Aligning NDC and Transparency Processes

About This Opportunity

Article 13 of the Paris Agreement establishes the two clear purposes of the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF), one on climate action and another on support for such action (Source: “ETF Technical Handbook,” UNFCCC):

  1. With respect to climate action, the purpose of the ETF is “to provide a clear understanding of climate change action in the light of the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2, including clarity and tracking of progress towards achieving Parties’ individual NDCs under Article 4 of the Paris Agreement (herein after referred to as “NDCs)”, and Parties’ adaptation actions under Article 7, including good practices, priorities, needs and gaps, to inform the global stocktake under Article 14”;
  2. Similarly, with respect to support for climate action, the purpose of the ETF is “to provide clarity on Figure 1 support provided and received by relevant individual Parties in the context of climate change actions under Articles 4, 7, 9, 10 and 11, and, to the extent possible, to provide a full overview of aggregate financial support provided, to inform the global stocktake under Article 14”.

This former aim is directly facilitated in the Biennial Transparency Report (BTR) via the requirement for Parties to report information necessary to track progress made in implementing and achieving NDCs under Article 4 of the Paris Agreement (Decision 18/ CMA.1). These two processes are designed to complement each other, with Parties’ commitments being communicated in their NDCs and then progress towards implementing and achieving these commitments being evaluated and subsequently reported in their BTR. This feedback loop is designed to support and facilitate Parties in ensuring their efforts represent a progression over time (Article 3, Paris Agreement).

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Preparing for ETF tracking:

Developing robust systems and procedures for tracking the implementation and achievement of NDCs as part of the BTR under the ETF. This includes establishing clear metrics and benchmarks to measure progress accurately and consistently. The ETF aims to integrate various reporting elements across different articles of the Paris Agreement, which are important for a unified and comprehensive reporting system. This includes comprehensive reporting and regular review processes through Biennial Transparency Reports (BTRs). In the context of this upcoming new transparency regime, aligning overlapping or related processes to ensure resources are used as efficiently as possible between the reporting requirements will be important to manage capacity constraints and ensure efficiency and quality reporting. This includes data collection, technical analysis as well as stakeholder engagement. This approach is designed to enhance the overall transparency and effectiveness of NDC implementation and monitoring. Guidance for Accounting for NDCs with Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets (PATPA) explores some of the key points, including content of BTRs, integration of mitigation policies and measures, the review process, and synergies and challenges.

Integration of reporting cycles:

Detailed planning for BTR reporting is essential to ensure that all necessary data and progress updates are accurately captured and reported. This planning could consider the timeline and content requirements of the BTR to align with ETF guidelines. Aligning the NDC development and reporting cycles with the transparency reporting cycles can create synergies that enhance the efficiency of data use and reduce the effort and cost associated with data collection and reporting. Clear opportunities are present between the two upcoming reporting requirements under the Paris Agreement: Biennial Transparency Report (BTR) and NDC 3.0 submission. As described in the ETF Technical Handbook (UNFCCC), Parties are to submit updated GHG emission inventories as well as projections of GHG emissions as part of their BTR submission. Both of these components feed directly into the compilation of projections for NDC development therefore Parties should look for opportunities to maximize synergies between these analytical exercises. By ensuring that the most updated and relevant data is available for NDC development, countries can streamline their processes and focus on achieving their climate goals, minimize effort and costs, and maximize domestic resources. Where country capacity constraints mean that the BTR deadline will not be met (or in the case of LDC sand SIDs where there is flexibility), or where processes are already underway or completed, considering future reporting cycles and needs in the finalization of NDCs 3.0 can be useful to ‘future proof’ processes.

Understanding and acting upon challenges for Non-Annex I Parties:

Non-Annex I Parties may face challenges due to limited or no experience with complex reporting requirements, as well as challenges with potentially limited or outdated data, which may affect their capability to effectively report on their progress. This includes mandatory requirements for the reporting of and compilation of up-to-date GHG emission inventories as well as reporting on progress towards the implementation and achievement of their NDC. Seeking opportunities for synergies, as described in the previous strategy is therefore key to using resources effectively. The ETF Technical Handbook (UNFCCC) aims to help countries overcome such challenges.

