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Enhancing country capacities to report on greenhouse gas emissions

05/02/2016

Background

Developing countries generally possess limited capacity to monitor and report on greenhouse gas emissions. These countries need to strengthen their capacity to respond to the reporting requirements of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and to make more informed policy decisions.

Agriculture accounts for roughly 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and about 74 percent of these emissions originate in developing countries. Agriculture and forestry statistics are therefore of particular importance for preparing greenhouse gas reports, and for planning national mitigation actions to support sustainable agricultural productivity and food security. FAO supports member countries in enhancing their capacities to assess and report on greenhouse gas emissions from the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector.

To promote complementarity, avoid duplication and improve its support to member countries, FAO works in close partnership with international agencies and initiatives such as the UNFCCC, UN REDD Programme, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Assessing country needs through regional workshops

In 2012-13 FAO organized three regional workshops in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, to help further the conversation on how to improve statistics for reporting on national greenhouse gas emissions.

The workshops brought together high-level staff from ministries of agriculture, environmental ministries, and national statistics agencies. Their aim was to raise awareness about UNFCCC’s national reporting processes, assess country needs and priorities for monitoring and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, and exchange information on national greenhouse gas data processes.

The workshops revealed a number of capacity needs among country actors:

  • Improved data collection and analysis procedureswithin government ministries and national statistics offices.

  • Improved coordination between government actors, specifically to improve information exchange between those involved in collecting data, and those preparing greenhouse gas estimations for reporting purposes.

  • Improved institutional set-upwithin government ministries and statistics offices, to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of reporting processes.

These findings highlighted the need to strengthen both the technical capacities of country actors (i.e. collecting, analyzing and processing data), and their functional capacities (i.e. coordinating amongst each other and ensuring solid institutional set-ups).

Capacity development activities to respond to country needs

As a follow up to the capacity assessment, and to respond to country requests, FAO and its partners organized three sub-regional workshops in 2014-15 in Mesoamerica, South-East Asia and West Africa. These served as a platform for further dialogue and exchange, and led to the design of country-level activities, which are ongoing and have so far taken place in seven countries. The primary aim of the capacity development activities is to support countries in preparing national greenhouse gas inventories.

Overall, capacity development activities responded to the needs revealed in the capacity assessments, by adhering to FAO’s capacity development framework – that is, by addressing both technical and functional, or “soft” capacities across the three complementary and overlapping dimensions of capacity development: individuals, organizations and the enabling environment.

To provide a few examples, FAO has supported relevant individuals in their capacity to collect, analyze and process data, by creating its manual - Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agriculture. This has been widely disseminated across numerous channels, to ensure that it can be accessed by those who need it. Based on this manual, FAO will soon launch an e-learning course on Building a national greenhouse gas inventory for agriculture, forestry and other land use (English and Spanish version of the agriculture course).

Moreover, a Spanish-speaking discussion forum was created for governmental organizations involved in data collection and greenhouse gas reporting. This network currently includes 88 participants from 21 countries. In Ecuador and Paraguay, FAO organized technical trainings and national workshops that facilitated dialogue among different government institutions. These activities promoted greater coordination among institutions, thereby supporting the organizational dimension of capacity development, whilst also strengthening the enabling environment.

Finally, thanks to FAO’s effective facilitation and consistent coaching, Costa Rica created an ad-hoc group bringing together all the major institutions involved in reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, including the national statistics office, the ministry of agriculture, the institute in charge of greenhouse gas emissions, and others. This has facilitated constructive progress and strong collaboration with FAO’s climate mitigation team, with FAO firmly acting in its role as facilitator, and Costa Rica in the lead. The ad-hoc group strengthens Costa Rica’s institutional set-up for more sustainable national reporting processes. It represents a strong example of country ownership, and supports the enabling environment for lasting change in the field of greenhouse gas reporting (for more details see the brochure of Costa Rica).

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