Seventh Umbrella Programme for Preparation of National Communications and Biennial Update Reports to the UNFCCC

Project General Information



Climate change

Climate Change


1.      In an effort to address climate change, countries joined an international treaty in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change.  Countries agreed to work together to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. The goal to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, was recently reiterated in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), and by Parties at COP 21 by adopting a new climate change agreement ‘the Paris Agreement’.



2.      Parties to the Convention have an obligation to inform one another of their national level actions through ‘National Communications’ (NCs). Similarly, NCs serve as a basis for the COP to assess whether proposed actions result in reduction of global emissions on a pathway consistent with achieving the objective of the Convention, set out in its Article 2. The Convention,  through its Article 4, paragraph 1, and Article 12, paragraph 1 makes provisions for each Party to report the following information to the Conference of Parties (COP):

a)      Information on its emissions by sources and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol (greenhouse gas inventories)

b)      National or, where appropriate, regional programmes containing measures to mitigate climate change

c)      Measures that facilitate adequate adaptation to climate change

d)      Any other information that the Party considers relevant to the achievement of the objective of the Convention


3.      Consistent with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention, the required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for developed and developing country Parties. This proposal targets to continue supporting developing countries in preparing NCs. Considering that countries are in different phases of NCs preparation, the GEF funding requested will support Second NC (SNC), Third NC (TNC) or Fourth NC (FNC) preparation.


4.      Reporting requirements under the UNFCCC have evolved over time, into a more comprehensive measurement, reporting and verification framework, starting with the adoption of the revised guidelines for preparation of NC at COP8. Additional measures seeking to significantly enhance transparency of action and support under the Convention were adopted as part of the Bali Action Plan at COP 13 and elaborated in decisions adopted at subsequent COPs. Parties at COP 16 decided to enhance the reporting in national communications, through preparation and submission of biennial update reports (BURs). The 17th session of the COP adopted the guidelines on the preparation of biennial reports by developed country Parties (the “UNFCCC biennial reporting guidelines for developed country Parties”); and those contained in annex III, for the preparation of biennial update reports (BURs) by developing countries.


5.      The scope of biennial update reports is to provide an update to the most recently submitted national communication in the following areas:

a)      Information on national circumstances and institutional arrangements relevant to the preparation of the national communications on a continuous basis;

b)      The national inventory of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removal by sinks of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) not controlled by the Montreal Protocol, including a national inventory report;

c)      Information on mitigation actions and their effects, including associated methodologies and assumptions;

d)      Constraints and gaps, and related financial, technical and capacity needs, including a description of support needed and received;

e)      Information on the level of support received to enable the preparation and submission of biennial update reports;

f)       Information on domestic measurement reporting and verification;

g)      Any other information that the non-Annex I Party considers relevant to the achievement of the objective of the Convention and suitable for inclusion in its biennial update report.


6.      Whereas NCs are submitted every four years, BUR are expected to be submitted every two years, either as a summary of parts of their national communication in the year in which the national communication is submitted or as a stand-alone update report. Discretion on timing is granted to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  Figure 1 illustrates the proposed sequence and timeframes for submission of BURs and NCs to the COP:

      In addition to increasing the frequency of reporting to the CoP, BURs enhance transparency of mitigation actions through an International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) process. The ICA consists of two steps: (a) A technical analysis of the BURs, 6 months after submission, by a team of technical experts in consultation with the Party, and will result in a summary report, and (b) A facilitative sharing of views, which will have as input to the BUR and summary report generated in the first step. While the primary objective of the ICA process is to enhance the transparency of mitigation actions, it is also expected to contribute towards the capacity-building of non-Annex I Parties leading to improvement in the quality of its BURs over the period of time. The additional reporting decisions and guidelines represent a considerable effort towards more frequent, transparent, comprehensive and consistent reporting of climate change data and information for all countries.



8.      UNEP has over the years continued to support the UNFCCC climate negotiation process and countries to comply with their reporting obligation. In keeping with the most recent COP guidance on reporting, the proposal is designed to also support NCs preparation, and developing countries to prepare and submit their Initial (BUR1) or Second (BUR2) under the UNFCCC. The project proposal caters for different country needs, as seen in the letters of endorsement attached as Annex A.


