
Parties from review, or allowing group reviews (e.g. of
Parties with low emissions). Finally, flexibility could take
into account that the legal nature of the various obligations
in Article 13 varies from “shall” to “should” (van Asselt et
al., 2016; UNFCCC, 2017d).
n
How should the enhanced transparency framework
build on existing arrangements? Related to the various
questions above, Parties still hold diverging positions on
which elements of the Cancún Agreements’ transparency
arrangements should be kept in place, and which elements
should be added to.
n
How should linkages be established between the
negotiations on the MPGs for the transparency
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
38
framework and other, related negotiations? As
mentioned above, the transparency negotiations are
closely connected to various other parts of the Paris
Agreement. As many of those other parts are the subject of
parallel negotiations, Parties need to coordinate the work
to avoid a duplication of work or conflicting expectations,
and establish which negotiation item is best placed to deal
with the transparency-related aspects that overlap with
other negotiations.
The talks in Bonn in May 2017 showed some convergence
on the possible structure of the MPGs, with several possible
headings of the MPGs identified by the co-facilitators in an
informal note (UNFCCC, 2017e). These headings concern:
(1) overarching considerations and guiding principles; (2)
national inventory reports; (3) information necessary to track
progress made in implementing and achieving NDCs; (4)
information related to climate impacts and adaptation; (5)
information on financial, technology transfer and capacity-
building support provided; (6) information on financial,
technology transfer and capacity-building support needed
and received; (7) technical expert review; and (8) facilitative,
multilateral consideration of progress. Prior to COP23,
a two-day roundtable will likely be held, addressing both
transparency of action and of support.
In addition to the negotiations under Article 13,
transparency-related negotiations take place on the modalities
for accounting for climate finance. These negotiations offer an
important opportunity for developing countries to provide
input on this crucial question. In April 2017, the UNFCCC
Secretariat published a technical paper summarising views
on the modalities for the accounting of financial resources
provided and mobilised through public interventions,
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
39
drawing on relevant developments under and outside the
Convention related to the mandate, including the summary
and recommendations by the Standing Committee on Finance
on the 2016 biennial assessment and overview of climate
finance flows (UNFCCC, 2017b). Progress was made on the
development of these modalities during the Bonn negotiations
of May 2017, as reflected in the informal note by the Co-Chairs
of the contact group on this agenda item (UNFCCC, 2017a).
The SBSTA will continue its work on this matter in November
2017, taking into account this informal note and building
on the recommendations made by the Standing Committee
on Finance in its 2016 Biennial Assessment and Overview of
Climate Finance Flows Report. However, the final outcome
of those discussions on accounting modalities is still highly
uncertain, and there will likely be pressure to minimise extra
reporting effort by developed countries.
At the domestic level, and in preparation for the
upcoming transparency-related negotiations, it may be useful
for developing countries to identify the types of information
– including information related to mitigation, adaptation
and climate impacts, and financial, technology transfer and
capacity-building support received and needed – that are
part of the negotiations on reporting, and identify to what
extent such information is already available. This will likely
require a joint effort from different government agencies
and ministries, but it could offer much-needed clarity on
how much of a burden various options on reporting would
pose in practice. Related to this, it may be useful to reflect on
existing experiences with the Cancún Agreements’ technical
and multilateral review processes – for both developed and
developing countries – with a view to identifying how such
processes could be improved under the Paris Agreement.
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
40
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Co-Chairs. Bonn: UNFCCC.
UNFCCC (2017d). Workshop on the Development of Modalities,
Procedures and Guidelines for the Transparency Framework for Action
and Support Referred to in Article 13 of the Paris Agreement Report by
the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement.
Bonn: UNFCCC.
UNFCCC (2017e). Agenda Item 5 – Modalities, Procedures and
Guidelines for the Transparency Framework for Action and Support
Referred to in Article 13 of the Paris Agreement. Informal Note by the
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42
Co-Facilitators – final version. Bonn: UNFCCC.
van Asselt, H., Weikmans, R., Roberts, J.T. & Abeysinghe, A. (2016).
Transparency of Action and Support under the Paris Agreement. Oxford:
ECBI.
