As an integral part of the implementation, reporting is a rolling and iterative process. It starts with the planning of implementation and carries through to the assessment of what has been done.

STEP 1: Starting to plan the reporting together with the implementation planning

It is fundamentally important to have a clear understanding of what needs to be reported at the end of the implementation cycle. Therefore the NFP should study and be fully familiar with the report format at an early stage. It is important to review each question and have a good understanding of what information is being requested. If a report has already been submitted in the previous reporting cycle start from it – this will also provide the NFP with the overview of what data and information have been provided and what is missing.

Knowing what they will need to report will help NFPs to identify the most suitable institution, organization or stakeholder to provide the required information. Different sections and even individual questions of the national report can be assigned to members of the National Coordination Mechanism according to their expertise, data custody as well as their involvement in the implementation process.

NFPs should identify all potential sources of data and information, nationally or internationally, which could be used to complete each question in the national report and clarify on the means to obtain the information. Checks should be made regarding what data and information are or are not actually available and whether their format is compatible with what is required within the National Report. NFPs also need to anticipate any possible need of analysis and/or summarizing of the data and information prior to inserting them in the report.
NFPs must make sure that they have identified any possible parallel reporting processes under other instruments or treaties, which require similar data and information, so that they can avoid duplication of work and reporting contradictory or different information.

NFPs must also create a calendar for their reporting process. To do this, milestones and internal deadlines should be set to help NFPs ensure that they receive the necessary information in time to complete the national report. Other players must be made aware of the major deadlines which lead to the timely submission of the report as well as the final submission deadline (for submission deadlines of the different CMS Instruments, please see attached table and the Practical Example.

STEP 2: Entering information into the report format as it becomes available throughout the implementation cycle
In accordance with the milestones and deadlines set – the data and information should be inserted into the national report throughout the implementation cycle. This will spread the workload over time and will avoid last minute overload trying to complete the report. Responses should be objective and honest – the national report aims at identifying gaps as much as achievements.

STEP 3: Ensuring regular national coordination throughout the implementation cycle
In order to ensure smooth progress of the compilation of the national report, NFPs should include monitoring and review of the reporting process as part of the regular meetings of the National Coordination Mechanism. These meetings should be used to harmonize and verify the data and information coming from various sources. Between meetings or in cases when holding meetings is not feasible, other means of communication can be used such as e-mail, teleconferences or the above-mentioned function in the ORS to delegate and continuously review the contributions made to the national report.

STEP 4: Finalizing and preparing the National Report for submission
Before submitting the national report, NFPs should ensure that any last missing data and information are inserted, if available. The correctness of all information entered and the completeness of the report as a whole should be verified. Fields should not be left blank– so if no data and information are available, this should be indicated. This will usefully pinpoint gaps and causes and avoid unhelpfully leaving an unclear situation.
It should be ensured that the National Report is agreed upon by the National Coordination Mechanism.

The final step is the approval of the report for submission by the relevant governmental authority.