1) Overview of existing reporting and review requirements for Annex I Parties under the
Reporting by Annex I Parties under the Convention
Reporting and review requirements under the Convention encompass the following
- National greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories which contain information on GHG emissions, such as
activity data, emission factors and methodologies used to estimate these emissions;
- National communications which contain information on national GHG emissions, climate related
policies and measures, GHG projections, vulnerability and adaption to climate change, financial
assistance and technology transfer to non-Annex I Parties, and actions on raising public awareness on
climate change; and
- Biennial reports which contain information on progress in achieving emission reductions and the
provision of financial technology and capacity-building support to non-Annex I Parties.
Reporting and review of national GHG inventories of Annex I Parties are based on reporting and review
guidelines (decisions 18/CP.8, 19/CP.8 and 14/CP.11). National GHG inventories are reported
annually by Annex I Parties following reporting guidelines agreed by the COP and methodology
developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They are reviewed annually
by ERTs following agreed review guidelines. Reporting comprises a National Inventory Report
(NIR) and Common Reporting Format (CRF) tables. The NIR includes qualitative and qualitative
information, such as a description of methodologies used, emission factors, activity data and
emission trends and analysis thereof, uncertainties, quality assurance and quality control. The
CRF tables include data and results from inventory estimates.
National communications are submitted by Annex I Parties every 4–5 years following decisions
for each submission by the Conference of the Parties (COP). They are prepared and reported
periodically by Annex I Parties based on agreed reporting guidelines (decision 4/CP.5). They
are reviewed, within 1–2 years from the submission date, by international expert review teams
(ERTs) following specific mandates included in COP decisions. Also, the UNFCCC secretariat
prepares the “compilation and synthesis reports” on Annex I NCs, which are considered by
the SBs and COP, as a basis for a substantive discussion on the implementation of the Convention by
Annex I Parties.
The COP, by decision 1/CP.16, decided that developed country Parties should enhance reporting in
national communications and submit biennial reports, which outline progress in achieving emission
reductions and the provision of financial, technology and capacity-building support to non-Annex I
Parties, building on existing reporting and review guidelines, processes and experiences. Decision
1/CP.16 also established a new process, international assessment and review (IAR), under the
Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) for developed country Parties that aims to promote the
comparability of efforts among all developed country Parties with regard to their quantified
economy-wide emission limitation and reduction targets (link).
The detailed guidelines for the preparation of BRs contained in annex I to decision 2/CP.17 were
adopted by COP 17 in Durban. The COP also decided, among other things, that Developed country Parties
shall submit the first BR by 1 January 2014 and the second and subsequent BR two years after the due
date of a full NC (i.e. 2016, 2020), and in the years when the full NCs are submitted, BRs can be
presented either as an annex to the NC or as a separate report.
Review for Annex I Parties under the Convention
The “Guidelines for the technical review of information reported under the Convention related
to greenhouse gas inventories, biennial reports and national communications by Parties included in
Annex I to the Convention” were adopted by Parties at COP 20 in Lima as contained in decision
13/CP.20. These review guidelines provide a solid foundation for the technical reviews of national
communications and biennial reports under the new IAR process, as well as for the review of GHG
Reviews are co-ordinated by the secretariat and conducted by international ERTs. Reviews of GHG
inventories are conducted through centralized reviews and in-country reviews. In accordance
with the review guidelines, at least once in five years, the review of a Party’s GHG inventory
should be conducted through an in-country review. The review guidelines also envisage an option of a
desk review, but this option has rarely been used. In-depth reviews of the national
communications as a rule are conducted through in-country visits. Reviews of biennial reports are
conducted in conjunction with the national communications when they are submitted in the same years.
When biennial reports are not submitted in the same years as the national communications, the reviews
are conducted through centralized reviews.
The purpose of the review by ERTs is to provide a thorough and comprehensive technical assessment of
the implementation of the Convention by Annex I Parties, and to ensure that the COP has sufficient
information to carry out its responsibilities to review the implementation of the Convention.
The outcome from the reviews are is reflected in review reports, which are prepared under the
collective responsibility of the ERT. The draft reports are provided to the Parties for review and
comments before their publication and placing them on the UNFCCC web-page.