Weikmans, R., Roberts, J.T., Holler, J., Guzmán, S., Tellam, I., Ciplet,
D., Iwanciw, J.G. & Huq, S. (2016). Submission by Brown University’s
Climate and Development Lab on behalf of AdaptationWatch to the
UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice on the
Development of Accounting Modalities for Climate Finance. Providence,
RI: Brown University
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ANNEX 1
LIST OF COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS
APA Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement
BR Biennial Report
BTR Biennial Transparency Report
BUR Biennial Update Report
CBIT Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency
CGE Consultative Group of Experts
CMA Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the
Parties to the Paris Agreement
COP Conference of the Parties (to the UNFCCC)
CRF Common Reporting Format
CTF Common Tabular Format
CTU Clarity, transparency and understanding
ERT Expert review team
FMCP Facilitative, multilateral consideration of progress
FSV Facilitative sharing of views (under ICA)
GEF Global Environment Facility
GHG Greenhouse gas
GST Global stocktake
ICA International Consultations and Analysis
IAR International Assessment and Review
ICAT Initiative for Climate Action Transparency
IDR In-depth review
INDC Intended Nationally Determined Contribution
IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
ITMO Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcome
LDCs Least Developed Countries
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MA Multilateral Assessment (under IAR)
MOI Means of implementation
MPGs Modalities, procedures and guidelines
MRV Monitoring, reporting and verification
NC National Communication
NDC Nationally Determined Contribution
NIR National Inventory Report
SBI Subsidiary Body for Implementation
SBSTA Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological
Advice
SDGs Sustainable Development Goals
SIDS Small Island Developing States
TACCC Transparency, accuracy, completeness, consistency and
comparability
TER Technical expert review
TRR Technical review of biennial report
TTE Team of technical experts
UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change
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ANNEX 2
UNFCCC, KYOTO PROTOCOL AND PARIS
AGREEMENT TEXT ON TRANSPARENCY
UNFCCC
ARTICLE 4
COMMITTMENTS
1. All Parties, taking into account their common but
differentiated responsibilities and their specific national and
regional development priorities, objectives and circumstances,
shall:
(…)
(j) Communicate to the Conference of the Parties
information related to implementation, in accordance with
Article 12.
(…)
ARTICLE 7
CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES
(…)
2. The Conference of the Parties, as the supreme body
of this Convention, shall keep under regular review the
implementation of the Convention and any related legal
instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt,
and shall make, within its mandate, the decisions necessary to
promote the effective implementation of the Convention. To
this end, it shall:
(…)
(e) Assess, on the basis of all information made available to
it in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, the
implementation of the Convention by the Parties, the overall
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46
effects of the measures taken pursuant to the Convention, in
particular environmental, economic and social effects as well
as their cumulative impacts and the extent to which progress
towards the objective of the Convention is being achieved;
(…)
ARTICLE 12
COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION RELATED TO
IMPLEMENTATION
1. In accordance with Article 4, paragraph 1, each Party shall
communicate to the Conference of the Parties, through the
secretariat, the following elements of information:
(a) A national inventory of anthropogenic emissions by
sources and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases not
controlled by the Montreal Protocol, to the extent its capacities
permit, using comparable methodologies to be promoted and
agreed upon by the Conference of the Parties;
(b) A general description of steps taken or envisaged by the
Party to implement the Convention; and
(c) Any other information that the Party considers relevant
to the achievement of the objective of the Convention and
suitable for inclusion in its communication, including, if
feasible, material relevant for calculations of global emission
trends.
2. Each developed country Party and each other Party included
in Annex I shall incorporate in its communication the
following elements of information:
(a) A detailed description of the policies and measures that
it has adopted to implement its commitment under Article 4,
paragraphs 2(a) and 2(b); and
(b) A specific estimate of the effects that the policies and
measures referred to in subparagraph (a) immediately above
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will have on anthropogenic emissions by its sources and
removals by its sinks of greenhouse gases during the period
referred to in Article 4, paragraph 2(a).
3. In addition, each developed country Party and each other
developed Party included in Annex II shall incorporate details
of measures taken in accordance with Article 4, paragraphs 3,
4 and 5.
(…)
5. Each developed country Party and each other Party included
in Annex I shall make its initial communication within six
months of the entry into force of the Convention for that Party.
