Itxaso Gómez: MRV and M&E, a way to simplify efforts and evaluate climate change policies

27 July 2017 | Adaptation

Although the term has been used for more than a decade, the Paris Agreement has highlighted the importance of having systems that allow a verified notification of the progress to be made in terms of action on climate change. The sum of the efforts of all the countries is what will allow to fulfill the marked goal on the limits of global warming of the planet. Therefore, it is an international need to homogenize how this monitoring will be carried out.

But these types of terms, MRV and M&E, are not only used in the international sphere, but are also known at national and subnational levels. To understand what they are and why they are useful at the local level, we interviewed Itxaso Gómez, Director of the Consulting Division of Factor, which has more than 10 years of experience in the development of climate change policies.

1. More and more the MRV and M & E terms associated with climate change policies are being heard, but what are they and what is their main objective?

To answer in a simple manner and within the local context, it is possible to say that this type of instruments serve to follow up and evaluate the results of the measures of mitigation and adaptation to the climate change to be implemented. The abbreviations MRV correspond to the terms of "Monitoring, Reporting and Verification", aimed at the mitigation or reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases. And M&E refers to "Monitoring and Evaluation", focused on adaptation to climate change.

At the international level, they are also different in scope. In addition to distinguishing those who are focused on monitoring and evaluating mitigation or adaptation measures, there are specific ones for a specific project and others that cover different measures, such as those contemplated in an Action Plan, for example. On the other hand, when managing funds from different sources while wanting to have greater control over how each item is executed, in different stages of a project, or in different measures, MRV financial systems are also developed.

2. And in a more centralized environment, how can MRV and M&E systems support a municipal entity?

The momentum of the public policies on climate change, for example through initiatives such as the “Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy” or the “Compact of Mayors”, makes it necessary to develop systems to monitor the advances in the implementation of the measures, as well as in the results obtained with them. In this sense, the implementation of an MRV and M&E system allows the responsible entity to make such monitoring and evaluation periodically and systematically, ensuring the quality of the information and facilitating the communication of the results. If necessary, it also supports the monitoring and control of the budget items that are being executed.

3. What are the advantages of having an MRV and M&E system for monitoring public policies on climate change?

The advantages are numerous. To indicate some of the most relevant, MRV and M&E systems make it possible to guarantee greater transparency, accuracy and comparability of information, improving its quality and allowing the configuration of databases, which are growing over time and into the future are expected to become a key asset for decision-making.

In addition, these types of systems facilitate the identification of the relationships between the quantified impacts and the established policies to act on them. And, in parallel, they support the involvement of different government departments in the monitoring and evaluation of public policies on climate change.

4. And, in the face of future implementations, is any precondition necessary?

It depends on the type of system that is to be implemented, but usually all the areas of the Government that have responsibilities in the development of actions of mitigation and/or adaptation to climate change, are to be involved. In this sense, it is also important to have clear information flows, times, roles and responsibilities between the different areas involved. High knowledge on climate change is not required, but a technical basis for interpreting the results of the system is recommended.

On the other hand, if the government in question has some kind of prior system with which to monitor indicators, it may be interesting to integrate the climate change module into it. In this way, the efforts needed to monitor and evaluate existing policies are simplified.

Finally, it is important to communicate the results obtained, both internally and to the general population. You can use communication channels that are already established for each target audience or design new ones for this specific case, depending on the preferences of each particular case.

5. Factor works in many countries, I imagine you will have diverse references of this type of instruments...

(Laughter) Yes, of course, some of us have. In fact, in Factor we have spent years designing and developing MRV and M & E systems for governments from different countries. The scope has been very different, depending on the needs and characteristics of each client. We have developed from specific software to simpler tools in editable formats. The most complete are multiuser, and have been implemented in governments where all the departments involved incorporate their information annually to monitor their actions. In these cases, the system returns information about the existing distance to the goals set, depending on the progress and results achieved each year.

The simplest cases have been worked in Excel or Access format, and are usually handled only from a Government department, which is responsible for collecting all information and incorporating it into the tool. The analysis of the results offered by this class of tools is also more limited, but normally the department that uses it is more interested in the raw data that then works in a particular way.

Geographically, we have worked this type of solutions at a national level, in countries such as Costa Rica or Peru, at subnational level, in several Mexican states, and at local level, in different European and Latin American municipalities.

The experience that brings us working the same product and service in different geographical areas, allows us a greater knowledge and ability to adapt the solutions we offer to the needs and characteristics of each client.



Source: Factor CO2