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OECD/IEA Paper Suggests Revisions to National Communications Guidelines

November 2010: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have released a joint secretariat information paper titled “Options to Revise Reporting Guidelines For Annex I and Non-Annex I National Communications” (NCs). The paper was developed in response to a request from the Climate Change Expert Group on the UNFCCC.

The paper makes suggestions for updating the 11-year old guidelines for Annex I NCs and eight-year old guidelines for non-Annex I NCs. It identifies key questions for consideration when developing new guidelines for NCs from Annex I and non-Annex I countries, and suggests changes to the current reporting guidelines in order to produce more relevant, timely, user-friendly, transparent and comprehensive reports. The analysis suggests common elements, such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and GHG mitigation activities, that should be reported on by both party groups. It further highlights that there are likely to be differences as to how these common elements are reported.

The paper also poses key questions for consideration in the development of new NC guidelines on: NCs in general; GHG emissions; emissions projections; progress on mitigation commitments/actions/goals; climate impacts and vulnerability; adaptation actions; financial resources, technology and capacity building; and research and systematic observation.

Finally, it offers a set of eight lessons learned, including that: reporting guidelines should help improve transparency of mitigation activities; more frequent reports should be limited in scope to mitigation progress and support received or provided; and a flexible but standardized reporting format should be instituted. [The Paper]