Each Party not so listed shall make its initial communication
within three years of the entry into force of the Convention
for that Party, or of the availability of financial resources in
accordance with Article 4, paragraph 3. Parties that are least
developed countries may make their initial communication at
their discretion. The frequency of subsequent communications
by all Parties shall be determined by the Conference of the
Parties, taking into account the differentiated timetable set by
this paragraph.
(…)
7. From its first session, the Conference of the Parties shall
arrange for the provision to developing country Parties of
technical and financial support, on request, in compiling
and communicating information under this Article, as well
as in identifying the technical and financial needs associated
with proposed projects and response measures under
Article 4. Such support may be provided by other Parties, by
competent international organizations and by the secretariat,
as appropriate.
(…)
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KYOTO PROTOCOL
ARTICLE 7
1. Each Party included in Annex I shall incorporate in its
annual inventory of anthropogenic emissions by sources and
removals by sinks of greenhouse gases not controlled by the
Montreal Protocol, submitted in accordance with the relevant
decisions of the Conference of the Parties, the necessary
supplementary information for the purposes of ensuring
compliance with Article 3, to be determined in accordance
with paragraph 4 below.
2. Each Party included in Annex I shall incorporate in its
national communication, submitted under Article 12 of the
Convention, the supplementary information necessary to
demonstrate compliance with its commitments under this
Protocol, to be determined in accordance with paragraph 4
below.
3. Each Party included in Annex I shall submit the information
required under paragraph 1 above annually, beginning with
the first inventory due under the Convention for the first year
of the commitment period after this Protocol has entered
into force for that Party. Each such Party shall submit the
information required under paragraph 2 above as part of the
first national communication due under the Convention after
this Protocol has entered into force for it and after the adoption
of guidelines as provided for in paragraph 4 below. The
frequency of subsequent submission of information required
under this Article shall be determined by the Conference of the
Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol,
taking into account any timetable for the submission of
national communications decided upon by the Conference of
the Parties.
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4. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the
Parties to this Protocol shall adopt at its first session, and review
periodically thereafter, guidelines for the preparation of the
information required under this Article, taking into account
guidelines for the preparation of national communications
by Parties included in Annex I adopted by the Conference
of the Parties. The Conference of the Parties serving as the
meeting of the Parties to this Protocol shall also, prior to the
first commitment period, decide upon modalities for the
accounting of assigned amounts.
ARTICLE 8
1. The information submitted under Article 7 by each Party
included in Annex I shall be reviewed by expert review teams
pursuant to the relevant decisions of the Conference of the
Parties and in accordance with guidelines adopted for this
purpose by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting
of the Parties to this Protocol under paragraph 4 below. The
information submitted under Article 7, paragraph 1, by each
Party included in Annex I shall be reviewed as part of the annual
compilation and accounting of emissions inventories and
assigned amounts. Additionally, the information submitted
under Article 7, paragraph 2, by each Party included in Annex
I shall be reviewed as part of the review of communications.
2. Expert review teams shall be coordinated by the secretariat
and shall be composed of experts selected from those
nominated by Parties to the Convention and, as appropriate,
by intergovernmental organizations, in accordance with
guidance provided for this purpose by the Conference of the
Parties.
3. The review process shall provide a thorough and
comprehensive technical assessment of all aspects of the
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implementation by a Party of this Protocol. The expert
review teams shall prepare a report to the Conference of the
Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol,
assessing the implementation of the commitments of the
Party and identifying any potential problems in, and factors
influencing, the fulfilment of commitments. Such reports shall
be circulated by the secretariat to all Parties to the Convention.
The secretariat shall list those questions of implementation
indicated in such reports for further consideration by the
Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties
to this Protocol.
4. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of
the Parties to this Protocol shall adopt at its first session, and
review periodically thereafter, guidelines for the review of
implementation of this Protocol by expert review teams taking
into account the relevant decisions of the Conference of the
Parties.
5. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of
the Parties to this Protocol shall, with the assistance of the
Subsidiary Body for Implementation and, as appropriate,
the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice,
consider:
(a) The information submitted by Parties under Article 7 and
the reports of the expert reviews thereon conducted under
this Article; and
(b) Those questions of implementation listed by the
secretariat under paragraph 3 above, as well as any questions
raised by Parties.
