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Case Study: Developing a blueprint for an MRV system for the agriculture sector in Fiji

28 February 2023


Fiji is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and natural hazards that pose an existential threat to the environment, biodiversity, and livelihoods of Fijians across the 1,800 square kilometres of land area that are spread across 1.2 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean. Fiji was the first country to ratify the Paris Agreement, and has a suite of climate policies and strategies that highlight climate change as a significant obstacle to Fiji’s development objectives. Fiji’s 5-year and 20-year national development plans set out objectives to address the significant development challenges imposed by climate change. 

Fiji commits to a net-zero emission target by 2050 through its Low Emissions Development Strategy 2018 -2050. Fiji’s strategy rests on an economy-wide carbon neutrality approach and creating the necessary regulatory framework to trigger real and measurable impact on the ground. Fiji’s Climate Change Bill was passed in Parliament on 23 September 2021, making Fiji the first Small Island Developing State to enact a comprehensive climate legislation. This engraved Fiji’s net zero commitments into law and created provisions for recognizing climate risks and declaring climate change as a national emergency. 

ICAT has supported Fiji to establish and operationalise a sectoral measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) system for the agriculture sector with a focus on developing a systems guideline and institutional arrangements for MRV. 

The Initiative for Climate Action Transparency was established in 2015 at the COP that adopted the Paris Agreement to support implementation of the Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework. 

ICAT provides countries with tailored support and practical tools and methodologies to build robust transparency frameworks needed for effective climate action in sync with national development priorities. The projects ICAT supports relate to: building or enhancing transparency systems for mitigation actions; building a monitoring approach for adaptation actions; implementing and further delivering nationally determined contributions; assessing the impacts of policies related to climate action; integrating and/or aggregating climate actions at the subnational level and for non-state actors; and identifying and increasing domestic benefits and synergies from enhanced climate action.

ICAT offers a range of methodologies and tools to assist countries. The Initiative works with over 40 developing countries ranging from large countries, like China, to small islands, such as Antigua & Barbuda.

ICAT is an unincorporated multi-stakeholder partnership steered by the Donor Steering Committee (DSC), conformed by its donors, Germany; Italy; the Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF); and ClimateWorks Foundation (CWF), and includes the UNFCCC Secretariat as the dedicated UN body with a climate change policy mandate, and UNOPS as an ex-officio member. The Initiative is managed by UNOPS on behalf of the DSC. Within UNOPS, the ICAT Secretariat manages ICAT day-to-day activities, coordinating and guiding the work of the implementing partners.

Project Overview

ICAT began working in Fiji in 2020, following an initial scoping phase to identify the country’s climate action transparency priorities. 

The Initiative partners with Fiji’s Climate Change and International Cooperation Division at the Ministry of Economy, and the Ministry of Agriculture to develop a blueprint for an MRV system based on a sustainable institutional arrangement for managing greenhouse gas data. This aimed to institutionalize the agriculture sector inventory and create a robust evidence base for agriculture policy impact analysis based on the ICAT methodology. 

To date, the ICAT project led to the development of a greenhouse gas Inventory manual for rice cultivation and livestock, with a guidance document for determining greenhouse gas emissions using the Tier 1 IPCC methodology. This has resulted in the identification of data gaps and the necessary recommendations to address these gaps to improve data collection efforts in a systematic and sustainable way.

ICAT is also supporting the Fijian Government to develop an overarching institutional arrangement and recommendation for a national reporting system, and design for a national greenhouse gas inventory for agriculture. This will help establish a systematic approach for sectoral data collection, processing, and reporting at the national level. The system will be underpinned by clearly identified reporting structures and integrated into Fiji’s broader national MRV system, which is currently under development. A network of three national sectoral experts has been established to support rice and livestock greenhouse gas inventory development and policy impact assessment. 

ICAT has also supported several national stakeholder workshops to help Fijian stakeholders conceptualize a national level MRV process, and verify the greenhouse gas data and information available from the national agriculture sector. These workshops have had a strong focus on building stakeholders’ capacity around the 2006 IPCC guidelines methodology, data needs and the institutional arrangements to support transparency mechanisms, helping to sensitize national stakeholders to the transparency requirements under the Paris Agreement and Fiji’s Climate Change Act. 

Workshop attendees included technical staff from the livestock, rice, and statistics divisions of the Ministry of Agriculture. The workshop helped to build a shared understanding and awareness of the role and obligations of the Ministry of Agriculture under Fiji’s Climate Change Act, particularly on MRV. 

To strengthen the outcomes of the ICAT project, the Fiji national experts also performed agricultural policy assessment and explored how the greenhouse gas inventory data and information could be used to estimate policy impact. The ICAT project identified and assessed two agriculture policies for greenhouse gas and sustainable development impact.

Application of the ICAT agriculture policy assessment guide is proving to be instrumental in providing the analysis needed to support arguments for accelerating climate related policies and actions for the agriculture sector. 

The assessment indicates a projected increase in emissions occurring in the agriculture sector, which has implications for the broader objectives to reach net zero by 2050 across all sectors of its economy as referred to in Fiji’s NDC. To maintain the targets identified in the Low Emissions Development Strategy 2018-2050, it is recommended to consider a possibility to introduce an intensity-based emission reduction target for Fiji’s next iteration of the NDC in 2024. 

Fiji-5357709_1920.jpg Image by Christophe Dumortier from Pixabay

Next steps

Next steps for Fiji will be to fully operationalize and maintain its strengthened domestic MRV system, with a particular focus on building the capacity of agriculture data collection officers. This will require stakeholders to continue building their capacity and putting their MRV training into practice. 

The ICAT support in the next phase will include support to pilot data collection efforts based on templates and greenhouse gas inventory system guidelines developed under this first phase of the project. This will also prompt support for retrofitting existing data collection strategies and strengthening data preparedness for Tier 2 level emissions estimations in the agriculture sector as well. 

Furthermore, Fiji is also planning to address greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial process and product use (IPPU) sector (particularly hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions), which have not yet been addressed. This area for improvement was also identified in Fiji’s national communication submission under key gaps and limitations. The HFC-related MRV work will be included in Phase II of the ICAT project.

Additional activities supported by the ICAT project under the IPPU sector will focus on training (including a Q&A session, hands-on workshops on the application of IPCC methodology) of national experts in assessing HFC emissions needed for the preparation of greenhouse gas inventory from refrigeration and air conditioning. In addition, ICAT will support Fiji in the identification of the national sources for HFC emissions data, mapping of the national data flow, tools and templates, and will support the estimation of national HFC emissions.