The A-Z of MRV

2 December 2011

Robust measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) is a critical part of the Durban outcome. But 24 hours before the new text is out, with Parties hard at work, ECO is concerned that key MRV elements are at risk of falling off the table.

First, let’s review the fundamentals: The reason we’re all learning the MRV alphabet soup is to support the implementation of commitments and actions, build confidence and ensure the environmental integrity of the regime. Seems obvious, right? Yet some of the proposals on the table would seriously undermine these objectives.

In addition, MRV must respect the framing principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ and reflect differentiation between developed and developing countries while aiming for good reporting from both. ECO worries that some developed countries are trying to erase those lines. 

And finally, as critical as MRV is to the Durban outcome, it’s just one piece of the picture whose outlines were drawn by the Bali Action Plan. MRV must always be viewed as part of the bigger picture of increased mitigation,
finance, technology transfer and capacity
development commitments.

Critical MRV elements that must be in the Durban outcome include:

  • Procedural transparency and meaningful stakeholder participation, including the ability to make written submissions to technical analysis experts and the SBI; pose questions in an SBI review session open to Parties and observers, and unrestricted access to all information (inputs and outputs).
  • Common accounting rules on emission reductions and enhanced removals for Annex I countries.
  • A process to clarify the assumptions underlying the pledges of all countries (e.g. gases, sectors, base years, assumptions on BAU) to be able to accurately assess the gigatonne gap and ensure comparability for Annex I countries. (More coming from ECO on these hot button issues.)
  • MRV outputs must be timely and include enough detail to enable a meaningful first periodic review between 2013 and 2015. Biennial reports, biennial update reports, and the first international assessment and review (IAR) and international consultation and analysis (ICA) should be completed as early as possible in 2014.
    Enough detail must be provided in biennial reports (BRs) and biennial update reports (BURs) to conduct an effective global assessment, including clarity on assumptions, underlying pledges and projections until to 2050, in 10-year increments.
  • The technical review teams, SBI and the COP should have the ability to comment on the status of implementation and issue recommendations in order to assist Parties in the implementation of their pledges and to improve reporting.
  • A compliance process for Annex I countries, including consequences for non-compliance such as suspension from the flexible mechanisms.
  • Improved MRV of finance through the adoption of a common reporting format in biennial reports and in the future revision to the guidelines for national communications.
  • Enhanced support for developing countries to produce their biennial update reports and national communications, and to participate in international consultation and analysis (ICA).
  • A summary of REDD+ activities, including actions, methodologies, accounting, safeguards and information systems should be included in biennial update reports and national communications.
  • Time-specific provisions to revise guidelines for national communications by COP 18 and for BRs, BURs, IAR and ICA based on lessons learned, by COP 22 in 2016.

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