6. Pursuant to its consideration of the information referred to
in paragraph 5 above, the Conference of the Parties serving as
the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol shall take decisions
on any matter required for the implementation of this Protocol.
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PARIS AGREEMENT
ARTICLE 7
(…)
10. Each Party should, as appropriate, submit and update
periodically an adaptation communication, which may
include its priorities, implementation and support needs,
plans and actions, without creating any additional burden for
developing country Parties.
11. The adaptation communication referred to in paragraph
10 of this Article shall be, as appropriate, submitted and
updated periodically, as a component of or in conjunction with
other communications or documents, including a national
adaptation plan, a nationally determined contribution
as referred to in Article 4, paragraph 2, and/or a national
communication.
12. The adaptation communications referred to in paragraph
10 of this Article shall be recorded in a public registry
maintained by the secretariat.
ARTICLE 9
(…)
5. Developed country Parties shall biennially communicate
indicative quantitative and qualitative information related to
paragraphs 1 and 3 of this Article, as applicable, including,
as available, projected levels of public financial resources
to be provided to developing country Parties. Other Parties
providing resources are encouraged to communicate biennially
such information on a voluntary basis.
(…)
7. Developed country Parties shall provide transparent and
consistent information on support for developing country
Parties provided and mobilized through public interventions
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biennially in accordance with the modalities, procedures and
guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties
serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement, at its
first session, as stipulated in Article 13, paragraph 13. Other
Parties are encouraged to do so.
ARTICLE 11
(…)
4. All Parties enhancing the capacity of developing country
Parties to implement this Agreement, including through
regional, bilateral and multilateral approaches, shall regularly
communicate on these actions or measures on capacity-
building. Developing country Parties should regularly
communicate progress made on implementing capacity-
building plans, policies, actions or measures to implement this
Agreement.
(…)
ARTICLE 13
1. In order to build mutual trust and confidence and to
promote effective implementation, an enhanced transparency
framework for action and support, with built-in flexibility
which takes into account Parties’ different capacities and
builds upon collective experience is hereby established.
2. The transparency framework shall provide flexibility in
the implementation of the provisions of this Article to those
developing country Parties that need it in the light of their
capacities. The modalities, procedures and guidelines referred
to in paragraph 13 of this Article shall reflect such flexibility.
3. The transparency framework shall build on and enhance the
transparency arrangements under the Convention, recognizing
the special circumstances of the least developed countries
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53
and small island developing States, and be implemented in a
facilitative, non-intrusive, non-punitive manner, respectful
of national sovereignty, and avoid placing undue burden on
Parties.
4. The transparency arrangements under the Convention,
including national communications, biennial reports and
biennial update reports, international assessment and review
and international consultation and analysis, shall form part
of the experience drawn upon for the development of the
modalities, procedures and guidelines under paragraph 13 of
this Article.
5. The purpose of the framework for transparency of action
is to provide a clear understanding of climate change action
in the light of the objective of the Convention as set out
in its Article 2, including clarity and tracking of progress
towards achieving Parties’ individual nationally determined
contributions under Article 4, and Parties’ adaptation actions
under Article 7, including good practices, priorities, needs and
gaps, to inform the global stocktake under Article 14.
6. The purpose of the framework for transparency of support
is to provide clarity on support provided and received by
relevant individual Parties in the context of climate change
actions under Articles 4, 7, 9, 10 and 11, and, to the extent
possible, to provide a full overview of aggregate financial
support provided, to inform the global stocktake under Article
14.
7. Each Party shall regularly provide the following information:
(a) A national inventory report of anthropogenic emissions
by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases,
prepared using good practice methodologies accepted by
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and agreed
upon by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
54
of the Parties to this Agreement; and
(b) Information necessary to track progress made in
implementing and achieving its nationally determined
contribution under Article 4.
8. Each Party should also provide information related to
climate change impacts and adaptation under Article 7, as
appropriate.
9. Developed country Parties shall, and other Parties that
provide support should, provide information on financial,
technology transfer and capacity-building support provided
to developing country Parties under Articles 9, 10 and 11.
