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New process for multilateral assessment of emissions targets launched


What is multilateral assessment?

The multilateral assessment (MA) process is a part of the newly established international assessment and review (IAR) process for developed countries. The IAR process is conducted under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and aims to promote the comparability of efforts among all developed countries with regard to their quantified economy-wide emission limitation and reduction targets.

The IAR process comprises two steps: a technical review of the national reports of each developed country, followed by the MA of the progress towards achieving the economy-wide target by developed countries. The IAR started in early 2014, with the submission of the sixth national communications and the first biennial reports from developed countries and the technical review of these reports by international expert review teams.

How will multilateral assessment be conducted?

The MA process entails three stages: the preparation for the MA before the SBI working group session, the international assessment during the SBI working group session, and the completion of the Party record after the SBI working group session.

The preparation of the MA covers a three-month period of questions and answers (Q&A) amongst Parties and shall be completed prior to an SBI session. Any Party may submit questions to the Party under MA, based on the national reports and their review reports. This question period is open for one month. Following this, the Party under the MA will respond to these questions within two months. All Q&A through the secretariat will be made publicly available on the UNFCCC website on a specially developed platform.
In preparation of the MA, the UNFCCC secretariat has been developing an online software application to facilitate the Q&A process. The application allows all 196 Parties to the Convention to submit electronically through the secretariat written questions to the Party under the MA, and in turn allows for the Parties under the MA to respond to these questions through the secretariat. In addition, the platform will enable progress tracking of the Q&A process for each Party under assessment, and will facilitate the compilation and publication by the secretariat of all questions and responses submitted by Parties.

Subsequently, during a two to three days working group session of the SBI, all Parties under the MA may make a brief oral presentation that will be followed, as necessary, by an oral Q&A session that may last one to maximum two hours.

The final stage of the MA is the publication of a Party Record for each country. This includes the technical review reports, an SBI summary report, Q&A compiled for each Party through the platform, and the observation made by the Party during the SBI working group session for the MA.

What is the next step?

For the Multilateral Assessment, an SBI working group session will be convened in Lima later this year. The MA will be conducted for each developed country, with the participation of all Parties. According to the plan, progress towards the target by 14 - 18 developed countries will be multilaterally assessed in Lima. The remaining developed countries will be assessed next year at SBI 42 in Bonn in June 2015 and at SBI 43 in Paris.

The timeline of next steps is as follows:

  • Introducing the MA Q&A tool to the Parties in June - August 2014;
  • Publication of review reports of the 14 -18 Parties by 31 August 2014;
  • Posting questions by any Party to the Parties under the MA by 30 September 2014;
  • Posting answers provided by the Party under the MA by 30 November 2014;
  • Consideration of the Parties’ progress towards emission reduction target at SBI working group session in Lima in December 2014;
  • Publication of Parties’ records by February 2015.

At the SB sessions in June this year, the SBI Chair will carry out consultations with Parties regarding the operationalization of the MA process. The secretariat will organize a side event, under the guidance of the SBI chair, on 10 June 2014 on the planning of the upcoming MA process and on the use of the Q&A platform.