Climate Change Expert Group www.oecd.org/env/cc/ccxg.htm
Electronic reporting of information
to the UNFCCC:
Lessons from current experience
CCXG Global Forum on the Environment and Climate Change
15-17 March 2021
Chiara Falduto (OECD)
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• Why is reporting important?
• Reporting under the Paris Agreement
• Current experience with electronic reporting
o Common Tabular Formats (CTF) for support;
o Common Reporting Format (CRF) tables for national GHG
o Tables for Kyoto Protocol units
• Opportunities for electronic reporting under the Paris Agreement
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Why is reporting important?
• Regular reporting of information has numerous benefits
• Inform policy- and decision-making
• Inform development of NDCs and
• Support policy-implementation
• Promote transparency and trust;
• Inform the Global Stocktake
• Conduct research and analysis of
At the national level At the international level
• To fulfil all these uses, reported data would ideally be: accurate, accessible,
comprehensive, consistent, granular and machine-readable.
How data is reported will impact some of these aspects as well as the
ease with which the data can be collected, aggregated, compared,
undergo QA/QC checks etc.
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Reporting under the Paris Agreement
• Some of the information to potentially be provided under Article 6 (pending
agreement on reporting guidelines) may overlap with information that is to be
reported under Article 13.
• Parties will have to report all this information electronically to the UNFCCC
in different formats and at different times.
What lessons can be drawn from current experience that can feed into the
new reporting system to enhance efficiencies and usefulness of electronic
reporting under the Paris Agreement?
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Current electronic reporting experience
• Under the current frameworks, Parties have already been reporting
• Through different file formats (PDF, MS Excel, XML)
• For some items, via reporting software / tools
• Current experience shows that each file format presents different benefits as
well as some disadvantages.
• Furthermore how a certain format is generated (i.e. whether it is generated
manually or by a reporting software), will have implications on how data can
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Electronic Reporting in MS Excel file format
• Annex I Parties are required to electronically report on financial support
provided using Common Tabular Formats (CTFs)
CTFs for financial support provided are reported biannually in the form of MS
Excel tables that are filled in manually.
• Not all fields require use of standardised
labels, rendering data analysis more
• Individual Parties’ data is stored in
separate files, and not in a common
• Data is structured in a common format,
easing comparability / machine-readability
• MS Excel format allows for basic data
analysis activities and data quality checks;
• Information is publicly-available on the
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Example of CTF on support
• Congo, Dem Rep of
• Congo DR
• Congo Rep of
• Congo, Republic of
• Congo, Democratic Republic of
• Congo, the Democratic Republic
• Agriculture and forests
• Agriculture and forestry
Difficult to automate aggregation/
analyse free text strings
Easy to aggregate / analyse
(quantitative data and nominal
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Electronic Reporting through a reporting tool
• Annex I Parties are required to electronically report national GHG inventories
using Common Reporting Format (CRF) tables
CRF tables for GHG inventories are reported annually in the form of MS Excel
tables that are generated by a reporting software: the CRF Reporter.
Data points are inputted into
the CRF Reporter and
• CRF tables in MS Excel
format (rendered publicly
• XML file (transmitted to the
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Electronic Reporting through a reporting tool
• Annex I Parties are required to electronically report Kyoto Protocol units
using a Standard Electronic Format (SEF)
SEF tables for KP units are reported annually in the form of MS Excel tables
that are generated by the SEF Report Tool.
• Data points are inputted into
the SEF Report Tool and
outputted as MS Excel and
XML file formats
• The Excel and XML files are
uploaded individually in the
CRF Reporter submission
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• Development of a reporting software
requires time and resources;
• XML files are not publicly available;
• Capacity and technical issues (trainings,
internet access, etc.)
• May be more difficult to use a reporting
software where qualitative data needs
to be reported.
• Can save time / reduce reporting burden.
• Data points reported can be outputted in
different file formats;
• Data can be stored in a common database;
• Specific software functions can facilitate
reporting by performing calculations and
automatically filling in relevant cells;
• Output tables and files are highly standardised,
facilitating data analysis and QA/QC checks.
• Use of a reporting software may work best for quantitative (e.g. emissions)
and nominal (e.g. sectors) data, and not so much for qualitative (e.g. project
Electronic Reporting through a reporting tool
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Opportunities for enhanced electronic reporting
under the Paris Agreement
• Electronic reporting in a MS Excel file format can help improve accessibility,
consistency, granularity, and machine-readability of data.