To ensure that the review process is comprehensive and rigorous, the secretariat has prepared
training courses for review of greenhouse gas inventories, biennial reports and national
communications. Only experts who successfully pass the examination can participate in the reviews.
More information on the training programme can be found here
2) Overview of existing reporting and review requirements for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto
Reporting for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol
As in the case of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol imposes two regular, on-going reporting
requirements for Annex I Parties: an annual report and a periodic national
communication. In both cases, Parties should submit the information elements as
required by the Convention and include additional information related to the implementation of the
For the annual report, each Annex I Party is required to submit a national
GHG inventory, as required by the Convention, plus supplementary
information on its implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. This supplementary
- The Party’s holdings of and transactions of Kyoto Protocol units;
- Emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities under
Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, and calculations of the amount to be added or subtracted from the
- Changes in the Party’s national system;
- Changes in the Party’s national registry;
- Information on the Party’s implementation of its commitment to strive to minimize adverse
social, environmental and economic impacts of its climate change mitigation actions on developing
Each Annex I Party must also provide the following supplementary information on its implementation of
the Kyoto Protocol in its periodic national communications:
- A description of the national system;
- A description of the national registry;
- An explanation of how the Party’s use of the Kyoto mechanisms is supplementary to domestic
- Information on the Party’s implementation of policies and measures under Article 2;
- A description of the Party’s legislative, enforcement and administrative arrangements;
- Technology transfer, capacity-building and other Article 10 activities;
- Financial assistance to non-Annex I Parties.
In addition to the annual report and national communication, Annex I Parties had to submit two
additional one-time reports, namely the demonstrable progress report in the context
of Article 3, paragraph 2, and the initial report. A separate report covering the
true-up period should be submitted for that period. Figure 1 illustrates the
four types of report that are required from Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol.
Initial reports had to be submitted by Annex I Parties by 31 December 2006 or one
year after the entry into force of the Protocol for the Party, and contained the following
- A complete GHG inventory time-series (from 1990 to the latest reported year, usually 2004);
- The Party’s calculation of its assigned amount;
- The Party’s calculation of its commitment period reserve (CPR);
- A description of the national registry;
- A description of the Party’s national system;
- Parameters related to the accounting of LULUCF activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and
The true-up period report, due at the end of the commitment period, is intended to enable the
determination of the Party’s compliance with its Article 3, paragraph 1, commitment. This
report must contain final information on the Party’s holdings of and transactions of Kyoto
Protocol units, including all units retired for compliance purposes.
Figure 1. Kyoto Protocol reports
Review for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol
Each report submitted by an Annex I Party is subject to review by international ERTs. Similarly to
the review under the Convention, the purpose of the review under the Kyoto Protocol is to provide a
thorough technical assessment of the Party’s implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. and to
ensure that the CMP has sufficient information to carry out its responsibilities to review the
implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. The outcome from review is reflected in review report, which is
prepared under the collective responsibility of the ERT. The draft report is provided to Party for
review and comments before its publication and placing on the UNFCCC web-page.
However, the review process under the Kyoto Protocol is much more rigorous than the review under the
Convention. In particular, if the ERT identifies a problem with a Party’s implementation of a
particular commitment that is not resolved by the Party during the review, the ERT has the authority
to list the problem as a ‘question of implementation’ in its final
review report. An ERT can raise questions of implementation only when there is an unresolved problem
regarding implementation by a Party of a mandatory commitment. All review reports, including those
that do not list any questions of implementation, are forwarded to the Compliance Committee for its
In contrast to the Convention, the ERTs have specific responsibilities with respect to the accounting
of emissions and assigned amounts. If an ERT is of the opinion that a Party’s inventory is
incomplete, or has been prepared in a manner which is not consistent with the IPCC methodologies,
IPCC Good Practice Guidance for LULUCF, and the IPCC Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty
Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, it may recommend the application of an
During the annual review and in the true-up period, ERTs should assess reported information on
holdings of Kyoto Protocol units and on their transactions, and compare this information with that
maintained by the International Transaction Log (ITL). ERTs should also review any information on
problems identified by the ITL. If an ERT identifies a problem with a particular transaction, it may
recommend a ‘correction’ to the Kyoto units. A correction is analogous
to an inventory adjustment. However, whereas adjustments are applied to inventory estimates,
corrections are applied to a Party’s holdings of Kyoto Protocol units.
