Under the Convention, all Parties must report on the steps they
are taking or envisage to undertake to implement the Convention (Articles 4.1
and 12). In accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities"
enshrined in the Convention, the required contents of these reports (known as
"national communications") and the timetable for their submission is
different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. Non-Annex I Parties also eligible
for financial and technical assistance to prepare their national communications.
The GEF, acting as an operating entity of the financial
mechanism of the Convention provides financial assistance to non-Annex I Parties
through its implementing agencies (UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank) in accordance
with guidance of the COP. Some bilateral agencies have also provided financial
and technical assistance to many non-Annex I Parties in preparing their national
Non-Annex I Parties must submit their initial communication
to the COP within three years of the entry into force of the Convention for that
Party, or of the availability of financial resources. Least developed country
Parties may make their initial communication at their discretion.
The contents of the national communications of non-Annex I
Parties was agreed upon by COP 2 (Geneva, July 1996). At COP 5 (Bonn, October/November
1999), Parties initiated a process to review the reporting guidelines in order
to improve them by COP 7 (Marrakesh, October/November 2001).
Non-Annex I communications are compiled and synthesized by the
secretariat in reports
that are submitted annually to the SBI and the COP. The first such report was
requested by COP 4 (Buenos Aires, November 1998) and made available to SBI 11
and COP 5.
In order to improve the preparation of non-Annex I Party national
communications, COP 5 established a Consultative Group of Experts on national
communications from non-Annex I Parties (CGE). The CGE is composed of five experts
from each of the developing country regions (Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and
Latin America and the Caribbean), six experts from Annex I Parties, and three
experts from organizations with relevant experience. Members were drawn from a
roster of experts with expertise in greenhouse gas inventories, vulnerability
assessment and adaptation, abatement issues and national communications. The CGE
has met four times since its establishment. . In addition, three regional workshops
have been held in each of the developing country regions, along with a fourth
interregional workshop held in Panama, March 2001. The mandate of the CGE is to
be revised at COP 7.
One of the functions of the secretariat
is to facilitate technical assistance to non-Annex I Parties in preparing their
national communications. This assistance includes supporting the work of the CGE,
participating in regional workshops and expert group meetings, promoting information
exchange, and training. The secretariat provides regular reports to the SBI on
these activities. A detailed table on the status
of the preparation of non-Annex I national communications is available on
the secretariat's web site, along with a list
of mitigation projects included in non-Annex I national communications.
At SBI 13 part II (meeting together with COP 6 in The Hague,
November 2000), Parties considered details of the financial support made available
by the GEF to non-Annex I Parties to prepare their initial national communications,
and requested the GEF to continue to provide such information. In addition, the
SBI discussed the second compilation and synthesis of initial national communications
by non-Annex I Parties prepared by the secretariat (covering 27 communications).
It recommended a decision to the COP based on its discussions, which the COP subsequently
adopted. Among other provisions, the decision calls on the secretariat to prepare
the third compilation and synthesis of initial national communications by non-Annex
I Parties for COP 7, including a report on issues, constraints and problems encountered
in using the UNFCCC reporting guidelines.
At SBI 14 (meeting together with COP 6 part II in Bonn, July
2001), Parties considered the reports of the second and third meetings of the
CGE, as well as a preliminary report on the work of the CGE. The SBI invited Parties
to submit views on this preliminary report and on the current progress aiming
at improvement of the guidelines for subsequent national communications from non-Annex
I Parties. The consolidated report on Parties' views will be considered at SBI
15 (meeting together with COP 7 in Marrakesh).
SBI 15 will give further consideration to the work of the CGE,
in order to recommend a decision on its mandate and future activities to COP 7.
It will also consider how to advance the process of reviewing the reporting guidelines
of non-Annex I Parties.
In addition, the SBI will discuss the third compilation and synthesis of initial
national communications by non-Annex I Parties, covering 52 communications that
were received by 1 June 2001, in order to develop recommendations for COP 7. It
will also review information provided by the GEF on financial support for non-Annex
I Parties for the preparation of their national communications.