Identifying clear and appropriate indicators:

Selecting specific indicators that reflect the progress towards achieving NDC targets is a requirement of the Modalities Procedures and Guidelines for the ETF (UNFCCC; see section C, paragraph 65). These indicators provide a concrete measure of how well a country is progressing towards its stated action goals. They transform abstract commitments into tangible, quantifiable metrics that can be monitored over time. This quantification not only aids in transparency and accountability but also helps policymakers adjust strategies to better meet their goals. See “NDC Progress Indicators: A guidance for practitioners” (GIZ) for a description of the criteria for defining relevant indicators (i.e., specificity, measurability, alignment with NDC goals, data availability, comparability) and some key steps for defining the process for developing indicators. See “Proposed indicators for domestic MRV purposes and tracking progress of NDCs” (ICAT & ISPRA). It is also useful for countries to consider their ability to report on indicators when setting targets; consideration of a country’s capacity and ability to consistently track and report on NDC targets and indicators, such as in Biennial Transparency Reports (BTRs), during the target development process, can avoid difficulties further down the line. This is a key consideration when deciding how many targets to set, as discussed under “Opportunity: Exploring Sector-Specific Opportunities”.

Developing Robust NDC Tracking Frameworks to Incorporate Transparency in the NDC Process:

Transparency is a core consideration not only in the reporting of NDC progress but also throughout the development and implementation stages of the NDC. This approach ensures that all actions and outcomes are clear and accountable, thereby enhancing stakeholder trust and facilitating international cooperation. Countries can establish frameworks that align with national data processes and integrate NDC goals with broader national policies. This includes domestic MRV systems, which are essential for continuously monitoring and tracking the progress of NDCs. Guidance for Accounting for NDCs with Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets (PATPA) makes proposals for ways in which countries may compare and combine information from the MRV of policies and measures with NDC accounting, with a view to better understanding and improving the approaches used for MRV of policies and measures and improving the GHG inventories used for accounting for NDCs. The guidance also offers practical suggestions on how countries can integrate MRV into NDC accounting, including methodologies for aligning data and reporting formats and ensuring that the information provided is comprehensive and verifiable.

Country Examples

Moldova’s commitment to using its Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks for biennial tracking aligns with the ETF’s expectations for detailed and regular reporting. The inclusion of both mitigation and adaptation measures in their reporting, and the establishment of a robust MRV system, demonstrate a forward-thinking approach to integrating various reporting elements under the Paris Agreement, ensuring a unified and comprehensive system. (Source: “NDC Checklist Moldova Analysis,” WWF)

Rwanda has developed a detailed framework for tracking the implementation of its NDC, which includes a range of indicators outlined in an annex of its NDC report. These indicators are specifically chosen to reflect progress towards the implementation and achievement of its NDC under Article 4 of the Paris Agreement, demonstrating a well-structured approach to identifying clear, relevant, and measurable indicators. This aligns with the guidance on specificity, measurability, and alignment with NDC goals, facilitating robust tracking of its climate action.The inclusion of a comprehensive MRV framework in Rwanda’s NDC tracking process is also an example of developing robust NDC tracking frameworks that incorporate transparency. This framework not only tracks mitigation and adaptation contributions but also includes non-GHG impacts, ensuring that all actions and outcomes are clear and accountable. This approach enhances stakeholder trust and facilitates international cooperation by providing a transparent, reliable basis for tracking NDC progress. (Source: “NDC Checklist Rwanda Analysis,” WWF)

Further Resources

Guidance for Accounting for NDCs with Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets (PATPA, 2022)
This document offers a methodological framework for countries to develop and refine their systems for accounting NDCs in alignment with the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) requirements of the Paris Agreement. It details the procedures necessary for accurate and transparent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, essential for compiling Biennial Transparency Reports (BTRs). The document describes practical approaches for defining, achieving, and updating emission targets, and managing related data.

