National Positions and Design Elements of an MRV Framework
As country representatives meet under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to forge a new climate agreement, a major challenge dominates discussions: how can a system be created to assure that countries are held accountable for their commitments and actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and their obligations to provide technology, finance and capacity building support? This working paper seeks to facilitate progress on this critical component of a successful climate agreement. It aims to help policy-makers, UNFCCC negotiators and civil society groups navigate the complexity of the “MRV” challenge by focusing attention on central questions in advance of the December talks in Copenhagen and presenting country positions to date.
The negotiations in the weeks and months ahead should focus on the following elements:
How should supported actions be verified? Will unilateral (unsupported) actions be subject to a verification process as well?
What should be the functions and governance structure of an international registry of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and support contributions?
What principles should govern the generation and delivery of finance? Such internationally agreed-upon principles can inform a discussion on ways to ensure predictable, new, additional and adequate support for NAMAs.
What should be the role, modalities and content of national climate action plans? Parties should also specify how such plans would complement other national climate and development planning tools. In addition, sovereignty concerns need to be alleviated and the demand-driven nature of the support allocation process needs to be guaranteed if national climate plans are to be subject to review or if their drafting is to be done in accordance with internationally agreed-upon guidelines.
In doing so, we recommend that Parties:
Consider additional criteria to establish a gradation of MRV requirements. Such gradation could be based on (a) the type of action undertaken and (b) the ease and cost of verification itself.
Build reporting structures and indicators on existing domestic systems.
Set up clear treaty obligations for the provision and reporting of support. The nature of the support provided should be clarified as well as the ways in which provision of that support should be reported and verified internationally.
Focus on delineating the characteristics of acceptable NAMAs (such as mitigation benefits, cost and timeframe) rather than types of acceptable actions. Doing so would enable countries to propose innovative, nationally specific actions in the future while meeting environmental integrity requirements.
As country representatives meet under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to forge a new climate agreement, a major challenge dominates discussions: how can a system be created to assure that countries are held accountable for their commitments and actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Such a system must meet multiple goals. It must establish trust that all governments are keeping their respective promises; allow for evaluation of country efforts to mitigate GHGs; and embed recognition that countries need to take varied and nationally specific actions in order to transition to a low-carbon pathway.