Accra, 30 January 2014 - Interagency coordination and more exchange of experiences of good practices among member countries are important to address climate change and develop strategies for mitigation of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in agriculture that are consistent with foods security and rural development goals of member countries. This was a major outcome of the Third FAO Regional Workshop on Statistics for Greenhouse Gas Emissions held in Morocco, last December 2013. Representatives of African Ministries of Agriculture, National Statistical Agencies, Census Bureaus and Environmental Ministries from twenty-one African countries addressed issues ranging from raising awareness of the importance of agricultural statistics for national GHG inventories and development of nationally appropriate mitigation actions, increasing capacity in preparation of new reporting requirements under the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change(UNFCCC), to facilitating communication and exchange of information on GHG data for agriculture, forestry and other land uses in order to better identify challenges, gaps, and opportunities for implementing effective mitigation strategies.
“The workshop is a platform to exchange information on national GHG data processes, identify critical institutional and technical gaps, and explore the role that FAO can play through its new FAOSTAT Emissions database in support of member countries’ needs”, said Mrs Rocio D. Condor, Climate Change Officer of FAO.
African countries have faced some constraints in fulfilling their commitments to submit Biennial Update Reports (BURs) to the UNFCCC. Therefore, improving institutional arrangements by providing human, technical and financial resources for development, implementation and maintenance of sound GHG inventories is crucial for the region.
The 2013 edition of FAO’s Statistical Yearbook showed that GHG Emissions from agriculture have continued to grow by about 1.6% annually since the year 2000. Generating GHG data and sharing analyses among member countries can contribute to an improved understanding of regional GHG emissions hotspots and help identify ways to mitigate the issue. The workshop report showed that more than one- third of the participants were not well acquainted with the concept of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), and more than two-thirds with the concept of Biennial Update Reports (BURs). Also, more than forty per cent stated that they were not well aware of the linkages between agricultural statistics and the preparation of the national GHG inventories, although over eighty per cent of the participants said they were active in the climate change activities in their own countries.
At the end of the workshop, participants were able to capture the linkages between agriculture activities and associated emissions and understood the importance of improving collection of statistics for GHG estimation. Importantly, they became more aware of the positive role that agriculture and forestry can play towards climate mitigation in most African countries.
The workshop highlighted the importance of the FAOSTAT database for enabling data comparison over time, and for facilitating assessment of emission trends at country, regional and global scales. The database helps to identify areas and hotspots in emissions, facilitating the targeting of effective mitigation actions. For several countries that are at the beginning of their GHG inventory process, the FAOSTAT database could be very helpful as a robust starting point. For countries that already have a GHG inventory, the FAOSTAT database will help identify data gaps and enable quality control/quality assurance (QA/QC) tasks.
Overall, the workshop revealed that most countries in Africa have data collection systems in place, although they are in the early stages of GHG inventory development, implementation and institutional arrangements.
“The FAOSTAT Emissions database offers a unique opportunity to member countries who wish to increase their capacity to assess and report their GHG emissions, as a basis for climate policy setting and identification of mitigation potential”, said Eloi Ouedraogo, FAO Statistician at FAO Regional Office for Africa (Accra, Ghana).
Based on the new FAOSTAT Emissions database, FAO has built strong collaborations with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Task Force on National GHG Inventories, as well as has contributed to the upcoming IPCC Fifth Assessment Report to be released in Spring 2014. It is furthermore building a collaborative framework with UN-REDD and UNDP on ways to improve access to GHG emissions and climate change mitigation information for more effective, evidence-based planning and decision-making.
Monitoring and Assessment on Greenhouse Gas Emission and Mitigation Potential in Agriculture (MAGHG) www.fao.org/climatechange/micca/ghg/en/
Meetings and events
Third FAO regional workshop on statistics for greenhouse gas emissions www.fao.org/economic/ess/ess-events/ghg3/en/ AFCAS www.fao.org/economic/ess/ess-events/afcas/en/ AFCAS23 www.fao.org/economic/ess/ess-events/afcas/afcas23/en/
FAO Corporate Document Repository:
English : Report of the Third FAO regional workshop on statistics for greenhouse gas emissions www.fao.org/docrep/019/i3624e/i3624e.pdf
French: Rapport du Troisième Atelier Régional FAO sur les statistiques pour les émissions de gaz à effet de serre www.fao.org/docrep/019/i3624f/i3624f.pdf