Getting to Know the MRV

16 June 2011

ECO was excited that Parties started to discuss the more technical aspects of MRV. Has someone finally noticed our cries for progress? Of course, ECO is dismayed that except for some older agenda items in the SBI, none of these meetings have been open. The discussions around biennial reporting, IAR, and ICA (you know, the alphabet soup…) have been about as transparent as a brick wall. We might agree that MRV is a geeky exercise, but that doesn’t make it any less important. That said, ECO requests that certain developed-country Parties do not use MRV to impede progress on core issues.

On MRV itself, ECO has a lot of ideas – we’ve spent time getting up to speed on technical issues and attending side events while we were locked out of the negotiations. While Durban may be too soon to figure out the entire MRV system, there are some baby steps that can be taken. In no particular order, they are:

1. Guidelines for Biennial Reporting– We’ve heard that there’s some confusion on this point. For now, ECO will say that whether it is a developed-country biennial report or a developing country biennial update report (based on national circumstances), guidelines still need to be agreed. Separate guidelines, mind you – but in both cases an enhancement over the current ones, which are well overdue for revision. Developed countries, this does mean you actually have to step up and provide adequate support, not only for domestic systems, but also for the actual reports! And while we’re on the subject of support, let’s not forget the need for delivering and reporting on support obligations (CRF anyone?)

2. Accounting– First, the KP rules! KP Parties must commit to a second commitment period and follow the MRV rules contained there. Developments in the LCA should complement, and in no way replace, these rules. Indeed, it would be great if the KP rules we know and love are strengthened in the KP track. Oh, and for the one remaining non-KP developed- country Party (we haven't forgotten about you), you really need to agree to common rules.

3. IAR/ICA– Here, we ask that if you can’t take a baby step, then at the very least crawl. An outline of the scope and functions needs consideration in tandem with the reporting discussions. Again, this should complement and not replace the verification and compliance processes for KP Parties.

4. Take a leaf out of the REDD+ negotiators’ books– the REDD+ discussions in the LCA and SBSTA have been open for the most part. Also, some of it actually dealt with accounting and reporting on REDD+ activities and the information-sharing system for safeguards! While you discuss the value of openness with your REDD+ colleagues, you may also want to touch on how the REDD+ monitoring system and the information-sharing system for safeguards fit into the overall MRV framework. (Hint: Consider putting on your biennial reporting caps.)

ECO welcomes some serious technical thinking on these points. Maybe some technical workshops or expert meetings are in order? This would certainly be money well spent. We ask that you keep this in mind as you finalize plans for the next few months.

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