10. Developing country Parties should provide information on
financial, technology transfer and capacity-building support
needed and received under Articles 9, 10 and 11.
11. Information submitted by each Party under paragraphs 7
and 9 of this Article shall undergo a technical expert review,
in accordance with decision 1/CP.21. For those developing
country Parties that need it in the light of their capacities, the
review process shall include assistance in identifying capacity-
building needs. In addition, each Party shall participate in a
facilitative, multilateral consideration of progress with respect
to efforts under Article 9, and its respective implementation
and achievement of its nationally determined contribution.
12. The technical expert review under this paragraph shall
consist of a consideration of the Party’s support provided,
as relevant, and its implementation and achievement of its
nationally determined contribution. The review shall also
identify areas of improvement for the Party, and include
a review of the consistency of the information with the
modalities, procedures and guidelines referred to in paragraph
13 of this Article, taking into account the flexibility accorded
to the Party under paragraph 2 of this Article. The review shall
POCKET GUIDE TO TRANSPARENCY
55
pay particular attention to the respective national capabilities
and circumstances of developing country Parties.
13. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of
the Parties to this Agreement shall, at its first session, building
on experience from the arrangements related to transparency
under the Convention, and elaborating on the provisions
in this Article, adopt common modalities, procedures and
guidelines, as appropriate, for the transparency of action and
support.
14. Support shall be provided to developing countries for the
implementation of this Article.
15. Support shall also be provided for the building of
transparency-related capacity of developing country Parties
on a continuous basis.
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UNDER THE UNFCCC
... The UNFCCC in Article 12 requires that all Parties submit regular national reports, in the form of National Communications (NCs). Annex I and non-Annex I Parties have different requirements (see Van Asselt et al. 2017), and revised guidelines for Annex I Parties are currently under consideration. Parties agreed to make the National Communications submitted by Annex I Parties every four years subject to regular in-depth reviews. ...
... The UNFCCC in Article 12 requires that all Parties submit regular national reports, in the form of National Communications (NCs). Annex I and non-Annex I Parties have different requirements (see Van Asselt et al. 2017), and revised guidelines for Annex I Parties are currently under consideration. Parties agreed to make the National Communications submitted by Annex I Parties every four years subject to regular in-depth reviews. ...
... The UNFCCC in Article 12 requires that all Parties submit regular national reports, in the form of National Communications (NCs). Annex I and non-Annex I Parties have different requirements (see Van Asselt et al. 2017), and revised guidelines for Annex I Parties are currently under consideration. Parties agreed to make the National Communications submitted by Annex I Parties every four years subject to regular in-depth reviews. ...
... The UNFCCC in Article 12 requires that all Parties submit regular national reports, in the form of National Communications (NCs). Annex I and non-Annex I Parties have different requirements (see Van Asselt et al. 2017), and revised guidelines for Annex I Parties are currently under consideration. Parties agreed to make the National Communications submitted by Annex I Parties every four years subject to regular in-depth reviews. ...
... The UNFCCC in Article 12 requires that all Parties submit regular national reports, in the form of National Communications (NCs). Annex I and non-Annex I Parties have different requirements (see Van Asselt et al. 2017), and revised guidelines for Annex I Parties are currently under consideration. Parties agreed to make the National Communications submitted by Annex I Parties every four years subject to regular in-depth reviews. ...
... The UNFCCC in Article 12 requires that all Parties submit regular national reports, in the form of National Communications (NCs). Annex I and non-Annex I Parties have different requirements (see Van Asselt et al. 2017), and revised guidelines for Annex I Parties are currently under consideration. Parties agreed to make the National Communications submitted by Annex I Parties every four years subject to regular in-depth reviews. ...
