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Moving in the Right Direction on MRV

As REDD represented the few areas of consensus among countries during the UN Climate Change Conference in December, efficient and transparent measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions for REDD has never made more sense. Below is an account of progress on MRV during COP15.

Forest Day 3 panel on “Measuring and monitoring, baselines and leakage”.
Credits: ENB

In order to know the amount of emissions we can avoid, reduce and capture, measuring carbon, reporting on progress and verifying becomes essential when planning on implementing an effective REDD mechanism in any country.

During the UN Climate Change Conference important steps forward were made to strengthen activities and expertise towards better measuring, reporting and verification of emissions. This subject was tackled extensively during the Forest Day 3 event on 13 December, during one of the five events that included UN-REDD Programme participation.

One of the events entitled “Measuring and Monitoring, Baselines and Leakage” was hosted by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Tropical Timber Organization  (ITTO), the Norwegian Ministry of Environment, France’s Office National des Forêts, and the UN-REDD Programme, and looked at past and future forest-related carbon emissions.

INPE head, Gilberto Câmara (left) with FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf signing a memorandum of understanding, laying the groundwork for a major push to assist developing countries in monitoring climate change.
Credits: FAO

Speakers touched upon aspects such as the inclusion of MRV in a comprehensive national regulatory and policy framework as well as experiences on forest monitoring from Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador (UN-REDD countries) and Cambodia. Discussion with the public addressed the costs of capacity building in MRV compared to the cost of technology transfer, the possibility of tracking emissions from all forest ecosystem carbon pools; the need to avoid leakage by establishing a REDD framework that is attractive to all parties; the lack of historical data for creating degradation baselines; and the differences between top-down and bottom-up approaches to national reference levels.

Another important achievement during COP15 was represented by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the FAO and Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). According to the FAO press release, the agreement lays the groundwork for a major push to assist developing countries in monitoring climate change impact.

Monitoring systems in many developing countries need to be enhanced in order to be able to accurately account for forest carbon stocks and participate in a REDD mechanism. Brazil’s INPE has wide experience in this domain and is willing to share its knowledge in large-scale monitoring of deforestation and forest degradation to provide accurate and transparent data.


In this issue


The Road Ahead for UN-REDD

Forest Day 3 in Copenhagen

Moving in the Right Direction on MRV

UN-REDD in the Classroom

Features & Commentary

Forest Degradation: The Unattended Party in REDD+ --By Markku Simula

Reports & Analysis

Google Earth and Forest Monitoring--By Maurizio Teobaldelli

Looking ahead

Fourth Policy Board Meeting of the UN-REDD Programme
17-19 March 2010, Nairobi, Kenya

Previous issues

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please contact us at un-redd@un-redd.org