Monitoring and Reporting
For the purposes of this webpage, monitoring and reporting refers to the type and frequency of information required during implementation of a project or programme and, possibly, beyond.
All standards that generate verified emissions reductions, or that certify certain social and environmental safeguards or benefits, require monitoring and reporting at periodic intervals. Such requirements may differ, however, depending on the standard. In the case of GHG standards monitoring reports are normally required for the verification and issuance of verified emission reductions.
Project-based and social and environmental standards have the most clear rules and requirements for monitoring and reporting. The CDM defines monitoring as “collecting and archiving all relevant data necessary for determining the baseline, measuring anthropogenic emissions by sources of GHGs within the project boundary, and leakage, as applicable”. As with the CDM, most domestic programmes in developed countries and voluntary carbon standards require implementation of approved monitoring plans that include a description of procedures used to estimate GHG emissions and removals, spatial data, plot data, allometric equations, sampling procedures (if applicable), quality assurance and control measures, etc. Standards related to social and environmental concerns also require monitoring plans that collect data on, for example, economic and social well-being or biodiversity and ecosystems, and place a high value on transparency and stakeholder input into such monitoring and reporting.
All project level programmes require periodic monitoring and reporting, in particular for the verification and issuance of credits, or in the case of social and environmental standards, to be certified by the standard. The periodicity of monitoring reports depends on the methodology used by the project (or programme). In addition, some require monitoring well beyond the lifetime of a project as one means of addressing permanence—for example, California and Australia both require 100 year monitoring periods.
Monitoring and reporting at the jurisdictional and/or national level varies. All Parties to the UNFCCC are requested to provide National Communications, which contain information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. Developed countries also include information on policies and measures and are expected to submit national GHG inventory reports annually; if they are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, additional supplementary information to demonstrate compliance with commitments under the Protocol are required. More recently, such Parties have also been requested to submit detailed information about the construction of a forest management reference level.
Developing countries are asked to submit biennial update reports that include information on, inter alia, national circumstances, GHG inventories, mitigation actions and their effects; constraints and gaps, and related financial, technical and capacity needs; domestic measurement, reporting and verification. Those with operational REDD+ mechanisms (e.g. Brazil, Guyana) have relatively transparent systems of deforestation and land use change data (Brazil) or require independent third party review of monitoring reports (Guyana). REDD+ SES requires jurisdictions to develop their own monitoring plan that defines the information required, methods and responsibilities to collect the information. Jurisdictions also develop their own reporting and assessment plan that defines the process for preparation, review, approval and dissemination of the assessment report, including stakeholder review, approved by a country-level multi-stakeholder committee and public dissemination. It is not yet clear what future REDD+ financing mechanisms may require in terms of monitoring and reporting. The FCPF draft requirements suggest that information sufficiently detailed to enable the reconstruction of the reference level and the reported emissions and removals, and on the implementation of safeguards, should be made available.