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New policy brief on tracking progress on the implementation of the Paris Agreement

26 Apr 2019 - 13:15

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are a central feature of the Paris Agreement. Countries decide domestically what they can contribute to the global effort. There is no hard legal obligation to achieve the mitigation targets in NDCs; rather, the system relies on transparent reporting and review to encourage countries to comply. Hence tracking progress in implementing and achieving NDCs is central to the Paris transparency framework and for effective climate action.

The rules that outline how tracking progress should happen are part of the “Paris rule-book” – more formally the modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPG) of the Enhanced Transparency Framework.(1) The MPG were agreed at COP 24 in Katowice (December 2018). In this policy brief, we focus on “tracking progress” and on chapter III of the MPG, which relates to the mitigation components of NDCs. This involves tracking mitigation targets in NDCs, using self- selected indicators as well as reporting domestic mitigation measures that contribute significantly to reducing emissions. This also relates to accounting for NDCs under Article 4.13.(2,3) Support is important and key to enabling more ambitious mitigation, but this is not the focus of this policy brief.

The MPG generally have language that suggests mandatory reporting (“shall”), but then add qualifiers (“as appropriate” or “as applicable”, etc). This means that transparency depends on countries finding transparency appropriate and helpful, and that they will report the very significant details. We assume that countries, including South Africa, will track progress to the best of their abilities. If this proves to be true, common practice may at a later stage be codified in law.

Read the full paper here.