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Forest Management Reference Levels Reviews almost completed

image   As part of the December 2010 Cancun Agreements, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) - by its decision 2/CMP.6 on land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), taken in Cancun last December - requested all Annex I Parties to submit to the secretariat by 28 February 2011 information on the Forest Management Reference Level inscribed in the annex of that decision.

The CMP also decided that each submission should be subject to a technical assessment by a review team. These Technical Assessments (TAs) of the submissions of Forest Management Reference Levels are almost finalized. The TAs were conducted by six teams of six LULUCF experts from the GHGs roster of experts, with a balance between Annex I and non Annex I experts.

Thirty-eight individual Party reports are expected to be published between mid to end of September on the secretariat web page as a series of documents entitled "Technical Assessment Reports" (TARs).

The secretariat will carry out a synthesis report of all TARs in accordance with decision 2/CMP.6, which is expected to be published by early November, to be considered by the CMP at its seventh session in Durban in December 2011. Former relevant information submitted on a voluntary and informal basis to the secretariat by Parties can be found here.

Forest Management is one of the additional eligible activities of Article 3.4. of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) related to land use, land-use change and forestry. Parties are currently discussing the modalities for accounting forest management for the second commitment period of the KP, and noted that a better understanding of, and more sound reference levels for forest management are essential for further progress in the discussions. For that reason, Annex I Parties that are part of the KP submitted documented values for their forest management reference levels in accordance with the guidelines provided in the annex of decision 2/CMP.16.

Safeguards relating to REDD+ activities
Image     An expert meeting on “guidance on systems for providing information on how safeguards for REDD+ activities are addressed and respected” will take place in Panama City, Panama, from 8-9 October 2011. The meeting is being organized in response to a mandate by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) at its latest session in Bonn last June.

At the June session, the SBSTA considered views on methodological guidance for activities relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD-plus).

Parties identified a range of issues for further consideration, including guidance on systems for providing information on how safeguards are addressed and respected, modalities relating to forest reference emission levels and forest reference levels, and modalities for measuring, reporting and verifying.

The safeguards include the following:

  • Respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities
  • That actions complement or are consistent with the objectives of national forest programmes and relevant international conventions and agreements
  • That actions are consistent with the conservation of natural forests and biological diversity
  • Transparent and effective national forest governance structures

The meeting in Panama is the first of a number of meetings of technical experts that the SBSTA has requested the secretariat to organize in order to facilitate consideration of these methodological issues.

For the conclusions of the SBSTA at its thirty-fourth session, please see: FCCC/SBSTA/2011/2, paragraphs 28 - 34.

Experts consider issues around CCS as emission offset projects

Image The issues around reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere by burying them deep underground received technical and legal scrutiny during a UNFCCC secretariat workshop held in Abu Dhabi from 7-8 September.

In Cancun last December, Parties to the Kyoto Protocol provisionally agreed to make the technology, known as carbon capture and storage (CCS), eligible under the Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), provided certain issues could be satisfactorily resolved. A CCS project registered under the CDM could earn saleable, certified emission reduction credits, and thus attract investment that would help move the technology forward.

CCS is not new. For many decades, the oil industry has been injecting carbon dioxide into production wells to help force out oil. However, projects designed for the long-term storage of gases are relatively recent - a handful of projects in the past decade.

This was the background when more than 90 technical and legal experts, along with representatives of non-governmental organizations and international agencies, gathered for the Abu Dhabi workshop to address, among other things, who has ultimate responsibility for the stored greenhouse gases; what happens if the gas moves across boundaries (seeping from one region to another, for example); how sites are to be selected; and how the levels of stored gases will be monitored to ensure that any leakage is identified and addressed.

The presentations and output of the workshop are now in the hands of the UNFCCC secretariat's sustainable development mechanisms and legal affairs programmes, which will develop draft modalities and procedures covering CCS in the CDM. These will be presented for consideration by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Parties to the Protocol when they meet in Durban, South Africa, in November.

CDM African Radio competition winners announced

Image The entries have been judged and the winners selected in the first UNFCCC/CDM African Radio competition. The competition asked radio journalists in Africa to create a five-minute story on the theme: "How the Clean Development Mechanism could benefit your community, city or country."

Nine finalists have been selected to participate in the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, where they will take part in a workshop of international journalists, conducted by the secretariat, and attend daily press briefings. The organizers and judges were pleased with the quality of entries, and see the competition as part of the on-going dialogue between the secretariat and African journalists to help raise awareness about, and participation in, the CDM on the continent.

To learn the names of the three winners and hear the stories by the top-nine entrants, please click here.

CDM International Photo and Video Contest - open till 15 October 2011

The UNFCCC secretariat has launched its annual CDM International Photo and Video Contest on the theme "Changing Lives". We will be looking for photos and videos that tell an interesting story and highlight the benefits of the CDM. Full information available here.

Latin American Carbon Forum highlights challenges, opportunities in green future

The sixth annual Latin American Carbon Forum, taking place from 27-29 September in San José, Costa Rica, is an exciting forum for stakeholders in the region's carbon market to share information on the latest developments, challenges and opportunities as countries pursue a green path to development. More information on the forum is available here.

September annual reviews in full swing; further courses for review experts continue
Image     The reviews of industrialized countries’ annual greenhouse gas inventories are now ongoing, including the review of supplementary information submitted by Kyoto Protocol Parties.

As usual, the reviews are coordinated by UNFCCC staff and conducted by experts from all over the world, nominated as inventory experts by their governments and organized into expert review teams (ERTs). Before participating in the reviews, the experts must first pass all mandatory training and exams organized by the UNFCCC secretariat. (See text below on training of experts.)

This year, the secretariat has scheduled 7 centralized reviews, whereby the experts meet in Bonn for a week, as well as 9 in-country reviews, which include a country visit by the ERT; these reviews are organized from August to October. Following the review week, the ERTs will work on the review reports which will be published on the related page of the secretariat's website. The first reports should be published early next year.

Training of experts for inventory review activities

ImageThe first of two training courses in 2011 for greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory review experts under the Convention concluded mid-April in Bonn this year, attended by around 30 new review experts nominated by their governments. The second on-line training course, to focus on African countries, is scheduled to take place between September and October 2011, with a further 30 review experts expected to participate. Examinations for those who have completed the on-line course will be held in Malta in October during the closing three-day training seminar. Further information on the training courses can be found here.

In addition, earlier this year, the secretariat organized on-line training courses for review experts under the Kyoto Protocol, with the examinations also on-line. These courses are open to experts who have already passed the examinations for review experts under the Convention. More information on the training course for review experts under the Kyoto Protocol is available here.

How to sign up

Passing the UNFCCC training course exams is mandatory to be eligible as a review expert. Applications for the September - October course are being accepted now. Anyone interested in becoming a review expert must first be nominated to the roster of experts by their national focal point. Enthusiasm, dedication and a solid command of the English language are a must, and an inventory background is desirable. More information on this process is available here.