Broad sector cooperation sees Cambodia establish an MRV system for renewable energy policies
To aid the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) has supported the Royal Government of Cambodia in establishing a Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system that will help track the contributions of renewable energy policies to their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and prepare their Biennial Transparency Report (BTR).
Together with the UNEP DTU Partnership (UDP), Climate Smart Initiatives (Pvt) Ltd (ClimateSI) and the General Secretariat to National Council for Sustainable Development (GSSD), close consultation was undertaken with local stakeholders to assess the country’s data needs and gaps. The ICAT project focused on an auctioning scheme to incentivize grid connected solar power generation and estimated that this policy will reduce some 5% of Cambodia’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
According to Mr. Sum Thy, the Deputy Secretary General of the GSSD, “developing an MRV system for the renewable energy sector is a remarkable achievement in Cambodia”. Indeed, this is the first national level MRV system developed in Cambodia. Mr. Thy adds that “ICAT support has opened the window for Cambodia to expand its MRV activities into other sectors, track NDC implementation and build the capacity of national experts to apply tools which assess mitigation potential as part of the NDC revision”.
The proposed MRV system was subsequently developed based on input by a broad range of national stakeholders* and validated through a thorough analysis by the technical team of UDP and the national expert committee of Cambodia. A major factor in the project’s success was the ability to access data from such a broad range of stakeholders which, in turn, resulted in an increased awareness among the stakeholders. Dr. Fatemeh Bakhtiari, Senior Researcher, UDP further adds to this: “highlighting the importance of having credible data to effectively measure and report on GHG emissions was very useful to access the relevant data from the relevant stakeholders, particularly from government institutions”.
To conclude the development process, a workshop on the implementation of the MRV system was carried out in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and virtually on 13th July 2020. Made up of six main components, the implementation plan will address institutional arrangements, data needs and gaps, the MRV system, data management including quality assurance and quality control, the data management system, and the necessary legal arrangements. It also specifies the process for capacity building and improvements required for the system over time. Crucial to the implementation process, H.M Buddika Hemashantha, CEO of ClimateSI, states that “setting clear roles and responsibilities and laying procedures and protocols that guide the stakeholders are key to the successful implementation of an MRV system”.
The knowledge gained and the capacity built as a result of this project is indeed set to spread to other sectors of the country and will foster greater transparency into the future. According to Mr. Thy, Cambodia intends to institutionalize the proposed legal framework, leverage the sustainable development co-benefits of the MRV system for on-grid solar, and expand the MRV system to cover other priority mitigation sectors. Not to mention the possibility of developing a digitalized MRV system which would enhance the efficiency and quality of the country’s transparency activities.
This positive outlook is shared by the Director of ICAT, Dr. Henning Wuester: “I am pleased to see good progress in setting up the transparency framework necessary to plan, implement and monitor actions under Cambodia’s NDCs. The ICAT project established a methodology for a renewable energy policy which can now be applied to many other policy areas and ensure Cambodia’s effective participation in the Paris Agreement.”
*Stakeholders included: the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), the General Secretariat to National Council for Sustainable Development (GSSD), the Ministry of Environment (MoE), the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), Electricite du Cambodia (EDC), Electricity Authority (EAC), independent power producers, and the Ministry of Planning (MoP).