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MRV under the UN climate regime: paper tiger or catalyst for continual improvement?

MRV (monitoring, reporting and verification) was one of the most contentious issues at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and it has remained a highly debated issue in the following negotiations.

This paper argues that expanding the MRV regime to include mitigation action is an opportunity to support, rather than burden, developing countries in their efforts to improve their climate performance over time. The authors suggest the adoption of a certification scheme for national climate management systems (NCMS), which would require countries to establish a climate policy, set national goals and timetables, secure resources to implement related national actions and track their progress.

Based on the high level of agreement among parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the need for comprehensive frameworks to facilitate forestry and energy sector mitigation by developing countries and supported by financial resources, technology and capacity building, it is argued that an NCMS certification scheme is well suited to add value to the existing MRV regime.

In conclusion, the paper notes that there is a growing body of experience in management system certification and the development of low carbon development plans from which the UNFCCC process could draw upon in establishing the requisite international guidance.