Features & Commentary
Advancing on MRV for REDD+ in Mexico
Rosa María Román from the UN-REDD Programme provides an update on the project “Reinforcing REDD+ Readiness in Mexico and enabling South-South cooperation"-- the main outcome of the cooperation between Norway and Mexico aimed at strengthening the country’s MRV system and sharing experiences on REDD+ in the region.
Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) is a central element of REDD+ architecture globally and highly relevant to REDD+ readiness in Mexico. MRV systems help foster trust among countries, instill confidence in the post-2012 international climate regime, and guarantee that parties will effectively curb emissions from deforestation and degradation and/or improve forest absorptions. However, several methodological and practical challenges remain, and there is an urgent need to develop and test cost-effective methodologies to implement MRV systems at national and subnational levels.
In May 2010 Norway and Mexico signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The MoU includes specific areas of cooperation related to the implementation of strategies and policies for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+). The implementation of the project is being carried out by the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR-Comisión Nacional Forestal) with the technical and administrative support from UN-REDD Programme's FAO and UNDP agencies.
The “Reinforcing REDD+ Readiness in Mexico” project is one of the outcomes of this cooperation currently underway and it covers three specific lines of action:
- The development and implementation of a MRV system as part of the post-2010 REDD+ regime
- The dissemination of the Mexican MRV system and the promotion of regional exchange of experiences and capacities on REDD+
- The identification and assessment of national and international financial incentives for REDD+ (e.g. research on REDD+ funding through experiences and case studies in Mexico)
Research on MRV will be targeted to areas where Mexican experiences may provide particular value as input and guidance to the efforts of other countries, which include the development of a national system for the MRV of greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals of sinks, forests carbon stocks and forest land use area changes in accordance with UNFCCC decisions, and methodological guidance.
Mexican capacity, data availability, and socio-ecological diversity offer a clear opportunity to deliver valuable answers to methodological questions in the short-term, both to improve and redefine its own MRV system, and to contribute to the international community with examples of effective methodological approaches.
From the REDD+ requirements defined under the Cancun Agreements (Decision 1/CP.16): i) A national strategy or action plan; ii) A national forest reference emission level and/or forest reference level; iii) A robust and transparent national forest monitoring system; and iv) a system for providing information on the safeguards; Mexico already counts on a national REDD+ vision that will be developed into a National REDD+ Strategy at the end of 2011. The country is also working on its national reference emission levels (RELs). Since Mexico already produces a regular National Forest Inventory (NFI) it is well positioned to develop robust national forest monitoring system in the short term; the NFI is a valuable platform on which to build an MRV system with reasonably low levels of uncertainty. However, the national forest monitoring system would greatly benefit from a satellite system to survey its natural resources and the changes in land use. While Mexico has implemented a 15-day early warning system and produces a five-year national assessment of land use changes, it currently lacks an operative satellite system to monitor annual land use changes. Therefore, in the short-term MRV activities will include the development and implementation of an operative satellite monitoring system to offer annual national activity data. Methodological research on multi-scale MRV systems and the reinforcement of already on-going pilot REDD+ research will also be priorities.
Several of these initiatives will be done in collaboration with other governmental institutions, such as the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) and National Institute for Ecology (INE). MRV activities include capacity building, knowledge sharing, and institutional arrangements among others in order to consolidate Tier 2 reporting, clarify the institutional framework, prioritize activities and funding, and transfer MRV responsibilities to the institutions. These processes will be coupled with a thorough documentation of the methodologies, approaches, and lessons learned, to best transfer knowledge to other REDD+ countries.
|Rosa María Román is the coordinator of MRV activities of the Reinforcing REDD+ Readiness in Mexico project. Along with seven other professionals, she supports Mexican CONAFOR in strengthening its national forest monitoring system along with two other governmental institutions: CONABIO and INE.