The scope of transparency under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the tools designed to deliver it have evolved over 25 years. Modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs) adopted at COP 24 breathe life into the Paris Agreement’s cornerstone – the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF). If the pillars of the Paris Agreement are Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), improved support and a recurring global stocktake to assess progress, it is the ETF which knits these elements together.
Designed to promote clarity, maximum participation and continuous improvement, the MPGs establish the type, depth and frequency of information to be included. Parties have ﬁve years to prepare for the submission of their ﬁrst biennial transparency reports in 2024. The three elements that depart substantially from existing practices are:
- A single set of rules to account for NDCs
All countries must apply them and must also report national greenhouse gas inventories, using 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines. Fewer than half of the developing countries have submitted more than two full national greenhouse gas inventories since 1997. Strengthened reporting requirements may initially strain capacity in many developing countries. However, few requirements are new-fangled, drawing instead from the experience learned.
- Mandatory reporting of information
New requirements draw heavily on the work of research institutions, multilateral organisations and the UNFCCC secretariat and are designed to close reporting gaps and end creative interpretation. They clarify underlying assumptions, deﬁnitions and methodologies used to quantify developed countries’ ﬁnancial support.
- Flexibilities for ‘developing countries that need it’
Limited express ﬂexibilities for calculating time series and the completeness of national inventories and broader ‘self-determined ﬂexibilities’ are available and may be applied, countries can explain why the ﬂexibility is being applied, and what is needed to improve future reporting. This ‘accountable ﬂexibility’ aims to encourage participation and systematic improvement, complemented by dedicated support available under the MPGs to help countries implement the ETF itself.
Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States have signiﬁcant reporting discretions but are encouraged to participate, including by providing non-mandatory information about adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and anything else they deem important. Together with more facilitative review procedures, it is hoped that more Parties will provide better information to feed into the global stocktake, improving the likelihood that the COP will make future decisions based on the best available data.
Through in-country European Union Delegations and its Brussels-based Support Facility, the GCCA+ stands ready to provide countries that request it with support to improve their ability to participate fully in the new systems of reporting and review.