What could happen at COP27? Supporting vulnerable countries in their transparency reporting practices

As COP27 is approaching, preparatory discussions are intensifying. With the spate of recent climate disasters around the world, climate change is again in the global spotlight.

The importance of keeping up with 1.5 °C target and fulfilling Paris Agreement requirements becomes clearer as we continue to face such disasters. The Glasgow Climate Pact from COP26 required updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with more ambitious targets for 2030 for all countries. Therefore, COP27 will be a critical test of whether the international process can address the urgency of the situation.

COP27 in 2022 will host one of three Technical Dialogues of the first ‘global stocktake’ (GST) exercise during 2021-23. The outcomes of the GST will direct future NDCs, negotiations and international cooperation for increasing global ambitions.

EU GCCA+ Cambodia
©EU GCCA+ Cambodia

Vulnerable countries, including Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), will be a part of this process, and for many of them, it will also mean a transition to more extensive reporting requirements compared to previous Monitoring, Reporting, Verification (MRV) systems. The Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) will demonstrate how countries are progressing on greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, climate adaptation and access to and provision of finance, technology transfer and capacity building support. Therefore, many LDCs and SIDS will need support to overcome their financial, institutional and technical barriers to comply with these new requirements. In particular, the bottlenecks can be grouped in three areas.:

  • Lack of capacity for data collection and management, GHG inventory preparation and monitoring, the mitigation impacts of policies and measures, climate change impacts and adaptation options, and climate finance monitoring;
  • Limitations relating to human resources for transparency and reporting among key state institutions, which include a lack of expertise, and establishing and sustaining experienced teams, combined with limited available financing for establishing these capacities;
  • Uncertainty relating to the roles and responsibilities of key state institutions for data gathering and reporting, combined with a lack of legal frameworks, which result in a reluctance among key institutions to coordinate, share data and collaborate.

It is clear developing countries have plenty to do to overcome these barriers to complying with transparency reporting requirements under the Paris Agreement. Many of these barriers entail more than a lack of human capacities. There are already mainstream programmes to help strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of developing countries to meet the enhanced transparency requirements defined in Article 13 of the Paris Agreement, such as the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT).

©EU GCCA+ Mauritius
©EU GCCA+ Mauritius

However, countries may have difficulties in establishing and sustaining experienced teams in state institutions, and this further hinders the reach and impacts of what international climate aid was designed to achieve.

The European Union’s technical and financial support to developing states has been ongoing for many years in the area of climate change. This support includes help in the design and set-up of MRV and climate transparency reporting practices through several initiatives, such as the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus. The EU’s technical and financial assistance programmes for LDCs, SIDS and middle-income countries have the potential to create synergies and complementarity with partners such as the CBIT that enable beneficiaries to fill specific capacity gaps and overcome barriers to MRV and transparency reporting.

With progress in their transparency reporting practices, developing states can better reflect their climate finance needs, including on loss and damage and adaptation, and unlock new climate financing opportunities. In that sense, COP27 will be an opportunity for developing states to identify such gaps and needs for transparency reporting during GST-related work, eventually leading to targeted support to fill these gaps.

Gamze Celikyilmaz