... allowing for more than one recommendation) and be participatory in nature (e.g. providing the opportunity for several stakeholder groups to voice their opinions on a 1 Parties to the Paris Agreement are to report on their emissions trends (through annual greenhouse gas inventories) and through biennial reports that need to indicate how much progress has been made in implementing and achieving their nationally determined contributions under the Agreement (see [31]). 2 The Member States examined by Huitema et al. [6] are United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Finland, Portugal, and Poland. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background This article presents the main findings from a meta-analysis of how climate change mitigation policy evaluations have been undertaken in the European Union (EU) and six of its Member States: Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece and the United Kingdom. It aims to provide insights into how policy evaluations are carried out and how those practices might be improved. As a first step, this article reviews the literature on the theory and practice of policy evaluations to guide our methodology and further analysis. Results Our sample of 236 policy evaluations in the EU and six Member States covers the period 2010–2016. Compared with the results of a similar meta-analysis carried out covering the period 1998–2007, formal evaluations commissioned by government bodies have been on the rise in 2010–2016. Most evaluations focus on effectiveness and goal achievement and usually forgo a deeper level of reflexivity and/or public participation in the evaluation process. The analysis also reveals the dominance of the energy sector in the sampled evaluations. The article finds that the low number of any policy evaluations in the agriculture, waste or land-use sectors is an area for further investigation. Conclusions The exercise of identifying, coding and categorising these evaluations for 7 years helps to provide insights into the potential use of ex-post evaluations in support of future EU legislative proposals and accompanying impact assessments. Having a good understanding on how a certain policy performed particularly according to evaluation criteria might form the basis for more ambitious climate change mitigation policies in the future. Our analysis further shows that it is crucial and urgent to allocate sufficient resources to the coverage of relatively under-represented sectors, such as land use, land-use change and forestry, and waste.
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Full-text available
Securing accountability of states for their climate actions is a continuing challenge within multilateral climate politics. This article analyses how novel, face-to-face, account-giving processes for developing countries, referred to as ‘Facilitative Sharing of Views’, are functioning within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and what these processes help to shed light on. We analyse the nature and scope of the ‘answerability’ being generated within these novel processes, including what state-to-state questioning and responses focus on, and what ‘performing’ accountability in this manner delivers within multilateral climate politics. We find that a limited number of countries actively question each other within the FSV process, with a primary focus on sharing information about the technical and institutional challenges of establishing domestic ‘measuring, reporting and verification’ systems and, to lesser extent, mitigation actions. Less attention is given to reporting on support. A key aim is to facilitate learning, both from the process and from each other. Much effort is expended on legitimizing the FSV process in anticipation of its continuation in adapted form under the 2015 Paris Agreement. We conclude by considering implications of our analysis. Key policy insights • We analyse developing country engagement in novel face-to-face account-giving processes under the UNFCCC • Analysis of four sessions of the ‘Facilitative Sharing of Views’ reveals a focus on horizontal peer-to-peer learning • States question each other more on GHG emission inventories and domestic MRV systems and less on mitigation and support • We find that limited time and capacity to engage, one-off questioning rather than a dialogue, and lack of recommended follow-up actions risks generating ‘ritualistic’ answerability • Such account-giving also intentionally sidesteps contentious issues such as responsibility for ambitious and fair climate action but may still help to build trust • Much effort is expended on ‘naming and praising’ participant countries and legitimizing the process
Chapter
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Drawing on adaptation program reviews and interviews with focal points and other key informants carried out between January 2015 and September 2017,48 this chapter describes progress in adaptation governance, institutional development, transparency, and accountability in selected LACs.
Research
Full-text available
In this policy brief we try to understand whether or not the blurry image of climate finance received can be explained by the lack of compliance of developing country Parties toward transparency requirements agreed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We show that the lack of compliance is not the only reason for concern. Inadequate transparency requirements decided under the UNFCCC are also to blame. What are the most important challenges that need to be addressed? Will the Paris ‘enhanced transparency framework’ help address them? We discuss these issues in the last part of this brief, along with some policy recommendations for the Belgian Development Cooperation.
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Full-text available
Parties to the Climate Convention have set up an elaborate system of reporting and review ensuring Parties inform each other on the progress towards the targets of the convention. This paper analyzes annual national emission inventory submissions, both as to the effort needed for review and the resulting changes in reported emissions. Expert review teams and the Convention's secretariat invest about 4000 working days each year to run the reviews. About one quarter of this is needed for the secretariat. Although estimates for emissions differ between successive submissions, updated estimates remain for a very large part within the uncertainty ranges. There does not seem to be any significant change in each Party's estimated emissions between the six different submissions analyzed in this study. Based on this we propose a simpler approach for the review. Review teams could decide not to pay attention on smaller issues in the submissions, provided that the submission is prepared taking the Convention's transparency, consistency, comparability, completeness and accuracy criteria into account. Such a simplification might be necessary for the international community to be able to continue to ensure the quality of nationally reported data when implementing decisions and provisions of the recent Paris Agreement.
