Contents and timetable
Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference
of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission
are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common
but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.
The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on
emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to
implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances,
vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public
awareness; but the ones from Annex I Parties additionally contain information on policies and measures.
Annex I Parties that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol must include supplementary information in their
national communications and their annual inventories of emissions and removals of GHGs to demonstrate
compliance with the Protocol's commitments.
Annex I Parties are required to submit information on their national inventories annually, and to submit
national communications periodically, according to dates set by the COP. There are no fixed dates for the
submission of national communications of non-Annex I Parties, although these documents should be submitted
within four years of the initial disbursement of financial resources to assist them in preparing their
Cover page selections from national communications submitted to the climate change
National communications are detailed documents and can have up to 300 pages.
The importance of reliable data
Accurate, consistent and internationally comparable data on GHG emissions is essential for the international
community to take the most appropriate action to mitigate climate change, and ultimately to achieve the
objective of the Convention. Communicating relevant information on the most effective ways to reduce
emissions and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change also contributes towards global sustainable
Ensuring quality of reporting
Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and
validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and
consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties
receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the
Each national communication of an Annex I Party is subject to an "in-depth" review conducted by an
international team of experts and coordinated by the secretariat. National communications from non-Annex I
Parties are not subject to such a review, but they are considered by the expert group set up by the
Subsidiary Body on Implementation to deal with issues relating to these communications.
Submission of reports
Parties submit their national communications to the UNFCCC secretariat in Bonn, Germany, which makes them
publicly available. Following a request from the COP, the secretariat synthesizes the most important
information from submitted national communications in separate reports for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties,
and in turn submits these reports to the Subsidiary Bodies and the COP for consideration.
The UNFCCC secretariat also collects and makes publicly available the annual GHG inventory submissions of
Annex I Parties. It also publishes its own reports summarizing the status and trends of GHG emissions in
Annex I Parties.