• To further enhance the benefits of MS Excel file formats under the Paris
Agreement, Parties could consider approaches for promoting data
Important to consider the introduction and use of agreed standardised
nominal data through:
• Use of labels or agreed codes, e.g. IMO country codes
• Use of drop-down menus; e.g. to select a sector or category
• Use of standardised notation keys e.g. to explain why data is not available.
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How can electronic reporting of information
work in practice?
• Electronic reporting in a MS Excel file format can be more useful / efficient if the tables
are generated by a reporting software / tool and therefore if data is reported through
a reporting platform.
A reporting platform could help with storing and archiving data, performing some
basic calculations, linking information reported under different Articles of the PA,
extracting information and automatically filling in relevant reporting tables.
• Such reporting software/tool could build upon the characteristics of the CRF Reporter
(i.e. be freely available and hosted by the UNFCCC).
• Through a reporting software, Parties would need to report data points, which could
potentially be presented in any output table / structure that is developed and agreed by
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Benefits and risks of an enhanced electronic
Benefits: Disadvantages/Open questions:
• Significant benefits for TACCC principles;
• Significant improvements to machine-
readability of data;
• Reduction of reporting burden by e.g.
linking information in different reports and
• Reduction of human error by e.g.
automatically detecting quantitative
inconsistencies to improve QA/QC
• Allow for centralised archiving of data.
• Resources and time needed to develop a
• Technical and capacity issues
• Timing issues, i.e. how often can
information be reported? Could delays in
e.g. A13 reporting negatively impact A6
reporting and vice versa?
• Would a reporting portal allow for
reporting of qualitative information?
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• Current experience reveals several opportunities to improve usefulness/
effectiveness/transparency of reporting under the Paris Agreement.
• This is a timely moment to have this discussions, i.e. before reporting issues under the
PA are finalised.
• Electronic reporting in the form of MS Excel tables can be improved by integrating use of
standardised labels / elements
• The use of a reporting tool / software / portal to generate these MS Excel and to report
under different Articles of the PA and tables can provide further benefits, e.g. reduced
reporting burden, increased efficiency.
• There is a value in co-ordinating discussions on A13 and on A6 reporting and for further
discussing how a co-ordinated reporting portal could work in practice to address potential
risks and open questions, e.g. would delays in reporting under ETF generate issues
for A6 transparency?
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Focus of the session on how to report information under different Articles of the Paris Agreement rather than on what information to report.
The session will how different reporting formats and software can help meet reporting requirements, how could they be enhanced. We will be drawing lessons from current electronic reporting experience which can feed into on-going negotiations.
This is discussed in order to:
Support the aim of the ETF, i.e. to build mutual trust and confidence and to promote effective implementation of the Paris Agreement (Paris Agreement);
Ensure efficiency/consistency/coherence in reporting and review under A13 and A6;
Avoid duplication of work and undue burden on Parties and the UNFCCC secretariat (decision 18/CMA.1).
Parties are reporting to inform the international community and national policy making / domestic processes, etc. Not just for the sake of reporting.
Data being reported by countries can be useful at:
The international level: To inform the Global Stocktake, to inform IGOs/research institutions / academia for research purpose
At the national level: To inform policy- and decision making, including development of NDCs and LT-LEDS, inform design of effective policies and support policy implementation
To fulfil all these uses, reported data would ideally be:
How data is reported will impact some of these aspects as well as the ease with which the data can be collected, aggregated, compared, undergo QA/QC checks etc.
Under the PA, Parties are to report on a number of items
Under Article 13, Parties are to report inter alia on:
National GHG inventories (mandatory for all Parties, with flexibility provisions)
Support provided and mobilised (mandatory for developed country Parties)
Support needed and received (non-mandatory for developing country Parties)
Information necessary to track progress made in implementing and achieving NDCs, including use of cooperative approaches (mandatory for all Parties, with flexibility provisions).
Under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, Parties may also be required to report on certain elements , although reporting guidance is not yet agreed.
We may nevertheless assume that there will be potential areas of overlap between A6 and A13 reporting, and similar information may need to be reported under more than one article and in different reports.
