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On Mitigation: Summary of critical decisions reached in Durban

March 30, 2012

Republished from the UNFCCC E-Newsletter #29 – March 2012
More articles can be found at this link

Critical decisions were reached in Durban to further strengthen the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) framework for Annex I Parties, and the reporting and verification structure for non Annex I Parties.

In the context of the future mitigation regime under the Convention, governments reached important decisions for Annex I Parties MRV framework. Parties agreed to adopt the UNFCCC biennial reporting (BR) guidelines and the modalities and procedures for international assessment and review (IAR). The process and timeline for revisions of these guidelines, as well as guidelines for reporting and for review of national communications, were set in place.

Crucial for the further development of the MRV framework for Annex I Parties is the work under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice on the common reporting formats for biennial reports and the revision of the review guidelines for biennial reports and the national communications.

Meanwhile, a set of decisions relating to biennial update reports (BURs) from non Annex I Parties was agreed on in Durban. In addition to adopting the guidelines for preparation of BURs from non Annex I Parties, the timeframe for submission of first and subsequent BURs, their content and how the BURs link to the national communications were also clarified and agreed. First BURs are due by December 2014.

It was recognized that non Annex I Parties would require support for preparation of BURs, and the GEF was requested to make this support available as early as possible to non-Annex I Parties preparing their first BURs in 2012 on the basis of agreed full cost funding.

Parties also agreed on a set of decisions on international consultations and analysis. In addition to adopting the modalities and guidelines for international consultation and analysis (ICA), the COP decided that the first rounds of ICA will be conducted for developing country Parties, starting within six months of the submission of the first round of biennial update reports.

There is still one key element of the ICA process that needs to be addressed: the composition, modalities and procedures of the team of technical experts for the ICA. This issue will be addressed under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) at its thirty-sixteenth session with a view to recommending a draft decision to the COP for its adoption at its eighteenth session. Parties were requested submit their views on this matter by 5 March 2012.

The progress on Annex I MRV and non-Annex I reporting and verification was significant to creating a certainty among Parties and other stakeholders in the UNFCCC process that all countries are approaching their commitments under the Convention with a sense of responsibility and accountability.

Understanding of the diversity of nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing country Parties

At COP17, Parties agreed to continue, in 2012, with the workshop process that was launched in Cancun at COP 16 to further the understanding of the diversity of nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries (NAMAs) contained in document FCCC/AWGLCA/2011/INF.1, including their underlying assumptions and any support needed for the implementation.

The secretariat was requested to organize the workshop in conjunction with the thirty-sixth session of the Subsidiary Bodies and prepare a summary report of the workshop. Further, the scope of the workshop was broadened to include sharing of experience on the formulation of low-emission development strategies of developing country Parties.

Operationalizing the NAMA Registry

Another significant decision adopted in Durban was to operationalize the registry to record NAMAs seeking international support, to facilitate the matching of financial, technological and capacity-building support for NAMAs, and to provide recognition of NAMAs. There are open invitations to Parties and other entities to submit information on (a) actions seeking support, (b) support available, (c) actions that have received needed support, and (d) other individual NAMAs. The COP requested the secretariat to record this information as and when it is submitted by Parties and other entities.

The secretariat was requested to develop a prototype of the registry and present it to Parties for their consideration at the thirty-sixth session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 36). The secretariat was further requested to improve the design of the prototype, if required, based on the views expressed by Parties at the SBI 36 and make it available to Parties as soon as possible (but within two months after SBI 36), with a view to finalizing the registry through a decision at the eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties.

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