With support from a number of bilateral and multi-lateral donors, the Tanzanian government is moving quickly to establish the systems and structures necessary to take advantage of possible opportunities from REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and the REDD+ (role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks).
Under the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), Norway and Tanzania signed a Letter of Intent on a Climate Change Partnership in April 2008. The two countries agreed to cooperate for five years and Norway committed itself to support the cooperation with up to NOK 500 million (US$ 100 million) for the period. As a result of this cooperation, Norway provided support to the government of Tanzania which aimed at improving capacity to manage REDD+ so as to prepare the county for the possible upcoming REDD+ payments (REDD+ Readiness process). In the REDD+ readiness process among other activities Tanzania has prepared the National Framework for REDD+, The National REDD+ Strategy and Action Plan, carrying research and capacity building programmes related to climate change challenges such as the “Climate Change Impact Adaptation and Mitigation (CCIAM)” and “Enhancing the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of forests in Tanzania through the application of advanced remote sensing techniques”. The country also established nine REDD+ pilot projects of which seven were completed.
A key milestone in the development of functioning REDD+ systems will be the establishment of a national monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system. This will be necessary to facilitate national, as well as sub-national level carbon accounting generated through the tracking of changes in carbon stocks.
As part of its REDD+ readiness process, Tanzania is establishing the National Carbon Monitoring Centre (NCMC), an institution designed to co-ordinate national MRV processes in Tanzania and manage the MRV data. For this institution to function effectively, it must adhere to certain key principles. These include:-
Flexibility- the NCMC must adopt a flexible approach to ensure full compliance with UNFCCC requirements as they are progressively developed and elaborated, as well as emerging opportunities in the voluntary market;
Phased approach- the challenges of MRV are considerable, and it will be important to start with a modest goal of tracking forest carbon at relatively low levels of resolution (or tiers). With time, other land uses can be incorporated, at higher resolution. Incorporation of Zanzibar will be important progress;
Promoting good governance and transparency- functional REDD systems require total transparency if they are to avoid potential risks of fraud or elite capture. The process of obtaining, capturing and publishing data on changes in carbon stocks is at the heart of this process, and must be conducted in an open and transparent manner and the data and end products must be freely accessible to potential users;
Minimizing operational costs- if benefits are to be realized at the community and household levels, transaction costs (such as carbon accounting) must be minimized for carbon sellers. One way to do this is to work towards financial sustainability through cost recovery and the development of a long-term business plan;
Engage and build national capacity- Tanzania has considerable expertise already in forest assessment methodologies, and a number of research centres and academic institutes with in-house skills. It will be critical to engage these sources of expertise, while also ensuring that new demands on data management are met through international cooperation and technical assistance; and
Ensure environmental and social safeguards- the NCMC will be responsible for ensuring that its system(s) and operations are supportive of national and project-level standards for social and environmental objectives as required by the UNFCCC and any future Climate regime.
With these principles in mind, NCMC should have a semi-autonomous status from government, but secures formal recognition and mandate. Being an institution with a relatively narrow mandate and clearly defined role, and one that outsources much of its work to service providers within the country, small secretariat is anticipated. It will be anchored within a host national institution and twinned with an international centre of excellence for MRV related research and technical expertise.
The NCMC is established as a vehicle for reporting on carbon stocks and their changes as well as coordinating the national MRV-processes for the Government of Tanzania and is the product of a Memorandum of understanding between Vice Presidents Office (VPO) and SUA.
To establish this institution, a three years project was prepared with the following goal:
“The goal of the Centre is: “Tanzania is able to actively participate and benefit from possible future international carbon trading mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”
The objective of the Centre is “to build national capacity to measure, verify and report adequately on carbon emissions at national and international level”.
The specific objectives of the NCMC shall be:-
- To manage the development, and sustain the operation of the Tanzanian MRV system, and verifies the results for the UNFCCC and International Community;
- To maximize usefulness of the data generated;
- To suggest different programmes and projects with a technical MRV component and define steps in MRV research;
- To coordinate forest and carbon data; and
- To harness available National capacity and support from international expertise to operationalize the National Carbon Accounting System.
- Overall, the centre has five outputs which are broken into two phases of support. The first two outputs will be implemented during the inception phase and are expected to last for 6 months. The remaining three outputs are not contingent upon the fulfillment of Output 1 & 2.
The five outputs are:-
Output 1: Inception team established, AC-NCMC established, staff recruited, available MRV data collected and equipment procured. 6 months after project start up.
Output 2: Tanzanian proposal for REL/RL submitted to UNFCCC for technical assessment. 12 months after project start up.
Output 3: MRV system maintained, and updated by 36 months after project start up.
Output 4: Legal establishment of NCMC finalised. National LULC programme developed and drivers of D&D quantified by 30 months after project start up.
Output 5: NCMC training, infrastructure and sustainability plan prepared and implemented 30 months after project start up.
Output 1 is planned for the formation of inception team, establishing NCMC technical committee, recruiting staff and procurement of equipment and collection of the relevant data and databases from MRV stakeholders. SUA the host institution will facilitate the recruitment of NCMC Coordinator, formation of technical committee and short and long term collaboration arrangement with appropriate institutions through the technical advisory services.
Output 2 is about submitting the Tanzanian proposal for REL/RL to UNFCCC for technical assessment The activities under this output are decisions on land cover change of Tanzania, forest definition, national MRV system established; establishment of the three MRV sections and put in place accessible website for free and transparent public access to data, reports, publications and findings.
Under output 3 the centre will maintain and update the MRV system. The activities will include: data and database for the carbon accounting, establishment/update/improve the Reference Emission Levels, verification of the national carbon accounts and development of manuals on approved carbon assessment methods.
Output 4 on legal establishment of NCMC includes three activities of facilitation on the formation of NCMC Establishment team for the development of Strategic Plan and Business Plans, approval of NCMC documents and formal launching of the centre.
Under Output 5 NCMC training and sustainability plan will be prepared and implemented. Activities under this output will include: carrying out capacity-building needs assessment; prepare capacity-building plan (including assessment of long term technical assistance); hands on training of NCMC staff through the daily work (learning by doing) on specialised issues connected to maintaining the NCMC e.g. data management, change analysis, reporting and quality control; preparation of succession plans for increasing the availability of experienced and capable staff; preparation of succession plan to ensure financial and technical sustainability and establishing long-term partnership twinning arrangement with NFLI.
The budget required for this three years programme is USD 4,515,586. During the three year support period, NCMC will develop and implement a national MRV system and implement a financial sustainability strategy that will potentially rely on the income and directly through the REDD Trust Fund (or Carbon Fund), and from cost-recovery services that do no compromise NCMC’s independence and integrity.