1.4 Operational requirements
Technical operational requirements and national circumstances can influence the design of institutional arrangements. At an operational level methodologies and tools will often encompass a combination of remote sensing and field-based forest carbon inventory approaches for the estimation of anthropogenic forest-related GHG emissions by sources and removals by sinks, forest carbon stocks and forest area changes(1) associated with REDD+ activities. The methodologies and tools may also provide relevant information for national systems for the provision of information on how safeguards are addressed and respected(2).
Development and implementation of methodologies and tools require a range of skills and expertise to enable monitoring and reporting to be consistent over time. For effective operation, institutional arrangements should establish frameworks for:
- formalising mandates for data acquisition, processing and sharing amongst relevant institutions to set out responsibilities and avoid duplication of efforts
- maintaining documented processes for quality assurance and quality control, so as to ensure the quality datasets (e.g. for spatial data and carbon pool measurements)
- continual improvement including documentation of opportunities for improvement and process for the inclusion of such improvements
- retaining skilled staff through appropriate and ongoing training and environments to encourage staff retention
- securing adequate budgets to support the initial development of the MRV function as well as the ongoing operation and development.
Regular assessment of elements such as cost effectiveness, expectations, adequacy of processes and planning, possible improvements and expansions against the identified vision, objectives and strategic direction of the programme is recommended. This continuous improvement assessment could form part of the institutional arrangement processes.
Box 4: Institutional arrangements – Examples from South America
In Colombia, the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) assisted by UN-REDD is producing a report containing the analysis of legal and institutional elements for the implementation of the NFMS, in order to develop an appropriate legal instrument (decree, or regulation) to regulate the functioning of the NFMS. The major aspects refer to the need to clarify roles and responsibilities of each institution involved, such as the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, to develop inter-institutional coordination mechanisms and to define clear agreements between the relevant institutions to share data. Steps envisaged are to: a) analyse the forest legal framework focusing on NFMS aspects, and identify existing provisions related to the institutional framework defining roles and responsibilities at national and local level, b) define gaps and inconsistencies in the legal framework, and elaborate recommendations to improve it, c) consult with relevant stakeholders to understand their main challenges, d) identify existing platforms that might facilitate the exchange of data in the establishment of a NFMS, e) share the final legal report with the competent institutions and actors for its validation and f) identify options of legal reforms to be adopted in the short term or the legal instrument to be enacted.
In Honduras, a similar process is ongoing led by the Secretary of Energy, Natural Resources, Environment and Mines (Mi-Ambiente) and the National Institute of Forest Conservation and Development, Protected Areas and WildLife (ICF) and assisted by UN-REDD.
Some countries in Latin America are currently exploring the possibilities and alternatives in establishing or strengthening arrangements among institutions in a broader framework of land monitoring, including the agriculture ministries and institutes in the dialogues.
In Guyana, work started on the implementation of REDD+ in 2008, with a review of existing roles, and a definition of the planned responsibilities, for key partners. Subsequently, a road map for the development of the MRV function for REDD+ participation was designed.
As the agency responsible for monitoring and managing Guyana’s state forests, the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) was identified as the focal point and lead for the implementing the key technical aspects of REDD+, including the development of the MRV function. A REDD Secretariat was subsequently established within the GFC to coordinate and implement technical activities related to REDD+ nationally, including work on the MRV function. REDD+ activities were designed to build on Guyana’s previous efforts in terms of national forest monitoring and forest management. Building upon this technical work, Guyana adopted an integrated, multi-sectoral approach to REDD+ implementation, incorporating the country’s other natural resource management agencies, the private sector, civil society, academic and training institutions, and NGOs Indigenous and Environmental. The Office of Climate Change was established with the role of providing policy advice on REDD+. These arrangements served to reflect the multifaceted approached required for REDD+ implementation.
An MRV Steering Committee comprised of representatives from government, private sector, indigenous representation, and academia, was convened to foster a multi-stakeholder development and implementation approach. This committee oversees coordination of MRV datasets and oversees the technical development process. As a related objective, the Steering Committee is responsible for providing a mechanism to support the boarder objectives of land use and land management (including within forest areas), in Guyana.
So far these structures, both coordinating and decision making, have effectively allowed for a flow and exchange of information and decisions. Further, there continues to be the expansion of the physical and technical capacity of each of the institutions responsible for implementing and maintaining aspects of both REDD+ and the MRV function and ensuring that implementation is internationally accepted and scientifically supported.