CBIT support means more integrated work among the government and a long-term vision for Chile
Interview with Jenny Mager Santos, from the Climate Change Office of the Ministry of Environment of Chile
How will the CBIT project help Chile to enhance transparency and respond to the requirements of the Paris Agreement?
Right now we are in a phase where we have had a lot of improvement for example on issues like GHG inventories and reporting of mitigation actions. But we have an important lack of capacities in institutional arrangements and also in prospective analysis. We don't have capacities within the government to do long-term projections and to analyse different scenarios, and so we hope that CBIT will helps us to create those capacities and to enhance the few capacities that we have for doing other things. So, the idea is to have more integrated work among the government and between the ministries, in order to have also an integrated analysis of mitigation scenarios with different policies. What we have right now is a very isolated analysis, such as sectoral analysis, and with that we cannot have like a broad view of what is going to happen.
Is that important, for example, for tracking your NDC and implementing your NDC?
Yes, because we need this long-term vision in order to have clarity about the path we are going to take and to know where do we want to move to. So the idea is to create this long-term strategy or vision, which will guide the process to update the NDC, and to have intermediate goals or carbon budgets aligned with the enhanced transparency framework. And we want to have a cycle or a process to ensure that this happens yearly or on a regular basis.
I see. Specifically the CBIT process, how is CBIT going to help create this capacity on long-term planning and scenario modelling?
Well, we have different components in the project. The first one is related with the availability of information. For this, we want to create a platform with climate information, which will have modules with information on inventory and information on mitigation. This is like a registry of mitigation actions where the sectors can upload information related to the progress of their actions. And another component is to create capacities in long-term projections in order to use the available information in the platform, to put it into models and to create long-term projections and scenarios, and also to create the MRV (measurement, reporting, and verification) of NDC. The overall idea is to create capacities and to analyse what capacities exist in the government to do long-term analysis, and also to create awareness for the high-level policy-makers, of these analysis.
Interesting. So is CBIT going to build on work done with previous projects?
This is like a continuity of some projects we had before, some with the funds of the Low Emissions Capacity Building programme (LECB, now called NDC support program), and other study related with an analysis of the implementation of carbon budget in Chile. But all are like very broad analysis. The idea is to put their recommendations into practice.
Chile was one of the countries that accessed the CBIT countries first. Why was it important for Chile to come early to this process?
Well, that was because we were thinking about how to get some funds to give continuity to the studies that I mentioned before: the carbon budget for Chile, and to all the MRV advances that we had achieved with the LECB. And so we started to think how could we give continuity to all that analysis, and when we were doing that the possibility to apply for CBIT support appeared, and that's why.
It was a good timing.
For Chile is difficult, because we always try to find new funds but we cannot apply to every new fund because we are part of the OECD, so it's difficult for us to get funds now. We are a developing country but from this year we are not anymore part of the ODA (Official Development Assistance) list. And this means we had to apply for CBIT quickly, otherwise that window of opportunity would close.
How about the type of support you want to have in your CBIT project. What specifically is in the CBIT support that will help you improve transparency capacity?
Training is one, because we hope to have training related to doing projections. We hope to have specific training on this for some sectors. This training will come from international and national experts. Until now we had some prospective analysis done by the academia, and so we can collaborate with the academia in order to train the public sector in this kind of analysis. And also training can come from the ministries that are more advanced. For example, the Ministry of Energy, they are already working on projections and maybe they can help other or ministries.
We want to improve some parts of the inventory as well, and we want to create this platform for sharing information and for systematizing the information we receive from different sectors, in order to put it into the reports that we share with the international community.
What we have now is not the best way, it's not structured enough because we have like interviews and surveys with the other sectors and then put the information in our report and then share it. But the idea is to have a platform that can be fed in a continuous basis.
What is your expectation regarding the usefulness of this platform for the other sectors too?
Well, they can have two important benefits. The first one is the transparency of their climate action within the country, and this is because the idea is to have like mini reports available to the public. So it's for public awareness and for public communication. The other benefit is that right now many sectors don't have any system to monitor their actions, so this can help them to identify indicators and to do the tracking of their actions, and also analyse their own effectiveness. And that is huge for them because right now they have to prepare a report called public accounting, once a year. But it's very qualitative, not quantitative. With this they can have more specific and more objective analysis. These indicators don't exist yet, they will have to be created, and they will participate in the construction of these indicators
Right. Is there also a component of adaptation in this?
Yes, we have a component of adaptation, with indicators as well. Because we want to have a pilot to create indicators for one sector with one of the adaptation plans. We have nine sectoral adaptation plans in Chile, so the idea is to apply some of the plans in the regions and to have indicators and measure how the plan is actually doing. And also to have a manual or guideline on how to create indicators, based on the experience of the pilot.
That's very interesting. I think that guideline can be very useful for other CBIT projects. What incentive do you think there is for Chile to share this and other guidelines within the CBIT platform?
We are always very open to share our experience because I think that when we share we all can benefit. Because later in the negotiations, if we want to put some of our own ideas, if other countries have the same or identical experience it's easier. I mean, for example we are negotiating the content of the new reporting guidelines. Chile moved many years ago to the 2006 IPCC guidelines in the inventory, and we shared all this process to move from 1996 to 2006 guidelines with other countries in Red INGEI, and now all the region wants to move to the 2006. So we think it's important that this 2006 inventory guidelines will be part of the new reporting requirements for everyone. By making the lessons learned available, we think it's easier to bring everyone to the same direction.
The CBIT platform, which was introduced in the second CBIT workshop, intends to be about creating opportunities for knowledge sharing and helping the implementation of the CBIT projects. How do you think that the platform could help in that respect?
Well, I think the strongest functionality is to facilitate the identification of synergies among the regions. For example, in South America there are other countries that are in the same phase as Chile, like Uruguay and Argentina, and they are all thinking in kind of the same problems that we are: how to create an MRV system for the NDCs that is aligned with the new requirement for the enhanced transparency framework. So, I thing we could have very similar activities with CBIT support, and this platform can help us identify what activities we can do as joint work. For example, for long-term projections it's useful to have a regional vision as well. Take carbon markets: we don't know yet what will happen in the future, but it could be useful to know if there are other countries with similar thinking.
So, I think the platform can be very useful to identify synergies, but it depends: if one has to go to each project and read all the projects, it's going to be very tough because of the workload that we have in our countries. But if the platform can provide like a classification, like the map of the countries, and you can do a search where the projects are sorted by long-term components, for example, then you can use this information to get an idea of which countries are doing that and where they are.
In terms of peer-to-peer learning there is this great example of the Red INGEI, what else can the CBIT platform offer?
With Red INGEI we have this peer-to-peer learning on doing inventories and we are also trying to implement peer-to-peer review of the inventory. In the future we will have new requirements for the UNFCCC reports, and we are not yet sure how the process of review is going to be. Currently the process of review is centralized review for non-annex I countries, and so we don't have the opportunity to receive a team of experts in the country to give us insights about what we are doing. I believe that peer-to-peer review with similar non-annex I countries can be useful, and I'm thinking about having a team from Colombia coming to Chile and helping us by looking at our MRV of mitigation and getting a fresh view on what we are doing.
I have the insight from some countries that received these reviews where they say they learned a lot. Therefore, I think developing countries can benefit a lot from this experience, but I know that the amount of work and resources needed to do that for developing countries is huge. Perhaps it's not possible to do it for everyone, but maybe we will have a system that can be voluntary or in partnership with other countries, and we could do it.
For CBIT support, there are countries working in the same topic and perhaps, if some of them have already finished a component, we could have this peer-to-peer collaboration to help other countries to do the same thing, and thus the platform could be a hub for that.
How was the experience of Chile dealing with GEF and the process of submitting the CBIT proposal. How did you find that process?
I think that for this specific project it was very easy, it went very fast. We took much time to prepare the proposal and submit it to GEF, but then they reviewed it very quickly and gave us their insights very quickly as well. So, it didn't take so long and I have a very positive vision of what GEF is doing with these particular funds. I mean we need the CBIT right now to create capacities in order to be prepared for the new requirements on transparency, and the process is very quick. So I think it's working because we have the support on time to be prepared for the enhanced transparency framework on time.
And when do you think you will be actually starting with the CBIT project work? When do you think you will have something to share on your implementation?
I think we will have something to share about the implementation of some of the activities at the end of this year because we hope to start the implementation soon. So I think that by the end of this year we may have the first results.