2.1 UNFCCC decisions and requirements
A country’s approach to estimation and reporting of REDD+ activities is influenced by UNFCCC COP decisions; GHGI methods produced by the IPCC; and national circumstances including those related to NFMS and forest definitions. As part of the UNFCCC Warsaw Framework for REDD+, decision 14/CP.19 , sets out MRV modalities as they apply to REDD+. Decision 14/CP.19 recalls previous decision 4/CP.15 , which amongst other things requests Parties to use:
- the most recent guidance of the IPCC, as adopted or encouraged by the Conference of Parties, as appropriate, as a basis for estimating anthropogenic emissions and removals associated with REDD+ activities
- a combination of remote-sensing and ground-based data.
Decision 14/CP.19 recognizes the need to develop capacity; that data and information used by Parties to estimate anthropogenic emissions and removals associated with REDD+ activities need to be transparent, consistent over time, and consistent with the FRELs and FRLs submitted by Parties under another decision, 12/CP.17 . Decision 14/CP.19 encourages improvements of data and methodologies, maintaining consistency with FRELs and FRLs. Parties seeking results-based payments for REDD+ activities are requested to provide a technical annex to their biennial update reports (BUR). This annex is to include:
- information on FRELs and FRLs,
- the results of the implementation of the REDD+ activities expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year (tCO2eq/yr),
- demonstration of consistency between results and FRELs and FRLs,
- information that allows recalculation of results, and
- a description of the NFMS.
The information contained in the technical annex will be analysed by the Technical Team of Experts under the UNFCCC International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) process(1) (Chapter 6, Section 6.5). The outcome of the analysis is published with areas for improvement identified. COP19 agreed that further verification modalities may be required in the context of market-based approaches. More information on reporting and verification of results is presented in Chapter 6.
Decision 11/CP.19 on NFMS reaffirms the link to the most recent IPCC guidelines and guidance adopted or encouraged by the COP. NFMS should provide data and information that are transparent, consistent over time, suitable for MRV of REDD+ activities, and consistent with decisions on nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs). NFMS should build on existing systems, enable assessment of different forest types, including natural forest, as defined by a country, be flexible and allow for improvement. NFMS should reflect, as appropriate, a phased approach. Previous decision 1/CP.16, paragraphs 73 and 74 , established that a phased approach begins with development of national strategies or action plans, policies and measures and capacity-building, is followed by their implementation and possibly further capacity-building, technology development and transfer and results-based demonstration activities, and evolves into results-based actions that should be fully measured, reported and verified(2). Decision 11/CP.19 acknowledges that NFMS may provide, as appropriate, relevant information for national systems for the provision of on how the safeguards set out in appendix 1 to Decision 1/CP.16 , are addressed and respected. Decision 12/CP.19 establishes that this information on safeguards should be provided via National Communications, and (on a voluntary basis) via the REDD+ Web Platform on the UNFCCC web site , once implementation of REDD+ activities has begun, and as a prerequisite to obtain and receive results-based payments. COP 21 agreed decision 17/CP.21 with strong encouragement on elements to include where appropriate when providing summary information on safeguards.
In 2011, decision 12/CP.17 established that FRELs and/or FRLs are benchmarks for assessing performance in implementing REDD+ activities. They should be set transparently, taking into account historical data, may be adjusted for national circumstances, and should maintain consistency with anthropogenic emissions and removals estimates as contained in each country’s GHGI. Decision 12/CP.17 invited developing countries to submit reference levels, on a voluntary basis. In 2013 the COP decided in decision 13/CP.19 that the FRELs and FRLs submitted under decision 12/CP.17 shall be subject to technical assessment. An annex to decision 13/CP.19 provides information on the scope of the assessment; which includes consistency with emissions and removals estimates contained in the GHGI, how historical data have been used, transparency, completeness and accuracy, consistency of the forest definition with that used for other international reporting, inclusion of assumptions about future changes to domestic policies included in reference levels, activities, pools and gases included and justification concerning why omitted activities and pools were deemed not significant, and updating of information which is contemplated in decision 12/CP.17 by the stepwise approach.