§  Cluster 1: Six (6) countries requesting support for NC preparation: 1. Antigua and Barbuda (FNC); 2. Democratic Republic of Congo (FNC); 3. Guinea Bissau (FNC); 4. Madagascar (FNC); 5. Maldives (TNC); and 6.  Gambia (FNC)

§  Cluster 2: Six (6) countries requesting support for BUR preparation: 7. Burundi (BUR1); 8. Chad (BUR1); 9. Congo (BUR1); 10. Djibouti (BUR1); 11. Mauritania (BUR2); 12. Nepal (BUR1)

§  Cluster 3: Six (6) countries requesting to combine NC and BUR preparation: 13. Iraq (SNC& BUR1); 14. Kyrgyzstan (FNC & BUR1); 15. Swaziland (FNC & BUR1); 16. Turkmenistan (FNC & BUR1); 17. Uzbekistan (FNC & BUR1) and 18. Zimbabwe (FNC & BUR1)


9.      The GEF funding requested aims to support 18 developing countries to prepare and submit twelve NCs and twelve BURs to the COP. The project will not only allow UNEP to provide support to these countries for both NC and BUR projects in a coordinated manner, but will also ensure that national teams make use of established reporting systems, as well as expertise developed at country level.



10.  The umbrella programme approach adopted presents multiple benefits compared to the single-country enabling activities requests submitted to the GEF. This approach streamlines project approval and funds disbursement processes, which means that start-up of project activities is accelerated, and project cycle expedited, saving significant time to countries and minimizing delays in submission of NCs and BURs to the UNFCCC. UNEP will scale-up the number of countries it will support in NC and BUR preparation by replicating this request to the GEF, based on additional requests received from Parties.

Expedited Enabling Activity(EA)



Antigua and Barbuda, Burundi, Dem Rep Congo, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mauritania, Nepal, Chad, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe

GEF Trust Fund

Stage Grant to UNEP Grant to other IA Co-Financing UNEP Fee Other IA Fee
$ 10,530,720.00 $ 0.00 $ 1,043,000.00 $ 947,764.00 $ 0.00



Executing Agency Category

Partner Category

Name Category Period
Geordie Colville

Low Risk

Risk Level of Risk Commentary and Mitigating Strategies and Actions 1. Limited consultations and weak participation process amongst stakeholders due to institutional rivalries or rigidities which hamper responsiveness of project outputs to national development needs as well as effective work delivery and quality of the outputs. Moderate - The project implementation plan (PIPs) will outline roles and responsibilities of different institutions and stakeholders during NC & BURs implementation - Teams will also make reference to the various toolkits for assisting non-Annex I Parties in establishing and maintaining the most suitable national institutional arrangements to meet the enhanced reporting requirements for NCs and BURs. e.g. a toolkit developed by the UNFCCC Secretariat 2. Weak institutional arrangement structures and inexperienced staff: Inadequate incentives and difficulties in retaining staff involved in the preparation of previous or current national communications. This has resulted in high staff turnover in many countries, and tend to affect not only the quality of the studies but also the timeliness of delivery of project outputs. Moderate - As a result of recent increased interest in climate change issues by national governments, countries will be encouraged to set up permanent and adequately staffed climate change offices to ensure sustainability of NCs and BUR processes including easy access to information, data and tools used for climate change studies. - Executing Agencies will be encouraged to actively involve other institutions in national reporting, through various channels – e.g. establishing robust institutional arrangements and constituting technical working groups with agreed terms of reference, contracts and memorandum of understanding 3. The possibility of most countries producing reports that lack adequate depth and quality Moderate - UNEP will advise on access to methodologies and guidance notes for NC and BUR preparation, and recommend participation in capacity building initiative workshops, webinars organized by the GSP, CGE, IPCC, UNFCCC and other organizations - UNEP will also encourage south-south cooperation and peer support by linking up country teams to exchange data and information, tools and methodologies, lessons learnt and good practices 4. Political risks: It is expected that political unrest/ instability in any of the Countries, will impede implementation of project activities and completion of the project within the stipulated time frame. Low - UNEP will make use of its Post-Conflict & Disaster Management Offices and/or other UN Offices to liaise with the national government to assess the situation and put measures in place to ensure that the project incurs minimum losses and that project activities resume once the political environment is favorable 5. Environmental risks/hazards: Occurrences of extreme weather events – floods, hurricane, droughts etc. will slow/stop implementation of project activities and completion of the project within the stipulated time frame. Low - National teams will be encouraged to create more awareness on climate change related hazards/disasters; enhance coordination of efforts between institutions for risk assessment, improve early warning systems to mitigate impacts and increase resilience to extreme events


Fiscal Year Project activities and objectives met

$ 0.00