WHAT IS MRV?
Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) is a term used to describe all measures which countries take to collect data on emissions, mitigation actions and support. Effective climate change mitigation is closely related to understanding GHG emissions and their sources, as well as the impacts of any mitigation strategy. In this context, the concept of MRV serves as a fundamental practice to describe all measures taken by countries to collect data on GHG emissions, mitigation actions, and support. MRV incorporates three independent but interconnected processes of measurement, reporting, and verification. The practice of MRV comprises the following steps
Measurement applies to data and information related to greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation actions, and support. Measurement is carried out at the national level and can include direct physical measurement using devices or estimation using simple methods or complex models. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines are used to measure (estimate) GHG emissions and removals by sinks. When monitored, the changes in GHG emissions can be assessed for their sustainable development impacts and against the targets communicated in the NDC. The measurement also includes collecting information about the emission reductions achieved by implementing mitigation actions in a country. Moreover, measurement also includes quantification of support a country has received for implementation of mitigation or adaptation actions as well as the support required to implement its climate related actions.
Verification refers to reviewing the reported information in order to check its quality. Verification ensures that the reported information is in compliance with established guidelines. It assesses the completeness and the reliability of the reported information and gives room for future improvement. Verification can be carried out at the national level, using domestic MRV mechanisms. It is also carried out internationally through the ICA process with the objective of increasing the transparency of mitigation actions and their effects, as well as the support needed and received.
Reporting is the compilation and documentation of the collected information and its communication through national reports to the UNFCCC. This includes the GHG inventory, adaptation, and mitigation actions and their effects, constraints and gaps encountered, support needed and received, and any other relevant information. The reporting can be done through NCs, BURs, or GHG inventory reports following a set of guidelines. The guidelines provide a roadmap to facilitate and standardise the reporting process. For NCs, they can be found in the annex to decision 17/CP.8, while for BURs they are contained in decision 2/CP.17,
Monitoring means direct measurement or estimated calculations of emission and emission reductions following strict guidance and protocols, such as the IPCC Guidelines and CDM Methods. This can include direct measurement using devices or estimation using simple methods or complex models.
Reporting means documentation intended to inform all interested parties. This includes information on methodologies, assumptions and data. Reporting starts from standardized reporting templates, protocols and procedures that are used to feed into National GHG Inventory, NC and BUR.
Verification means specific procedures or expert reviews used to verify the quality of the data and estimates. Verification can be internal or external.
WHY IS MRV NEEDED?
MRV is a system that has been used by governments and other entities in the form of monitoring and evaluation even before it appeared under the Convention. It helps to assess and track the implementation of planned actions and when applied at the national level, it assists with clearly assessing the status of implementation and progress achieved of national climate change goals. It also serves to better understand the key sources and sinks of GHG emissions, overall emissions trends, the effectiveness and impacts of mitigation strategies, and the necessary support for continuous improvement. MRV systems serve countries’ domestic goals and priorities and is a tool for good governance.
Internationally, MRV enables countries to meet their reporting requirements under the Convention. Taking into account the enhanced transparency framework of the Paris Agreement for post-2020 requirements, countries are expected to report on their national GHG inventory and progress towards achieving their NDCs. Accordingly, MRV will help countries in the following:
KEY ELEMENTS OF AN MRV SYSTEM
An MRV system comprises three main elements: official, institutional, and procedural. Each of these elements is described in the below sub-sections.
To implement an MRV system effectively, relevant stakeholders involved in the MRV activities have to be directly engaged. Therefore, a formal instrument must be established to define roles and responsibilities, flow of information and data collection, frequency of reporting, and reporting modalities among different stakeholders. The official set-up can be either legally binding in the form of a Law, Act by Parliament, or an Executive Decree (presidential or cabinet level). It can also be a non-legally binding agreement in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding setting out the intended reporting modalities. Every official set-up instrument has its strengths and weaknesses. However, the selected instrument has to be suitable to the country’s circumstances. The official set-up mainly serves to formalise the engagement of stakeholders, usually between the coordinating entity of the MRV system and other government and non-government institutions.
To implement an effective MRV system, it is essential to develop a robust institutional framework that encompasses the relevant entities as well as the necessary staff, systems, and processes. The institutional MRV set-up of a country reflects the specific drivers such as meeting the country’s commitment to the Convention. Therefore, the institutional set-up is the country’s vehicle to implement MRV activities including tracking GHG emissions, implementing mitigation actions, and cataloguing support needed and received.
Countries have taken various approaches to designing institutional arrangements for MRV that also reflect their national circumstances, capabilities, and capacities of the entities involved. Therefore, there is no single way of setting up an institutional framework. However, the common element found in most countries’ MRV institutional arrangements is a coordinating entity that takes the leading role. Usually the ministry of environment, or equivalent, coordinates the MRV system and directs the activities of other entities. Other good practice examples include establishing an inter-ministerial body or steering committee to promote coordination across key stakeholders, forming sectoral working groups to carry out specific MRV activities within their sectors, as well as appointing technical coordinators to be responsible for the outputs of the MRV system in each specific sector. The first step in defining an institutional set-up is to map out all key stakeholders and their respective roles and responsibilities.
The procedural set-up refers to the predefined, standardised templates and procedures for data collection, reporting, and monitoring. Examples include standardised data collection templates, automated emission estimation spreadsheets, as well as quality assurance and quality control plans.
MRV SYSTEM SETUP
National climate MRV framework comprises of three levels: official, institutional and procedural set-up, which are crucial in meeting the UNFCCC reporting requirements. The key information requested to be reported in National Communications (NCs) and Biannual Update Reports (BURs) is:
Therefore, the purpose of the MRV System is to monitor report and verify,
Based on international best practice examples, it is strongly recommended that:
MRV OF MITIGATION ACTIONS
MRV of Mitigation Actions focuses on sectors, policies and measures that have been identified by the country as priority measures for contribution to reducing GHG emissions. This training aimed to develop capacity in government institutions, industry and the private sector in the following areas: