Back Back to Knowledge Hub

Case study: Embedding energy and agriculture into Viet Nam’s MRV system

29 December 2022

Viet Nam is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Scenarios released by Viet Nam’s National Resources and Environment Ministry estimate that by 2100, rising sea levels could cover almost 50 per cent of the country’s low-lying Mekong Delta. The Delta is an extremely important natural asset for the country, providing a home to some 20 per cent of the population and supporting just over half of the country’s rice production.  

At present, Viet Nam remains heavily invested in coal-based energy production and, until recently, had been planning to double its coal-fired electricity generation capacity. As Viet Nam’s latest Power Development Policy (PDP8) has gone through drafting stages, policy makers have recognized the need to reduce the country’s reliance on coal. Larger investment in renewable electricity generation is expected, although the PDP8 remains in draft form. 

Viet Nam ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in November 1994 and the Paris Agreement in October 2016. More recently, at the November 2021 COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Viet Nam committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This will be driven by science and technology, domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and increased access to finance, technology transfer and capacity building.

In Viet Nam, ICAT is supporting development of the country’s enhanced transparency framework (ETF), with a focus on embedding the energy and agricultural sectors into the national measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) system.

The Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) supports improved transparency and capacity building under the Paris Agreement. ICAT integrates guidance, capacity building and knowledge sharing to engage countries in the use of a common framework to assess the impacts of their policies and actions and report progress, fostering greater transparency, effectiveness and ambition. ICAT’s approach is country led.

ICAT began working with Viet Nam following a first bilateral meeting between ICAT and country representatives during COP 25 in Madrid in December 2019. This meeting enabled ICAT and officials from Viet Nam’s Department of Climate Change (DCC), a department of the Ministry of Resources and Natural Environment (MONRE), to discuss the direction of the project and to explore how ICAT could best partner with and support Viet Nam on climate action transparency. 

DCC and ICAT agreed that the project would focus on four main activities:

  1. A needs assessment for developing Viet Nam’s MRV and transparency systems in the areas of energy and agriculture.
  2. An assessment of the impact of selected policies and actions to monitor NDC implementation progress using ICAT methodologies.
  3. Support to improve data management capacity to better link GHG mitigation and sustainable development impacts for NDC tracking.
  4. Support for preparatory work to engage in cooperative approaches under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

During the scoping phase for the project, ICAT’s implementing partners in Vietnam, the UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre (UNEP-CCC) and the Italian Higher Institute for Protection and Environmental Research (ISPRA), worked with country stakeholders to identify other initiatives active in the climate action transparency space, including work being led by the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit. This helped to ensure ICAT’s support could both complement existing activities and avoid duplication. The mapping identified that while other donors were already supporting work on Viet Nam’s GHG inventory and on national coordination for developing reporting and accounting frameworks, there was a clear gap in assistance for capacity building in certain key sectors. ICAT therefore decided to take a deep-dive approach at the sector level, focusing on capacity building in the agriculture and energy sectors.

Applying the ICAT toolbox 

The Greenhouse Gas Abatement Cost Model (GACMO) was used to assess GHG mitigation potential in the agriculture and energy sectors, with a technical training workshop held remotely in April 2020. The workshop provided an overview of current and future transparency requirements and shared information on areas where ICAT methodologies and GACMO calculations could assist in reporting and evidence-based implementation of Vietnam’s NDC. Learning from ICAT projects in other countries was presented at the workshop, including experiences of using the GACMO model to assess the estimated mitigation impact of policies and measures at the sector level. A second technical workshop was held in June 2020, where Viet Nam presented initial results from the application of the GACMO model in the agriculture and energy sectors. This workshop resulted in twin reports on the application of GACMO in both sectors, published in July 2020.

Improving MRV frameworks

A next step for the ICAT project was to support a needs and gap assessment for MRV and transparency in the energy and agriculture sectors in Viet Nam. This activity took a high-level view, focusing on the institutional arrangements needed to ensure successful implementation of the ETF of the Paris Agreement. The study was published at the end of 2020. It found that although various GHG mitigation projects had been implemented in Viet Nam, these had not followed similar methodologies and were not comparable across interventions. It also found that MRV systems were not being implemented consistently at state, provincial and sectoral levels. The report therefore identified the need for further work on improving data management systems across different interventions and levels of government. It concluded that for Viet Nam to sufficiently track NDC implementation, it needed to establish fully functioning MRV systems, develop adequate methodologies and guidelines to track the progress of significant energy and agriculture policies, and put in place sufficient reporting lines.

Remote training workshops were held at the end of 2020 with a focus on agriculture (specifically rice cultivation and emissions from soil) and a training on indicators to track progress of climate action and NDCs for representatives of the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Agriculture. In the first quarter of 2021, two reports were published on tracking the progress of NDC implementation using ICAT methodologies in the agriculture and energy sectors. 

These deliverables provided a step-by-step approach for estimating the effects of policy design and often complex economic factors and other barriers that affect the impacts of policies on GHG emissions. Importantly, these twin reports also provided country specific emissions scenarios for each sector, reducing Viet Nam’s reliance on international guidance.

Improving NDC tracking frameworks

ICAT also supported delivery of a report called Institutional Arrangements for Vietnam’s Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV)/Transparency System, focusing on the energy and agriculture sectors and published in October 2021. This included recommendations for institutional arrangements for providing and managing data on GHG inventories in the form of organograms showing the direction of data flow, as well as a narrative description of which entities are responsible for different categories of data. The ICAT project has also helped Viet Nam to set out a monitoring model for implementing GHG emissions mitigation actions, again set out as an organogram with lines of accountability and responsibility, as well as a detailed narrative on actions required from each institution.

Several activities are now underway to support Viet Nam’s preparedness to engage in cooperative approaches under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. These activities focus on accounting of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes and new methodologies to set baselines aligned with the Article 6 rulebook. The project is scheduled to be completed in quarter 3 (Q3) of 2022.

Looking ahead

Overall, the ICAT project in Viet Nam has been successful, with both implementing partners and country-based consultants highlighting that ICAT’s capacity building activities were well aligned with the country’s needs and priorities. Despite delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Viet Nam has made good progress on setting out the country’s institutional arrangements for its GHG inventory system and its MRV system. Although further efforts are needed to continue to drive this work forward, ICAT’s support to clarify roles, and delegate tasks and responsibilities is expected to enable future development and enhancement of the MRV system at national, provincial and sectoral levels. 

Looking ahead, Viet Nam’s recent net-zero announcement at COP 26 signals that the country is a committed international partner on climate action.      

Case study: Embedding energy and agriculture into Viet Nam’s MRV system


Find out more about ICAT’s work in Viet Nam.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay