Guide to De-Bracketing MRV

ECO is here to help negotiators remove some brackets from that new MRV text that is hot off the press, and insert a few critical items that Parties have somehow forgotten.

So pick up your erasers (or warm up your Delete keys) and let’s get to work!

Stakeholder participation – Observer participation is still bracketed in the ICA and largely absent or conditioned in the IAR. Inexcusable! Stakeholders, including NGOs, businesses and municipalities, have a right to participate and contribute important scientific and technical information to the negotiations.

Accounting and compliance – These two words seem to be toxic to some developed country parties, like the USA and Canada, but including them in international assessment and review (IAR) is fundamental. The IAR must review the accounting of emission reductions and lead to future compliance mechanisms under the Convention. You can see where things go otherwise; the lack of good accounting and compliance played a big role in the financial crisis.

Adjustments – A tonne is a tonne is a tonne. Not only do we need common accounting rules, in the IAR technical review, the review teams need to be able to adjust data when the rules aren’t followed. Brackets around adjustments – off!

MRV and the Review – Biennial reports, biennial update reports, and the IAR and international consultation and analysis (ICA) processes are key to providing an accurate picture of global emissions for the 2013 Review. This link is reflected in the IAR preamble but inexplicably has been deleted from the ICA preamble. This link and an appropriate timeline should be agreed. Developed country reports should be in by 1 January 2013 and developing country reports on 1 January 2014; and the IAR and ICA should start in May 2013 and May 2014, respectively. This timeline is crucial for providing effective input in the review process.

Developed country Biennial reports – It is troubling to see that the information on LULUCF and market mechanisms for developed country targets is bracketed. Remove the darn []’s! We need the information and it should be based on common rules.

New and additional finance – A key part of enhanced transparency in climate finance is defining “new and additional”. So don’t forget to keep that box in the Common Reporting Format for finance;.

National Communication guidelines need updating all around. Parties must agree in Durban to update the guidelines for both developed and developing countries. Currently, the text only has a provision for revising developed country guidelines.

Low Carbon Development Strategies – Most Parties seem to be forgetting paragraphs 45 and 65 from Cancún about low carbon plans, even if a lot of countries are moving forward domestically with them. Biennial reports focus on what has been achieved; but planning for a decarbonized future is crucial and that is where these strategies come in. We need a process to report on the development of those plans and share best practices.

Response measures don’t belong in IAR. (Do we need to say it again?) Consideration of the adverse impacts of mitigation actions is already done more than adequately as part of the annual review of GHG inventories. It has no place in the IAR process. This is a climate change convention, after all.

REDD+ reporting – A summary of REDD+ activities, including actions, methodologies, accounting and safeguards information systems, should be included in Biennial Update Reports and NatComms.

Beyond the text itself, countries could move the process forward if they made some concrete announcements. Take for example the USA. For all its rhetoric on transparency, they have yet to put forward serious money to support developing country biennial reports and the ICA process. The entire developed world has an interest in and an obligation to support these initiatives. Announcements of support in Durban would go a long way to ensure robust guidelines are adopted.

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