11.01.2018

Viet Nam – taking the lead in climate reporting

Hieu Khac Nguyen, Deputy Director General, Department of Climate Change (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment) gives the opening speech; photo: Tran Ha Ninh/Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Viet Nam.

Hieu Khac Nguyen, Deputy Director General, Department of Climate Change (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment) gives the opening speech; photo: Tran Ha Ninh/Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Viet Nam.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment presented its second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the public at an official ceremony on 25 December 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City, thus retaining its leading role in climate reporting. One of the projects that supported the country in preparing the report was the Information Matters, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

In addition to National Communications, BURs are one of the types of report that developing countries and emerging economies have to submit to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at regular intervals to inform the international community about the current situation and developments relating to their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition to information about GHG emissions, the BUR also provides information about the country's institutional structures for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV), their national mitigation actions and support received from other countries.

Climate reporting is designed to promote transparency at national and international level and to provide information as a basis for planning, implementing and monitoring mitigation actions. As part of the future Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) under the Paris Agreement, reporting will form the basis for monitoring collective progress in limiting global warming to less than 2°C. The greater the extent to which a country is able to meet the current MRV requirements, the better it will be prepared for the future ETF, which will contain key elements of the existing system.

Cover of Viet Nam's second BUR.Following a period of intensive work in 2017, Viet Nam submitted its second BUR to the UNFCCC Secretariat at the end of November, one of a total of 14 developing countries and emerging economies so far (as at Dec 2017). The country published its first BUR in December 2014 and was one of the first countries to do so. The feedback provided by a team of international experts at the time as part of the verification process that each BUR undergoes motivated Viet Nam to further improve its second BUR.

Since 2016, the IKI project Information Matters has been helping Viet Nam to prepare its second BUR through various capacity development measures: an initial workshop provided basic information about the general specifications and requirements for preparing the report, while a second workshop took an in-depth look at the chapter on mitigation actions. As part of the project, the country also received support from national and international experts on preparing the chapter on support received.

One of the obstacles that often makes it more difficult for developing countries and emerging economies to prepare a BUR is the lack of human resources and institutional capacity. This is where Information Matters comes in. In addition to Viet Nam, it is supporting seven other partner countries in building capacity for ambitious reporting in line with the UNFCCC guidelines. The partner countries in the first project phase (2014–2016) were Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ghana and the Philippines; in the second project phase from 2016 onwards, they were joined by Egypt, Georgia, Colombia and Viet Nam.

As part of the project, the partner institutions in the countries analyse the existing reporting system and the relevant institutional structures. In close consultation, a roadmap adapted to the specific context and the country-specific situation is created to improve climate reporting. Advisory services and training tailored to meet the requirements of each country promote the development of human resources to prepare BURs and the institutionalisation of national MRV systems. As part of the flexible 'ad hoc facility', the Information Matters project also offers ad hoc support for other countries.

Experience acquired during the project is fed into the numerous knowledge products developed, which serve as a guide for preparing BURs and setting up MRV systems and are particularly geared towards developing countries and emerging economies. All of the knowledge products are available on the Information Matters website.

Participants at presentation of Viet Nam’s second Biennial Update Report (BUR); photo: Tran Ha Ninh/ Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Viet Nam.