Using MRV Metrics to Promote Supported NAMAs

At the second Mitigation Action Implementation Network (MAIN) Asia Regional Dialogue in Vietnam, CCAP’s President Ned Helme presented to over 50 Asian and developed-country policymakers on “An Expanded Approach to Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV). ” (Click here to view the MRV paper.) This expanded approach seeks to meet the needs of bilateral donors, developing countries and the UNFCCC to demonstrate the on-the-ground results of supported NAMAs, both in achieving greenhouse gas reductions and supporting sustainable development. This expanded approach also recognizes the challenges in developing accurate measurements of greenhouse gas emissions reductions, including the uncertainty around baseline projections. Presently, at both the bilateral level and under the UNFCCC, requirements for MRV of NAMAs are largely undefined.

In the case of supported NAMAs that receive bilateral support, the contributing and recipient governments will need to arrive at MRV protocols that meet the needs of both parties. Contributing countries may seek assurances that the actions are being implemented as planned, and that the actions are resulting in significant changes on the ground, whether this means enhanced use of mass transit in lieu of single-occupancy vehicles, or construction of new clean power generation in lieu of new coal-fired power plants. These changes should ultimately translate to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time contributing to measurable sustainable development outcomes. Developing countries may emphasize sustainable development outcomes over other parameters, as this is what will help sell greenhouse gas mitigation actions to domestic political leaders and citizens.

Accordingly, in addition to estimated GHG outcomes, which might include a range to reflect uncertainty, we propose that countries negotiating MRV for supported NAMAs include:

  • Action metrics indicating whether activities are occurring as planned. For example, was the renewable feed-in tariff established? Did the bus rapid transit get built?
  • Progress metrics that show intended outcomes are happening as compared to a reliable baseline. For example, how has the percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources increased? Has the share of trips taken on public transit grown?
  • Sustainable development metrics that show progress toward economic, health and social policy goals. Example metrics include access to energy, reduced air pollution and job growth.

These metrics could also be reported in the NAMA registry to attract financial support. Additionally, as part of NAMA finance, bilateral support should facilitate this broader set of metrics.

For the UNFCCC, NAMAs reported in biennial update reports (BURs) include numeric information “as appropriate,” including the gases covered, baselines, emissions reductions expected, co-benefits, and progress indicators. The first BURs are due in December 2014, and subsequent BURs should be submitted every two years thereafter. In addition, separate from the BUR process, the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation will “develop general guidelines for domestic MRV of domestically supported NAMAs.” In undertaking NAMA reporting to the UNFCCC, developing countries should be encouraged to reflect uncertainty, as appropriate, in estimating the greenhouse gas emissions baseline and reductions. Similarly, other metrics should be encouraged but not required.

The session in Vietnam advanced thinking among developing-country and contributing-country policymakers on a more flexible and realistic approach to MRV of NAMAs. Dialogue participants provided feedback on this expanded approach and CCAP will continue to explore these processes.

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