Article 26 of the Convention states that the objective of national reporting is to provide information on measures taken for the implementation of the Convention and the effectiveness of these measures. In accordance with Article 6, measures to be addressed, in light of specific national circumstances, are reflected in the national biodiversity strategy and action plan.
An effective system of national reporting can assist the Conference of the Parties to:
- Consider the lessons learned by Parties in the implementation of the Convention
- Identify gaps in capacity for policy research and analysis at the national, regional and global levels, including technical and financial requirements
- Formulate appropriate requests and guidance to Parties and to its subsidiary bodies, the Secretariat, the financial mechanism, and other organizations with expertise relevant to the implementation of the Convention
Public availability of national reports also assists relevant actors (e.g. intergovernmental agencies, specialist non-governmental organizations and scientific bodies) to formulate focused strategies and programmes to assist Parties, individually or collectively, with implementation. This also assists individual Parties or groups of Parties to identify common issues to be addressed, thus facilitating the development of cost-effective and mutually-supportive regional initiatives for implementation.
First National Reports
At its second meeting (Jakarta, November 1995), the Conference of the Parties decided that the first national reports should ‘focus in so far as possible on the measures taken for the implementation of Article 6 of the Convention, as well as the information available in national country studies on biological diversity’ (decision II/17). At its third meeting (Buenos Aires, November 1996), the Conference of the Parties decided that the first national reports should be submitted no later than 1 January 1998 (decision III/9). At its fourth meeting (Bratislava, May 1998), the Conference of the Parties considered a synthesis of the information contained in the 86 reports received prior to that meeting. The meeting asked SBSTTA to provide advice on the intervals and form of future national reports, including the nature of the information needed from Parties in order to assess the status o f implementation of the Convention, recommendations on improving the reporting process, and identification of ways and means to facilitate national implementation (decision IV/14).
- No First National Report for Ethiopia
Second National Reports
At the fifth meeting of SBSTTA(Montreal, Jan-Feb 2000), participants considered guidelines for future national reporting that had been developed by the Secretariat through a pilot project, carried out with the collaboration of a number of Parties, to identify a methodology for assessing the state of implementation of the Convention. This involved (i) identifying the obligations on Parties deriving from the provisions of the Convention and the decisions of the Conference of the Parties, and (ii)formulating these as questions designed to elicit responses that would reveal the level of implementation, relative priorities, constraints encountered and issues not yet addressed. At its fifth meeting(Nairobi, May 2000), the Conference of the Parties endorsed this format as a guide for future national reporting and as a means by which the status of national implementation can be measured (decision V/19). Parties were requested to submit their second national reports by 15May 2001 for consideration at the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in April 2002. The fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties agreed that national reports would be called for on a four-yearly basis and considered at alternate meetings of the Conference of the Parties.
Third National Reports
At its sixth meeting (The Hague, April 2002), the Conference of the Parties considered a full assessment of information decision VI/25). Building on the methodology and format used for the second national reports, the format for the third national reports would, among other things, include questions on strategic objectives and goals established under the Strategic Plan, focus on allowing the Parties to provide information on the experience of implementing their national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and facilitate the identification of obstacles and impediments to implementation. At its seventh meeting (Kuala Lumpur, February2004), the Conference of the Parties considered an analysis of information 2010 Target
The revised format for the third national report was transmitted to Parties in July 2004 who were requested to submit their completed report to the Executive Secretary by 15 May 2005 for the consideration of the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 2006 (decision VII/25) contained in second national reports received by the end of January2002, and requested the Executive Secretary to prepare a draft format for the third national reports for the consideration of the Conference of the Parties at its seventh meeting (contained in the second national reports that were received by the end of October 2003. The meeting also endorsed the format for the third national report, as amended, with respect to the questionnaire on forest biological diversity and requested the Executive Secretary to further develop the format by considering the views expressed during the meeting and the data required from Parties to assess the implementation of the Strategic Plan.
Fourth National Reports
At its eighth meeting (Curitiba, March 2006), the Conference of the Parties considered a preliminary synthesis of information Working Group on Review of Implementation (recommendation I/9).Consideration was also given to relevant views expressed by Parties at the eighth meeting and further comments submitted by some Parties. The guidelines for the fourth national reports were developed based on the experience and lessons learned from previous reporting processes under the Convention, in particular from the second and third national reports. The multiple-choice questionnaire, the main format adopted for these earlier reports, has proven less helpful than expected for review and decision-making processes under the Convention, focusing too narrowly on COP decisions addressed to Parties rather than providing a complete picture of national implementation. The fourth national report provides an important opportunity to assess progress towards the 2010 target, drawing upon an analysis of the current status and trends in biodiversity and actions taken to implement the Convention at the national level, as well as to consider what further efforts are needed. contained in the third national reports that had been received by the end of October 2005. The meeting also endorsed the guidelines for the fourth national report that had been prepared according to guidance provided by the first meeting of the conference of the parties.