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09 September 2019

Strengthening National Monitoring, Reporting and Verification Systems For More Ambitious Climate Commitments

As countries work to reduce their emissions and adapt to a changing climate, a common challenge is presented: it is not possible to properly manage what cannot and is not being measured, reported, and verified. In order to do this, it is necessary to assess whether efforts to mitigate climate change are being effective through measures that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and whether these measures are efficient and robust enough to ensure compliance with the climate commitments that each country has made.


Under the Article 13 of the Paris Agreement, the Enhanced Transparency Framework requires that countries establish robust national monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) systems that will in turn enhance and guide their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). For developing countries, including those in the Latin American and Caribbean region, the lack of robust MRV systems represents a technical, technological, and financial challenge, as countries enter into quantitative and legally binding commitments to reduce their GHG emissions.


To address this gap, LEDS LAC and the NDC Partnership have launched a series of webinars to support countries in their aim to increase the ambition of their NDCs that will in turn inform and drive continuous improvement of their national systems of monitoring, reporting, and verification.


A recent webinar entitled Strengthening of National Monitoring, Reporting and Verification Systems towards more Ambitious Climate Commitments was the second in a series of six. This webinar identified and shared, through country experiences, the possible links between the NDC enhancement cycle and the continuous improvement of national MRV systems. It is also a complement to the implementation of the CAEP (Climate Action Enhancement Package[1]) initiative of the NDC Partnership.


This webinar offered participants a unique look at the different aspects and considerations related to strengthening MRV systems and how they can complement NDC enhancement efforts. This included an overview of the Katowice Climate Package, including the modalities, procedures and guidelines for the implementation of the transparency framework, insight into MRV challenges for developing countries, and an overview of Chile’s MRV system and the country’s experience in updating their NDC with an aim to greater climate ambition.


Lucio Santos, Forest Officer and REDD + Coordinator in the region for FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Gabriela Alonso, a Climate Change Specialist with the World Bank, explained that the methodologies for estimating greenhouse gases used for accountability should be consistent with the country's GHG inventories and, ideally, there should be an iterative process that increases the ambition of the NDC indicators based on the improvement of information available in GHG inventories. That is, inventories must not only fulfill their function of measuring and reporting, but they should also improve ambition in the climate front.


María José Sanz, Scientific Director of the BC3 (Basque Center for Climate Change) highlighted the important role that inventories play in the definition and revision of NDCs, which have an impact on the continuous improvement of climate mitigation information. She explained that there are methodological challenges to gathering and analyzing data, while also emphasizing the issues of availability and disaggregation of information. Without access to quality data, it is difficult for developing countries to implement robust national monitoring systems that guide on-the-ground actions to reduce emissions.


While many countries are faced with challenges in implementing MRV systems, Jenny Mager, Mitigation Coordinator of the Ministry of Environment of Chile (MMA), presented the generalities of the MRV system developed by the South American country and its experience in updating the NDCs with an aim to greater climate ambition. Mager highlighted that robust MRV systems are needed, but that they should be flexible enough to design and update the NDCs in the best way possible. She explained that NDCs will be milestones or intermediate goals in the road to carbon neutrality and that, if there is a robust monitoring system integrated with robust projections, it can be correctly aimed at increasing the ambition of the new NDCs.


Based on Chile's experience, she emphasized that indicators of ambitious NDCs should be transparent with a long-term vision and following the requirements of the Rulebook, reduce uncertainty, include more than one NDC (since a comprehensive follow-up cannot be given with a single indicator), and jointly manifest unconditional, transparent goals, in line with science (1.5 ºC) and considering justice and equity factors.


Mager also expressed the role of MRV systems at the subnational and regional levels, indicating that the bottom-up approach mobilizes actions for concrete implementation schemes in the countries. This approach is the product of institutional governance agreements that empower not only institutions at the national level, but also at the subnational level.


While countries work to implement and enhance their NDCs, it is clear there needs to be strong alignment with MRV systems. But these systems need to be flexible and as countries use these systems to generate data, they also need to use the data as a method and resource for increasing climate ambition and enhancing NDCs.


The complete recording of the webinar as well as the presentations of the exhibitors and the referenced support material, in Spanish only, are available on the webinar site.


Follow the NDC Partnership and LEDS LAC pages to keep abreast of the next sessions of the webinar series on updating and strengthening the ambition of the NDCs focused on Latin American and Caribbean countries.


[1] The CAEP is a strategic and action-oriented product for countries that aim to raise the level of ambition in their updated NDCs. Similarly, the CAEP seeks to provide support to the different thematic pillars of the United Nations Climate Summit and it acts as a strategic partner for the office of the United Nations Secretary-General to make ambition in the climate front a reality.


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