For example, paragraph 77d of decision 18/CMA.1 also requires Parties participating in Article 6 to provide information in the structured summary consistent with relevant decisions adopted by the CMA on Article 6.
Importantly, The MPGs define the format in which information is to be reported:
Paragraph 12 of decision 18/CMA.1 requests the SBSTA to develop common reporting tables for the electronic reporting of national GHG inventories and common tabular formats for the electronic reporting of the information on support provided, mobilised, needed and received and on the information necessary to track progress made in implementing and achieving NDCs. Tables are to be adopted by CMA3, now scheduled to take place in November 2021.
Include a copule of examples orally
Current Excel CTFs make it easy to perform some basic data analysis / data quality checks, e.g. aggregating figures, analysis type of finance (mitigation, adaptation, cross-cutting), financial instrument and funding source.
For other fields, where information is less prone to standardisation, machine-readability is not favoured. These fields include Sectors and Recipients .
Recipients: The CTF reporting field “recipient country/region/project/programme” does not include any standardised labels for countries to use. Because of the broad reporting scope of this reporting parameter, great variance is observed across countries in terms of reporting format, level of detail and wording. Furthermore, different countries use different spellings or languages to indicate the same recipient country. For example, at least 19 different spellings were observed to indicate the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Sectors: Type of sectoral categorisations made available by table 7(b) include: energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry, water and sanitation, cross-cutting, other. Yet, use of these labels is not mandatory, and in practice Great variation in the use of sectoral labels was observed. Some countries report sectors using the DAC purpose codes alone (e.g. “232”), other countries report jointly the DAC purpose code and the sectoral category (e.g. “232 – Energy generation, renewable sources”), and other countries report using the sectoral labels that are prompted by the CTFs (e.g. “Energy). For 2018 data alone, countries used 281 different sectoral definitions, which were subsequently re-coded into 83 DAC sectors.
A lot of detail here – I will not necessarily include all this in the presentation. Keeping it here for the time being.
perhaps briefly synthesise pros/cons of using excel tables
Annex I Parties are required to report national GHG inventories using Common Reporting Formats (CRFs). CRFs are submitted in the form of Excel files generated by a reporting software - the CRF Reporter.
The CRF Reporter is a web-based software developed by the UNFCCC Secretariat to facilitate Annex I Parties’ GHG inventory reporting to the UNFCCC.
The CRF Reporter generates the CRF tables upon the inputting of data points.
The CRF Reporter generates CRF tables in an MS Excel format as well as a XML file, which is fed into a data warehouse system.
Information in this data warehouse system is used for a number of purposes. For example, it is fed into tools facilitating the review of Annex I Parties’ national GHG inventories and into the UNFCCC’s GHG Data Interface, which presents GHG emissions reported by Annex I and non-Annex I Parties.
We have seen that reporting of information through an Excel file format already supports the manipulation of data.
However, current experience also suggests that excel tables that are generated by a reporting software support even further the reporting of information that is as standardised and as coherent as possible. Very importantly, going through a reporting software can also allow to store data in a centralised archive.
Drawing from these considerations, is there an opportunity to re-think how all new reporting tables will be generated and the file format in which these tables will be submitted? Could reporting under the PA take place through a reporting software that could allow for the reporting of information of different Articles?
As we have seen, such a reporting software could not only help with storing and achiving data and performic some basic calculations. But could also significantly reduce reporting burden on countries by linking information reported under different articles of the PA. Say that a specific element has to be reported under more than one article and in more than one table. A software could ideally extract that data point and automatically reproduce it in relevant reporting tables.
This could also offer a new perspective to the discussions. Through a reporting portal, Parties would need to report data points. These data points could potentially be presented in any output table / structure that is developed and agreed by the SBSTA.
To summarise, re-thinking electronic reporting under the PA and considering the development of an integrated reporting tool through which reporting tables are generated, can offer multiple benefits.
Above all, reduction of reporting burden and avoidance of duplication of work. Such a system would also boost harmonisation and machine-readability of data, wherby complex data analysis would be rendered possible and data could be easily sorted by different parameters.
On the other hand, re-thinking electronic reporting would hold some disadvantages. To mention a few, a new system would require resources and time to be developed and some countries may face technical and capacity issues.
To conclude and to summarise,
We have seen that ……