Article
Full-text available
The Paris Agreement commits nations in Article 2(1) to “Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.” However there is an absence of internationally agreed accounting rules that would permit overall assessments of progress to this goal and any meaningful comparisons of performance between countries. This is true also for the quantitative Copenhagen/Cancún promise by developed nations to jointly mobilize US$100 billion by 2020. Our goal is to provoke discussion about the depth of the problems this lack of a functional definition and accounting system have created and perpetuated. We do so by describing the fragmented system of national reporting of climate finance and how the OECD’s Rio Marker system is serving neither contributors nor recipients. More than a trust issue between developed and developing countries, we argue that the lack of modalities to account for climate finance also considerably impedes the effective functioning of the bottom-up approach that now prevails under the UNFCCC. The deadline to propose "modalities of accounting climate finance" by 2018 is a crucial window in which to address this chronic issue in international climate policy.
Technical Report
There are many reasons why the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reporting framework requests information from countries. These include understanding and tracking progress with individual or collective commitments or pledges, providing confidence and enhancing accountability in quantified information measured and reported, and providing background information on the scope and ambition of national climate responses. This paper highlights the gaps, inconsistencies and uncertainties in the current reporting framework, which was developed for both long-standing obligations and mitigation pledges for the period to 2020. The paper also identifies possible improvements in the UNFCCC reporting framework in the context of the post-2020 transparency framework and nationally determined contributions (NDCs) for the post-2020 period.
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As negotiations for the post-2020 agreement on climate change are underway and expected to be concluded by the end of 2015, the call for ensuring accountability with respect to the implementation of the agreement is attracting increased attention. Hence, one need to have a clear understanding of the meaning of the term "accountability", particularly as it is used in relation to climate change. Accountability, a term used frequently in politics, is rather new in international law. This paper examines the history of achieving accountability in climate change negotiations, and examines that history under three headings, namely, (1) accountability for historical emissions of developed countries, (2) accountability under the Convention and (3) accountability under the Kyoto Protocol. Through a reflection on past accountability practices, this paper intends to establish that two different modes for achieving accountability have emerged: (1) international legal accountability, and (2) international political accountability. These may well provide useful guides to those involved in crafting the post-2020 agreement. As past practice in climate negotiation has shown, achieving accountability has been fraught with difficulties due to its implications for sanctions or political pressures on a sovereign State. These same concerns would persist in the discussion of the accountability regime for the post-2020 agreement.
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Two weeks of wrangling and grandstanding at the United Nations climate change conference ended with the "Copenhagen Accord", which was a paper-thin cover-up of what was a near complete failure, though it does enable the process to move forward. These reflections on the climate negotiations first provide a brief encapsulation of events, followed by a discussion of the key negotiation issues that took centre stage. It then provides a political interpretation of the Copenhagen Accord and its future prospects. The reflections locate the process in the context of the larger, and unresolved tensions between the North and the South. The article concludes with an outline of what the Copenhagen experience suggests is needed in the Indian climate debate.
Towards Mutual Accountability: The
AdaptationWatch (2015). Towards Mutual Accountability: The 2015
Enhancing Transparency of Climate Change Mitigation under the Paris Agreement: Lessons from Experience
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Briner, G. & Moarif, S. (2016). Enhancing Transparency of Climate Change Mitigation under the Paris Agreement: Lessons from Experience. Paris: OECD.
Staying on Track from Paris: Advancing the Key Elements of the Paris Agreement
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Mogelgaard, K., Krnjaic, M., Levin, K. & McGray, H. (2016). Staying on Track from Paris: Advancing the Key Elements of the Paris Agreement. Washington, D.C.: World Resources Institute.
The Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement: Opportunities and Challenges
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Holz, C. & Ngwadla, X. (2016). The Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement: Opportunities and Challenges. Oxford: ECBI.