Key Components of an Open Climate-Relevant Data System

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Reporting Requirements

National governments collect and report a wide range of climate-relevant information, as required by the UNFCCC. Much of this information is publicly available on the UNFCCC website through the various reporting mechanisms used by countries, including National Communications, National Inventory Reports (developed countries), Biennial Reports (BRs, developed countries), Biennial Update Reports (BURs, developing countries), and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Starting from an understanding of what national governments have committed to report to the UNFCCC should help prioritize the disclosure of different types of data.
Reporting under the UNFCCC is quite expensive and complex and can place a significant burden on the agencies responsible for preparing the submissions. Therefore, it is crucial to think carefully about how an open data initiative can align with existing data collection and reporting efforts, so as to avoid duplication.
Nevertheless, domestic transparency systems do have an important role to play in making information available to a wider range of domestic stakeholders, for a wider set of uses. Furthermore, well-designed domestic transparency systems can strengthen information flows across government agencies, levels of government, civil society, and the private sector and help build the capacity of various actors to use this information. These functions have gained attention as a result of the Paris Agreement’s commitment to an enhanced transparency framework and the greater role it gave to non-state actors.
The table below presents a brief summary of the information that countries are required to report to the UNFCCC under the current regime. It is intended to help users of this guide consider whether key data for their particular use case may already be available or whether access to these data could be enhanced.
At COP 24 in Katowice, Poland, parties agreed to provide additional accounting details on how they are assessing progress and agreed to a common set of guidelines to report and review their progress every two years.
Prior to the adoption of the Paris Rulebook, countries were required to report the following. When the rulebook goes into effect in 2024, reporting obligations will be the same for developed and developing countries with the exception if information provided on finance. Donor countries are expected to provide information of support provided and developing countries on support needed and received.
Countries are currently committed to report:
Type of information reported
Developed country Parties
Developing country Parties
National greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories
∙ Anthropogenic emissions and removals of greenhouse gases ∙ Analysis of emissions trends ∙ Methodologies and emissions factors ∙ Data and results from inventory estimates in “Common Reporting Format” tables (csv files) ∙ Specific underlying activity data for IPCC sectors (Energy; Industrial Processes and Product Use; Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use; and Waste)
∙ Frequency: Annually, in National Inventory Reports (NIRs).
∙ Anthropogenic emissions and removals of certain greenhouse gases ∙ Developing countries are furthermore encouraged, but not required, to report further information, such as methodologies used and sector-specific data.
∙ Frequency: Every four years (as part of NCs) and every two years (as part of their BURs). The least developed country Parties and SIDS may submit BURs at their own discretion.
Information necessary to track progress made on implementing and achieving mitigation targets
For 2020 quantified economy-wide emissions targets: • Progress in achievement of quantified economy-wide emission reduction target and related information, including mitigation actions and their effects and changes in domestic procedural and institutional arrangements • Estimates of emissions reductions and removals • Updated projections for 2020 and 2030 • Use of market-based mechanisms
• Frequency: NCs every four years; BRs every two years.
For Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs): • Information on the progress of implementation and steps taken or envisaged to achieve the action • Results achieved, such as estimated outcomes and estimated emissions reductions, to the extent possible • Information related to domestic Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) systems
• Frequency: NCs every four years; BURs every two years.
Information on climate change impacts and adaptation
∙ Expected impacts of climate change and outline of adaptation actions taken
∙ Frequency: Every four years (NCs).
∙ Encouraged (not required) to provide information on their vulnerability to impacts of climate change, including identification of vulnerable areas; methodologies, tools, and scenarios used to assess climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation; information on adaptation strategies and measures.
∙ Frequency: Every four years (NCs) but at their discretion for LDCs.
Information on support provided and mobilized (Developed) OR needed and received (Developing)
• Information on provision of financial, technological, and capacity-building support to developing countries, including information on how support is new and additional • Indicators and delivery mechanisms used • Updated strategies and approaches for scaling up climate finance
• Frequency: Every four years (NCs); every two years (BRs and Strategies and Aproaches).
• Encouraged (but not required) to provide information on constraints and gaps, and related financial, technical, and capacity-building needs. • Encouraged (but not required) to provide information on financial resources, technology transfer, capacity-building and technical support received from the GEF, developed countries, the GCF, and multilateral institutions for activities related to climate change.
• Frequency: NCs every four years; BURs every two years.
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