Several FREL and FRL submissions, and the associated technical assessments, are available(3) and Section 2.3.3 provides advice on the interpretation of technical terms associated with FRELs and FRLs .
Emissions and removals from REDD+ activities are quantified in the context of the national GHGI, reported through the BURs(4), and performance measured against national FRELs and/or FRLs. Implementation at the national level reduces concerns about displacement(5) associated with project level engagement. Subnational demonstration activities (those which do cover a significant area but not extend to full national coverage), including subnational forest monitoring, are recognized as a possible interim step to national REDD+ implementation(6). According to decision 1/CP.16 , full implementation of results-based actions requires national forest monitoring systems and full MRV(7). There are some additional issues raised by subnational coverage e.g. at state, province or project level. For example the need to include monitoring and reporting of emissions displacement at the national level, if appropriate, and reporting on how displacement of emissions is being addressed, and on the means to integrate subnational monitoring systems into a national monitoring system(8). When establishing subnational systems it is important to consider how the system will be eventually included consistently within the final national system, and which components (in particular remote sensing) can be used at the national level for subnational estimates.
Decision 15/CP.19 recognizes the importance of addressing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. It recognizes their complexity, and their linkage to livelihoods, economic costs and domestic resources. Parties, relevant organisations and the private sector are encouraged to work together to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, and to share information including via the UNFCCC REDD+ Web Platform. From a technical perspective, quantification of the effect of drivers on emissions and removals requires gathering evidence on the effect of direct causes such as pressure from commercial or subsistence agriculture, commercial timber extraction, fuel-wood collection and charcoal production, conservation and sustainability policies and other policy drivers. Taking drivers into account may be useful in stratification of lands, in ensuring consistency between historical data and reference levels and (in the case of subnational FRELs and FRLs, in monitoring displacement as required by the footnote to paragraph 71(c) of decision 1/CP.16 , the Cancun Accords.
Decisions 9/CP.19 and 10/CP.19 repeat the need for adequate and predictable support for the implementation of REDD+ activities, establish a process for coordination of support, and link results-based finance to MRV and the provision of safeguards information. Decision 9/CP.19 encourages support from a wide variety of sources, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF) , taking into account different policy approaches. It also requests use of the methodological guidance consistent with COP decisions, and requests the use of this guidance by the GCF when providing results-based finance. COP21 agreed decision 18/CP.21 that identifies the importance of incentivizing non-carbon benefits associated with REDD+ activities, and invites developing countries to share relevant information for consideration by Parties and financing entities, though these issues are not a requirement for support or results-based payments.
The COP, by decision 1/CP.16 , decided that developing countries would submit biennial update reports (BURs) (paragraph 60) and conduct international consultation and analysis (ICA) of the BURs (paragraph 63), through technical analysis by a team of technical experts (TTE) and facilitative sharing of views. The BUR reporting guidelines for Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (non-Annex I Parties) as well as the modalities and guidelines for ICA were adopted at the seventeenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17), by decision 2/CP.17 in annexes III and IV respectively.
See paragraphs 73 and 74 of decision 1/CP.16
See Chapter 6 on reporting and verification
Displacement (also called leakage is the effect of the forest activity in increasing emissions (or reducing removals) outside the area monitored. National approaches help deal with displacement because the whole country is covered. Where project approaches simply monitor the project area the risk of missing emissions due to displacement is higher.
Implementation of national REDD+ policies will often require engagement at local, state or department levels. The point is there should be national monitoring, possibly with sub-national monitoring as an interim step, for the reasons given.
See decision 1/CP.16, paragraph73, 77 and footnote 8 . Funding at earlier stages may be provided for capacity building, development of national strategies and action plans and their implementation, technology development and transfer and results-based demonstration activities. See the full list in paragraph 73.