MRV of non-GHG aspects of mitigation actions: developing an approach in the South African context

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Energy Research Centre

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Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town.


University of Cape Town

Climate change mitigation actions compete with other developmental actions for scarce resources, however climate change mitigation and sustainable development should not be seen as mutually exclusive or competing objectives. Mitigation actions in developing countries need to be prioritized based on least cost actions that maximize developmental benefits. MRV of mitigation co-benefits is important in this regard. This case study considers how to include the MRV of non-GHG impacts of mitigation into the domestic climate change Measurement and Evaluation (M&E) system currently being developed in South Africa. It considers the rationale behind MRV of non-GHG impacts, assesses options for measuring non-GHG impacts and proposes a potential framework for the development of such an approach specifically within the South Africa context. A framework is developed based on a literature review, an assessment of South Africa’s developmental goals and inputs obtained from key stakeholders. Stakeholders interviewed included representatives from national government departments, the private sector, civil society and the South African Designated National Authority. The conceptual approach and preliminary results were presented to the climate change M&E Technical Working Group (a collection of representatives from national government departments, government research institutions, academia, business and NGOs responsible for developing the M&E system in South Africa) for their inputs. The key drivers for measuring non-GHG impacts of mitigation were found to be the alignment of mitigation actions with national developmental objectives, meeting international requirements under the UNFCCC (or an alternative framework) and requirements or preferences of buyers of carbon credits and funders of mitigation actions. There are two distinct opportunities for MRV of non-GHG impacts in the context of these drivers: MRV in the planning and prioritizing of mitigation actions (projections and benchmarks); and MRV of the impacts that measure effectiveness in achieving objectives and inform future decision-making. Critically, significant resources are required to MRV non-GHG impacts of mitigation. Investment in MRV therefore needs to be done on a case-by-case (or category-by-category) basis depending on MRV requirements, the objective of the mitigation action and the extent to which the benefits of MRV will outweigh the costs.