NDC Progress Indicators: A Guidance for Practitioners (PATPA, 2023)
This document is a comprehensive manual designed to assist practitioners in identifying, developing, and reporting progress indicators related to NDCs. It provides a structured approach to selecting indicators that accurately reflect the implementation and effectiveness of NDC targets, both for mitigation and adaptation efforts. The document includes practical examples and detailed steps on how to compile these indicators, ensuring they align with the requirements of the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) under the Paris Agreement.

Technical handbook for developing country Parties on Preparing for implementation of the enhanced transparency framework under the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, 2023)
This handbook serves as a critical resource for developing countries preparing to implement the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) under the Paris Agreement. It outlines detailed methodologies for reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other climate-related data necessary for the Biennial Transparency Reports (BTRs).

Technical Paper: Benefits of Climate Transparency (PATPA, 2023)
This document aims to explore the potential benefits that robust and self-sustained transparency systems can bring to governments. Using examples from developed and developing countries, this paper highlights how transparency unlocks benefits that go beyond fulfilling reporting requirements and can support Parties in their transition towards net zero and climate resilient development pathways. Some of the various benefits listed in the document are the effects of transparency on science-based policy development, decision-making, and climate ambition; access to carbon markets and climate finance; political buy-in for climate action; and accession to or membership of political and economic communities.

Biennial Transparency Report Guidance and Roadmap Tool (PATPA and FAO, 2021)
The Biennial Transparency Report (BTR) Guidance and Roadmap Tool, jointly developed by the Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement (PATPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) guides developing countries in planning the preparation process of their first BTR as well as preparing a roadmap for implementing it. Led through six main steps, users of this hands-on and highly interactive tool will learn about key elements to be considered when planning for a BTR and good practices and recommendations for improving the quality of the process over time. The tool is meant to facilitate long-term planning and help in structuring and elaborating a roadmap for the BTR process. 

Climate Policy Implementation Tracking Framework (WRI, 2014)
This paper offers a framework for tracking climate policies through the process of adoption, implementation, and eventually to impact. The framework is designed to provide guidance on selecting milestones and indicators that help track the progress of policy adoption and implementation. It also provides a set of in-depth questions to help users probe more deeply into the reasons for implementation success or failure.

NDC Tracking Tool (FAO, 2022)
This Tool allows users to assess progress on NDC implementation by (i) comparing planned versus implemented mitigation and adaptation actions, and (ii) estimating the GHG reduction achieved from the implementation of mitigation actions compared against the sectoral and/or national baseline and NDC target scenario. The Tools’ structure corresponds to the requirements of the Modalities, Procedures and Guidelines of the Paris Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework and, therefore, supports countries to collect the necessary information needed for the submission of Biennial Transparency Reports (BTR).

Proposed indicators for domestic MRV purposes and tracking progress of NDCs (ICAT & ISPRA, 2021)
This document provides readers with an understanding of how reporting requirements under the Paris Agreement will require a greater effort and level of detail from countries in terms of monitoring and reporting progress towards their goals. The challenges introduced by different types of NDC are also discussed, in conjunction with the available types of indicators and the requirements they will have to meet. Building on the previous considerations, a non-exclusive nor exhaustive list of indicators for both mitigation and adaptation is suggested.

A road map for establishing information systems for climate action and support (ICAT, 2019)
This document aims to provide an overview of the aspects to consider when designing and developing an information system to support the processes leading to the transparency of climate action and support within the country. As such, it provides insights regarding the aspects that are relevant to consider when developing an information system, including methodologies for development and techniques for analyzing and documenting the functions and objectives of the system. It also provides recommendations for how to maintain an information system.

How This Links to Other Routes

Some specific linkages to other Routes that are particularly relevant include the following. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Mobilizes All-Of-Government and All-Of-Society

Collaboration across various government levels and sectors is particularly useful when collating data to support the transparent tracking of progress.

Route: Aligned to the Paris Agreement Temperature Goal

In BTRs, NDC targets and indicators are tracked to demonstrate progress towards fully implementing the NDC. As such, there is a direct link between the mitigation content of NDCs and transparency processes under the ETF.

Support Opportunities

Support is available to countries to apply the learning from the navigator and develop ambitious NDCs 3.0.

Share Additional Resources

Contribute new guidance, tools and strategies to be reflected in the NDC 3.0.