To ensure that the review process is comprehensive and rigorous, similarly to the approach taken
under the Convention, the secretariat has prepared training courses for review under
the Kyoto Protocol. In addition to the training under the Convention GHG inventories, these courses
include training on the national system, national registry, accounting for the assigned amount and
review of information reported under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4. It organizes training of experts
that is performed through on-line courses for those experts that have already taken the Convention
courses and successfully passed the examinations. Only experts who successfully pass the examination
can participate in the annual reviews.
Reporting and review for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol and linkages to
The fundamental difference between the reporting and review system under the
Convention and under the Kyoto Protocol is that the latter is linked to compliance.
Given the binding nature of emission targets, e.g. QELROs, any problem relating to
these targets, identified through the reporting and review system, should be considered by the
Enforcement Branch of the Compliance Committee. In addition, the Enforcement Branch considers any
issues related to eligibility to participate in the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms. Any
unresolved question of implementation that affects the eligibility requirements, for example a
question related to the national system and national registry, can lead to the suspension of
eligibility until this question has been resolved.
Any consideration and decision by the Enforcement Branch of the Compliance Committee is reported to
Figure 2 summarizes the main reporting and review requirements under the Convention and the
Kyoto Protocol. For the Kyoto Protocol it shows the linkages between the reporting and
review system and compliance.
3) Existing reporting and review methodologies, guidelines and requirements
A large number of guidelines underpin the operationalization of the reporting and review requirements
under the current climate change regime, which are primarily applicable to Annex I Parties. The
reporting and review guidelines are prepared by the subsidiary bodies to the Convention and adopted
by COP or CMP through decisions. For GHG emission inventories the guidelines usually include
reference to the guidelines prepared by the IPCC as a methodological basis for GHG inventory
Most of these guidelines are technical in nature, extensive in scope and complex in content, which
reflects the complexity of the relevant issues and processes, such as the preparation of national GHG
inventories or reporting on national policies and measures, and financial assistance. The existing
guidelines and the related key methodological documents are listed below.
For national GHG inventories, the key documents are:
- Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories;
- IPCC Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories;
- IPCC Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry;
- Guidelines for the preparation of national communications by Parties included in Annex I to the
Convention, Part I: UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories;
- Guidelines for the technical review of greenhouse gas inventories from Parties included in Annex
I to the Convention.
For national communications, the key documents are:
- Guidelines for the preparation of national communications by Parties included in Annex I to the
Convention, Part II: UNFCCC reporting guidelines on national communications;
The elements of additional reporting that is required from Kyoto Protocol Annex I
Parties, including accounting information, are defined through the following documents and
- Modalities for the accounting of assigned amounts under Article 7, paragraph 4 of the Kyoto
Protocol (decision 13/CMP.1)
- Standard electronic format for reporting Kyoto Protocol units (decision 14/CMP.1)
- Guidelines for the preparation of the information required under Article 7 of the Kyoto Protocol
- Land use, land-use change and forestry (decision 16/CMP.1)
- Guidelines for national systems under Article 5, paragraph 1, of the Kyoto Protocol (decision
- Good practice guidance and adjustments under Article 5, paragraph 2, of the Kyoto Protocol
- Issues relating to adjustments under Article 5, paragraph 2, of the Kyoto Protocol 21/CMP.1
- Guidelines for review under Article 8 of the Kyoto Protocol (decision 22/CMP.1)
- Terms of service for lead reviewers (decision 23/CMP.1).
For biennial reports, the key documents are:
- Guidelines for the preparation of BRs contained in annex I to decision 2/CP.17;
- Guidelines for the technical review of information reported under the Convention related to
greenhouse gas inventories, biennial reports and national communications by Parties included in Annex
I to the Convention (decision 23/CP.19).
Figure 2 Summary of the main reporting and review requirements under the Convention and the Kyoto
1 See also the Kyoto Protocol Reference Manual which presents in detail the
accounting rules under the Kyoto Protocol, available here.