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Case study: Promoting Climate Action at Sub-National Level in Chile

5 April 2023

Chile commitments under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement

Chile ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994 and the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. In the wake of the Paris Agreement, Chile drafted its first nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC in 2015 and updated it in 2020. It has since established a series of initiatives aimed at reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The updated NDC of 2020 stresses the importance of developing a measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) system that Chile incorporates at both the national and subnational levels.

In its updated NDC, Chile committed to reaching an annual emission cap of 95 Mt CO2 eq. by 2030, which marks a stronger emission reduction than initially pledged in 2015. To obtain these targets, nationally as well as locally, organizational efforts are necessary. Chile thus recognized the need to devise an MRV system that could capture and help mitigate emissions not only at the national but also at the subnational level. The first step in this direction was the development of Programa HuellaChile in 2013, which strengthened the capacity to monitor and report emissions in public and private organizations, and recently led to the creation of regional committees on climate change under the updated NDC.



ICAT Support

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 including a range of methodologies and tools to assist developing countries.

ICAT is an unincorporated multi-stakeholder partnership steered by the Donor Steering Committee (DSC), conformed by its donors, Autria, 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.


Summary of the work carried out in Chile

The ICAT project in Chile has promoted transparency and capacity building for climate action on the regional and local level, emphasizing multi-level governance and enabling local mitigation efforts

The ICAT project in Chile provided support related to building and enhancing transparency systems for mitigation actions. This aims to help in implementing and delivering the NDCs, and integrating and aggregating climate action at the subnational level and for non-state actors identifying and increasing domestic benefits and synergies from enhanced climate action.
ICAT started work with Chile in 2020. The primary objective of the Chile project was to provide adequate capacity to manage and implement an effective national MRV system to measure the performance of the targeted climate policies and actions. In addition, it aimed to effectively prepare for related reporting addressing the targeted policies and actions under the enhanced transparency framework of the Paris Agreement, at subnational level. To achieve this objective, several sub-goals were formulated and addressed with local and national stakeholders. One key component was the design and implementation of a certification/ recognition system for the territorial management of greenhouse gas emissions at the subnational level for state and non-state actors, building on Programa HuellaChile, which was mainly focused on organizations. This component therefore required mapping of relevant actors, and the linking of subnational greenhouse gas systems with subnational climate action plans, and establishing good practices for territorially defined mitigation strategies.

To build on these enhanced institutional capacities, a recognition scheme was developed to further align mitigation efforts across subnational communities. The result was a four-scaled certification scheme that serves as a comparable measurement across municipalities and regions and provides an incentive to local actors to increase their technical capacities. In essence, subnational actors are awarded certifications for increasing their MRV and mitigation efforts. At the first stage, actors are awarded for quantifying their greenhouse gas emissions; at the second stage for designing actions aiming at reducing their GHG emissions; and at the third one for neutralizing emissions. Each stage follows distinct requirements and procedures. Lastly, excellence is awarded on condition of attainment of all three stages.


Stakeholder involvement

The ICAT Chile project has also provided extensive capacity building to subnational entities regarding the use of the subnational MRV system, improving the technical capacity of subnational stakeholders on greenhouse gas emissions and on mitigation policies. In addition, ICAT designated two pilot municipalities and supported them with training and capacity building until the attainment of the certificate of recognition. By doing so, ICAT was able to foster the implementation of an MRV system at the subnational level by establishing procedures, manuals, and tools that follow international good practices and ICAT guidance and tools. This involved the country applying good practices on climate action transparency at the subnational level as well as some training session for the use of the ICAT GACMO tool

Photo by Alex Wolowiecki on Unsplash

Photo by Alex Wolowiecki on Unsplash


Project results and Takeaways

In addition to the development of the subnational MRV system and its certification approach, the ICAT project developed guidelines and e-learning courses that allow the results of the project to be extended beyond project implementation, as interested entities will be able to consult this material in the future. 

To make the information as accessible and transparent as possible, the ICAT project  also provided extensive capacity-building on the use of the MRV system through the pilot study with two municipalities to ensure the proper functioning of the system and its associated processes. Part of this training was the design of manuals as well as targeted online training on the MRV system in Programa HuellaChile and ICAT tools such as GACMO.

Each milestone was communicated via accessible channels such as Programa HuellaChile. The developed tools and manuals enable the assessment of carbon footprints at the subnational level. Through the certification system, comparability of measurement, monitoring and verification and thus transparency, was enhanced. In doing so, ICAT has significantly contributed to and successfully built upon Programa HuellaChile as the platform now covers not only organizational practices, but also subnational, regional and local governance to implement mitigation efforts. 

“Efforts should be in the promotion of climate action from all levels” Javier Naranjo, Minister of Environment at the HuellaChile Program Award Ceremony

In the future, Chile is expected to further expand its capacity to combat climate change by enhancing multi-level governance structures and institutions. To that end, extending pilot projects to more municipalities, while improving communication and exchange horizontally between subnational actors appears to be a good way forward. It could further seek to disseminate information and skills in using MRV systems and subnational or territorial carbon footprint reporting to other countries, thereby strengthening climate action internationally. It is essential for Chile to keep up the effort delivered through this ICAT project to ensure optimal use of resources and capabilities in climate change action at the appropriate governance level.